Groundbreaking audio equipment: CD players

They're far from dead, at least from a design perspective.

Opera Audio

Aside from the outlandish loudspeakers that seem to come out on a regular basis, some of the more interesting designs we've seen lately in musical hardware have come from an unlikely source: CD players.

Some are compact systems that are fitting for a SoHo loft, but others are destined for the serious audiophile market as well, such as the "Mini Droplet 3.1." Despite its unfortunate name, this is the most drool-worthy high-end player we've seen since the "Eagle"--and, according to Audio Junkies, it comes with some impressive credentials.

We would hope so, given that the latest version in piano-black lacquer costs just under $3,000. (Other finishes go for only $2,495.) All that is pocket change, of course, compared with systems that can approach--or exceed--$1 million.

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