Product Type: Sony CD Players
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Not Just For Luddites!
Member Name: rosebud2001
Advantages: Good sound quality, volume limiter, FM radio and mp3 disc capability
Disadvantages: Very difficult to open up, need to remove discs to change batteries, looks a bit cheap
I decided to buy a personal CD player for when we travel as it's a gadget we can share. There are lots of different personal CD players on the market but I was drawn towards the Sony brand and their Discman range, probably because of my youth when my old Walkman went everywhere with me.
I decided on the D-NF340 model because it has an FM radio and also plays mp3 files, which makes the machine a little more versatile.
~~The CD Player~~
There's no denying that in comparison to an iPod, this is big. However in comparison to a portable DVD player, it's pretty small and lightweight, hence my choice.
The player is made from plastic and is black, with a grey banding around the middle. The top of the player features a control area fashioned from silver metal and this also houses a small display. The player is easy to power on by using the "enter" button on the middle of the main control circle. This also houses the skip, pause, rewind and forward controls along with controls for tuning the radio.
The "stop" button is located just to the left of this, along with the radio on and off control. Underneath this silver control area are some further buttons including the volume controls and a button you can use to limit how high the volume can go. There is a sliding control on the side of the player for opening the player.
The player takes 2 AA batteries, with the battery compartment housed inside the player and the measurements of the player are 14cm wide x 3.3 cm high x 14 cm deep and it weighs 210g. The player also has a DC output socket meaning you can run it off the mains but the lead you need to do this isn't supplied.
Battery life varies depending upon how you use the player but generally if you play CDs only you will get up to 20 hours, mp3 discs stretch this to 30 hours and if you use it solely for the radio you will get 50 hours playback, which is pretty good going.
I purchased the CD player on Amazon and paid £39.78 for it, which is quite a lot for a personal CD player really. I wanted to get a branded one however and I wanted one which played mp3 discs, which is why this one appealed. The radio was an added bonus.
The player arrived in a small box with only a cheap pair of plastic in-ear headphones (which were immediately discarded) and instruction manual. No batteries were supplied.
My initial impressions were those of mild disappointment. The outer casing looks very cheap thanks to the slightly shiny black plastic outer. When I opened the player up to insert batteries the grey plastic looks even cheaper. To be fair the entire player does look fairly solidly constructed even if design wise it's never going to come even remotely close to anything Apple create.
I have mixed feelings about the battery compartment being inside the player. I like how easy it is to open and close the compartment, and the fact the battery compartment lid lifts up but doesn't come right up, meaning it can't be easily lost. I don't like how I have to remove the CD I am listening to to replace the batteries however.
I also find the "open" button a bit fiddly. It is located on the side of the player and has some embossing to ease grip but I still find I sometimes have to slide it a couple of times before the player opens up for me. The CD is placed on the middle holder and you close the lid, press "enter" and the music starts to play.
The player is certainly easy to use and I had mastered all the controls in a matter of minutes from the clearly explained instructions.
The radio can hold up to 40 preset stations but I only tuned in the six that are available on FM locally that my daughter and I listen to. I have been impressed with the sound quality on the radio - so often when I buy portable audio devices or use radios on mobile phones the sound quality and reception are nothing to write home about but the Sony passes this test with flying colours, with clear reception and good sound.
The sound quality when playing CDs is good too. I use JVC Marshmallow headphones and find the sound quality to be excellent. The quality does deteriorate a little if you crank the volume up to its highest level but I find that a painful level anyway. My daughter is a teenager and loves loud music so I really like how I can use the Automatic Volume Limiter System to keep the volume at a more acceptable level. This is easy to turn on and off - you just press and hold the button and the small display will show it on or off.
The display also shows how much power is left in the battery, and displays the track number of whatever album you are playing and the time countdown of the song. When you switch to radio it shows the frequency of the station and it will also display the words "mp3" if you are playing an mp3 disc and will display track information for mp3s.
The player is stable too - I recall a portable CD player I had years ago which skipped at the slightest bump but this is excellent for ensuring your music is steady when you are walking or running when listening to a CD. The player has so-called "G Protection" which helps prevent your CD skipping and I find this works very well but it's worth mentioning it does cut down on battery life so if you don't need it, you should switch it off.
The player can cope with regular CDs as well as CD-R and CD-RWs for discs you have created yourself as well as MP3 discs.
I really like this portable CD player and it's a constant companion whenever I go away somewhere now and it's used by both myself and my daughter regularly for listening to new music and old when on the go.
I can't deny it does look a little cheap - which I wouldn't mind but for the fact it's not particularly cheap to buy - and my biggest issue with it is the fact I have to remove the CD from the player when I have to change the batteries. To be fair however the player will remember where you were on your CD when you removed the disc to change the batteries so at least you don't have to skip through tracks to find it.
I find the fact it takes regular batteries a bit of a boon. It means that you are not beholden to chargers and finding a power source if the power runs low - batteries are usually pretty easy to get hold of no matter where you find yourself after all.
My only major gripe with the player is how fiddly it is to open the lid to insert a disc or change the batteries. You need two hands to do the job and it would have been so much better if Sony could have designed the switch to ensure it also made the lid flip open instead of relying on the user to both slide the button and lift the lid. If you have arthritic fingers you could really struggle to get this open.
So while a portable CD player - even one with mp3 capabilities - isn't going to replace the mp3 player, there are definite advantages to them and the Sony Discman D-NF340 is certainly a reliable and versatile player.
Summary: Versatile portable CD player from Sony which enables you to listen to mp3 discs and regular CDs
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