Denon DCM-440 CD-changer

The Denon DCM-440 can be programmed in the usual way to play as many as twenty individual tracks from five CD's, but it also has a track-memory feature that can store as many as six tracks per disc (for up to a hundred discs) that you don't want to hear, on the plausible theory that there will normally be more tracks on a disc that you do want to hear than ones that you don't. For most people, this approach should be easier and more efficient than selecting all the tracks to be played each time, and the information is saved even if AC power is disrupted. The player also has three random-playback modes (from all discs, from sequential discs, and of programmed tracks) and five repeat modes (single track, single disc, all discs, stored program, or random playback).

On the DCM-440's backside you'll find a coaxial digital output, fixed and variable analog outputs, and a synchro jack for synchronizing its operation with that of other components in a Denon system. The DCM-440 employs an eight-times-oversampling 20-bit digital filter with noise shaping and two of Denon's 18-bit Super Linear Converters. Although four disc positions are available when the drawer is opened, two are partially covered, requiring a little care when slipping discs in and out, and if you play just a single disc, it may or may not be accessible when you reopen the drawer. Any disc position can quickly be rotated into the open with the Disc Skip button, however.

I thought the DCM-440 was one of the best-looking changers. Its shiny black aluminum front panel is striking, and overall fit and finish were excellent. Its drawer was less substantial than some of the others, however, and had a number of sharp edges on its top surface that could conceivably scratch discs as you load them. The mechanism was moderately noisy when swapping discs. On a more positive note, the DCM-440 sported the brightest, most legible display.

The Denon performed adequately on the test bench, but not spectacularly. It did not place above the other changers in any of our twelve measurements and placed last in three: frequency response, channel separation at 1,000 Hz, and disc-change time.

Denon DCM-440 CD-changer photo