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on October 12, 2013
I purchased this item a couple of months ago. The first one shipped to me had a defect CD player and could not play 2/3 of my CD collection (I mean those non-homemade CDs)...I then contacted Amazon and have the unit replaced with no additional charge...I feel I was fortunate that I used its CD player right away when received the first one, so I could find out in time the defect and was still able to exchange or return the item to Amazon.

After reading another customer's review here (DK from NYC), it looks like the problems with its CD player are not rare...So if you decide to purchase this item, perhaps it would be a good idea to thoroughly test all its functionalities (with several different CDs and several different MP3 players) immediately to make sure they are all right.

As in terms of its sound quality, I feel it is simply awesome(and it is from Yamaha!)...I might have a pair of mundane ears, but I feel that almost every frequency section for such a small unit is just clear and right with rich details when playing my CDs...

All in all, I would recommend to buy it, test it (don't procrastinate!), and enjoy it...

--

UPDATE March/19, 2014
After a year's use (I use it almost every day), the unit is still working like day one.
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on December 26, 2013
Heads up - this system is NOT compatible with any iPod models that are not iPod touch. The product description says it is compatible with iPod (1st through 5th generation), but the manual inside the box says very clearly that it is only compatible with iPod touch models.

This is true for BOTH the dock on the top of the unit and the USB port on the front. If you plug in an iPod classic (4th gen, in my case) in either port, it says "iPod Unknown" or "USB Unknown" and does not play any sound - even if you try to control the iPod device directly through its own scroll wheel.

I'm sure it's a very good product for CDs, iPod touches, iPhones, etc., but if you are looking to use an iPod classic, look elsewhere.
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on January 14, 2014
I was replacing an old GPX stereo I purchased at OfficeMax 10 years ago. I saw the price for this was $199.95 and decided to wait until after Christmas to purchase it only to find the price went up $100+ and most of the colors were not available. Then I saw the price dropped to $249 and I purchased it and I am glad to have it. I use it to play my bedroom TV sound through (flat screen TVs have terrible speakers because of how thin they are). I also copied a bunch of my favorite mp3's to a flash drive and listen to it throughout the day when I am working. I also didn't realize it functions as a clock radio and you can wake up to your music and it forces you to get out of bed to hit the 'snooze' button (or at least get the remote). So its harder to sleep in. :)

The sound is fantastic and 'full', which is surprising given how small it is. I thought the speakers were attached with the option to remove them, but no, they are not attached in any way. The picture just has the speakers pressed up against the main unit to give it that appearance. There are also functions on the remote that are not available on the unit (like repeat and shuffle). And instead of showing you an FM signal strength, you'll see the word "MONO" appear on the display. Even though the FM station I was listening to sounded fine, the instruction manual says it will say MONO if the FM signal is too weak for that station. That's just weird, since my other stereos pick up that station just fine, but I may need to play with the antennas (there are two, one for AM, one for FM) to adjust the reception for that station.

Of course it plays ipods, iphones, etc... but I use a USB flash drive, put on 1,000 songs and hit the shuffle button. I also like the headphone input so I can watch TV at night without disturbing my wife. The audio level is way too low if the headphones are plugged directly into the TV.

Speaking of which, I also liked that the auxiliary input of the stereo is a 1/8" jack (which is also what the TV uses for audio out). My old stereo was the old RCA left and right connectors, so I had to use a 1/8" to left/right RCA cable (most often used with old style computer speakers). Now its a simply 1/8" male to 1/8" male cable, so its a little simpler to hook up.

Again, great sound quality! Now, time will tell how long it lasts.... But if you see one of these for $200 or less again, don't wait like I did...
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on July 16, 2014
I got a pink one for my sister-in-law a in early June 2014. The color is a bit duller than the photo suggests; perhaps this is because the finish isn't shiny plastic. The head unit and speakers are instead wrapped in painted steel - niiice. The textured surface hides fingerprints very well.

This unit is heavy - about 13 pounds total. Even so, there is nothing clunky about it. There are no rattles or loose parts anywhere. The solid build contributes to really good sound.

The speaker enclosures are physically deep and constructed from coated particle board. That in combination with a tuned rear port make some decent bass. The front grills are actually thin cloth, so treble also projects nicely. Cloth doesn't protect the speaker cones as well as metal or plastic. However, it won't rattle with lows or muffle the highs like a rigid perforated grill can.

Pre-stripped two-conductor wire connects the speakers to the head unit. Each component uses proper spring-loaded clips for the wire - no cheesy 1/8 or RCA jacks here. The leads are color-coded for polarity. Be sure to wire them correctly; bass response will suffer if one side is reversed.

Bass, midrange, treble, and balance controls are behind a menu accessible only via the infrared remote control. More about that later.

The pale blue dot-matrix display is clear and easy on the eyes. Characters look great against the deep black background. You can adjust brightness through the remote. It dims automatically when powered down to display the time and date (assuming you've enabled the clock).

The front panel layout is clean and minimalist. While this may be aesthetically pleasing, a consequence is that some very important functions are delegated to the remote. For example, there is no way to manually tune the radio from the front panel. You can only scroll through the thirty memory presets you've previously programmed (you guessed it) through the remote.

I wish the usability issues ended here, yet things only get worse. It seems like the radio interface was a complete afterthought. The best example of this is the way FM mono vs stereo operation is handled...

- There is no automatic stereo indicator for FM. You press the DISPLAY button on the remote to toggle between FM frequency and FM mode.
- There is no way to switch between mono and stereo operation once an FM station is tuned in or saved to memory.
- Manual tuning (done by tapping the << or >> remote buttons) permits only FM mono operation, even if the signal is in stereo.
- If you save a station that was tuned manually, that new preset will always be monophonic.
- Scan tuning (done by holding down the << or >> remote buttons for a couple of seconds) allows stereo reception. However, weaker stations will be skipped.
- If you save a station that was tuned with the scan function, that new preset will be in stereo.
- Autoscan will populate the memory with stereo presets. Once again, the radio will skip past weaker signals. Even so, you are likely going to use up all 30 locations before reaching the end.

Yamaha's firmware designers apparently believe that the days of just "spinning the dial" are over. They imagine a user who's satisfied with a set-and-forget mentality, with no interest in looking for new stations somewhere down the road. That's too bad, as it would have been easy to code separate FM mono/FM stereo selection into the SOURCE button. Dittos for adding a STEREO indicator to the dot-matrix display - throw in a simple signal strength meter while we're at it. Finally, the PLAY/PAUSE and STOP buttons could have been dual-purposed to function as UP and DOWN manual tuning on FM or AM. Hey Yamaha...how about hiring me to work on your next design?

The radio's lousy interface contrasts sharply with the tuner's performance. Sensitivity and selectivity in the FM section are both quite good. With the supplied wire dipole antenna, I can listen to a 1500-Watt station 40 miles away on 95.3 MHz, even with a 18,000-Watt station only 15 miles away parked on 95.5 MHz. BTW...the antenna input uses a threaded F connector, allowing you to connect a real outdoor FM antenna.

The AM section offers typical super-mellow audio. Sensitivity and selectivity are OK. The unit comes with an external loop antenna, which gets the job done. Please don't connect an outdoor AM antenna. Strong local stations may overload the tuner section. In addition, nearby electrical storms can zap the high-impedance AM input.

The CD-ROM played every .wmp and .mp3 I threw at it. Ditto for the USB input. It takes a bit longer to load and navigate media that contains a lot of files. File navigation is basic, yet good enough.

The Yamaha of course plays standard music CDs, as well. I have a few damaged discs that won't play on some machines. This one has no problem with them.

The rear-mounted 1/8 auxiliary input worked fine with an iPhone running Pandora.

The clock, alarm, and timer functions work as they should. Too bad all functionality (such as enabling the clock in the first place) is accessible only through the remote.

I did not test the iPod dock or connect an iPhone to the USB input.

This Yamaha is a pretty good rig. It has decent sound, respectable performance, solid construction, and some nifty colors. The MCR-042 was well worth the 120 bucks I paid in early June. The $250 or so it's going for now - not so much.

While the hardware performs well, a bizarre FM tuner interface makes it impossible to give a solid recommendation. One should not have to open an instruction manual just to use a radio. How many MCR-042 owners are missing out on stereophonic FM simply because they tuned or saved a station "the wrong way"?

Needless complexity precludes the Yamaha MCR-42 from consideration in some applications. If the intended user is young, very old, or special needs, you should seek other options. Otherwise, be prepared to spend some quality time programming it yourself. That's what I had to do.

3.5 stars.
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on February 15, 2014
I still have a big CD collection, and that is the reason I bought this unit for the 2nd floor of my house.
I did not want anything large. I had a Bose wave iii upstairs, which has decent sound, but not much to brag about stereo separation wise.
Well, the Bose wave is packed back in its box, because the Yamaha has better sound for less than half the price!! I have been using it for CD's only. The sound has great detail, excellent separation, and unlike the Bose, adjustable high's, midrange, and lows. I just hope it keeps working!
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on February 13, 2014
This is a very attractive unit, with fine ergonomics and superlative sound. Others have complained about an inability to play certain CDs, but I have played all sorts of discs (commercial and home-made) with no trouble at all. The FM quality is excellent, too.
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on May 30, 2014
Great little radio. It really is.
I'm an entry level audiophile. You know the type, I like expensive, high performance gear (like Arcam, Oppo, Monitor Audio, Revel, Rega, REL, etc.) at Ebay used prices.
I had put together a little system for Mom a few years back. It was a Tivoli Model 2 with a Cambridge Audio Azur 540c. It sounded quite nice in her kitchen and she loved it, but we always had issues with the tuner. Well, we both finally got tired of me having to clean and adjust that damned tuner, time for something new.
Meanwhile...
I picked up this Yamaha on sale for $150, free shipping. It was for my friend's garage. Wasn't expecting much of it at all.
Once I hooked it up, WOW! This little number was quite the winner!
I started out with a little Nightwish, the 'Once' CD. Nice sound, quite punchy. It was a little boomy in it's corner location, but was much better after rolling off the bass eq a couple dBs.
Next was Eiji Oue and the Minnesota Orchestra performing 'Suite From Candide'. Lossless, via iphone 4 in the dock on top of the unit.
Nice indeed! lots of space, nice midrange. Now I start moving the speakers around until...almost...add a couple dbs on the treble..there it is! Imaging! LOL! I separated the speakers about four feet, ear level, rolled the chair back about 5 feet and COOL, there was a wee soundstage forming, ha!

So yeah, I bought another one for Mom. She now loves her Yamaha. She has all her stations preset on the digital tuner, plays her CD's, let's me and her grandson play our ipods...all is cool.
As for ease of use, Mom's 70 and has no issues figuring it out. She did need to refer to the manual a couple of times to find stuff in the nested menus, but it's a short and clear manual. Cakewalk.
I think I need to get a third one. This Yamaha will be perfect for my daughter's new studio apartment. It'll go right by the TV and pull duty as a tiny home theater since yes, it does have an AUX input.
Oh, did I mention it has a whole bunch of alarm and timer features? Yeah, it does.

So there it is, the Yamaha is great little radio, and blows the Bose out of the water for a third of the price. But then, is it really that hard to embarrass a Bose?
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on July 29, 2013
I bought this April 2013 and used mostly for my iphone and to listen to musics through FM tuner. Recently within 4 month after purchase, my wife started complaining about the CD player saying it does not read the CDs that are story-telling for my 4 year old. So, I tested it and it didn't work, showing "Unknown CD". I tried couple other CDs to find it reads some but not others. I did the same with my laptop and my lenovo laptop perfectly read them all. They were all authentic CDs.

I called up the customer service to find they are very inconvenient to reach first of all ; they take calls Mon - Fri between 9-5 only. So, I tried it again on Monday and the representative suggested me bring the relatively heavy unit to a service technician in NYC, which is very inconvenient to me because, to do so, I need to take a day-off to get there. I asked if I can ship it and the rep said I can do so but they don't cover the shipping cost. I am totally disappointed with this product and horrible customer service of Yamaha USA. Because Amazon doesn't offer full refund for this item, I may keep it. But, I definitely wouldn't want to buy from Yamaha again.
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on December 9, 2013
I read the other reviews about this unit not reading burned CDs. This one works fine. Nice sound. We like nice background music. Not into the big, loud sounds. This is the most I ever spent on a stereo system, but I am very pleased with the compact size and the nice sound it produces. It does not bother me that it is 3 pieces. Placed together it looks like a one piece item. I don't know why it is such an issue with some reviewers. Very satisfied.
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on December 28, 2014
The styling and footprint for this device were right for me, so I was seduced. While using it, I noticed that the CD Player component often indicated "CD UNKNOWN" when loading and attempting to read an audio CD. In this day and age, this is absolutely unforgivable. A decent unit that claims a CD player and information display as features should be able to #1 PLAY the f*ing CD, as well as display Track #, Track Title, etc. Loading a CD into the Yamaha MCR-042 is a total crap shoot, a roll of the dice whether or not it will decide to be able to play it or not.

The CD reading problem is not entirely random. When a CD fails, it always fails. Other CD's play consistently. A third group seem to play sometimes and rattle around and eventual play after repeated button pushing. Very inelegant behavior.

This should be a major embarrassment for Yamaha, and I wish I had returned this right away. This is a device that has clearly been designed to play iPods, USB flash drives, AM/FM radio and NOT CD's. The AM/FM components are nothing special, so that leaves me with an OK mp3 amplifier.

Yamaha, you screwed up on this one!
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