Product Type: Sony portable MD players
Newest Review: ... all the function volume, play mode, display, pause, and hold except for the bass functions and AVLS. I still do not understand why Sony ... more
Small is beautiful
Sony MD Walkman MZ-E90
Member Name: Face2001
Sony MD Walkman MZ-E90
Date: 26/08/00, updated on 12/09/00 (267 review reads)
Advantages: Small, Light, ShOcK Resistant, Looks and Sounds excellent
Disadvantages: Expensive for a player, Headphones are a bit tacky
When I first got the unit, I just had to take a minute at the sheer size of the unit. It is just so small it is incredible. To me (although the differences are probably minute) the unit look almost exactly or a little smaller than the case of a Sony Sparkle MD. It fits very easily into any pocket because it is just so tiny. I cannot stress this enough you just have to see it to believe it.
The unit is very well designed. It feels rock solid which can probably be attributed to Sony’s new press forging method that is supposed to be twice or so times stronger than its magnesium brother the E55. It is very pretty and draws a lot of attention and questions from others. There is a "Y" shaped design in the center of the unit witch starts out in a bright silver, then in a smaller "Y" in a light gray color, and finally in a black "Y." There is a diamond shaped section in the black "Y" that is semitransparent and in good lighting the disc can be visible when inserted (but you really have to look since this section is very small). Furthermore to note that the unit is built very well, the finish is extremely hard to scratch, and it is not prone to smudges unlike the SJMJ70 from Panasonic was.
The color of the unit is especially accented but the smooth curves and the stylish outcropping. It has a very nice true silver color not like that of the E55’s gold/silver color. This color in my opinion is much nicer and attractive.
The remote for the unit varies depending on the color of the unit you bought (i.e. the red one was translucent) and for mine it is of silver color. The unit
8217;s remotes’ LCD illuminates to a blue-green color, which is great for viewing in the dark. I think it is a great improvement over the original twist type remotes Sony used for models such as the E55, 70, R55, etc. Instead of the twisting the remote head left or right to switch tracks you how put the head up or down about 2 or 3 millimeters to switch tracks or hold it up to fast-forward or rewind. It has all the function volume, play mode, display, pause, and hold except for the bass functions and AVLS. I still do not understand why Sony does not put these functions on the remote. One other thing, when you press pause the earbuds makes an annoying beep sound, which can not be turned off until you press the pause button again. It also does this when you switch tracks but it is not annoying then.
One thing about the unit that I did not like was the small size of the buttons. Since the unit was so damn small you really did not have much room but I wish they could have been bigger. Though I very really use the buttons on the main body (I normally just use the remote) so it really was not that much of a problem.
Ejection and Insertion:
One of my favorite features of the unit is the new "one-touch disk ejection". It is great. The disk pops out with quite a snap and I am worried if this will deteriorate with time, I hope not (if feels very strong and well built so I really doubt it). Anyway, the new eject feature is especially useful when changing from a shirt pocket because you do not need to take it out. It is a great time saver.
II. Sound Quality
Well first, I would like to state that I am not an audiophile, and by that, I mean I really cannot tell the difference between any of the new ATRAC versions or even between different manufacture versions (Sony or Sharp). From a side by side comparison of my new SONY and my friends Sharp MS702 I like the Sony’s better because
it has a better all around sound. I have also heard a Panasonic also but the bass was just too weak for me to consider.
The bass champion would have to the Sharp. It does deliver much stronger bass (but as a side note when you put the bass to the max on the Sharp the volume caps out so for louder sound the Sony wins). I think the Sony has a smoother and well-rounded sound, and a more natural bass (the Sharp’s bass is a little too artificial). I have always-preferred Sony sound to other manufactures. The bass is not that boomy on the included earbuds so I recommend that you get a different set of headphone with the unit, I love my MDRE888SP with these the unit sounds amazing! I have yet to see companies introduce a product with a good set of headphone. This is a disappointment because were spending sometimes over $300 for these players/recorders. It includes three bass stetting off, one and two. I never use the first or the off setting; I usually just leave it on the second setting because I like bass boast all the time.
The volume on the unit can get very loud. I believe that the Sony models get much louder than their Sharp counterparts (on a side note they have in the Japanese part of the instruction manual a person listing too loud looking really crazy, its quite funny).
The AVLS feature is a volume limiting system. I never use this feature because I believe it is pointless. I think I can judge for myself when the volume it too loud.
The unit has all the standard playback features. I really would like it if they had included a program mode where you can put the order of the songs; nevertheless, no such feature exists. As of right now I do not know of any unit that has a program mode (developers are you listening!). It has the standard play functions: all repeat, single repeat, and shuffle repeat.
The unit includes
40 seconds of shock resistant memory and I find it plenty. I am on the track team and run more than 5 miles a day and have yet to hear it skip once! It has the best anti-skip in a unit I have every experienced!
Smoothness of transition:
One thing to note is that the unit is whisper quite in transition from song to song. This is also true in repeats and shuffles (although when the unit has to go from track 1 to track 12 the movement of the laser sometimes is audible but defiantly not audible enough to be an annoyance). The unit lacks an automatic playback feature so you have to hit the track key in order for the unit to begin playing, it is just a minor peeve, but an auto-play feature would have been welcomed.
IV. Battery Info
The unit comes with one Sony NiMH-14 that provides approx. 21 hours of continuous play. It also comes with a "AA" Adapter pack that proves approx. 31 hours of continuous playback. When you combine the two you are theoretically able to get 56 hours of playback (I experienced 58 on my first try but this could be just because the rechargeable was new?)
Using with the external battery pack:
To use the external battery back you insert one AA battery into the back. On the side of the unit, there are two screw in holes. You put the battery pack on the side matching up with the two holes and turn the dial on the pack in the direction to tighten. It makes very good contact and does not feel at all like it would come off. In addition, it is no longer the canister type design used with the previous models. I personal think it does not fit with the design of the unit and is quite ugly; therefor, I rarely use it. I do not need the extra hours it provides anyway. I wish they would make a battery back that fits the scheme of the unit!
Using with House Current or in car:
To use this in the house or car you simple take out the battery and plug the adaptor i
n the 3V DC in.
Reacharging the battery:
Recharging the batter is very simple. You insert the reachable battery into the battery charger with the correct polarity on top and bottom. Close the door and plug it in the socket.
V. Future Improvements
First thing I would like to see is a FM/AM tuner. This would be an awesome feature and I do not understand why MD manufactures are reluctant to put it in their units. Second a program mode would be nice, in addition to the shuffle and repeat modes available. Next I would like the unit to have larger buttons, since the buttons were not easily pressed (this is especially true if you have large fingers). Sound wise I would wish Sony you put their GROOVE option in their MD Players. This would make their bass rival Sharps since I own a Sony system with GROOVE and it makes a huge difference in bass. Also nicer earbuds please. It so disappointing to spend so much and then get second rate earbuds, a nicer pouch to put such an expensive unit is also a must. I think this unit would make a welcome addition to anyone’s minidisc equipment