I have a couple friends (husband & wife - grandparents (don't remember their age but grandkids range in age from babies to teens)) who are looking for a good mp3 CD player. I have a Sony D-NS921F that has so far served me very well, but it's not for sale, and I think it'd be nice (unless we can find another one of that model for a good price) to get something relatively new.
Basically, what they want (along with a few of my recommendations) are:
mp3 cd capability (of course) - also very flexible on bitrates and sample rates it supports, and folder and subfolder support with ID3 tags & CD Text. one thing about my player is it doesn't like a CD that has mp3 and wave files on the same CD.
Although the Sony I have has ATRAC3 capability, I doubt they'd use that. Maybe RealAudio and Windows Media Audio playback capability might be nice though.
ability to play CD-RWs
built tough to withstand severe shock - like the Sony I have
has an excellent quality AM (for example able to reliably hear stations in excess of 100 to 200 miles distant in the daytime, with reasonable adjacent- and/or second-adjacent (depending on audio bandwidth) channel selectivity, am stereo would be nice but isn't required, decent audio bandwidth - flat to at least 5 or 6 kHz with a gentle rolloff to about 8 to 10 kHz or so) and FM tuner (tv isn't necessary, although maybe weather might be ok to have, but I'm not sure.
available now in a major retail chain (Best Buy, Circuit City, Good Guys, Fry's, Costco, etc)
So, what's currently out there that meets that criteria? The Sony D-NS921F comes close, but it's been discontinued for a while, although it would probably serve their needs very well.