MoonDrop awakens the spirit of Sony's Discman with portable CD player
Though the majority of music listening today is served up via streaming services, physical formats like cassettes, vinyl records and CDs are still holding on for dear life. China's art/tech outfit MoonDrop is catering to fans of the plastic disc with a portable spinner that can also play digital audio files.
MoonDrop's product catalog includes headphones and in-ear monitors, wireless buds and DACs, and even a keyboard with built-in audio circuit. The company says that one of its founder's goals has been to develop a portable CD player, and a former Sony engineer who worked on the original Discman was brought onboard to help make that dream a reality.
The DiscDream is the result. Anyone who remembers portable CD players of old will likely be familiar with the blips and skips caused by the laser losing track as the user moved around. Reading ahead and buffering helped, and MoonDrop has employed an electronic data cache combined with physical damping to try and nip troublesome vibration errors in the bud – along with a Japanese precision motor, pro-grade laser head and audiophile oscillators for timing accuracy.
There's a digital audio player cooked in too, built around a 32-bit flagship decoder from Cirrus Logic for up to 384-kHz playback of formats such as FLAC, OGG, WMA and MP3 – as well as native DSD256 – sourced from a microSD card. A USB-C port also means that music on a PC can take advantage of the hi-fi circuit as well.
The device benefits from an independent analog amplifier capable of driving "almost all in-ear headphones, earbuds, and even planar headphones." And its 3,500-mAh battery is reckoned good for up to 10 hours of CD listening per charge.
The DiscDream actually appears to have been launched in September last year, but has since suffered production and supply delays that have essentially turned "now available" into pre-order waitlists, with retail partners reportedly not accepting new orders until the current backlog is cleared. The retail price is listed as US$199.
Product page: MoonDrop DiscDream