Several years ago, before the popularity of MP3's, I bought into the idea that mini-disc was the future. I believed it so much that I bought a mini-disc walkman, a mini-disc car stereo, and this, the Sony CMT-M100MD. Of all three, the only thing I still own and use on a regular basis is this product.
*Digital AM/FM Radio
*PC Link Technology
*Analogue & Digital Audio Inputs
The mini-disc feature is the main reason I bought this unit. It plays recordable mini-discs and pre-recorded mini-discs (commercial albums). It offers the option of SP, LP, LP2 and LP4 recording. SP records in stereo, LP records in mono and doubles recording time. LP2 and LP4 are two times and four times the recording capability of a regular 74/80 minute disc, with the advantage of being in stereo. However, you must note that most mini-disc players, especially earlier models, will not play LP2 and LP4 recorded material. Today, though, many portable mini-disc units do offer this facility, especially Sony models. My car mini-disc unit did not play these, but I found recording in the mono LP mode was good enough to produce decent quality recordings for the car; most of the time it's difficult to tell the difference between mono and stereo anyway. The mini-disc unit has the ability to record from CD, Radio, cassette deck, and the Analogue or Digital inputs. It also has a timer function to record at a specific time from the Radio or either one of the inputs. This is handy for recording your favourite radio shows when you are not at home, or through the night. When set to record, the unit comes on silent so that no sound is heard during recording. If you are at home and would like to listen to the broadcast at the same time, you can raise the volume. Inserting and ejecting discs is smooth and easy. Once inserted, a recordable disc has the option to add text to the disc in the form of DISC NAME, TRACK NAME, etc.
The CD player is what you would expect from a CD player from the early 21st century. It plays pre-recorded and home recorded CD's. As far as I'm aware, this product does not play MP3 CD's. The unit is fast and responsive, moving from track to track very smoothly and quickly. The CD player can be recorded from to either the mini-disc unit or the cassette deck. This makes it very useful for making mix tapes/discs. The unit features a double speed recording facility for copying CD's to mini-disc. This is especially useful for recording one or two songs, and whole albums, but in today's instant world of MP3's it seems rather slow; to record an 80 minute CD to mini-disc would take 40 minutes compared to 5-10 minutes to record an MP3 album of the same length.
The cassette player/recorder is another great feature. When making this unit, Sony obviously thought of everything except LP's, although a separate LP record unit can be connected via the Analogue input. The cassette recorder can record from either mini-disc, CD, or radio. The unit features a seek function, meaning that the tape deck will search for silences on the cassette between songs and play from that unit; very handy if you want to skip a song. However, this does rely on a good silence on the cassette between tracks and isn't 100% perfect or accurate. The cassette recorder, like the mini-disc unit, can be set up to record from the radio with a timer. The cassette unit also features the ability to play the tape on both sides without turning over. This is also useful for recording. However, to use this function you must set it up at least once.
DIGITAL AM/FM RADIO
The digital tuner that comes with this unit is very easy to tune and use. It has the option to automatically search or manually search for your stations. You have the option to listen in stereo or mono, and this can be changed to suit. I find that when the signal is a little weaker, mono is better than stereo; it removes the hiss.
The remote control that is supplied with the unit gives the user the chance to use every function on the unit itself without having to get up. This is especially useful if you like to listen to the radio or CD player when on the couch or in your bed. The buttons are responsive, and all the functions are easy to navigate. The remote is quite big, about 4-6 inches, but the buttons are well spaced and easy to press; even for larger fingers. The remote takes two AA batteries.
PC LINK TECHNOLOGY
I won't lie, I had absolutely no use for this feature and still don't several years later. From what I understand, this gives the user the ability to download music directly from the computer to the mini-disc unit. Having never used this feature, I am unsure if they mean MP3's or CD's, or both. I would recommend searching several other reviews if this is the main feature you are interested in, although as this is now 2010 it's more likely that you won't need this feature either.
ANALOGUE & DIGITAL AUDIO INPUTS
The audio inputs are extremely useful for connecting other equipment such as record players, DVD players, Satellite receivers etc. I still use this unit for my Satellite receiver and DVD player, as it produces a much better sound than my television. The analogue input is a simple RCA connection, and the digital input is an optical cable. Both of these are widely available and you may even find that you already own several with previous purchases of audio equipment. Both inputs allow recording to the cassette deck and the mini-disc unit.
The sleep function is useful for falling asleep to your favourite music or radio station. It has the option to sleep from 90 minutes down (ten minute steps) to 10 minutes. It also features an AUTO mode, but from what I can gather that is just 90 minutes.
The unit features the ability to use it as an alarm clock. You can choose any of the sources to wake you up, and setting the time is very simple. You can also set a time for the unit to switch off; ie. Wake 6am, turn off 6.05am. The volume will slowly increase to the volume you have set. I find this feature to be excellent because you don't jump out of bed suddenly when the sound blasts from the speakers, you are slowly woken from your slumber by the increasing volume.
I have read several reviews that state this unit does not feature a headphone socket. This is not true. The headphone socket is located under the flap near the bottom of the unit. There are also several buttons under there to control other features of the unit, such as record speed and bass. The headphone socket is a small jack.
The sound produced by the two speakers is very good for a micro system. I've heard much more expensive units that sound far inferior to this unit. I set the treble and bass to zero, but turn on the DSG bass, which produces a very clear, rich sound from both speakers and any audio source. I find this is sufficient for CD, cassette, radio, mini-disc and audio input. The volume can get quite loud, useful if you are in other rooms or just like your music loud. The sound from the headphone socket is just as good, and one of the features I love when watching TV late at night.
I think I've covered the basics here as well as some of the finer details. I hope that my review has been helpful to you, but if you require any further information please feel free to message me about the unit. I loved this unit so much, that when my sister was looking to buy herself a new HIFI I told her that this one was perfect. After seeing it and hearing it she agreed and bought one immediately. She still uses it to this day. These units are long lasting and reliable. If you find one on eBay it will probably be quite cheap. I saw one recently on there for only £10 +£12 delivery. For that price I would definitely recommend purchasing this unit.
The Sony CMT-M100MD micro-hifi delivers brilliant sound even at higher volumes, thanks to the DSG system and quality speakers.
The controls are easy to use and the remote makes it all to easy.
The MD gives top notch and recording from your CD collection and is both fast and smooth.
The PC link allows you to put your collection of MP3s straight onto MD (Great for those of us who like to make a disc of favorite tracks to play in the car or on the Sony Mini Disk walkman).
Mini Disc MDLP
Two attractive separate speakers, which have a wood veneer finish and silver/grey with removable grilles.
2x15 Watts RMS output.
Connect the speaker wires to the back of the system.
To use the tuner, connect an FM antenna and/or AM Loop antenna.
The whole thing will fit on a book shelf, and will pump out the tunes day and night.