Yamaha has launched a 5-disc CD changer called the CD-C603 that not only sports a sound-first feature from the company’s amplifiers but also a CD-switching feature I wish I’d had back in 2005.
You don’t see many CD changers launching nowadays, with the nineties and early noughties very much the heyday for the multi-disc player, following their introduction in the car in the mid-80s. Perhaps you remember the 10-CD (!) Sony DiscJockey!
Yamaha’s new multi-disc machine accommodates half that many discs at one time, but it has a neat feature called Play X Change that allows you to change discs while another is playing. I wish my early-2000s standing CD tower from Argos – a poor man’s Bang & Olufsen BeoSound 9000, and similar to the one you used to see in supermarkets and music stores that allowed customers to ‘try before you buy’ new album releases! – offered such convenience, instead of very slowly grinding the spinning disc to a halt whenever the window cover was opened. Perhaps more sophisticated tower designs (like the B&O) could, but the functionality seems pretty attractive within a ‘normal’ CD changer format. As you can see from the image above, the disc tray opens fully, facilitating changing five discs at the same time.
The new CD-C603 also boasts a familiar feature called Pure Direct, as seen, pretty much as standard, on Yamaha amplifiers and receivers in recent years. This shuts down the digital audio output and turns off the display, reducing the noise interference they inherently cause. Yamaha is promising “sound full of dynamics and clarity” here, thanks to upgrades in the internal layout from previous designs which it says have targeted performance improvements.
Also flying the flag for performance are two design elements found in single-disc Yamaha players today. The first is the ‘Laser Pickup Floating Mechanism’, which pretty much is what it says on the tin: the laser pickup is isolated on a floating mechanism so that its delicate operation isn’t as affected by vibrations. The second is the ‘Intelligent Digital Servo’, which is essentially digital processing designed to detect and compensate for any signal, tracking or motor speed issues.
In addition to the playback of CD, CD-R and CD-RW discs, the CD-C603 also accommodates WAV and FLAC audio files up to 24-bit/96kHz through its front-panel USB input. Things are pretty standard around the back, with RCA outputs joined by an optical out and a remote in/out option.
Sure, multi-disc CD players have always been more complicated to make than the traditional, persevering single-disc alternative, and likely more prone to wear and breakage because of that, but if CDs ever do enjoy any sort of serious resurgence, surely they would make sense as the player to appeal to the convenience of the day – no switching discs every hour, just hours of music teed up. Almost like a playlist, without the shuffle.
Want a multi-disc changer in your life in anticipation (or regardless) of a CD comeback? The Yamaha CD-C603 costs AU$899 (UK and US pricing to follow) and is available in black or silver.
Best CD players 2023: CD players for every budget