Sony CFD-S550 Cassette/CD Boombox

2 ratings (2 Epinions reviews)
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Good boombox, but way too bright trebles for me

Aug 18, 2003 (Updated Aug 18, 2003)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review
  • User Rating: Very Good

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

Pros:good features for the price, auxillary input, 10 key pad, stylish

Cons:overly bright sound, even for a boombox, tinny bass

The Bottom Line: A good boombox with CD, tape, and aux input; sporting bright trebles, this is a nice unit for the price point.


We needed a portable stereo "boombox" that played CD's, sounded "good enough", and was portable. We chose this Sony, but realized it wasn't our style.

Don't get me wrong, this is a good box. But you have to decide what kind of sound you enjoy. If you like bright, pop sound, then you'd be happy with this model. Unfortunately, I can't stand bright, and so it wasn't for me.

FEATURES

This sony has CD player which is CDR/CDRW compatible, tape deck, FM/AM tuner and 30 presets, and an auxillary 1/4 inch jack for hooking any kind of external audio component up (like an MP3 player for instance).

It is a 2W per channel unit that, like any small box, can't get the bass range. It has bass boost which manages to allow a narrow part of the bass range to be heard while giving a "small hollow gap" thumpy sound. It adds a space sound effect if you want which makes it seem like surround sound, which manages to emphasize brightness even more. Running off 6 D sized batteries, the unit can fill a small, quiet room with sound or provide a picnic table in the park some nice music, but you won't be hosting any backyard parties with this unit.

There are 5 preset equalizer settings which although have cute labels like "rock" or "jazz", really just mean EQ settings of flat, bass, treble, mids, bass treble. The actual level of each boost is not controllable, so if you don't like the presettings, then tough luck.

A very nice feature is the 10 digit key pad which allows you to directly jump to CD tracks, a feature most boomboxes don't have.

STYLE

Sony usually does a good job of styling their products. While it's nothing to swoon over, the curvy lines and rounded shape to set it apart from the boxier boomboxes that are out there. All components are cleanly blended with each other and the tape player door even seems to be totally hidden till you push the eject button. The semicircle handle completely blends into the frame when retracted so well that at first glance the unit doesn't seem to even have a handle.

WHY I BOUGHT IT

I tested this Sony against several other boxes in the same class. I tried JVC, Philips, and other Sony's. I ended up with this one because for a unit that was approximately the same size (width, but a little deeper), and same price; I thought it sounded good enough at the store and plus it had an auxillery jack to hook our MP3 player too. Auxillary jacks are scarce to find in boomboxes unless you go bigger.

WHY I RETURNED IT

The sound was just way too bright, ie too sharp of trebles. No setting of the equalizers could balance this out. If I boosted the bass, then the highs would be balanced but I'd lose the mids. If I boosted the mids, then I'd lose the bass. And after listening to it in the quietness of my own home for 15 minutes, I couldn't stand it anymore.

Plus, I realized that if you have a tape player, you have a makeshift aux input if you buy a tape-adapters you use in cars to hook up portable CD players or MP3 players. This rendered the aux input less valuable and so I returned the unit to the store to allow the Sony to make someone who does like bright sounding boxes happy.

Instead, I bought the Philips AZ2045, a direct competitor at the same price point and am much more happy with it. Read about it here:

http://www.epinions.com/content_109587435140

BOTTOM LINE

This Sony boombox is a nice unit with all the features you'd want in a fairly compact package for a reasonable price. It's stylish enough to stand out from the boxy boxes, but not so gaudy that it screams for attention. The sound is suited only for those who don't mind or prefer very bright sounds as this, no matter what the setting, is the kind of sound you'll get. The extra aux input is a nice feature, but considering that you can use a tape adapter, it might be wiser to get the MP3 CD compatible version of the box instead.


Recommend this product? No


Amount Paid (US$): 70


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