Customer Reviews: Sony CFDS350 Portable CD Radio Cassette Recorder Boombox Speaker System (Silver)
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My oldest son is autistic and insists on listening to the same CD on repeat-mode every night as he drifts off to sleep. He has one of these players in his room. Usually we turn it off after he goes to sleep but sometimes it playes all night.

We are well into our second year of this routine and this CD player has performed flawlessly. We don't let him have original CDs but rather burn the two tracks he listens to over and over to a special CD and let him have it. He has worn out several CDs through scratching and smudging but this CD player keeps going and going.

And, that's another plus, this player will play a CD that is very smudged and scratched.

We were so impressed with this unit that we bought a second one. It has been used extensively and still works like new.

I've occasionally used the radio function and have found that it pulls in stations very well.

My only complaint is that I found the controls confusing. I wish the symbols on the buttons were actually a contrasting color, not just impressions molded into plastic which are very difficult if not impossible to see in low light. Of course, if you use yours every day you'll probably get all your favorite functions down my memory before long.

It only has two speakers that are about 4 inches, so don't expect rumbling bass. In fact, you could probably easily find a CD boombox that sounds better, but probably not at this price point, and when it comes to sheer durability I don't know how this unit can be beat.
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on November 17, 2006
I've owned several multi format players over the years and this one sounds the best of all of them. It delivers sharp, crisp sounds without sounding tinny or like it's in a barrel. The bass boost works fine on my unit. If you can't tell a difference you might want to get your ears checked.

I like it because it's small enough to fit on my desk comfortably and it can be carried easily. The handle lays down flat when you don't need it. The antenna folds away nicely under the handle when the radio isn't in use. The earphone jack is placed nicely on top and you don't have to go hunting for it. The power and the sleep buttons are conveniently placed side by side by themselves so you don't accidentally hit them and turn the player/radio off. All in all I like the placement of the buttons, someone put a lot of thought into the placement and use of the buttons when designing this nice little machine.

The LCD display is easy to read, it has larger than average letters and numbers. If you didn't have instructions for this unit you can almost figure it out without them. It's very intuitive and user friendly.

The remote is not too small or too large, and the buttons are a good size, not too small to press easily and not too close together. They're also very clearly labeled so you know which buttons control which functions.

I still have plenty of cassette tapes left and they all sound very good on this unit. It doesn't hiss when playing them. CD's sound clear without any extraneous noises and the high/low range sounds good to my ears. If you want some piece of an audiophiles dream then go pay the price for it. I like listening to all kinds of music from Irish drinking songs to trance and it all sounds great to me on this little box.

I haven't used any batteries yet, I bought mine for indoor use, to listen to my CD's and tapes.

I give this unit five stars for:

Good design set up
Ease of use and functions
Sound quality

Follow up: December 23, 2006

I'm still really enjoying my little machine. I really really like the repeat function. It also has a repeat shuffle function that shuffles the order of tracks around while it repeats and that's kinda neat. There's another function that's really great and that's the programmable track repeat. You can program it to repeat a particular track however many times you want. I tried several CD's on 'repeat all' and it kept playing the CD over and over again til I stopped it. Out of curiosity mostly I let the same CD run, all day long and half the night, just to see if it would do it. It did. I am still very pleased with this unit and its' performance and would buy it again.

October 12, 2007

My little machine is still going strong. I've had no problems with it whatsoever. All in all if it bit the dust today, I will have gotten my money's worth from it. I've used it to death. I've played CDs, and tapes, and listened to the radio, LOL. It's been going nonstop since I took it out of the box;)

Edit August 15, 2008

This little box is still going strong. There are those who said there's no repeat function.


My little box is still going strong. if it bit the dust tomorrow, I've gotten my money's worth, LOL. I've played this little box a countless number of hours. I'm still very pleased with the performance.

Update December 16, 2009

This box is still going strong:) Still plays CDs and the readio works great. The tape player still plays tapes as good as it did when I bought it. This little box has been one of the best investments I've made for playing music:)

Update December 2013

My little box is still working! Everything still functions.
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on May 20, 2005
I had my old Sony Boombox for 11 years & it finally gave out. I saw this one; it looked nice and had all the same basics as my old one. I needed a simple player & this one fit the bill. Many others look too "space age" to me.

When I got it, I put in a CD and it didn't sound like it had much bass. I turned on the Mega Bass & it didn't sound any different. At least with my old Sony you could tell when the Mega Bass was on. Because of the lack of bass I think it's an OK player.

I took my children to a local play gym/arcade, and they had the Sony CFD-F10 there. It sounded great! Sad to say, it makes me wish I did a little more comparing, the extra $10-$15 dollars seems worth it.
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on November 25, 2006
Well, up until recently I was really pretty high on Sony products. But no longer. We bought this unit just under a year ago and the "PLAY" button broke with moderate use. After disassembling the unit, I found that the buttons (especially PLAY, FF, and REW) are all cantilevered away from the cassette handling mechanism. When you combine that with the very thin piece of plastic connecting the button to the mechanism, you have something that's designed to fail. Very poor design, and Sony could easily have done a better job by simply using more plastic in that area. So, since the unit was still under warranty for parts, I called and asked for a new button. No deal! They said that they could only sell me an entire unit, refurbished, or I would have to pay them to put in a new button "for safety reasons". Oh, maybe I could PURCHASE a new button, but they weren't sure.

Let me see the warranty says: "... Sony will supply, at no charge, new or rebuilt replacements in exchange for defective parts for a period of one (1) year. After 90 days from the date of purchase, labor for removal and installation is available from Sony authorized service facilities or a Sony Service Center at your expense." Available? More like "mandatory". They simply would NOT send me a new button, under the terms of their warranty. All they could do was refer me to the "Executive Resolution Committee" - c'mon - for a button???

What is Sony thinking? We are talking about a little plastic button here! Well, the story is not yet over. I FedEx'd the Committee a copy of my purchase reciept, Sony's warranty, and the details of the problem.

We'll see if Sony stands behind their warranty promises - or not. Stay tuned ...

1/7/07 - update - Sony phoned me directly after receiving the FedEx documentation and offered to replace the box if I paid to ship the old one to them. So at least I wouldn't have to pay about $30 for the refurbished unit (although the FedEx to the Executive Committee cost me about $12). Cost another $12 via FedEx ground to ship back the broken unit (repair facility is about 100 miles from here). Got a refurbished unit back in about a week - total cost of about $25. Pretty good service - but still disappointing to learn that their own service representative agreed with my assessment of the situation. Too bad their warranty statements aren't representative of the actual warranty policy - you can either pay them to fix it, or you can pay for a whole new (refurbished) unit. But to actually get a replacement part that fails under warranty replaced? Forget it!
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on August 30, 2005
I had the previous model and like this one better. It works very well sounds great and has a very easy to use remote. I am not familiar with all the different bells and whistles higher models have. But can tell you this one works well and I am very satisfied with it more so than the previous model.
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on June 23, 2006
Only had it for 6 months and already it won't play my cd's, so now it's basically a very overpriced fm radio, with relatively poor reception on many stations. Very annoying. I expect more from Sony. This is the only Sony boombox I have tried. I have a Philips at home, which I've had about 8 years and still works like a charm.
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on July 19, 2006
I was looking for a small, no-frills radio/CD player and settled on the Sony CFD-S350 for its size, cost, and my opinion that it was one of the least ugly players at the stores I shopped. I've had it for six months and have been quite disappointed. The first thing I noticed was that the FM sensitivity was poor. My 21 year old Sanyo dual cassette player has a much better radio. Programming the presets was easy.

Unfortunately if you unplug the radio for any period of time, say to move it to another room (or in my case, I have it plugged into a power strip that I switch off with some other devices), and plug it back in the radio defaults to 87.5 FM instead of the last used setting. Sometimes after being unplugged it will default to CD mode instead of the radio. I tried to get around this by installing batteries thinking that it would at least have the power to keep its memory, but that didn't work. In fact, it won't even use the batteries unless you remove the AC cord from the radio -- just unplugging it from the wall isn't enough! This is due to a switch in the power jack on the radio. Oh, another thing that it forgets when this happens is the volume setting so it defaults to a certain level. It's quite annoying to turn the radio on and have it default to loud static on 87.5 FM.

The "megabass" feature makes very little difference in how this system sounds.

The remote is nice and it lets you select a track to play from the CD as opposed to the unit itself which only lets you go forward or backward through the track list, but even when using the keypad on the remote expect a significant delay before the track begins to play as it seems to take a while to find the right track -- much longer than other CD players I've seen.

The sleep mode is nice since I occasionally like to listen to some programs late at night. No more waking up in the middle of the night to find the radio still on!

Overall I have found it to be very poorly designed, both from a human factors and electronic standpoint. I'm currently looking at moving it to a room where it would be permanently plugged in to resolve the power-on issues, and then buying something more robust for my regular use.
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on January 4, 2006
Good sound for a small boombox but potential buyers should be aware that battery life is very short. Six Energizer size "D" batteries will only power the system for about 5 hours! The user guide says 7 hours but we have not found that to be true after 3 sets of batteries. Not a problem if the unit is plugged in but we bought it to use outside.
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on June 27, 2007
High quality sound. Easy to operate. Very portable. Attractive design. This is a very good product, especially at this price. Before I ordered this from Amazon, I went to Target to get a CD player, and they had a less expensive model, also a Sony. I asked the salesperson if he could recommend it, and he said, "It's one of the best we have!" When I got it home and tried a CD on it the sound was so chinzy and crummy I returned it the next day. I then searched Amazon, and seeing all the favorable customer reviews for the CFD-S350 I bought it, and I'm not sorry at all. The sound was so much better. Don't hesitate to buy this one.
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on October 23, 2006
This is the second Sony portable CD player I've had that played fine until just after the warranty expired. In both cases, the CD player at first started skipping, then refused to play or recognize CDs. This is not a dust or cleaning issue, but a problem with the manufacturing that apparently either causes the optics to go out of alignment, or the motor to spin either at the wrong rotation rate or at a variable rate. (I guess it could also be a problem with the stepper motor that moves the optics in and out to follow the tracks.) No matter the cause, I won't buy another Sony CD player. Shame they bought Iawa too, because now I can't trust that brand either.

I spent about 15 years servicing industrial and broadcast audio and video equipment, and what one engineer said (somewhat jokingly) then applies now: "Sony products are great, as long as they have no moving parts."
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