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on August 23, 2010
I have had this now for about a month, using it as much as 12 hours a day each and every day and must say that the sound I receive from it is exceptional. The large woofer (nearly the size of the main speakers combined) gives all the bass that I desire (and I love good, deep bass) while the sound production from the main speakers is as accurate as can be. I most definitely give this stereo a glowing review and recommend it to anyone who is looking for a bookshelf system.

In response to those who say that the cords are too short, all I can say is that this is a bookshelf stereo: it is meant to go into or on top of a bookcase, not be spread around the room. It is there for providing sound, not a full home theater experience. If what one wants is a home theater, get a home theater system. One must use the right tools for the job, after all.

One warning I will give is that the CD player is on the top of the receiver and, as such, one must be careful about applying any pressure to the top when removing the unit from the box and when setting it up. I wish they had made it just a wee bit taller and used a standard front-loading tray instead of a pop-up lid over the CD mechanism but that is the only design snag (not a flaw but just something that should be reconsidered) I see.
1313 comments127 of 133 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on October 25, 2010
I have to give this system a beaming review. I have listened and used Denons, Teacs, and other audiophile equipment in the past and Sony once again delivers the goods here with this system. I bought this system to connect to my PC through the PC line-in on the front of the main unit/amp/cd player/ipod dock/radio and also to double an radio. I must say I am impressed by this system. The sound quality is clear without any distortion at normal levels. The dedicated sub-woofer does a good job at bass reproduction and is interestingly more responsive in its range then most sub-woofers playing notes all the way up to about the 3-4khz range. The loudness of these speakers is not to be messed with, these speakers can be quite loud if you ask them to be, to the point your hearing is definitely in danger if you are nearby the speakers, but can also be quite enough for listening to music or watching a movie late at night without disturbing anyone, and you can also turn off the sub-woofer so that low frequencies don't travel through the waves and turn into vibrations that will disturb your neighbors. I can't really comment on the Ipod dock, I use a Sansa Fuze instead so I never use the dock. I don't mind the CD player having just one disc capacity as most on my music is on the computer and when I do use the CD player I only need one CD in when I use the music alarm feature on the stereo which will play your cd when you set the alarm to go off. Even if I did use the CD player more often, I wouldn't mind especially since the digital-to-analog converter for the CD player is a nice one that delivers great response. Also as a added bonus it supports not only MP3 CDs but also CD-RWs as well, which was an advantage for me. To top it all off the aesthetics of the stereo are also very nice, and is a handsome piece of audio equipment. My advice, get this system its a great system for a great price that can live up to both general use as well as discerned ears. You will not be disappointed.
22 comments57 of 59 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on June 2, 2011
My wife and I were looking to replace a 15 year old Aiwa bookshelf stereo ($300 at the time) and hopefully find a better one (I mean it's been 15 years right!, there has got to be some awesome new features). Boy were we wrong! Once I started to look online for a new system we were shocked to see what little there is out there in terms of full featured bookshelf stereos! The features we were looking for in a bookshelf system (that our Aiwa system was built with) include: multi-disc CD changer, multiple audio inputs/outputs (rca type for connecting DVD/Blue Ray players, etc.), full Equalizer control, audio inputs for mp3 players (not Iphones/Ipods), microphone input (for Karaoke nights). So not a long list but definitely important to us. Here is what we learned:

- It is nearly IMPOSSIBLE to find ANY stereo system without IPod docks (which to us is a waste of space as we will not succumb to the prison that is Apple (or am I already a prisoner by NOT buying into Apple?? hmmm..)
- Multi-disc changers are nearly obsolete (which I guess is ok if you have an mp3 player but what do I do with all those old CDs besides making nice coasters or frisbees)
- If you want multiple audio inputs/outputs and sound options your probably better off investing in a full sound system (A/V receiver, Blue-Ray/DVD player, speakers, powered subwoofer, etc.) So you are probably going to have to shell out close to $1,000 for the whole set up and then your wife is going to get mad because she can't just pop in a CD or play her mp3 player without having to find the remote, and hit a 100 combo button operation to play it.

Anyway, enough ranting and back to what you came here to see, in a nutshell:

Pros:
- Loud, clear sound but could be better if it had the ability to adjust the equalizer.
- Connected mp3 player via stereo audio cable (3.5mm -- not included) sounds great and sufficiently loud enough.
- Easy to set up and use.
- Slick looking.
- Under $200.

Cons:
- Short, proprietary (as with all things Sony) speaker connections. I wasn't trying to span a major chasm..just about 4-5 ft. of shelving. Eventually had to splice the speaker wires which was not a big deal.
- No multiple audio inputs (just the 3.5mm input in the front).
- No custom equalizer (6 or 7 pre-configured settings -- Rock, Jazz, Pop, Techno, Classical...)
- No microphone input (although you could use the PC input but it was not very loud with the standard microphone we have)

Soooo, overall a pretty good stereo if you don't have any need for connecting any other sound sources besides an IPod/Phone or anything you can hook up via a 3.5mm audio cable or if you also do not have any need to adjust the audio levels.

Am I stuck in the 80s/90s?? I just wish they made them like they used to....with newer features of course...
1414 comments135 of 148 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on August 5, 2011
While this is a very nice bookshelf stereo system, it is nothing spectacular. I purchased it for my daughter's bedroom, and it suits her needs just fine, but I would never use it as a main stereo system for my house. While it sounds very good, and does get quite LOUD, the bass is just overpowering and not reproduced with much clarity (it is a little muddy sounding). The 540 Watt rating is just marketing hype to attract the "younger" electronically uneducated buyers to this stereo system, so they can plug their (also overhyped) iPhones and iPods into it. I have an older 100 Watt Pioneer rack system that is MUCH louder than this stereo will ever be. The reason the system needs 540 watts is that it is pushing that power through a very inefficient 12ohm amplifier, and speaker drivers. Most home stereo sytems are rated at 8ohm and car stereos at 4ohm, or even 2ohms. All of this wattage is required to overcome all of that resistance, and I am quite sure the 540 watts is peak, and not RMS, after listening to this system first hand. Also remember that it takes 10 times the wattage to make a stereo twice as loud. So this system theoretically will not even be louder than a 100 watt stereo, as most of the 540 watts is driving the subwoofer to reproduce the low bass. There is a lot of other factors that come into play here, but you get what I am trying to say without going into any more of a technical explanation. Like I said, this is a nice stereo, and will work fine in a bedroom or smaller house or apartment. Just don't expect it to fill a concert hall with sound. It is just not going to happen. I gave the system 4 stars, as I did my research beforehand, and knew what I was purchasing. I also knew where the stereo was going to be used. I took off a star for the lack of many features that any good stereo system should have these days. While this system, and many others, are missing these features. This stereo does not have a headphone jack, RCA (AUX) input jacks, or a real equalizer. It does however have a 3.5mm "PC-in" jack that you can plug your computer, or standard MP3 player into (on the front). There is an EQ with many presets, but I much prefer being able to set my music to my own taste, not to those of some sound engineer at Sony. Overall the stereo sounds nice for the money, and it plays every .WAV or .MP3 CD-R I have thrown at it. It also connects to my daughters iPod And my Sandisk Sansa Clip without any problems. The main speakers on this system have a lot of range and clarity, but their coverage is limited. They are almost like "near-field" monitors, as you have to be standing right in front of the speakers to get the best sound from them. Don't get me wrong, I think this is a good system for the money, and I do recommend buying it. Just know in advance about the specs., and what you will be using the stereo for. Maybe I am being a bit picky, but I have been listening to, and playing/recording music for years. I do know what I am talking about. I am also an electronics/computer science major, so that experience also helps in my review. Sony has been making great products for many years, and this is another one of those products. As I said before, just know what you are purchasing in advance, and don't buy into the wattage hype.

PS. For those complaining about the short speaker cord length, and proprietary connectors, there is a reason for both. The short cord length is because(as I said before)the speakers are being driven at 12ohms. That is a lot of resistance compared to a normal 8ohm home stereo system, and the thin little 22/24 gauge wires supplied would create a lot of resistance if they were any longer. Also, the proprietary speaker connectors are there to keep people from plugging standard 8ohm and 4ohm home stereo speakers into this system, and literally frying the amplifier. You can however splice longer sspeaker cable onto these factory cables. I would however recommend that you use at least 18 gauge (if not 16 gauge) speaker wire when doing so. This will pevent any sound degradation, and possible fires from the amp, wires or speakers overheating. I hope this helps.
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on December 23, 2010
I first saw this unit at bestbuy for $187.Their site gave it very favorable reviews.Came home and checked out my favorite vendors site{AMAZON}and they had it for $150 thru J&R music world.Printed it up and headed back to bestbuy for a price match.I like the looks of the unit and it appears to be a solid build.Like others have stated it lacks midrange sound.It also does not have an equalizer which i think would improve sound quality.It has a very deep bass sound which sometimes is quite overpowering.I play alot of homemade cd's and some of them just sound ok.The cd's i made are audio cd's and not mp3 cd's and i'm not sure if that would make a difference.My co-worker put his ipod in it and it did sound much better.All in all it is a decent unit for the price i paid. I did try my iaudio u2 mp3 player in this unit thru the pc input jack and the sound was lousy.Compared to the smaller ipod shelf systems that i saw at bestbuy you do get alot of bang for the buck.My advice is to check it out first in the store to see and hear it for yourself. Good luck...
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on January 21, 2013
Did a lot of research before purchasing this system and I must say its the best system the price!I was worried it wouldn't be able to handle dub step and heavy bass hip hop but it preforms without any problems....this thing is LOUD...like knock stuff off the walls loud!My room mates were pretty annoyed when I brought this home so they went out and bought a $500 Yamaha set up that doesn't even compare to my Sony.I blast this thing as loud as it goes pretty often and it has never given me any distortion or problems. If your serious about getting one of these I suggest checking amazon from time to time, as the price for this item often changes,I got mine for $184 now I see them around $250.Definitely a purchase I won't ever regret!

P.S. There's a YouTube video review of this item that was pretty helpful!
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on October 17, 2010
I got this system to take to school with me, and it fits in/on the bookshelves perfectly. The sub has a ton of bass, and the speakers easily enough midrange and treble to make it a great sounding stereo. I listen to it over 6 hours every day, basically whenever i'm in my room, and I listen to every kind of music there is (except jazz) I have no complaints. Those who complain about this not having features, it tells you which features it has, buy something else if you don't like it. Delivers exactly what it says it will and the sound quality is superb. I would def recommend this.
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on February 27, 2012
I purchased this unit from the big W-Mart store locally rather then purchasing from Amazon. It cost me $207.00 including Indiana sales tax and the unit is in stock at almost all of their branches. The unit is bulky, weighing in at 39 lbs in the box. It is easily assembled and quickly usable. All wiring is plug n play. It is an attractive unit that really performs well. I bought it to practice my drums along with, not head bang, but it has a lot of abilty for the head bangers among you.
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on December 26, 2012
The Story: My Mom, Sister, and I all chipped in and bought the Sony MHCEC909iP as a joint Christmas gift for ourselves. And OMGoodness what a gift it is!! We paid $159.99 minus roughly $25 that I earned through shopping. I've read a lot of reviews for similarly priced systems where the people say that the system has good sound "for the money". This thing's sound quality far surpasses its price tag. Honestly, had we spent $500-800 on it, I would say the quality is appropriate for the price. So the fact that we ended up getting this thing for only about $135 just blows my mind.

Strengths:

Sound comes out so clear, it sounds live. Any musical genre sounds excellent. You don't even need to fiddle with the EQ.

Guitars, vocals and drums sound marvelous, as does the bass (read below for bass and subwoofer elaboration).

Amazing detail and clarity! You'll hear things you've never heard before even in songs you know like the back of your hand!

Wonderful bass!!! It manages to come out full, clear, and rich without causing any rattling or vibration sounds (assuming you have it placed on wood as I have, rather than glass or metal. There are 2 versions of this system to consider: this one (4-piece) which consists of the console, 2 speakers and subwoofer, and the 3-piece which is the same just minus the woofer. And in case you're still thinking about it, here's your answer: Yes, you want the Subwoofer! It makes all the difference. There's a button on the console that turns the woofer on/off (as though you'd ever want it off), and I must say, after a side by side comparison of a song with and without the woofer, I can't imagine buying the version without it. Besides, I read a review on the 3-piecer which said low bass notes cut out without it. The subwoofer is kind of a guardian angel of low range notes that makes sure that each bass note comes through full and awesome. I'm sorry if I'm rambling about the bass, but it's just THAT good!

I love how it's mp3 compatible so we can finally ditch CD's once and for all and forge ahead into this glorious, clutter-free age.

Weaknesses: I'm sorry, what?

IMPORTANT NOTES:

(1) This system is compatible with non-Apple mp3 players as long as you buy a stereo auxiliary cord (it must be stereo or only half the sound will come out).

(2) You may run into the same "problem" as we did: you attempt to try out a non-Apple player and the new cord with the player and stereo both at normal volume only to find that it doesn't work! No sound comes out! How awful! Relax. If your mp3 player is like ours, you just need more volume. Realistically, you're gonna want the stereo on MAX and your player almost on MAX. Don't do this with CD's or the radio because those come out at regular volume and WILL melt your face off. Only mp3's seem to come out quietly.

(3) You can't really use this as a home-theater system, being that the wires are kind of on the short side and you therefore can't spread the speakers across the room for surround sound (but let it be said that if the wires WERE long enough, it would make a killer home-theater system for sure!) But since this wasn't made for that purpose, I didn't think it would be right to put this under "weaknesses".

Conclusion: Buy this system! Even if it’s the first one you’ve looked at in your search, buy it. You won’t be disappointed. If you buy this and you’re not 100% in delirious awe of its splendor, reply to my review and let me know so I can punch myself in the jaw repeatedly (I’m that confident in this machine). I might have to get a job at Sony because of this purchase.
PS: I highly recommend playing “Golden Years” by David Bowie on this system. It’s so groovy it’s sick.
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on March 26, 2011
*** THE GOOD ***

This system sounds excellent, and looks beautiful in the room. The iPod dock works flawlessly with my iPhone 4.

*** THE BAD ***

The speakers each only have about 5' of wire. Plus, the wire is a very small gauge (probably 24 from the looks of it) and the connector that goes into the main unit is a proprietary Sony plug. I wanted to put the speakers on opposite ends of my office, so I had to buy extra speaker wire and splice a length of it in the middle of the existing wire. It would be nice if the wire were longer, or if Sony offered some kind of extension cable that just plugged into their connector.

The "play modes" (Rock, Pop, Flat, etc) allow you to cycle through various bass/treble settings, but these are presets and don't really give you much flexibility. You can't adjust the bass, the treble, the L/R balance ... the L/R balance particularly would be nice when you can't place the speakers in an equidistant point from where you'll be listening from.

Lastly, the accessory port (for plugging in a computer, TV, etc) is in the front of the unit. I was planning to have this hooked up to my computer full-time, and having the cable coming from the front just makes the setup look a little less clean. I don't see why it'd be so difficult to offer ports on both the front and back of the unit.

So, good job Sony ... you've made a great shelf system, but just a couple things could have made it amazing.
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