Pros: Price, reputable Pioneer name, quality.
Cons: Not so great remote. But at this price, who cares?
A few weeks ago, I realized that I was beginning to have problems managing and playing my CDs. I had my single disc DVD player and a mini audio system with a 3 disc CD changer in it. I was really getting tired of swapping discs in and out of that tiny 3 disc changer so, I decided to head to the electronics stores and see what was available in the way of larger changers.
Now my CD collection is relatively small. I usually just borrow discs from friends until I decide I like them enough to buy them. Also, because my previous changer capacity was so small, I avoided buying a lot of new discs, knowing I would be continuously swapping them. As I headed to the store, I kept in mind that there are several new audio disc formats emerging. With that in mind, I decided that I didn?t want to spend a lot of money on a standard CD changer when a new format like HDCD may turn out to be the new standard in a couple of years.
From looking around at what was available, the stores and manufacturers are probably thinking the same thing. Either that or the changers are selling faster than they can stock them. I looked at several stores to get a good idea of what was available at what price. I decided that I wasn?t going to spend more than $200. In that price range, there were several models to choose from. However, the one that continued to catch my eye was the Pioneer PD - F908. This is a 100 + 1 disc changer, more than adequate for my current collection, with room to grow. This player was available at several stores, but I found Best Buy?s price of $129.99 to be perfect. In fact, last time I considered buying a CD changer, you?d be lucky to get a 5 disc changer for this price.
At first glance, this Pioneer model is very similar in appearance to many Sony models. It has a black translucent sliding door on the face. It?s width is appx. standard component width, so it fits in rather well with other audio and video components. It is black, which has been the standard in electronics for many years. That may change in the future with more and more manufacturers introducing silver colored electronics (Presumably to compete with Sony). At any rate, it?d not likely to clash with your other components unless they?re all silver.
I really didn?t choose this model over any of the others based on it?s features. As I stated before, price was my top priority. However, one feature that I?m pretty sure will come in handy is it?s file - type design. What this means is that you can create three of your own custom file banks. This would be handy for multiple listeners who share the same changer. More likely it would be used for three separate genres or artists.
If you have other Pioneer components (Which I don?t so I won?t be needing this feature), this changer also has features such as CD-Deck Synchro so that you can connect a control cable between a tape deck and the changer for synchronized recordings. Also, if your receiver is a Pioneer, you can connect a control cable between the changer and the receiver which will allow the changer to be controlled by the receiver?s remote.
The unit also has various play functions, including the standard shuffle, random and repeat functions. It also has a memory for storing favorite tracks and discs.
If you?ve read my past reviews, you probably know that the remote is one area where I do tend to be very picky. If I absolutely hate the remote control for a particular component, I?m going to be reluctant to use it. Thus, my electronics will sit around and collect dust. The remote for The PD -F908 is a pretty bare bones remote. All of the buttons are shaped exactly the same. In fairness, you don?t start to get really good remotes on CD changers until you get up over the $200 range. However, the buttons are grouped logically to make the use of the remote a little more intuitive. The number buttons are in the middle, with the playback controls at the bottom and the power and mode functions at the top. Happily, the infrared transmitter on this remote is very powerful. You can control the player from just about anywhere in the room without having to aim the remote directly at the changer. The remote is also quite small in comparison to the remotes from manufacturers like Sony. It fits quite nicely in the palm of your hand.
The PD - F908 only has two basic types of audio outputs. The standard L/R RCA type stereo connectors and a single Optical Digital output. This may be a problem if you want a digital connection and your receiver only has one Optical input. Many people use the Optical inputs on their receivers for their DVD players. However, I didn?t notice any CD changers in my price range with both Coaxial and Optical Digital outputs.
I opted to use the Optical Digital output. I purchased a 12 foot TOSLINK optical cable for an additional $19.99. This brought my total purchase price up to about $160. Please be aware that if you have a sales person assisting you when purchasing any audio or video equipment, they?ll most likely attempt to persuade you to buy expensive cables. In the case of an Optical cable, the brand they would probably try to sell you is Monster. Do not buy them! There will be no difference in the quality of the audio and you?ll be wasting your money. You can purchase perfectly acceptable optical cables made by companies such as Acoustic Research or RCA and save a lot of money.
I?ve been very pleased with the performance of this changer for the price I paid. I?m not a hardcore audiophile so I?m not likely to notice any very subtle differences between the audio performance of this unit and some other unit costing a lot more. If you?re on a budget and you just want a decent changer with a moderate disc capacity, this one is hard (if not impossible) to beat for the price I paid.