Are CD players still relevant? When was the last time that you actually used a real CD player, not the combo drive on your laptop? I can't really remember, but it seems that these devices are still useful, just like old DVD players. A lot of people still have hundreds of CDs and these CDs can be easily played in a standalone CD player, like these ones. Of course, they belong to different markets. One of them is a standalone player that's been on the market for years. The other one is Bang & Olufsen's top of the line model.
Muji Wall-mounted CD Player
This wall-mounted CD player by Muji is compact and stylish, as well as easy-to-use. You just pull the string to start the player up and pull it again to stop it. Volume and search buttons are situated on top of the player. That's all there is to it. It's simple and efficient, and also pretty slick. CD players tend to get complicated very quickly. That is for people who still listen to CDs. All of my CDs are in storage and I only listen to MP3s nowadays. Maybe I'm not the best example, but I can still see the use for this beautifully designed player. This player has been on the market for about 10 years. It's finally come to the US last year.
What's really cool is how the surface of the player is also a speaker. Now that's really neat. This sweet looking CD player is available through the Muji online store for $178. [via Technabob, images via Muji]
You can see it in action in the beginning of Gary Hustwit's Objectified, a documentary about design.
Bang & Olufsen BeoSound 9000
If you have a bunch of spare change to burn, the BeoSound 9000 from B&O is one of the best CD players out there. It's incredibly designed and incredible to watch. There are six spots for CDs. The reader head moves from one CD to the next, allowing you to play the CDs in sequence or anyway you like. It can either be wall-mounted or just placed around your pad. What I really like about high-end players is that some of them can be used to create virtual instruments. The BeoSound 9000 won't do this, but others will. Symphonic orchestra musicians are said to be able to practice with these, the sound system produces a kind of auditory hologram, making you believe that the instruments are actually in the room. Naturally for this, you'll need HD-CD or some of the newer HD audio formats, Super Audio CD and DVD-Audio.
Unfortunately, these types of media are out of the reach for most of us. There are some hybrid CD players out there that will read SACD and DVD-A, and artists release hybrid CDs, which usually include an HD variant, but most of us don't get the full benefit since you'd need a kick-ass sound system to really tell the different. Still, it's something really cool and if we had $50K to spend on a system like that, you bet that we'd be getting one.
There is something incredible about watching this player in action. Kind of like robots in action, or something along those lines.