SURPRISING, BUT MAYBE NOT AS MUCH AS YOU’D THINK: 10 pre-owned vintage CD players under £40 each compared

In this, my latest experiment, I decided to buy as many pre-owned / low cost CD players as I could afford for the investigation and NONE over £40 each from the major auction sites.

PART 1: I wanted to determine if via my reference system #1 (£100 in total), I could (a) hear any worthwhile improvement and (b) if so, were these improvements consistent?

PART 2: As above BUT via my reference system #2 circa £5k +. The system details are irrelevant in this context.

I had no interest in investigating facilities, speed of access, appearance (partner acceptance factor) and other distractions all of which, in practice are irrelevant in this price band!

My purchases all under £40 listed in alphabetical order:

  • Akai CD A7
  • Hitachi DA800
  • Marantz CD63B
  • Meridian MCD
  • Mission DA7000R
  • NAD 5200
  • Philips CD101
  • Sony CDP 101
  • Toshiba XR 270
  • Yamaha CD2


  • The only variable in the £100 system were the machines themselves
  • Every comparison was played at precisely the same volume as determined by a tripod mounted sound pressure level meter at head height. Pointless otherwise!
  • Discs included: Blues, Jazz, Classical and Soul.
  • None of the machines failed to operate during the process.


I will publish these in the next day or so. All i’ll say for now is that via the £100 system, the results were surprising in one way and via the £5k reference system, surprising in a different way. Hmm …

Continues on Monday October 19th

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