CDs are an awkward medium––they’re not as vintage and nostalgic as vinyl, but they’re not as modern and convenient as streaming and digital downloads. That said, CDs are still an incredibly popular format, and many copies are sold today, both old and new.

If you want to maximize the old-school vibe of your listening setup, you may be interested in buying a vintage CD player––or at least a vintage-styled one. But there are many out there, so it can be hard to figure out which model suits you best.

Before getting into it, I’ll explain that this article is a review of vintage-styled CD players, rather than truly old models. The main reason for this is that truly old, vintage CD players are hard to find, often in bad states of disrepair, and also can be hard to find the components required for maintenance.

Also, because the ‘vintage-ness’ of CDs doesn’t affect the sound quality (like vinyl players), because it’s a digital sound CD format, there isn’t any sonic benefit of choosing an old model.

So, this guide shares some of the best vintage-style CD players on the market today, and we’ll also share a buyer’s guide to help you choose the right pick.

One of our favorites is the Crosley CR32D-PA Cathedral Retro. This certainly has a vintage look to it, and can easily be mistaken as an authentic antique radio––but it’s actually a modern multimedia device. Alternatively, the RealinKus Bluetooth CD Players has a very cool aesthetic and is highly portable.

That said, there are many other great options, so check out the rest of this review!

Best Vintage CD Players of 2024

If you’re looking for a vintage-style CD player, these are the best options on the market today. We included models in a range of prices so everybody will be able to find a model they can afford (and love).  

Best Overall

In the style of classic ‘wireless’ radios from the 1940s, this sweet CD player will give your room the perfect touch of retro chic.

Why We Love It

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Vintage design yet modern

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Radio and Bluetooth

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Made from solid hardwood

SPECS

  • Type: Tabletop Stereo
  • Speakers: Built-in
  • Connections: Phono, Aux, Bluetooth
  • Features: AM/FM Radio, CD Player, made from hardwood

Before getting into the features and functionality, it’s worth discussing the gorgeous aesthetics of this CD player. If you’ve ever seen classic radios from back in the 1930s and 1940s, this style will be immediately familiar to you. But of course, this is a modern CD player with 21st-century ––that comes at a surprisingly affordable price!

Looks aside, this CD player is also pretty feature-rich. It has built-in speakers that have a natural sound, it can play music from the radio, CDs, or even from your phone via Bluetooth. This gives you a nice range of playback options.

This CD player has a super old-school look, that might be too retro for some tastes – but if you’re looking for a vintage-style CD player with modern features, this is a strong choice.

Sleek Multimedia

With a touch more of modern design aesthetics, this mini hi-fi system is a perfect choice for a small home setup.

Why We Love It

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Art Deco neu-retro design

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USB Port for USB drives

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Remote control incl.

SPECS

  • Type: Home Stereo
  • Speakers: Built-in
  • Connections: USB, aux, Bluetooth, phono, headphones
  • Features: Radio, remote control, EQ controls

While this isn’t as vintage-styled as some of the other CD players on this list, it still has a lot of retro charm. With built-in speakers, Bluetooth streaming, and remote control, this is a highly convenient device that makes it a great choice as a home stereo.

It has a range of handy connections including an aux-in, headphone output, USB input, Bluetooth, and CDs. It’s compact and stylish and would look the part in a range of room styles.

Most Versatile

This looks as vintage as it gets, but it’s packed with modern features and design quality.

Why We Love It

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Unique gramophone design

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Also plays vinyl records

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Wide-range stereo speakers

Specs

  • Type: Home stereo system
  • Speakers: 3 speakers (two stereo, one horn tweeter)
  • Connections: Phono, Aux, USB, Bluetooth
  • Features: Vinyl, CD, radio, USB

Don’t be fooled by its vintage appearance reminiscent of early gramophones. This sleek device seamlessly merges classic aesthetics with cutting-edge technology. The iconic horn isn’t merely decorative; it functions as a tweeter, complementing the unit’s speaker array.

In true multi-media fashion, this device effortlessly plays vinyl records, CDs, and radio stations, while also offering Bluetooth connectivity for your smartphone. Its versatility makes it a standout addition to any audio setup, exuding a captivating charm that sets it apart from the ordinary.

Retrofuturistic CD Player

With a stylish nod to the aesthetics of retrofuturism, this space-age-looking device is a sweet portable CD player.

Why We Love It

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Cool retro-future design

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Unique layout

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Handy remote control

SPECS

  • Type: Portable CD player
  • Speakers: Built-in
  • Connections: USB, Bluetooth, CD, headphone
  • Features: Remote control, portable battery powered, FM radio, line in and out

Drawing inspiration from the iconic visuals of Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey,” this portable CD player boasts a captivating future-retro aesthetic that seamlessly blends nostalgia with modernity, exuding timeless charm.

Being a portable CD player, you can use this without a power supply, and run it from a set of batteries. Thanks to the built-in speaker, this is also a stand-alone device, letting you enjoy your compact disc collection wherever you go.

As a portable CD player, it offers the freedom to operate without relying on a power supply, making it perfect for on-the-go music enthusiasts powered by a set of batteries. Its built-in speaker transforms it into a standalone entertainment hub, ensuring you can enjoy your cherished CD collection wherever your adventures take you.

Additionally, it comes with a remote control that lets you tweak the CD player from afar. This makes the device even more handy. I’m also a big fan of the USB and SD card slots, meaning that you can play music from other sources.

Best Mini Jukebox

With looks straight from a 50s diner, this modern jukebox is sure to be the perfect centerpiece to any listening space.

Why We Love It

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Retro jukebox style

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Full range of media

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Many convenient features

SPECS

  • Type: Home stereo system
  • Speakers: Built-in stereo
  • Connections: Phono line out
  • Features: CD, Bluetooth, Radio, USB, SD card, built-in lighting system

Taking a nostalgic trip back to the 1950s, this jukebox-inspired CD player is guaranteed to bring a smile to your face, especially for fans of the King of Rock, Elvis Presley, whose name adorns the front. Complete with a built-in LED lighting system, it adds an extra layer of ambiance to your music experience.

Beyond its retro charm, this device boasts a comprehensive array of features, including SD card playback, radio, Bluetooth connectivity, CD playback, and USB inputs. The convenience of a remote control allows you to effortlessly navigate through its functions from the comfort of your couch, perfect for those laid-back listening sessions.

Available in two distinct styles––the classic black and red Elvis model and the vibrant yellow-green variation––both options are equally attractive and sure to captivate.

Perfectly Portable

Packing a CD player, tape deck, and radio into one portable unit, the Studebaker is a great choice for music lovers on the move.

Why We Love It

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CD and tape in one

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Lightweight and portable

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Handy repeat function

SPECS

  • Type: Portable CD and tape.
  • Speakers: Built-in stereo speakers
  • Connections: AUX, headphones
  • Features: CD, radio tape

When it comes to portable CD players, this one holds its own among the best. Sporting a classic jukebox-inspired design, albeit slightly more compact, and featuring a convenient carrying handle, it strikes the perfect balance between tradition and practicality.

While not overly vintage in style, it has a charming retro vibe that adds character to any setting. Despite its simplicity, this model offers all the essentials. With built-in speakers, battery operation capability, radio tuning, and even cassette tape playback, it covers all the bases.

Ideal for smaller rooms and quieter listening sessions, it can easily serve as your primary audio system. However, its true versatility shines when taken outdoors––whether on a picnic or hike––making it the perfect companion for your outdoor adventures.

Best Vintage CD Players Buyer’s Guide

Vintage Stereo

There is an enormous range of CD players on the market, even in the vintage-style category. This is a double-edged sword, as it gives consumers a wide range of products to choose from – so you won’t be stuck for choice. But, the large range can make it tricky to choose, as you have so many viable options.

This section explains some of the things to think about when choosing a new vintage CD player, helping you to find the perfect choice for your needs.

CD Player Types

There are three main types of CD players. Sure, they all play CDs, but they’re designed for slightly different situations and use cases.

  • Standard Home CD Players – This common type of CD player is typically a standalone device. They come with all the features and controls you need to play CDs, in an installed location. These are the type of players that you would see used in a standard hi-fi system. They typically come with basic features like play, pause, stop, and skip functions.
  • Portable CD Players – Unlike home CD players, portable CD players are designed to be used on the go. These are smaller, lighter devices that can be carried around, and are often small and light enough to be carried around in your pocket or in a bag. Rather than featuring speakers, these usually come with a headphone jack.
  • CD Changers – The largest and most advanced system of the three types, CD changers can be loaded with multiple CDs at once, which can then be switched through at the press of a button. This means that you don’t have to constantly physically change the discs when you want a new album – and are commonly found in high-end cars and hifis.

Key Features

You’ll find that there is a wide range of features and functionality offered by CD players on the market. While most models include controls for CD playback and volume, you’ll see a bunch of other cool extras in some models. There are also some key specs and features to look out for.

  • Audio Quality – Because CD players are hybrid analog & digital devices, there can be a huge variation in audio quality from model to model. This is largely the result of the components used in the disc reader and amplification sections of the device, but most parts have some degree of impact. There are a bunch of key specs you can analyze to work out the quality without listening – but it’s always worth hearing it first-hand if you can. Pay attention to factors like signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and total harmonic distortion (THD), to assess how clean the output signal is.
  • Compatibility – There are a range of common CD types in use and distribution. Ensure that the CD player is compatible with the types of CDs you plan to use, such as audio CDs, CD-Rs, and CD-RWs.
  • Connections – CD players come with a range of connections, both inputs and outputs. In terms of outputs, you want to make sure that you can connect your CD player to the rest of your audio setup. This might be an AUX cable, a red and white PHONO cable, or even Bluetooth and USB. Some CD players give you extra input that allows you to connect an extra device through it like a phone.
  • Display – This is more of a personal preference, but CD players come with a wide range of display types. Of course, you want something that is clear, and easy to read, as this is how you’ll navigate CDs and interact with the settings. That said, there is still a huge level of variation, from simple numeric displays to complex and detailed LCD screens.
  • Playback Features – While the core features (play, pause, skip, volume) are usually fairly uniform across all CD player models, there is still a bit of variation. Look for features like shuffle mode, repeat mode, CD transport, and programmable playlists for added convenience and versatility if this floats your boat.
  • Build Quality – These days, technology tends to be more lasting and durable than earlier gear, although ultimately it depends on how much you’re willing to spend. More expensive CD players tend to be a bit more sturdy and longer, and cheaper ones can be a bit plasticy and flimsy. Choose a CD player with a sturdy construction that is built to last. This is especially important if you plan to use it regularly or take it on the go. Some newer devices come with high-quality features like pulse density modulation and single-bit mash dac, but almost any player sounds great provided it meets the minimum specs.
  • Portability – If you’re looking at portable CD players, there are a bunch of other considerations to make. You’ll need to think about factors like size, weight, battery life and battery type to make sure that it meets your needs.
  • Additional Features – Some CD players come with extra features like AM/FM radio tuners, alarm clocks, and remote controls, these aren’t for everyone, but it can be a nice extra if you would use those features.

Budget Considerations

Also have a think about the amount of money you’re willing to spend on a CD player. You can find devices at all end of the budget spectrum, from dirt cheap to insanely pricey, and everything in between.

Generally, the more you spend on a CD player the better the quality – although you can still find decent quality models in the lower end of the budget range. Higher-priced models tend to have more features and better-quality components.

Think about the long-term value of your CD player. Investing in a higher-quality device upfront may save you money in the long run by avoiding the need for frequent replacements.

True Vintage, or Vintage-Styled?

This article is about vintage-style CD players. Although you might want to buy a truly vintage CD player from back in the day. This is a tough decision to make.

A new, vintage-styled CD player, is going to be cheaper, and easier to find and fix if components break. Although they won’t have the true nostalgic design and sound of an old CD player.

You could buy a truly vintage CD player. But they can be hard to find, and often in various states of disrepair.

FAQs About Best Vintage CD Players 

Do old CD players sound better?

Whether old CD players sound better or worse than new models depends on a range of factors, and will vary from model to model.

For example, you can find some older CD players that sound better than new ones, thanks to the type of analog circuitry and amplification used, but some older players also have lower quality and more inaccurate digital components, which can create a relatively reduced audio quality.

Ultimately it depends on the model and quality––an older Sony Playstation One used as a CD player is going to sound better than a broken Rega Planet CD.

Is it worth getting a high-end CD player?

If you can afford it, and you care about the audio quality, then a high-end CD player is definitely worth the investment (if you choose the right model like a Naim CD player). High-end CD players offer a range of nice extra features, as well as having a higher quality and more detailed sound.

However, the quality of your speakers is also a hugely important factor. There’s no point using a top-of-the-range CD player with mediocre speakers, as the speakers will limit the quality.

What was the best CD player in the 90s?

In the 1990s, several CD players gained recognition for their performance, features, and reliability. One notable example is the Sony CDP-557ESD, which was highly regarded for its high-quality audio output and durable build.

The CDP-557ESD also boasted a sleek design and intuitive controls, making it a popular choice among audiophiles and music enthusiasts during that time. Although ultimately this is a subjective question, and many audiophiles will give different answers.

Conclusion

You now have a good idea of all the best vintage-styled CD players on the market, and the important things to think about to help you choose the best one. Remember, think carefully about how you want to use the CD player, what your budget is, and what features you need.

One of our favorites is the Crosley CR32D-PA Cathedral Retro. You can’t argue that this is one supremely vintage-looking CD player. If you’re fancying something more portable (with a cool retro-futuristic design, we’re also in love with the RealinKus Bluetooth CD Player!


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