Audiophile portable CD an oxymoron?

I do a lot of listening on headphones. Although portability is not absolutely essential, is there really such a thing as an audiophile quality portable CD or do they all sound lousy compared to full size transports?
Maybe now. I have a portable Aiwa from over 10 years ago. It actually has an all metal laser assembly. There was no such thing as cheap CD players back then, so they used good parts. It does not knock your socks off, but it sounds much better than anything made today that I have heard.
The Headroom headphone amp company recommends one of the cheaper Panasonic models (check their website for more info). They said they tested most models and found it to be the best sounding. I don't think any are considered to be "audiophile" quality.
I agree with the previous about the Panasonics being better than the norm. Most new players are sonically all screwed up with nonskipping circuitry. Take a pair of Grado headphones or similar and test them in the store with your own CDs. Good luck.
I agree that the non-skip technology is just terrible. What you are listening to is a cheap copy of the music in memory, not the actual CD. I heard a friends Sony and I would not even call it music.
I also agree with the non-skip circuit. However, if you turn it off (if that's an option) it sounds better. Still, I wish someone would come up with a better portable. I haven't tried the panasonic--but if headroom recommends it--it's probably pretty good.
Try and find an Optimus 3400 on e-bay or this site. It is very often regarded as the best portable made.
On the forum at, Todd from Headroom has announced that they are working on an audiophile portable CD player. Over the years, sound quality from portable CD has generally gotten worse because the manufacturers focus on two features: lengthening battery life (i.e. lowering power consumption) and improving anti-skip. Both of these are detrimental to sound quality. In all fairness, though, many people will compare battery life and anti-skip when choosing a portable CD, so manufacturers are just following the market and competing with each other. To improve the sound from your portable CD, you can use line out (not the headphone output) and a separate headphone amplifier. Headroom sells portable amplifiers. Also some portable players have digital out but I don’t know if anybody makes a high quality portable DAC.
Optimus is a badge name for Radio Schack. Does Panasonic make the Optimus 3400?, this IS a Radio Shack product and was discontinued several years ago so you must find used. It is worth the hunt as the sound quality is significantly better than what's currently available. The 3400 also has a digital out and is often seen paired with the Audio Alchemy "dac in the box"(there has been one of these for sale here). This player had such a cult following that Dick Sequerra developed an elaborate power supply for the 3400 and several people used them as their main transport. I have been able to pick up two in mint shape over the last year and have been very happy with them as a potable solution.
OK, let me fill you in how what started this kick. I was about to steal the tubes out of my old HH Scott 222 stereo amp that I've had since new in the late 50's. Decided to try it has a headphone amp with an older Sony DISCMAN before decommissioning it and found it to be absolutely kick-ass! I may just move the Rega Planet over and buy something new for the main system. Still would be nice to have a quality portable.