Are CD players dead

I went to an audiophile meeting today and the owner of the store said Cd's and cd players are dead. He said you need to start learning about computer audio or you will be left behind. Is what he is saying true?
Yep. ;)

Goodness, such drama. "Left behind". You store owner makes it sound like the Rapture. There are literally tens of millions of CDs out there, owned by people who will, like LP owners, keep and sell and trade them for years to come. So CD players are going to be with us for very long time yet.

On the other hand, I suspect that new CD manufacture is
going to go the way of new LP manufacture. It won't disappear completely, but it will become a specialty market some day. I think the day will soon be upon us when most new music is only distributed via the Internet - you may choose to copy it on CD, but you will acquire it only in the form of software. So I think it is wise to start to become familiar with what your store owner calls "computer audio".
Yes. Absolutely.
No. IMHO, not for quite awhile.
No, but I wish this question would die. It's been asked in these forums a number of times before, and it's getting to be a bore.
It reminds me of a salesman at Best Buy telling an older couple (a few years back) that their analogue TV is obsolete and they had to buy a new one because the analogue signal was being phased out.

Whatever they can use to scare/control you they will.

Did the store owner at your meeting sell computers?

Just my paraniod mind at work, don't mind me...
Computer audio is not ready for the majority of people yet. Servers and related software are either a little clunky or too expensive and music download selection is sparse.

There are people who enjoy trying to figure out why they can't get their computer to work properly. I'm not one of them though.

If you want to load your cds onto a server, and some people think that you should, you can do that but there's no reason you can't keep playing them on a player.

Finally, there are billions of cds in the US alone(approximately 235 million sold just last year). Much of that music will not be pressed onto vinyl or offered as downloads. I think people will buy cds for some time to come, especially if they get real cheap.
At first I thought,"How many times will this question come up?" But it was the last time around that got me thinking and trying and now I'm convinced that although CDs are not dead, they are an endangered species.

I'm still keeping my CDP and will probably end up with an Olive music server and bypass my iMac entirely but that will be some time to come. Having tasted better I can't go back.

I imagine a hybrid CDP that can rip/store as well as play will be the next step to ween the late bloomers amongst us. Even if you can't afford to dive into computer audio, read up as much as you can to stay ahead of the curve: technology proceeds at an alarming rate.
Nope...I prefer memory readers vs.. cd transports.

I have better things to do than tranfer/rip 3000 CD's to a hardrive..., I know there are alot of people who think the same way. YMMV
Roxy54 and Rocketman,
Agree with both of you, enough already with this redundant topic.Millions upon millions of CDs with millions of folks who still enjoy and buy them.
This topic has become boring but I feel compelled to make a comment. It is interesting that the poster of this thread mentioned that it was "the owner of the store" who made the comment that CDs are dead. Of course they want you to believe that CDs are dead because they realize that CDs have reached the saturation point with consumers. The only way they will make money from you in the future is if they can convince that the newest format has made all others obsolete. If you are over 50, you've seen this movie before. Remember tapes and records!? You probably have most of your favorite music in several formats
(possibly all the previous formats), so do you really need
another? I'm keeping my turntable, cassette players and CD
players forever, and the software that goes with them. If
they are successful in replacing CDs with servers and downloads, I'll be the guy at the Goodwill store sorting through the racks and buying CDs at 10 for $1.00. Thanks!
Tonykay ill be there with you looking for deals!
I already found 1000 lps in a year, I went from computer audio to simple vinyl set up for a reason soul conection and follow my emotional emphaty with the music no what stores owners kept telling me about music servers etc.
maybe i prefer natural analog sound, I know computers but doesn't give me satisfaction for listening sessions.
I am sure many of you guys feel the same way.
I have nakamichi dragon deck.
Sony 5400cdp
Ps audio pwdac
Rega p5
None of them will go nowhere, just make the hobby more interesting.
my 2 cents
With the purchase price of downloaded music being close to the cost of buying a hard disk CD that was produced in a brick and mortar manufacturing facility, it should be no surprise to anyone why the music industry is pushing this IMO flawed media.

Click you way to the New CD Releases section of the Barnes & Noble website and you’ll find that every week, close to a thousand new CD’s are released.

It seems sensible to me that any time you can eliminate a mechanical function in an electronic medium, it’s a good thing. No, it’s not dead, but dead man walking.
The CD player "completely" replaced the record player and was considered "state of the art" sound...
My brother is a university music professor. He made a CD compilation for his students and most had no device to play the CD.
I am sending flowers.
Well I don't know if it is truly dead but I haven't used mine for over a year.
Reports of the death of redbook cd's are premature.

CD's will survive for quite a while in the market space between availability, cost and convenience. By title, CD sales still reign supreme, correct? That will not last forever, but I regularly use CD, lp, and computer downloads, and assume I am not alone. I like liner notes that I can hold in my hand, and physicval media, whether lp or cd/sacd, has some appeal to me.

I love the convenience of the whole iTunes experience, but not the sound quality. I love the sound of HD digital downloads, but not the lack of availability of content or the clunky interfaces (hardware, software or retail - aside: I will lavish effort over all things vinyl, but can't be bothered with worrying about asynchronus versus non-asynchronus USB conversion etc., go figure). My feeling is that once a HD format is combined with a front end that is as simple to use and widely available as iTunes, then I will embrace electronic media as my first preference, but will continue to spin lps and cd for quite a while.

I suggest you download a free copy of iTunes onto your computer and play with it for a while with a pair of cheap headphones as a gateway drug. If you are interested in going further, then you can move onto the hard stuff - stand alone DAC, boutique playback software, HD downloads, and all that. A good DAC can make a modest cdp sound pretty good too if the player has a decent transport mechanism...

The CD is dead, long live the CD!
Never, I remember they said that about the vinyl lp. Until downloads are provided in resolution above that you can get on a CD/SACD at a reasonable price. Also, I like paying $10 for a new album cd shipped to my door. Love to fondel the case and read the liner notes.
Buconero: "love to fondel the case". I'll remember not to buy used CDs from you:) Seriously, I have my recently purchased Naim cd555/ps555, bought here. "THE" upgrade talked about on the Naim Forum is to add an extra ps555 (power source), which I plan to do/try. At this moment Ebay has over 152,000 CD's for sale in the jazz category alone. For me, CD players will be alive as long as I am...
it's close....but not yet for audio geeks at least. i've got a pretty good computer audio set up (ps audio pwd/bridge streaming from my pc). it does sound good but is trumped by the my pwt. redbook cd's and hi res discs (via dvd-a)both sound better to my ears in my system. sometimes the difference is very slight...other times it's more obvious. this being said, for none critical listening, my computer set-up is plenty good and the convenience just can't be beat.

for the average Joe....i think computer audio is ready for prime time. for high end critical listening...there is still some work to do imho. it seems the firmware for my pwd/bridge can effect the sound so i'm hopeful the gap can be "bridged" fairly soon with new/better firmware. close but no cigar yet is my verdict.
I though mine was but is was just unplugged. Whish was a relief because I plan to use it till I die, if it dies first, I'll replace it. I love my vinyl but still buy Cd's. Not everything new comes out on vinyl.
We are still 4 or 5 years from that. Cost and quality are still issues. I had a friend audition a well known computer based music source. His response..."worst thing I have heard in a long time. We are going backwards in quality". The mac mini is good, but others???
Not really. Cd players still rock.
I'm not very computer literate and I thought about considering a music server and I'm sure that it will come to that eventually. Who in my household will set it up and organize it all because it sure won't be me. In the meantime, I've just purchased a preamp and updated my table and I'll be good to go for quite some time. I may be old school, but I really enjoy putting on a disc of one kind or another and to hell with convenience.
"I think the day will soon be upon us when most new Music
is only distributed via the Internet"-y-a-i-e-e!
I listen to Computer Audio, and sleep fine without dreams of this Format taking over the World. I have no need to feed my ego by dictating which Format everyone else shall, and will be listening to. Let them eat CD's, or Music Files, or Cake-whatever-who cares? Why do Computer Audio
fanatics desperately want to dictate the only Format that everyone else should be required to listen to? Are you that
insecure about Computer Audio? Afraid that it won't be able to stand on its own two feet in the Market? I say
render unto Ceasar, or render unto the individual to have the power to choose which Format he wants to listen to. I want both new Music on CD, and new Music via Downloaded Music Files. You can try to force me to choose one over the other, you are just feeding your own ego shoving your own desires down the throats of others. Stop trying to dictate which Format others are required to listen to, give us the choice!
Hey, I just had this thread a week ago!

Dead as a doornail, I say. With that said, I have seen some guys on here that still have multi-disc player arrays, they might not agree.

Especially since they then added a DAC back in 2006 that was all the rage. They probably think they are still state of the art, no need to take advantage of the newer technology.

That's the thing with digital, it's ever evolving, and the difference between the sound of audio files from the more advanced DAC set ups can be remarkably different.

State of the art in 2007 is now about the same as what you get in your $200 BluRay player. The only difference to me, is when you get to the truly high end DAC's by companies such as ARC et all, where the output stage is so much better than anything you get in a run of the mill DAC, that it still sounds better.

Disc players are dead.
Well I ain't no coroner/musically speaking or otherwise. --Truth be told I are verrrrry old (near 75). I have been in this hobby since the '50's. I still love music it drives and defines me.
I guess I've seen my share of media/software changes and besides even tho I loved the soloo demo at my dealers'---I'd need somebody to do all the uploading. I do have the Meridian 808.2which are pretty good.
With the CD less in favor I can pick up stuff cheap/used at Amazon.
There are so many cars with the "Boz-o" 5.1 system-- AsI have xm-radio/ digital hd fm radio and a cd/dvd player in the car and it sounds so good. I guess most of u-all don't remember when you couldn't get much music on the road.
I just thought of another point/advantage cd--I would say few cars get broken into to steal the cds.therein.
So,yes dead for some and not so for some.
I'm keeping my biggie load of discs in all their various formats (mostly SACD versions). I spent a lot of time researching and tracking many of my CD's down. I take pride like a peacock in my disc collection which has many discs that now sell for 5-10 times their original retail price - not that I'm selling any of them. Yeah I've done download music files, files that reside on my Mac (I was early with the PS3 and installed a half terabyte drive in it and filled it over half full with computer files, many of them music files) and I have a nice DAC and a Touch too, but I'm still in love with LP's and discs and their liner notes, pictures.
(continued from previous post) Not so dissimilar to reading. I enjoy a quality hardcover book with a pleasing font printed on good old paper. The nook, iPad, squinting at a cellphone yeah yeah has value, but not so much for me. Messing around with computer files for more than an hour or so gives me a headache (and typing out this post may too (c:
The thrills I got in the early halcyon years of home computing have abated for me and no longer tick my clock like they did regardless what comes along. Aging has something to do with, but hey - time is precious.
I have been researching this and I am still not convenced I can beat the sound of either of my CD/DVD players using a digital transport and DAC - without spending a lot of money. Both my Ayre C-5xeMP and MUSE Erato II players do hi-rez, which means I can download available music and burn hi-rez DVDs to play on the players. The computer audio gear still doesn't seem sorted out and appears to be changing monthly. I was just reading how some believe the 2011 Mac Mini is not as good sounding as the 2010 version due to shared USB ports and other issues, and the life expectancy of a DAC before it is upgraded/improved seems to be less than a year. I am sure I will be moving toward a computer source when things stabilize, but I will probably still keep one of my disc players around as a backup and a baseline of what sounds great.
Pettyofficer, I was only prognosticating, not advocating. I like CDs and SACDs, and vinyl, and even cassette tapes, and have a healthy number of each, along with some pretty respectable equipment for playing all of them.

But I have also watched the selection of CDS, and the places you can buy them in my city, shrinking faster than a cotton t-shirt in an overheated dryer. So my guess (but not my preference), is that pretty soon now the music companies will start to ask themselves "why are we still producing and shipping the round plastic disks?"
I think there is one significant difference between the fabled death of Vinyl and the supposed death of CDs. If Vinyl truly died, huge collections of LPs might be rendered useless - outrage! The music industry doesn’t have that concern with CD’s because they can be downloaded.
Cd's and vinyl will live at least another 50 years because hard-core audiophiles will never give in to the inevitable changes. However, as a viable medium of choice for the general public, the cd has one foot in the grave and the other one on a banana peel. Do a little survey of people that you know that buy music that are not audiophiles, you'll find that cd's are passe and old technology. The overwhelming bulk of music is not bought by audiophiles. Cd's and vinyl will always have a place in the high end, but its days of mass market appeal are dwindling rapidly.

10-10-11: 77jovian
My brother is a university music professor. He made a CD compilation for his students and most had no device to play the CD.

The above quote is a harbinger of things to come, the younger generation could care less about a cd player, much less a cd. Digital players are constantly getting better, smaller and more portable.
NO . I put all my music on my Mac , but much prefer listening to CD's , in fact most of my audio friends that have setup music servers still prefer disc's .
The biggest audio store in my area says CD player sales are brisk .
why will "CD's live another 50 yrs"? I understand vinyl, it's a niche media to hold analog, but you don't phyiscally need CD's to playback the inferior 44.1 files of CD's. You can get that crap downloaded. Or, you can get the better HiRez files, downloaded. Why do you think companies will continue to produce the discs? It's an unnessary cost to distribute the music.

Plus, the DAC's in a deck, with few exceptions, are not in the same league as those in a stand alone DAC.
This subject is getting a lot of attention, just look at the responses here. Cds' aren't dead or dying anytime soon but with hard disk based music playback getting so good it is easy to see why some think that it's the only way to go.
Once some of the larger record lables start offering high resolution downloads of big chunks of their music libraries it will start to tip in favor of downloads for audiophiles for the simple reason that it's better. A 24/96 file of something that is also on a cd is going to sound better.

That simple.

I honestly don't think that anyone that isn't looking into computer audio is behind right now though. Great cd players still sound great, lot's of cds being produced, LOT'S of used cds out there so it has legs as far as being relevant for quite some time. But.....when everything is working and you have a high resolution recording playing back through a well thought out hard drive based sytem it is very hard to look back.
The original post was: "Are CD players dead"?


What HiFi reports that UK record player sales(!) exceeded sales of CD players as of July 2010.

The current thread has focused on music formats more than actual CD players. CD sales still exceed downloads by a large amount.

The dirty not-so-secret that the music industry doesn't know how to deal with is that sales of all formats are plummeting. Does this mean that people are buying and listening to less music as a whole? Maybe. My kids are as likely to watch videos (movies, YouTube, TV shows) on their iPhones and laptops as listen to music. Video is displacing (at least in part) audio only as a format of choice for on-demand entertainment for the masses. Affordable home theater systems and streaming HD video on mobile devices weren't available when the CD was on the drawing board.

I also think all this digital complexity and nonsense is helping drive the re-emergence of vinyl. My comlpletely non-audiophile but digitally fluent son bought a Bass Nector lp recently because he was intrigued by the tangible nature of owning a 12" piece of art and cuing the needle on the disk. Once he notices the sound benefits of analogue, he may get hooked, something that CDs will never offer over HD digital formats.

The other elephant in the room with respect to digital music sales is that XX% of music files are changing hands for free. That was happening long before venders figured out how to charge for downloads, and my guess is it will continue as long as people realize they can get something for free instead of having to pay for it.

So yeah, the CD player is dying. But the last CD player I bought sounds noticably better than the one it replaced. Same disks, better DAC and transport etc. When the new one wears out, I will want another one or something that can at do at least as good of job at extracting music from CDs to play my disks. And lets face it, most of those billions of plastic disks out there will last physically much longer than any of the devices designed to play them and everbody posting here.
"And now we turn to our headline fact - that 77,400 turntables were sold in the year to May (a 11% increase). That compares to 41,400 CD players.”

Thanks for that info Knownothing. That’s astounding to me. I feel like I just fell off the proverbial turnip truck.
I would like to point out that another WhatHiFi article , from the year 2009, reports sales of 570,000 BluRay players and that BluRay represents 25% of the video player market, for total video player sales of 2.3 million.

Also, computers and game systems can be used as players.

Since video players can play CD's (and some of them SACD's) most people don't need a CD ONLY player.

Perhaps the single function CD player is passe, but the CD format can still thrive.

What's BluRay? Oh yeah, this decades version of the 8-track.
The cd player is not dead....but you would be a fool to buy one.
my two cents from someone who swore by LP's up to 2001 because CD's and players made until then gave me the same sensation when listening as having my teeth drilled by the dentist.

1)Digital is getting very close to LP's, doesn't degrade with repeat playing and you don't have to flip sides every 25 minutes
2) computer audio without asynch USB support to DAC is disappointing compared to a good CD player
3) computer audio with asynch USB and a good DAC should surpass a CD player at 44.1 more transport issues
4) Computer audio has no rip options for discs above 44.1 khz... DVD and SACD are user unfriendly

So I'd say yes 44.1 khz only players will die out but multi media players will linger until disc makers relent and rip options become available.

As to hard media... I'd bet many are willing to pay for the hard copy as a backup strategy.

Long live wav.... I'll pass on flac.
Mine currently is.
I am at the RMAF and will listen to some steaming music, and computer music and some really good CD players.

More to come.
Here's a great article from Audiostream that asked some industry leaders where they thought computer audio is going:

Glean from it what you will.
I don't think there's any question about computer audio and where it's going , but the OP asked if CD players are dead . In the early 80's they said that CD's would eliminate the need for LP's , and CD sales went wild , but nearly 30 years later LP's are still around and probably always will be . There is room for more than one format .
Just read that LP sales in the UK were at 223,000 in 2010 , compared to 119 million CD sales . There not dead yet .
ironically as little as ten years ago college kids were playing cds on mini systems...which soundwise were superior to most pc based computer speaker systems of today...and the industry has always predicted every 20 years or so a new medium will emerge..and the ipod/itunes did just wont take another 20 for downloads to dominate...the decline of the cd AND dvd has already been implemented...they wont become relics overnight..but close enough for confusion
Availability of Redbook-quality or HD-quality downloads is not present across a broad spectrum of musical genres. I check regularly. Comments on this post that broadly claim one can simply download whatever music they want in Redbook or HD are not based in reality. CD players may be on the road to obsolescence, but the CD format is still where I'll be putting my money for years to come, especially when buying legacy music from my high school and college years. I can get literally *anything* I want music-wise on CD from Amazon, but every time I search for Redbook or HD quality downloads, I rarely find what I'm looking for.
Computer audio is making broad strides as a playback medium, judging especially from the distinct lack of CD players at RMAF. Funny thing, most of guys running the Macbooks at the show had NO IDEA what they were doing. The up-front cost and required input time to get computer audio up and running do not compete with a decent budget CD player, IMO. There is too much tweaking required.