Coby CXCD241 CD Boombox

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Little Machine Belts Out Big, Bold Beautiful Sound

Jun 29, 2007 (Updated Jul 9, 2007)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review
  • User Rating: Excellent

  • Sound:
  • Ease of Use:
  • Durability:
  • Portability:

Pros:Stylish, lightweight, compact, ears-free, CD/AM/FM boom box with relatively great sound for $19.99

Cons:Flimsy plastic parts. Sometimes bass deficient. AM/FM reception only "so-so." Occasionally "tinny" instrumental tracks.

The Bottom Line: Great little unit for the money. If it suits the purpose, buy it!


Updated July 9, 2007

Out Loud Playback: Better Than Expected

I was surprised when I heard the quality of sound that came with the first playing of a CD* in my new Coby CX-CD241. This was the smallest, portable CD player I could find that had speakers in addition to a headset or earbud jack. It included a stereo am/fm tuner, and its sound was FABULOUS.

Well, “fabulous” relative to the $19.99 I’d paid for the baby boom box, and as it pertained to the playing of commercial CDs.

Depending on the strength of the signal received, AM/FM reception varies, there’s no support for mp3s or tapes, and although it plays CD-Rs and CD-RWs, it does so only if the discs are identified with permanent marker and are otherwise unencumbered with labeling.

But, given that, CD vocal tracks are bold and clear!

Instrumental accompaniment sometimes is tinny, but I’ve experienced none of the buzzing, humming, or skipping typically encountered with low-end machines. Having no electronics expertise, I know not how one track can be clearer than another, but, according to Coby, a 1-bit digital-to-analog converter ensures a clean CD sound that, in this case, is boosted by the unit’s wide-ranging stereo side speakers which are equipped with mesh metal grilles for protection, and boast a robust frequency response of 20 Hz to 20 kHz.

Sometimes I get an urge to turn up a non-existent bass control, but, all in all, from the vibrant vocals of Vesselina Kasarova through the soft digital woodwinds and laser-driven guitars of White-Eisenstein** to the blazing glory of the Dixie Chicks,*** the sound produced by the Coby CX-CD241 is surprisingly good.



Excellent Portability

I bought the unit with more interest in its portability than audio performance. I wanted something lightweight and compact to plop down wherever I busy myself; something to play CDs while I clean, polish, or fold. I wanted the freedom to hear other comings and goings in the house, and to blast the volume when the spirit hit me.

The Coby CX-CD241 fit that bill. It weighs no more than 5lbs., measures 8.25-inches wide, 8.50-inches deep, and 5.5” high, and doesn’t marry me to an earplug or headset. It’s easy to carry, and small enough to plug in among cookbooks, keepsakes, or laundry products.

Since the primary reason for the purchase was to get music to carry around, and sound had been assumed "given," I had to think twice when I saw the price of the Coby.

At $19.99, I wondered if it actually would play. Did I know anybody who’d ever owned, or admitted to owning, a Coby? How long could it posible hold up? Would the good store I stood in sell junk?

A saleslady assured me the store had carried this low-cost line for a number of years with considerable success, that if I were less than satisfied a return would be easily accommodated, and that, by the way, this was one of the last units available right now. I snapped it up.

Meanwhile, I've noticed that, on the Internet, bad reviews of the product outweigh good ones. One reason for this phenomenon is that it can cost as much as $12 to ship back a $19.99 boom box. Need I say more?

Visit the company web site, discussed below, for locations of stores other than those of the sponsors listed here.



It’s Cute

The Coby CX-CD241 is stylish. It’s squat and futuristic-looking. It has a rounded lightweight plastic, silver chassis with a top-loading single CD player that can be had with red, blue, silver or black highlights. Red, blue and black units look a little like small silver, plastic pumpkins dressed in colored vests and berets, and -- love ‘em or leave ‘em -- the red and blue “dressers” are snazzy little buggers! Youngsters, “tweens,” and “kids at heart” are bound to love their look.

The player’s plastic is flimsy, though. However attractive, and no matter how nicely it flips up and tucks in -- out of the way, the Coby’s orbed, plastic handle is barely sturdy enough to hold the weight of the unit. In this case, "cute" could have given way to "functional," but that might have increased production cost, so ... I just carry my baby boomer as if it doesn't have a handle.

Prospects for the machine’s plastic innards lasting a long time have got to be slim at best, too, but … it does look hot … or cool … or smart (pick a generation), and stylish design is one of Coby’s claims to fame.



An aside --
THE COBY COMPANY

Founded in 1990, and having headquarters in New York City, Coby prides itself not only on having “developed a strategy of maintaining the lowest cost structure in the industry without compromising the quality of the products,” but also on having obtained the number of U.S. patents and design awards it has in the last decade.

The company is a prime manufacturer of a product line ranging from 20GB mp3 players to 47” widescreen TFT LCD HDTVs. It has its own overseas factories and quality control personnel, and claims its annualized defect rate to be below 1.5%.

It clearly targets a particular market of consumers, and, this time, that market included me.

Incidentally, I’ve found the company’s website to be very helpful. It offers support for the audio-tech challenged by listing frequently asked questions (FAQs), as well as links about:

• The Coby 90-day warranty
• Electronics terms
• Downloading product manuals
• Recycling electronics (Is that a give-away or what?)
• Getting started with mp3s (not supported by the subject
unit)
• Store locations
• Product registration
• Consumer feedback and
• How to contact the appropriate department of the
manufacturer

But, returning to the product under review …



Additional Coby CX-CD241 Features

While the tiny boom box is a no frills machine, it does offer a few features yet to be mentioned. They include:

 Programmable Track Memory
 Digital 2 Digit LED Display
 Skip, Search, Play, Pause, Repeat 1, and Repeat All
functions
 Random play
 Wide Range 8 OHM speaker system
 (A short) telescopic FM antenna that only goes up
and down; not ‘round and ‘roun’.
 DC battery operation (requiring 6 "C" size
batteries that aren’t included)
 110/220 Dual Voltage

In addition, my unit includes:
 CD, CD-R and CD-RW compatibility, a
 3.5mm stereo jack to support a headset with up to a
32ohm impedance, and an
 Alarm clock, with three alarm options: wake to a CD
track, radio, or buzzer.


Its Warnings

… are fairly common:

 The power cord contains lead …
 Only CDs carrying the compact disc digital audio
trademark work with it
 Direct exposure to the laser radiation beam is
inadvisable
 CD-Rs and RWs should be labeled with permanent
marker; not applied labels,
 To avoid skips, CDs must be well seated, and
 The unit may conk out in high humidity or wet
weather (For a few dollars more, buy a sports model)



Easy to Use

There's nothing tricky about this little boom box. Power on/power off. CD or radio. Play, pause, stop. Play in order. Play randomly. It's all on the machine. No manual needed.



Overall …

For the money, this cute little boom box surpasses my expectations. The Coby-CX-CD241 belts out a bundle of relatively good sound and totes quite nicely. It’s just what I wanted ... for a lower price than I’d expected to pay … and with a richer payoff than I’d expected to receive.

Since I’m fairly mainstream, there's a good chance a lot of people will like this machine; especially youngsters, casual listeners, and people drawn to the all-but-magnetic red- and blue-colored units.

If it “dies” in the not too distant future, I’ll use the opportunity to upgrade to a player that also handles mp3s. (For, if I’d had my head on straight, that’s a feature I could have, and would have, had for only a few dollars more). I won’t regret having dropped under 20-dollars on this baby, though.

For $19.99, I think it's a "Best Buy," and recommend the Coby CX-CD241 to anyone who wants a scaled down boom box for marginal listening … or to charge-up with six “C” sized batteries, and take to a beach, backyard project, or picnic event this season.


Happy Summertime!
Sunpot


* Vesselina Kasarova: Schubert, Brahms, Schumann RCA Red Seal. Reviewed at:
http://www.epinions.com/content_377216536196

** Reviewed at: http://www.epinions.com/musc_mu-156329

*** Reviewed at: http://www.epinions.com/musc_mu-859591


Recommend this product? Yes


Amount Paid (US$): 19.99

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