Test Bench: CD music players

Test Bench: CD music players

With music fans still coveting the silver discs, we review three players


SURELY no one is buying their music on CD any more — are they? Actually, they are: sales may be declining worldwide but Brits still snapped up more than 40m last year, adding to the hundreds of millions already in people’s homes, which explains why there’s still life in the CD player market. The three models here are keeping up with the times, too: each includes wireless connectivity for streaming, as well as producing pleasing sounds from those shiny discs that, like vinyl, may even be due for a resurgence.

Naim Uniti Star, £3,500
Those CD sales are being whittled away by streaming services — Spotify, Apple Music and similar. The Uniti Star caters for both markets: as well as a disc player and Bluetooth, it has wi-fi capable of logging in to most streaming services without using your smartphone. It supports high-definition music formats and Tidal’s high-def streaming service, while its integral amp will drive most speakers (they’re not provided — though for this sort of money, you might expect your hi-fi dealer to throw in a free pair).

Ruark Audio R4 Mk3, £699
If you’ve stayed at a boutique hotel recently, you’ll recognise the name: Ruark’s retro designs seem as obligatory as fake fur throws and a wellness spa. Inside the R4’s walnut finish is a 21st-century music centre: CD player, DAB and FM tuners, Bluetooth, USB input with MP3 player, and stereo speakers backed up by a mellow-sounding subwoofer. There’s also an optical audio input: connect this to a TV to give the set a welcome sonic upgrade.

Pure Siesta Home, £200
It’s barely bigger than a chunky hardback but the bedside table-bound Siesta Home packs a lot in. At the rear is its built-in speaker, while up front is a CD player, DAB and FM radio, ambient light-sensing display and Bluetooth module if you’d rather send over tunes from a phone or tablet (or top up both from a pair of USB charging ports). There’s no companion app, though, just an old-school remote, and the sonics are more soothing than room-shaking.