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Objective review of the Yamaha CD player
on April 25, 2009
Before buying the Yamaha 5-disc CD player, I did a comprehensive analysis of all currently available products. It included the players made by Denon, Onkyo, Teac and Sony among others, as well as DVD players that can also play CD's. I wanted a high quality player to work well with a stereo system including large JBL studio monitor speakers, a high-power integrated amplifier, and a direct drive Technics turntable. I had no interest in playing DVD's, only in good quality audio CD's, so I eliminated from consideration many products which are basically DVD players. I found out that most multi-disc CD players compromise their technical specifications compared with the audiophile-quality single-disc CD players, with Yamaha CDC-697 looking better than the others, possibly because it is optimized for playing CD's only, while the Denons and Onkyos also play compressed audio files like MP3 and WMA.
Any product that attempts to do too many things at once, usually does not do anything well!
Investigations of Yamaha's repair record compared with competitive products also appear favorable. Finally, I found out that CDC-697 can be operated both by the pushbuttons on the front panel or by the remote control. All competing carousel CD changers are not fully operational without using the remote. We are sick of having everything requiring a remote to operate. It is just a fake "convenience feature for the user", whose real purpose is to cut the equipment manufacturing costs by eliminating the old-style manual controls from the front panel!
We had the Yamaha CDC-697 for two months now and everything is fine so far. It was easy to set up without the remote control. We have not even inserted the batteries into the remote, the unit operates just fine without it, although there are some functions that are available only through the remote. We had to read only the first 10 pages of the 24-page owner's instruction manual to use the unit, for which my wife is very pleased. The competing carousel CD changers have 60 to 90 page manuals which take many hours to study before you can use the unit!
Let's hope that Yamaha does not make any silly engineering changes in the CDC-697 to make it more alike the Denon, Onkyo or Sony. We do not own an i-pod and will never buy it in the future, we will also never need to play any compressed audio files, we just want high fidelity music.
The fidelity of music from the Yamaha player through our system is just as good as from the Technics direct drive turntable with an elliptical Shure cartridge and new 33 RPM vinyl records, and we do not miss the occasional clicks usually present in vinyl records.
Amazon did a very good job in packing our Yamaha player. It arrived on time through a UPS two-day delivery.