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on September 1, 2003
I hate to rain on the parade of the other reviewers, but I bought this system and returned it. I won't buy another without first going to a retail store to listen to it. I strongly recommend you do so before buying this - I've seen it all over town, even stores like Target. If you like it, buy it from Amazon - their price is better (plus no tax) and even though I have to return it, I love Amazon. Also, they shipped it, for free, well before their "estimated" ship date. Prop's to Amazon.
There are 5 basic problems:
1) The sound is good, but it doesn't fill the room. It is low-power and will sound "great" only if you position the unit right in front of you.
2) It is not clear from the description, but this thing has an automatic door which opens by sliding up. If you want to put this "bookshelf" unit on a bookshelf, you have to allow TWICE its height before the next shelf above - this is a huge amount of wasted space in your bookshelf.
3) This unit has a telescoping FM antenna - no provision to connect an external antenna. Again, on a bookshelf, this is useless. You cannot extend it, and if you try to extend it up and forward, it gets in the way of the up-sliding CD door described in 2). Reception was really lousy so I couldn't use it.
4) It has a clock on the display, but the display is set at least 1" back behind a clear plastic window, and when the unit is not on, the display is de-powered and you cannot see anything. You cannot see the clock when it is off.
5) It has radio presets, but you can only access them sequentially by scrolling forward and backward; this is like almost all boom-boxes and bookshelf units today. The problem is that if you don't set exactly all 12, you still have to scroll through the un-set ones.
Don't expect a bargain - it is exactly worth what it is priced.
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VINE VOICEon September 7, 2003
I bought this as a birthday present for my husband to take to his office. I set it up at home to see how it sounded, and well, it is staying home now. It's set up in a bedroom, and I think the sound is great. There are four settings to choose from on how you can listen to the music, bass, soft, vocals, and clear. When I have regular rock/top 40 CD's in it, the bass setting is the only one to go with. Classical or jazz music might sound better on a different setting. There is also an equalizer on or off choice, which slightly changes the way it sounds. Their book says that the equalizer on makes music sound more live, although I couldn't really tell. True, those selections are available only with the remote, so you don't want to lose it.
I don't mind how the CD player opens upward, that allows the system to be thinner and more attractive in my opinion. I was worried that when I pushed the buttons on the front of it, that the whole unit would slide backwards from the finger pressure, but it is heavy enough to stay put. It is kind of a bummer you can't read the clock when it is dark, but I bought it for music, not to tell time. It has the ability to work as an alarm clock also and can wake you up to your music setting choice. I like that, as I have set it to play music for 5 minutes as a wake up and then it automatically resets itself to do the same thing the following day. You can also set a sleep timer.
As for playing CD-R's, mine plays one I made on my computer using a standard Memorex CD-R and the Veritas computer program. I'm not thrilled with the antenna sticking up there, as someone else said, but I was able to easily find 12 stations to program. Reception will undoubtably be different for everyone. Overall, I think it is a sweet machine, it made the old AWAI boombox we were using sound like a cheap radio. I might just buy another one to put in the kitchen.........
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on December 6, 2003
I think this unit has a nice balance between size and sound for use on a desk. As an audio buff I always check out sound quality. This is a step up from many units you'll find up to about $150. However, this is a 'personal' unit, not meant for room filling sound. Its just very listenable and non-fatiguing. It has a nice sound balance from the bass through the high end. Sound is best with the equalizer turned off - the bass can be heard but its not boomy. The soft setting of the equalizer is nice for background music that won't disturb your concentration. The bass setting is attactive on first listening and ok for room use, but I find it thumpy when sitting at my desk. Ergonomics and subdued appearance are other plusses. There's also an extra input that can be used to hook up to your PC - so you can still hear your MP3s on this unit if you want. The Panasonic five disc changer has better sound but I think its better suited for a bookshelf and use in a small room. But if you're really looking for the best desktop sound and don't mind spending the cash you should check out the better JVC executive systems. This panasonic unit, however, is definitely the best bang for your buck.
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on May 28, 2003
I'm in a cover band so I often need to make custom CD mixes; I bought this stereo because it was small, looked cool, and had a remote (which turns out to be crucial for the machine's higher functions) but most importantly, the SC-EN5 promised CD-R playback. The instructions vaguely say that the stereo may not be able to play "some CD-R or CD-RW due to the condition of the recording"--but it does not specify what those conditions are. What I've learned is that it must be a disc-at-once, finalized burn in order to play without constant skipping--and even then, you'll still run into jitters and hiccups. Track-at-once finalized burns will NOT work correctly on this stereo. If you burn your own CDs but the terms "track-at-once" and "disc-at-once" do not mean anything to you, you should probably not buy this--you'll be disappointed and confused with this stereo's habit of playing one homemade CD while rejecting another. The CD lens is also very sensitive to smudges, so you'll get audible skips if the disc is dirty at all--the oversampling must not be very high (it's not listed).
The unit has a lot going for it--an extremely long telescoping FM antenna, attractive speakers with removable grilles, that snazzy motorized door, an aux input (for listening to a Walkman or MP3 player), and surprising power. But if you never know if a homemade CD will play, does it matter? The basic, advertised functionality is a hedged bet at best. If you don't burn your own discs, this is a lovely little stereo--it handled normal discs without incident. But for anyone seeking proper CD-R playback, check out other units and brands. Sadly, I wound up returning it and getting a Memorex MX4100 instead.
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on June 14, 2003
Tiny speakers, humongous sound--I still can't believe it! For an impossibly low sum, Panasonic has managed to cram component sound into a desktop system.
I'm not crazy about the appearance of the unit--this is an ultra-modern, wedge-shaped product. I prefer the warmth of wood, and a more conventional appearance. But since when does one listen to appearance? I quickly fell in love with the Panasonic SC-EN5, quirky styling and all, after auditioning it for a few minutes in a local store.
Conventional CDs, CD-Rs, and CD-RWs can all be played on the SC-EN5, as well as AM/FM stereo. A rear mini-jack allows you to connect an external audio device, even an older reel-to-reel tape deck with the proper connecting cable. Though not a full-fledged alarm clock, there is an on/off timer and a sleep timer.
A tiny remote is included as well. Some of the system's functions are only accessible via the remote (such as a four position equalizer and clock/timer set), which is my only genuine complaint. Lose the remote, and you lose some functionality. However, all is forgiven everytime I hear the sound that this tiny package is capable of.
I was surprised, when first unpacking the unit, to discover that power was supplied via an AC adapter. Plugging it into this room's only available wall jack was a bit of a chore, but I'm pleased that Panasonic went with an adapter now--the main unit stays much cooler during operation than a couple of other systems that I've tried and returned, thanks to the external power supply.
Recommended to anyone who wants a small system that doesn't skimp on audio quality--the Panasonic SC-EN5 is a tiny miracle.
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on December 4, 2003
I got this because it fit on a ledge in my kitchen. The sound is better than I expected from a small unit. The speakers have a decent wire length so they can be spread apart for better sound. The remote, which I thought that I would never use, comes in handy for quickly switching channels when something you don't like comes on.
The only complaint that I have is that the antenna can sometimes get in the way of the CD door openning.
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on May 26, 2003
I am a stereo nut but needed a small unit for my desk. Panasonic makes very good products and this one for the money is exceptional. It may sound silly to talk about the soundstage & wonderful spatial imaging ... but this one has it. The bass isn't the greatest but more than adequate. The AM-FM tuner is strong.
For a speaker to begin to sound good-you have be able to hear the music at low volume accurately OUTSIDE of the speakers as though it is floating coherntly in the room. This unit does it. My regular stereo speakers are PSB's and KEFs for those who want to know what I think good sound is.
A wonderful small unit a excellent price!!!!!!
As a postscript to my orginal review-everything stays the same. Keep in mind this is DESKTOP unit-not a room unit. Words are important. Anybody expecting room filling sound should grab a dictionary and find out the difference. As a matter of fact-it's an engineering feat to get sound to sound good on a DESKTOP or TABLETOP, This unit does it!!!
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on December 4, 2003
I was expecting a normal sounding small shelf system and got a pleasant suprise.

The sound quality is crisp and clear and vibrant.

Usually I am dissapointed when I buy something without hearing the sound. I just figured I could bring it back if I didn't like it.

I am sure if I cranked the sound, It might distort, but it is at a louder than normal sound and I am in heaven.

Highly recommen d this system.
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on September 21, 2003
This little box was sitting on the shop display when it caught my attention. I am usually not impressed with small speakers as they would not give the bass and sound quality which I usually accustomed to. Nevertheless, the silver aluminium look and sheer small footprint prompted me to try it out, and so I asked for a demonstration of the sound quality of this set.

Boy, I was pleasantly surprised! I am quite impressed with the sound features put in place to create such a beautiful piece of electronic equipment, namely the D.Bass and the Spatialiser option.

With these two features, the limitation of the small speakers were overcomed. What results is a small desktop hifi component that fits into a small space very well, and plays music from classical to rock without straining at good listening volumes.

I am not talking about loud, pumping music here, don't be mistakened. It would not be able pump out 1000W of music for you.However, for a study room, bed room, or a small area it is a good choice. At lower sound volumes, the produced bass is firm and trebles are bright.

I would strong recommend this for light listening in a quiet/small place.
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on January 24, 2004
I got this system for christmas. I had a problem with cds skipping, which is really annoying, so, to say the least I am taking it back...
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