I’m a woman of peace, but I’m prepared to bare-knuckle fight you for Yamaha’s new 5-disc CD changer in the new year if Santa doesn't get this memo by Christmas.
That's right, the CD changer has risen from my 2002 house party photos (kept in a box under my bed) and into present day, thanks to the just-unveiled Yamaha CD-C603.
This time around, not only does the disc tray open fully to reveal every CD within its wheel, like a glorious audio quesadilla buffet (thus allowing you to admire and switch out all five discs simultaneously), but you get something Yamaha is calling Play X Change. This allows you to change CDs while another is playing.
It's further proof that despite the continued popularity of the best music streaming services, the dedicated tower CD player is once again making a bid for your living room – just see the high-end Hegel Viking or Arcam's new CD5 (part of a quintet of hi-fi launches), both of which arrived in October this year.
And thanks to Yamaha staples such as Pure Direct (which shuts down the digital audio output and turns off the display, thereby reducing noise), the ‘Laser Pickup Floating Mechanism’ tech more commonly found in single-disc players (to reduce vibrational issues with the physical format), and ‘Intelligent Digital Servo’, which is basically digital processing designed to detect and atone for any tracking or motor speed issues, I think it's a winning proposition.
The only downside I see? No, I'm not worried about the wheel mechanism impacting sound quality. I'm somewhat disappointed to see that disc compatibility is limited to CD, CD-R, and CD-RW. So it won't play my SACDs – and if you don't own a stack of those next to the aforementioned photos under your bed, why not check out them out among the six fantastic tech failures whose ghosts still haunt me today?
Opinion: I have a huge collection of CDs – let's party!
The thing with vinyl, cassette tapes, 8-track cartridges (also in the feature I mentioned above), and any tangible music product is that they have a beginning and an end; they are finite and devoid of suggested tracks or random shuffle mixes. They are a physical representation of your precise musical tastes and predilections at any given time – and my late-1990s-to-early-2000s CD collection is begging for a proper airing.
It's like the 2007 iPod Classic I still cling to despite Apple consigning its dedicated player output to oblivion in 2022; that is the sound of my youth – the sound of a young life full of ambition and promise! Every track on it is a winner. And this is what I want for Christmas, although if you're still looking for ideas to add to your wish list (or buying for someone other than me), see our early Christmas sales in the US and Boxing Day sales in the UK, for even more great holiday and Christmas gift ideas.
OK yes, I have a solo disc player. I want Yamaha's CD-C603 because I can load up five full albums and have them play one after the other. No getting up to switch CDs every 45 minutes, no sliding each disc carefully back into its paper sleeve envelope in the stack, no arguments over the fact that these are delicate items that belong to your sister and should be treated properly.
Around the back of the CD-C603, you get RCA outputs plus an optical out and a remote in/out option. On the anterior chassis, you'll find another nice perk: a front-panel USB input that'll accept and play WAV and FLAC audio files up to 24-bit/96kHz.
Anyone else want to party with me like it's 1999? Come on, we can all worry about Y2K together. Simpler times…
And Santa if you're reading this, the Yamaha CD-C603 is available in black or silver (either look is lovely; I'm not picky) for the trivial fee of AU$899 or €599. I'm still waiting on official US and UK pricing, but that makes it around $590 or £470, give or take. Thank you!
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Becky is a senior staff writer at TechRadar (which she has been assured refers to expertise rather than age) focusing on all things audio. Before joining the team, she spent three years at What Hi-Fi? testing and reviewing everything from wallet-friendly wireless earbuds to huge high-end sound systems. Prior to gaining her MA in Journalism in 2018, Becky freelanced as an arts critic alongside a 22-year career as a professional dancer and aerialist – any love of dance starts with a love of music. Becky has previously contributed to Stuff, FourFourTwo and The Stage. When not writing, she can still be found throwing shapes in a dance studio, these days with varying degrees of success.