Q: I’m concerned about the limited selection of CD players on the market. I have an extensive collection of CDs (in the 4,000 neighborhood) and have this horrible fear of CD players becoming obsolete. What do I do then, just put all my CDs in a big pile and burn them?
I enjoy my music immensely and listen to my CDs every day. I am temporarily living with and taking care of my elderly mother, and she won’t let me get a stereo system to use at her home. I have an Onkyo receiver in storage for future use, but in the meantime I am using a horrible-sounding Crosley CD player that looks like an old-fashioned radio. She has noise issues, and it is all she will let me use.
Should I be concerned about CD players going away, and should I buy one ASAP and hold on to it in case they do? If so, I would like to get a five-disc CD changer and would spend up to $400. Any suggestions?
A: I hope you were just being sarcastic about burning your CDs. But just in case — or in case someone else picks up on the idea — don’t ever burn CDs. That would produce toxic fumes.
While I have written about the limited number of players on the market compared with what was available in the early years of the format, I never intended to create the impression that CD players were completely going away. I think calling CDs and the CD format “obsolete” is a stretch. CD still is the leading format for music on optical media.
There are lots of devices that play CDs besides a CD player. Any DVD or Blu-ray player also will play CDs, though you will have to check for audio outputs on the back of some of the newer players. In addition to the billions of music CDs in existence, there also are billions of movie discs, and that will create a demand for the players for decades to come.
That being said, CD changers definitely have fallen in popularity. The only one currently available is the $399 Yamaha CDC-600 (yamaha.com), so you might want to get it now. There also are many used CD and DVD changers available on eBay, Craigslist and in thrift stores. In fact, last year I bought an excellent Integra CDC-3.4 CD changer, in like-new condition, for only $3 at a thrift store. There was no remote control, but I found a used remote on eBay for $15. It works perfectly.
Rather than suffer with bad sound because of your mother’s restrictions, why not enjoy your CDs with some headphones? You can get a CD player and put it on your nightstand with a small headphone amplifier. You also could get a CD player or changer and use an adapter cable to connect the RCA outputs to the miniplug input on a high-quality portable speaker like a Soundcore Flare. That will sound much better than what you are using now.
Send questions to Don Lindich at firstname.lastname@example.org.