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Showing 1-10 of 112 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 160 reviews
on February 13, 2009
I have had this system since early January '09, and paid $129+ tax. I am, overall, very satisfied with the purchase. There were no surprises. It looks and performs as represented on the Amazon page. I rate it a B+, or an 8.5/10 overall compared to similarly priced bookshelf systems.

PRO:

*Great looking in basic black, fits (style-wise and otherwise, it's also quite small) into anyone's living/bed room or office. Nice bright, clear, easy to read display.

*Solid Sony construction and quality. Materials and assembly are first rate. Lots of metal where it counts (the outer case, e.g.)

*Operation is straightforward and relatively simple. I learned basic functions in 5 minutes, and seldom needed to consult the fold-out style minimalistic manual.

*Sound is clear and accurate, and volume is ample enough to fill a typical room. Very little distortion or clipping even near top volume.

*Has controls or all basic functions on top of unit as well as remote, so you can still use it when you can't find your remote. Remote operation is intuitive AND logical. No stupid gimmick functions no one ever uses to get in the way, but does what it needs to do from across the room.

*iPod mounts atop unit (unit charges iPod whenever connected). Slides in easily. Easy to view iPod display. Position is practical; iPod does NOT tend to get in way or fall out as they do on a number of other like systems/docks. There is another jack for additional input (like connect to an Apple Airport Express/Extreme to run Airtunes and listen to Pandora/streaming or tracks in non-iPod formats). As with most docks, will not mate positively with iPod in a case (that is a limitation of Apple's design though).

*Plays custom MP3 CDs, including displaying ID3 tags. This means (if you burn the disc correctly) that playing an MP3 CD, you will see artist/album, and then track name. I find this a nice feature, though I guess its becoming pretty common.

CONS:

*Limited bass response, with no provision for connection to external subwoofer. Most of the time not really noticeable, but for heavily bass driven music, you miss feeling the beat. Bass is there though, and is accurate and proportional. EQ is simple +/- separate treble and bass controls. Use of standard iPod EQ profiles has little effect on sound, though custom settings imported from iTunes DO work better.

*Speaker grilles not removable. Wiring passes through part board enclosures, and no strain relief mechanism, so it would be both a pain to replace speaker wires and over time more likely to need it. Wires are long enough for now at about 8 feet, and you could always splice more length in if needs be. Thats not ideal, as would be if you had easy access inside enclosures. I haven't tried the unit with other speakers, since the system impedance is 6 ohms and the various speakers I have access to are all 8 ohms (which is, or was, the standard, isn't it?).

*CD player recognizes only MP3 or CDDA/AIFF format discs/tracks. It really wouldn't have raised the production cost noticeably to include AAC, WAV, WMA, and most of all FLAC/ALAC.

I recommend this system to anyone looking for good sound (quality and quantity) on a budget, with the reservations mentioned about bass response. Likewise, its a solidly made unit that will last for years of use. I think it may be the best overall of its kind for use with iPod, at least until you get up to the Bose, Harman-Kardon, Denon, Bang/Olufsen class models (all of which retail at $350 and [way] up).

UPDATE 6/4/12: Almost three and a half years in almost daily service (mostly iPod or external input, but over 150 CDs played through, and 100 hours plus FM radio play), including the past 9 months continuously hooked up to a TV and an iMac (via 3.5mm AUX jack on the front panel), and still looking and working as when new. Zero problems, none at all. Initially, when I wrote the above, I had not planned to use it for TV/DVD/computer sound, but it recently serves that purpose very well as well. Three years after my original review I stand by it, only more so. I am actually surprised that it continues to work so well, without failure or diminished function, since things generally are made so much more cheaply than they were in the past. Not this Sony, it is a trooper, and I am glad to (still) have it. There are better systems, but none for less than $250, and few for less than $350 (and I have heard many since buying this model), and regardless of price this Sony sounds very good and has been utterly reliable, so it remains a terrific value.
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on February 11, 2011
A few reviews talk about the CD player not wanting to play CDs (see the 2-star "Would be a great item... IF IT WORKED" review from Jan 2011 for a description). When I set mine up it exhibited the exact same problem - wouldn't play any CD, insisting that there was "No Disc". Called Sony, and after some troubleshooting steps they agreed it was defective and wanted me to ship it to their repair facility. As it was brand new, I opted to return it to Amazon. Thank you Amazon!
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on February 13, 2010
This shelf system is the best sounding mini-HiFi I've had.

For such an inexpensive unit, the sound quality is outstanding. As some reviewers have mentioned, the equalization is nothing more than a basic treble/bass control - and that's fine because the sound is well-balanced and the speakers are decent quality. A lot of shelf systems don't have the power output or headroom that the Sony does, so the sound you get from this stereo is much cleaner than most portable or shelf systems. Having a deeper enclosure really helps with the bass too; the bass isn't overpowering, but the speakers can project plenty of it and only people into bass for the sake of bass will be disappointed.

To compare - I used to own a Teac shelf system, with flat panel speakers and a subwoofer; the sound of the Sony, straight out of the box, is at least as good as my old Teac. Bearing in mind that Teac specialize in audio equipment for the music industry, this is quite impressive. The volume that this box can produce, without any distortion, is more than enough for a shelf system. Turning it up to full volume wouldn't be a great idea unless your neighbours are on vacation (or are deaf).

I can't comment on the iPod dock, since I don't use an iPod, but it doesn't sit proud of the system, so you can lie CD cases (or whatever) on top of the system.
---Edit---
Okay, so I finally caved in and replaced my old mp3 player with an iPod nano. The dock works beautifully and you have basic control of the iPod from the remote. The stereo was supplied with a bunch of plastic inserts for the dock to make mounting of your iPod easier - the 5th gen nano isn't catered for, presumably because it was only released recently. Of course, the iPod came with one, but the plastic bit is white (the nano is silver - why Apple??) and the stereo is black. Anyway, it's easy to dock the nano without the extra bit of plastic and it's solidly attached without it, so that's fine.
----------

The audio input works just fine, and if you have a non-Apple mp3 player will do the trick nicely.

The look of the unit is minimalist, and both the on-system controls and the remote are easy to use. For my preference there's a little too much emphasis on this being an iPod-friendly unit - but that's probably a big selling-point for some people. The remote covers pretty much everything without becoming difficult to use.

Basically, it's a great stereo if you're not looking at spending a fortune. In order to beat this system for sound quality, you'd have to go a long way up market. The look is understated and will fit into almost any room without drawing excessive attention (as some rather hideous shelf-systems do).
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on July 7, 2011
The most important feature for me in selecting this product was the fact that the speakers are connected like normal speaker wires with the red and black jacks and not hard wired to the unit. This means the speakers can be swapped out. Now I know, it's not recommended, and that the official manufacturer website says "no," you cannot use different speakers than the ones provided with the unit. There may be good reasons for this, and perhaps using the wrong speakers could conceivably compromise sound quality or damage the unit, but I have yet to see any evidence of this. I bought this unit b/c it lives inside a walk in closet but the speakers are outside the closet & I already have existing speakers wall mounted, with the wire drilled through holes in the wall, tucked behind shelving, etc., and didn't want to rewire/re-mount new speakers. The existing speakers appear to work perfectly with this unit with no issues whatsoever. Aside from the speaker compatibility, I'm also extremely happy with the other features of this product. It works great, the sound quality is very good for the price, it has lots of features, and I use an iPhone 3 with it (yes, it's compatible) and the port doc is sturdy and seems well built. I have no complaints and for the price, think it's an outstanding little stereo.
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on August 28, 2012
Lots of performance in a tiny Sony package - tiny as compared to stereo component systems. If I were to recommend any improvement, it would be to add a real equalizer to adjust music to my ear as I have difficulty hearing certain frequencies clearly. Not deaf, just missing the little nuances. Adjusting bass and treble only is not a truly effective equalizer and does nothing to enhance classical music. I want to hear the brass and strings clearly without the tinnie quality of heavy treble. The full function remote control is a great feature as is the ability to connect a co-ax fed external antenna. If this unit had a real, full, and personally adjustable equalizer I would give it 5+ stars and even pay more for the system. As is, I give it a 4.
Update: While the unit is compact and looks good on the shelf, programming the presets is an absolute pain and the top docking station is compeltely useless for me. The "equalizer" is awful and only adjusts treble and base in minor increments. On the plus side though, for basic everyday listening on one station, this is a pretty okay unit, Having a remote to turn the unit on and off is great too. For station surfing and setting newfound stations as a preset this unit is a nightmare. I expected more from Sony. Ultimately, I gave this unit away to Goodwill and am looking for a good old fashioned hand dial tuner and a real equalizer.
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on April 4, 2013
We're very happy with this choice from Amazon, and the price is right. We wanted a modest bedroom system with an AM/FM radio, a single CD player, AND a port for an iPod. It had to fit onto a shelf in the credenza by our bed, and we wanted separate L and R speakers for good stereo separation on that shelf, with "decent" sound for nighttime listening. The supplied remote control is a definite plus. This unit fits our needs well and the sound, reflected and enhanced from the interior of the credenza, is quite satisfying. The port for an iPod was needed because we wanted to listen to our hundreds (literally) of early radio programs and other stored MP3 files for late night listening. The supplied digital clock is also a plus. One thing we had to get used to was interpreting the instruction sheet for the remote control. Some functions where one button press was indicated really needed TWO, and some of the button combinations required detailed familiarization. We were aware of criticisms from other reviewers concerning the actual layout of this remote, and they had some merit. However, we've found that once you get used to its idiosyncrasies, this is still a great little system for the price.
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on February 23, 2012
One of the risks that I took when purchasing this unit was not knowing whether it would work with my iPhone 4S, and I thought others may be interested to know that it does. The Otter Box case on my iphone makes it a little challenging to get a good electical connection, but that is not the fault of this unit. I just need to press it down carefully when I dock. The system also works with a 6th generation Ipod Nano.

The sound quality is good: to my ear it is similar to higher-end boom boxes, but falls short of any real amp and speakers. The sound is "tinnier", but it is a small unit that costs $119. As such, it works well for listening to music in the kitchen. To get 5 stars I would like to see an increase in sound quality and build quality of the speakers. I'm not attempting to compare with hi-end systems, but want to convey that I don't react with "wow -- that is amazing 5* sound from that little box and speakers that I got for $119".
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on December 2, 2009
I used to have the sony CMT-CP shelf system from the late 90s/early 2000s back when wood and metallic silver was popular. I loved that machine. Everyone I knew had one of those AIWA units but I loved my sony.

It died earlier this year and so I had to get a replacement. This unit is good but the sound is not quite as full as on the older unit. The black design is simple but kind of bland. I wish this unit had a volume knob rather than buttons but that's personal preference.

The ipod interface is nice and works well although the remote control can really just control the volume, play, pause, forward, and backward functions. It can't scroll through playlists or let you select any of the other functions on the ipod. You can do that manually with the ipod's controls but that defeats the purpose of having a remote.

The AUX in jack is just a microphone/headset jack in the front of the unit. There is no RCA input in the back of the machine.

Pretty good unit. There really aren't too many competing units out there. Why did companies stop making these?
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on May 30, 2012
I purchased this same player for my mom about three years ago, so I knew what to expect. The separate bass and treble control are much better than the preset sound selection ( jazz, rock, voice, ect.) I have found on other systems. I have played 3rd gen Ipod to 5th gen Ipod with no problems. Speakers supplied sound nice with a decent amount of bass. I may try different speakers later to see if sound can be improved. It definitely gets loud enough to fill a room with good clear sound. It is a little heavy for a system this small but I believe this contributes to good quality in construction as well as electronics. I would recommend this player to any one who would want a good quality system for a decent price.
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on December 20, 2011
For the price and quality of this micro system I have to say its a good value. The controls are easy to understand and clearly labeled the Ipod integration worked with every Ipod I have from my nano from 2004 to my Ipod touch from 2009. Sound quality from very good for a micro system I thought and if you do not want to use the sony speakers you can replace them with higher end speakers and still use the unit. The only reason I am not giving it 5 stars is because of the radio reception I feel its lacking in that department maybe its because I live in concrete apartment with double pained windows I dont know, some of the stations in my city come in but they are not as clear as I would like them to be. All in all this is a great unit for the price and build quality
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