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on March 17, 2005
...keep your expectations low!

For a cheap shelf system this Sony can certainly crank...BUT with an ungodly amount of distortion and resulting listener fatigue above 50% volume mainly due to the lousy speakers (typical of all shelf systems) and subwoofer. Keep in mind though that 90% of mass manufacturers like Sony, Phillips and Panasonic routinely inflate their watts-per-channel numbers to pull in the naive and uneducated consumer...Sony claims that the speakers do 125 wpc and the subwoofer 150 wpc but when you consider how quickly the sound distorts as you increase the volume, more realistic numbers would be closer to 40 wpc for the speakers and 70 wpc for the subwoofer. Still impressive compared to the shelf systems of just 10 years ago, which had no subwoofer and were barely pushing 15 watts per channel---but no comparison to what even the cheapest low-end component stereo system can do!

The subwoofer does not have its independent volume control so it does a good job as long as you stay well under 50% volume, go beyond that and it overpowers the music with its muddy boominess. At low to moderate volumes the subwoofer does a decent job, though. I ended up turning my subwoofer sideways away from the corner of the room where the shelf system sits, which did help to lessen the bucket-like boominess.

All of the above is normal at this price point, right? Well yes and no. Compared to similar offerings in this price range by Panasonic and Phillips (I won't even mention all the Walmart off-brands) this Sony more than holds its own---in fact if those were the only choices I'd take this one in a heartbeat.

HOWEVER...if you know where to look you can get a MUCH better component system for just an extra hundred bucks or so! Go to jandr dot com for entry level Onkyo or Sherwood stereo receivers under a hundred dollars, DVD/CD players like the Toshiba 3960 for fifty dollars and bookshelf speakers like the Polk R15 or JBL E20 for one hundred a pair. (As for a tape deck who on earth even uses cassettes anymore these days?) This setup by itself will already sound three times better than any all-in-one compact system costing three to four hundred dollars, even without a sub. If you must add a sub you can start with a cheap one hundred dollar Yamaha (or even better, a Dayton sub from partsexpress dot com) that will blow away this Sony's sub.

About the only justifiable reason to get any compact shelf stereo is if you are truly pressed for space and money, and if you only listen to music (not too closely) at low to moderate volumes.

With any compact system you will get a very limited range of sound-shaping options, for example this Sony only has 3 preset equalizer settings instead of allowing you to set bass and treble manually, and there is no balance control. Also because everything has to fit within a tiny little box, there is bound to be more electronic noise and interference in the signal as the miniaturized parts are crammed much closer together, which is why the sound becomes fuzzier the louder you play music, and the unit can heat up if pumped at high volumes over any extended period of time. Most importantly, there are much fewer connectivity options, meaning you can't hook up as many different things (video games, TV, VCR, PC, iPod, etc.) into the shelf system at the same time as you can into a standalone receiver...for instance with this Sony you only have one set of auxilary inputs.

So that's why I think the extra hundred or so dollars would be extremely well spent. But then again, if you absolutely cannot go over two hundred, this Sony is a very good choice in this class.
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on April 26, 2004
This package is the best for $200, it has supreme sound, and simple controls for easy use. The front A/V inputs make a great feature for this unit, it also makes it easy for connecting to your T.V., game system or DVD player. You can't go wrong with a 150 watt sub, plus the pure sound of the main channel. I turn up the volume when I listen to my tunes and this baby knows how to handle it. If your looking for an awesome CD player at a great price than this is the one, or you can spend $400 for SONY's next step up. JVC and Panasonic have tried to out dual SONY but with the Passion the people have at SONY no one is going to beat them. JVC's model is a sad excuse for a system and looks like a piece of crap, and Panasonic is getting there but SONY still has them beat. It's an honor writing a review about such a great music machine. Thanks for your time.
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on December 21, 2004
I was so satisfied after purchasing the MHC-GX250 five months ago for my bedroom that I went out and purchased the Sony MHC-GX450 for my living room. The results have been just as great as my first system. Simple and easy to set up, it took me all five minutes to get it up and running. The bass on this thing is crazy, which is great for parties and get-togethers. If volume is what you want, you'll definitely get it from this system. The difference between this system and the MHC-GX250 is the this one comes equipped with an extra 325 watts, which becomes very evident when you want to crank it up to the next level. Surprisingly, it delivers light music just as well as it does heavy. I just turn the bass off and switch it to either 'jazz' or 'soul' mode, and I'm sleeping like a baby. Since I bought it, there haven't been any problems with the unit. This is a great system for the price and I encourage potential buyers to search no further.
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on May 26, 2005
I am of two minds with this component system, which I purchased about 2 months ago. I have tried it under a variety of conditions (tapes, CD's, tuner, hooked up to my DVD entertainment system).

First, the positive: The sound is fantastic. One reviewer complained of distortion above the 50% max volume. I have not heard any distortion at these levels, nor at higher levels. However, I do have the equaliser settings quite low (see why later), so perhaps that helps. CD's play crisp and clean, as do DVD's coming through my home entertainment system.

But there are a lot of negatives to go with it. Of the most critical importance is the totally illogical design of the user interface. For example, the eject button for the tray is below the level of the tray, so you have to contort your arm around the tray (and/or duck to look under the tray to find the button) to try to reclose it. Some functions are only available on the remote, and others are only on the console (e.g. when making your own song-order program, clearing a choice must be done with the remote, and the set clock feature is also only on the remote). There is no way to cancel a program except by ejecting the discs, or stepping back and cancelling the songs one by one. When playing on shuffle, the shuffle program forgets everything if you hit stop (even if you keep the same discs in and the power on). You cannot rewind a tape at the same time as listening to a CD or the radio. The tape rewind is unbelieveably slow. There is no subwoofer volume control (except through the equaliser). Any one or two of these problems would not be worth mentioning, but they keep adding up with this machine until it's so frustrating to operate it that you put it in a corner and glare at it from time to time.

And, like another customer, the system broke down after (literally) having played only 2 CD's. Because this was the same day I picked up the system, they didn't hassle me about an exchange, and the one I have now works fine. Somehow I got the lemon, I guess.

So, what is the overall impression? Well, if 2.5 of the five stars is for the sound, this gets 2.5/2.5. Unfortunately, the system gets 0 out of 2.5 for the user interface, for the reasons enumerated above. So, this system should get 2.5/5, but I deducted another 1/2 mark for the fact that the first one broke down less than an hour after getting it.
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on October 26, 2004
Hi, Im 20 yrs old and i should have bought the Sony MHC-GX450 sooner. It's my first boom box, shelf stereo, mini system, whatever you want to call it, and it ROX! Let me tell you everything important that no other review has said. It has 3 p files (program files) that lets you save the settings on your system. This means once you are done adding different equalizers and presets to it, your settings are saved so you can watch movies, play games, and rock out, each with a "unique" sound. when i watch a movie, i have sorround sound and i switch my pfile when listening to a cd to have more bass. Let move on, the center knob has a light that turns on the the sound of the music. Pretty cool. It sounds better than my brothers sony he got 6 years ago for $400! I paid $189.99 and passed up the $200 dollar red panasonic which i can't find a review for (cuase it stinks) im sure no one wants to buy one becuase they make alot of sound "chatter" when putting a cd in. The sony plays mp3's awesome and you can even fast forward through a mp3 file, rather than most cd players that don't let u do that. For guitar players, plugging your guitar into the game sync with an adapter will let you play the guitar along with your favorite songs and i find this feature enjoyable. Or plug in your Gamecube, PS2, or XBOX to the game sync and listen to that while having your own playlist of songs playing at the same time. This system is awesome and definatly worth buying. I would pay $500 for a system like this. The few things i hate about it are little things that don't hurt its perfect rating. For instance, the remote, it sux. If the movie im listening to puts out to much bass in a part of the movie, i have get up off my seat and push the equalizer button or groove button manualy to change the lows of the movie. If someone brings this up to Sony the next time they decide to make a stereo system, their perfect masterpeice would be even better. i give it a 5 out of 5 for giving candy to my ears and waking my neighbors up at night.
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on May 1, 2005
After just a few months, the CD tray began to malfunction, and playing CD's was impossible. Sent to Sony repair under warranty, paid $$$ out of pocket for shipping (ouch!). A week after I got it back, the tuner stopped working. I will soon be paying as much in shipping as it would have cost to buy a new, better, unit! Believe me, it's worth an extra few bucks to buy something better, or at least something from a manufacturer with a better warranty and better customer service! Don't be fooled by the brand name, I was.
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I bought this system for my son. Less than 3 months after first using it, the tuner failed. Sony gives you a one year warranty on the product. So, while disappointed, I figured "no big deal" - I'm covered for parts and labor for one year.

What they don't tell you is that the ONLY place to repair the item under warranty is in Laredo, Texas, which is fine I suppose.......if you live near Laredo. I live on the east coast, so my "free" warranty service would actually cost me the time and materials for shipping this relatively heavy item. This hardly makes sense to pay shipping that would cost about 25% of the item's value.

The product itself worked OK up until it stopped working. It had good sound and lots of features.

My advice - buy a similar unit from Panasonic. Their warranty actually covers repair as you would assume (i.e., they will allow you to bring it to a local authorized dealer). Sony has numerous authorized service centers, but they won't cover their shelf systems there!
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on July 20, 2004
I bought this stereo at Circuit City for $180 and the only complaint I have is that the tape player is kind of loud when you're switching functions, and the alarm is complicated, but i will rarely us either so I don't care. The sound is AMAZING and all the buttons are very simple and high quality (I was thinking of a similar Panasonic model, but it seemed like it was going to break any second) and what I liked the most was that you can turn the Subwoofer on and off whenever you want with just the push of a button and that it isnt all cladded with stupid bright-colored plastic, very simple and very nice, I am extermely happy with my purchase.

P.S. and circuit city gives you a full year warranty, even if you buy it used
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on September 15, 2005
I bought this stereo after debating between it and the similar Panasonic model. All I can say is I love it! It's very clean and cool looking, unlike some other brands. It has more features than any other equivalent model on the market, and although a few of them are a little bit difficult to use, that is to be expected and can be overcome by remembering a few button functions. Sound is very good. One review said there is no independent controls for the subwoofer. This is not true, and there is a very convenient button that lets you adjust the low (subwoofer bass), mid (vocals) and high(treble) sound all independently. I've turned the sound up to 22 out of 30, and the sound remains quite clear. Overall, I think it's a very well-made system and very reasonably priced.

My ratings:

Quality: 4.5

Looks: 5

Features: 5

Sound: 4.5

Ease of use: 4

Overall: 4.5
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on June 26, 2004
I bought this stereo for 199.99 at Best Buy. I am very happy with it. The sounds is so clear. You can hear every little "sh," "ck," "cling," of the music with this stereo. The sounds are not blended. It is almost you can "picture" the sound because how clear it is.
If you are a bass lover, party lover, dance lover, this stereo is good to go for your home party. Play it with your hip-hop music, you can feel the beat so increadible. I rate this stereo as perfect. All my friends who have heard it too say the same. I recommend this stereo. And the price, gosh dirt cheap for super best stereo like this.
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