We’ve been saying for over a year that the CD was about to make a comeback and the recent sales data for H1 2021 is a real sign that Americans are starting to see the light again. The modest 2.2% increase in new CD sales is paltry compared to the 109% increase for records, but it is the first positive figure in many years. Americans have bought over 18.9 million new CDs so far this year. Our list of the “best” CD players could be a bit longer in 2021 if the brand new Yamaha CD-S303 The CD player offers excellent sound quality.
The Yamaha CD-S303 might just be the dedicated single-deck CD player you need to listen to your collection. This player supports CD, CD-R and CD-RW playback and includes a front-mounted USB port that provides access to music stored on USB drives.
File types compatible for playback on CD-R / CD-RW discs or USB flash drives include WMA, MP3, LPCM, AAC, and FLAC.
Audiophiles will love this player because it features a floating laser detection mechanism that reduces the effects of external vibration, a 24-bit / 192kHz DAC, and audio processing technology (Smart digital servo) which compensates for disc warping, dust and smudges.
To further enhance audio quality, the CD-S303 includes a Pure direct mode option. Using the remote control or a button on the player’s front panel, this feature turns off the digital audio outputs and turns off the status display. This allows you to achieve the lowest possible noise interference when using the analog audio outputs, thereby improving the sound quality.
As for outputs, the CD-S303 provides stereo analog, digital optical, and digital coaxial connections, but does not have a dedicated headphone jack.
The CD-S303 comes with a standard remote control (no cell phone control app is available). The player’s front panel also includes additional control buttons and switches.
In addition to the play, ff, rev, and pause controls, the remote provides additional control options, including:
- Direct track with 10 keys and direct access
- Random play
- Repeat play (full / single)
- 3-mode time display
- Resume the last song
- Ready Mode
- Reading mode memory
- 4 Illumination levels of the status display
What the CD-S303 does not have
Although the CD-S303 offers a lot, it does not provide SACD playback, access to 4-bit HDCD expansion, and does not have network connectivity to allow the use of a mobile control app or the access to any streaming or Hi-Res audio download services. However, if you’re a Redbook CD purist, the Yamaha CD-S303 has what you’re looking for without paying top dollar for an esoteric-branded high-end CD player.
Download the CD-S303 User’s Guide.
The CD-S303 is priced at $ 379.95 and is available direct from Yamaha or through authorized dealers.