Every experienced audiophile knows that a portable CD player has many advantages. Especially when it comes to sound quality. The fact is that music recorded on CDs has the best sound quality. And you can use it both at home and on the road.
With our portable CD player review 2021 we want to help you choose the best portable CD player. We have compared Discmans, classic portable CD players and portable CD players for children and listed the advantages and disadvantages of each. This should make your purchase decision as easy as possible.
- 1 Weekly newsletter with the best personal finance tips
- 2 Summary
- 3 The Best Portable CD Player: Our Picks
- 4 Buying and evaluation criteria for portable CD players
- 5 Decision: What types of portable CD players are there and which one is right for me?
- 6 Guide: Frequently asked questions about portable CD players answered in detail
- 6.1 What is a portable CD player?
- 6.2 Who is a portable CD player for?
- 6.3 How much does a portable CD player cost?
- 6.4 What is the alternative to the portable CD player?
- 6.5 Which function plays the most important role when buying a portable CD player?
- 6.6 What do the results of Stiftung Warentest say about portable CD players?
- 6.7 How do I connect the portable CD player to the car radio?
- 6.8 When was the first portable CD player invented?
- A portable CD player allows you to listen to your favourite songs or audio books on the go. Many modern portable CD players have an anti-shock function. This makes listening to music possible even while jogging.
- The target group for portable CD players is broad. There is a suitable device for every age. There are also options among the various portable CD players that are specially designed for children or even visually impaired people.
- The prices for portable CD players vary widely. They depend on which functions are included in the device. Therefore, it is relatively easy to find the right player within the available budget.
The Best Portable CD Player: Our Picks
Buying and evaluation criteria for portable CD players
You are about to buy a portable CD player. Which one should you choose? We've prepared a list of points that will make the decision easier for you.
The criteria you can use to compare portable CD players include:
It is not right to think of portable CD players as an outdated piece of equipment. Connoisseurs of sound quality know that such a player delivers the most complete sound. Unlike an MP3 player, the CD player has the advantage of consistently good sound quality.
A portable CD player allows you to enjoy CD quality at a bit rate of 320 kbps. MP3 players often work with low bitrates, which results in less high-quality sound depth. This leads to a feeling of a lack of saturation in the sound from time to time.
Normally, ESP (Electronic Skin Protection) and Bass Booster (boosts the bass) ensure good sound quality from your portable CD player. If you look for these features when choosing a device, you can avoid poor sound quality.
Don't forget, however, that good headphones are an essential part of good sound quality. In most cases, the standard headphones that come free leave a lot to be desired in terms of sound quality.
Since their appearance on the market in 1984, portable CD players have undergone several changes. One of the important ones is the extension of the runtime.
Now it is sufficient to achieve the same with a single set / charge of batteries.
Many of today's portable CD players have 1 or 2 batteries or rechargeable batteries that will keep them going all day.
Today, the runtime of Discmans is between 5 and 16 hours. So the longer you want to enjoy your music, the more hours the portable CD player should offer. Our advice is to aim for the devices with the battery life of 10 to 12 hours.
Weight and size
Good portable CD players rarely exceed 3 kilograms. Obviously, when it comes to the classic devices with integrated speakers (like the small boombox), their dimensions are hardly comparable to the size of small portable CD players.
The weight limit of modern Discmans is less than 400 grams. The first CD players were quite bulky and took up too much space in the pocket. In the last 20 years, manufacturers have managed to make the player as close as possible to the size of a CD - the devices have become much thinner and lighter. The use of smaller batteries reduces the size to a minimum, which is only determined by the size of the media.
The dimensions of current Discmans are on average 25 x 150 x 150 mm. In everyday life, they are therefore super practical if you are on the move a lot. On the other hand, they cannot compete with their larger and noticeably heavier counterparts in terms of robustness.
Modern portable CD players are powered in three ways: by replaceable batteries, rechargeable batteries and mains operation. Especially in the new models, the battery is already integrated in the unit. This means that you no longer need to change batteries.
Of course, it is more practical if the portable CD player is equipped with a mains adapter. The cable allows the unit to be recharged. The only disadvantage is that the mains adapter makes the CD player less mobile for some time.
If you don't want to constantly think about getting spare batteries or taking them with you, a portable CD player with a built-in rechargeable battery is worth considering. Ideally, the CD player will also have a power supply.
In addition to the usual CD, CD-R or CD-RW, modern portable CD players manage music formats such as MP3 or WMA. This allows you to enjoy your favourite music without interruption, but don't forget that music stored in MP3 format has a lower sound quality.
For book lovers who want to listen to books on the go, they must look for the availability of resume function when buying. With this, the device remembers the passage you listened to last. In general, it is a very nice and time-saving feature.
USB, Bluetooth or radio function
The USB as an additional storage device has already become an integral part of our lives. This trend has been adopted by the manufacturers of modern CD players and integrated into the devices. For such CD players, accepting music files from a USB stick is no problem.
Nowadays, many modern CD players of the classic kind are often equipped with an integrated radio. Such devices support the FM and AM frequency ranges. Radio function makes it possible to stay up to date even when you are on the move. In addition, there is the option of listening to music without CDs. It is very practical, especially if you forget your CDs at home. However, Discmans very rarely have a radio function.
Decision: What types of portable CD players are there and which one is right for me?
Broadly speaking, there are three main types of portable CD players:
|Discman||Relatively cheap, Compact and practical, Light weight, Practical for playing audiobooks, Bass boost||Limited battery life, Intense battery consumption, On very cheap models, sound quality can be mediocre|
|Classic portable CD player||Long battery life due to mains connection, More robust, Radio function||Limited volume, Heavier than Discman, Station selection and reception are limited|
|Portable CD player for children||Especially robust, Colourful design, Suitable for audio books, Usually comes with children's headphones and/or children's microphones||Cheap models are less robust, Not all models have the anti-shock function|
So if you are less on the move, the classic portable CD player would suit you better. If, on the other hand, you spend a lot of time outdoors, then a Discman would be more suitable for you. The aim of the following section is to sharpen your understanding of what kind of CD player is right for you.
Guide: Frequently asked questions about portable CD players answered in detail
What is a portable CD player?
Portable CD players come in different sizes and dimensions. The whole range of devices can be reduced to three main types: Discman, classic portable CD players (like small boomboxes) and portable CD players for children.
All three types are in the budget price segment. You should simply decide how portable you want your portable CD player to be and who you are buying it for.
Who is a portable CD player for?
For kids, there's a separate category of portable CD players. They are designed to develop creative and independent thinking in children. They are usually lighter and more colourful than the adult models. They are also quite robust, as children can be very active and mobile from time to time.
Often they are also equipped with a microphone and karaoke function. Children will certainly feel like celebrities.
Unfortunately, there is not much choice for the visually impaired. Portable CD players from this category are also a little more expensive than the regular CD players. However, you can be 100% sure that they are user-friendly for the people with vision problems and therefore fit quite well.
How much does a portable CD player cost?
|Discman||approx. 12 - 224 €|
|Classic portable CD player||approx. 28 - 230 €|
|Portable CD player for children||approx. 24 - 123 €|
If you know exactly which features are important to you, you can adjust the cost of the portable CD player to suit you. There is also a feature-rich portable CD player in each category for around €30-60.
What is the alternative to the portable CD player?
|High-res Digital audio player (DAP)||High-res DAP stands for high-resolution digital audio player. Its sole purpose is to play music. Although they can play just about any type of music file, they are actually designed for the formats and codecs that provide better quality than CD.|
|MP3 player||An MP3 player is a portable device that can play MP3 digital audio files. It is a type of digital audio player (DAP) or portable media player. Most MP3 players also play more than the MP3 file format. These include such formats as Windows Media Audio (WMA), Advanced Audio Coding (AAC), Vorbis, FLAC, Speex and Ogg.|
|Smartphone (with streaming service)||Many smartphones have the ability to play uploaded music. It has become even more common to use streaming services, such as Spotify or Apple Music (exclusive to Apple products).|
Which function plays the most important role when buying a portable CD player?
In any case, we always advise you to pay attention to the runtime of the device. A golden standard would be around 12 hours. In addition, we always advise you to choose a device that is not only battery-operated, but also mains-operated. This way you don't have to change the batteries so often.
Robustness of the portable CD player is also very important. So you should make sure that all parts are stable in their places.
If you need a portable CD player, you have to pay attention to the formats it supports. Remember that the music quality can change from format to format. To get the same sound quality as a music CD, you need a bit rate of 320 kilobits per second.
What do the results of Stiftung Warentest say about portable CD players?
How do I connect the portable CD player to the car radio?
Ideally, your portable CD player will also have a USB port. This allows you to charge your device at the same time.
When was the first portable CD player invented?
The player evolved rapidly and in 1984 the first portable digital player Sony Discman D-50 appeared. Cassettes were quickly pushed out of the audio market and replaced by CDs. The word "player" found less and less use and the new term "Discman" appeared.
Image source: vicenfoto/ 123rf.com