Product Type: Panasonic hifi systems
Newest Review: ... and the quality of the sound compared to the standard radio is fantastic. The option of being able to store my favourite channels is a mu... more
Just needs some minor tweaks...
Panasonic SC-HC30DBEBS DAB Micro System with iPod Dock
Member Name: AliceWonderland
Panasonic SC-HC30DBEBS DAB Micro System with iPod Dock
Advantages: Small footprint, reliable, good sound (except for a hum).
Disadvantages: Missing a few key features.
I listened to a few different models of iPod/MP3 Player docks while in the store choosing, and found the sound quality and volume of the Panasonic far superior to other models and brands in this price range (around 200 pounds). The operation and look of this model also impressed me more than the others in its league. That's why I ended up taking this model home, plus I think Panasonic is a respectable brand and something I feel that I could trust.
Once I got home I found the unit very easy to unpack and set up. It's basically just a matter of plugging it in. One thing you do need to be careful of though is that there's a small button/lever that you need to push to eject the dock for your iPod. You can get it in and out without doing this (as I once did because I didn't notice the lever) but you risk snapping the mechanism and ending up being unable to close the door of the unit properly. This is one minor design flaw I think - the eject could have been automatic, to avoid this risk.
Using the buttons at the top of the unit you can select either iPod or CD player, and the door at the front slides one way or the other to open up each system. It all glides very slickly and looks quite impressive. The unit also has a small footprint, bring very narrow, so it sits perfectly at the back edge of a desk, without taking up valuable work space.
I predominantly use the MP3 Player version of the system, although I have tried and been satisfied with both the CD Player and radio. The sound quality, as I noticed in the shop, is good and does have a relatively faithful depth of bass and volume. Even at higher volumes I don't feel like it's distorting, although I must say that I am a considerate neighbour and don't listen to my music at skull-numbing volumes, loud enough though that I can be at the other end of the flat and hear it clearly.
One major problem that I have with the sound is that, at lower volumes, there is an audible hum that the machinery itself makes. This is not a distortion of the sound but the actual operating sound of the machine. This is a real shame if you're listening to something quieter because it really interrupts your enjoyment of the softer parts of the music. I have never had this problem with other stereo units that I've had, although this is my first iPod. I know the unit wasn't too pricey, but I still think this is a very obvious problem that shouldn't occur.
As I mentioned, getting started playing music on the Panasonic is easy - insert your iPod and it starts up automatically. Unfortunately, this can also get annoying as it starts automatically not on the last track that you were listening to but on the very first track in your iPod - I swear, I must have heard the first bars of the first track on my iPod thousands of times by now. Needless to say, I don't listen to that song by choice anymore.
The other problem I have with the operation of the unit is the functioning of the remote. Firstly I should clarify that the remote itself works well, it doesn't need to be aimed from 2 inches from the unit and works well for the functions it was designed to have. The problem is that they didn't include what, for me, are a couple of crucial features. Firstly, when you're selecting an artist or song from your iPod you have to hit the arrow button to go down past each choice on the iPod menu. If you have as much music on your iPod as I do this takes a heck of a long time. You really should be able to hold the arrow down so that it speeds up and goes quickly to where you want to go. Now, if I am listening to an artist in the "a"s, I just open the door and use the wheel on the iPod itself to go down to artists in the "t"s or whatever, otherwise it just takes far too long. This is a shame as it doesn't seem like it would be a difficult feature to offer and yet would make such a difference to the operation of the unit.
I've had my unit for a bit short of a year now and have had no problems whatsoever with it, in terms of operation, except the things that I feel should have been included and weren't. I don't regret buying this unit, as I do enjoy it and it certainly sounds a lot better and goes a lot louder than my laptop. I thought it was affordable for the quality and style. I just hope that Panasonic make these simple upgrades before releasing the next model.
I can unreservedly recommend the unit if you aren't all too fussy about a small hum and if you don't have a huge music collection on your iPod, or even if you do but could get this unit cheaply it would still be worth it, just be aware of the limitations.
Summary: A qualified recommendation.
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