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Versatile Boom Box with MP3 CD Player and Minor Ergonomic Flaws
on January 13, 2014
We have been living with this Memorex boom box for about three weeks now. It was purchased as a media player that could be moved around the house easily and was capable of handling CDs, cassette tapes, MP3 discs, and AM/FM. We had originally considered a Sony model, given that brand's very good reputation, but we could not get a clear answer on whether it could play MP3 discs. On line, one Sony distributor's rep said "yes" and another said "no" while at least one consumer's review also said "no".
This Memorex has reasonably good sound for a boom box, though it is unsurprisingly deficient in its bass (most boom boxes don't "boom" all that well). The analog tuner (digital would have been nice) seems to pull in local AM and FM stations with ease, though the tuning dial is small and hard to read.
The CD player does indeed play MP3 discs, both commercially produced ones and CD-R discs created on the computer. It is somewhat slow to load an MP3, but that is a very minor issue. Standard CDs, both the commercial variety and those written on the computer also work as expected, with a few exceptions. One commercial CD (out of many dozens tried) would not play at all, with the boom box display claiming "no disc". Cleaning the CD did not help, and that same CD played fine on several other players. And one music CD-R had occasional drop-outs that were not manifest on other players.
We've had less experience with the cassette player, which we use mostly for old lecture tapes from the library and our collection, but sampling a few cassettes revealed no problems. Surprisingly, the cassette unit also includes a "record" feature for which we have no use and have not tested.
There are a few good ergonomic features: the volume control and the CD play/pause buttons are both large and easy to use in a darkened room (the unit usually sits adjacent to our bed). The top-loading CD compartment is functionally simple, suggesting that it will not cause problems. Other, less-used CD buttons are grouped close together and not easy to differentiate, especially with their small print.
Perhaps the most deficient ergonomic feature is the very small, non-illuminated, LCD display. It is hard to read even in good light if you are not at the right viewing angle and impossible in low light or the dark. Our older boom box used a larger LED display which could easily be read in a darkened room.
The unit switches from "off" to "CD" to "radio" with a slide switch, a pretty conventional set-up. I mention this only because our last boom box (a GPX) failed after many years of modest use when a similar switch stopped functioning.
This Memorex boom box fits our needs and so far has worked with only minor glitches. We'd buy it again, despite the display issue. There are cheaper boom boxes listed on Amazon that handle MP3s and the other media, but we were turned off by some seriously negative reviews. There are also less expensive Memorex units that lack either the MP3 or cassette capability. If you do not need MP3 capability, you might also want to consider the Sony unit sold by Amazon and others.