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I bought one of these a long time ago, just before the iPod craze went off and to be honest for it's time it was fantastic.
Of course it is a little bulky taking CD's and all, but not too much so. It is barely bigger than a CD in fact and was ideal for my needs at school. I used to have the CD part in my bag, then the remote trailed out of the zip. The remote is the coolest feature of this product as it has a small screen on it so you can read your albums and songs.
The major problem with it was the software, when you were creating an ATRAC CD it just took forever, once it was made it was perfect however. After my 3rd Gen iPod broke, and my newer Sony HDD system is on the blink this little bad boy is still going strong! Pity they're being phased out :(
Because it takes ATRAC CD you can fit stacks on CD's onto one CD (the amount depends on the quality you choose, but a safe bet would be around 25).
My favourite feature of it however was the battery life, far greater than any iPod, because while listening the CD didn't actually spin as it saved it to a memory. This meant the battery lasted around 100 hours generally (with the in built lithium batteries), and even came with an attachable battery pack for AA batteries.
The sound quality was excellent as it normally is with Sony products, and again I would say a lot better than an iPod. The whole build quality in fact was fantastic, it just looked so cool and elegant with the tiny concealed buttons around in and the brushed metal back plate. They just don't build them like this any more!
I've always liked the idea of music on the go. When I was just an ickle anklebiter, I confiscated my dear old dad's Walkman and claimed it as my own, and then when I was about 12 I got my first portable CD player.
However, I learned soon enough how much battery power my new portable CD player needed. I was often lucky to have listened to one CD the whole way through before my CD player gave out on me and I had to insert a fresh pair of batteries before it would do anything else. Of course, this proved to be quite an expensive habit, and before long I just gave up using it and it lay gathering dust in my bedroom.
At Uni, though, I often wished I had something to listen to as I spent long hours in the library, and I started looking into portable CD players with rechargeable batteries.
My eye fell on this particular CD player, although it was slightly more expensive than I'd hoped to pay. I think it cost me (or rather my parents!) about £120, although it was available on Amazon for just under £100 at the time.
I'd been toying with buying an MP3 player, but decided on a CD player, so I could just grab my favourite CD and not have to worry about downloading tracks to my music player, but it appears I got the best of both worlds with this system.
This CD player comes with ATRAC software which allows you to copy CDs onto your computer and then put them onto a recordable CD. The software compresses the files (it can also compress MP3s) and can allow you to store up to 30 CDs onto one recordable CD. I think I've only ever managed to squeeze about 23 CDs onto a single recordable disc, though, personally. This has proved invaluable.
I was away on a 3 week long archaeological excavation and due to this fabulous technology, I didn't have to worry about carry loads of CDs with me as I had a large portion of my CD collection sqeezed onto only 4 discs!
The CD player comes with a cradle that you can plug into the mains to recharge your CD player, but it also comes with an extra attachment that stores a battery and that you can carry with you and use in an emergency if your CD player runs out of power. Very clever! The battery life is amazing! I recharged this CD player before going away that excavation, and it just ran out of battery on the way home from the trip at the end of 3 weeks. It wasn't getting used constantly, but it was still getting used for maybe a few hours a day, so that's pretty impressive.
The cradle itself isn't too unwieldy, although I would rather you just needed to use an adaptor to charge it.
The headphones that come with this model are about the only gripe I have. They have a small display and control panel attached to them so you can change tracks, vary volume etc. even if your actual CD player is in your bag. This is useful, but it is attached to the left hand side of your headphones, and the wire on the left hand side leading to your ear is much shorter than on the right. I feel because of this short wire and the extra weight of the control panel, the left earpierce of my headphones keeps getting pulled out my ear, which is ever so slightly annoying.
Obviously, it being a CD player, it is a lot bulkier than an MP3 player, but comes in at a fairer price and I feel is probably more versatile on the long run. It also comes in a nice little grey carry pouch which is excellent and the machine itself is quite stylish.
However, it is a devil of a thing to operate. Admittedly, I'm one of these people who refuses to read instruction booklets, so I've probably only got myself to blame, but this thing certainly takes a bit more getting used to than an ordinary CD player, and I'm probably still totally oblivious of half the things this little machine is capable of.
Nevertheless, I would recommend this to anyone looking for music on the move. It is a bit pricey, admittedly, but I think it is probably one of the best portable CD players on the market. Sony has never let me down in the past, and they certainly didn't let me down this time!
£80 from DABS or £90 from Dixons D-NE511 Sony ATRAC3PLUS MP3 CD Walkman Plays CD's, MP3 CD's and ATRAC CD's This new CD player utilises the ATRAC Sony Minidisk compression software to enable you to record up to a maximum of approximately 490 tracks on to a normal CD-R or a CD-RW depending on which compression you choose ATRAC3plus stands for 'Adaptive Transform Acoustic Coding3' compresses to about 1/20 th of it's original size and bit rates are 64 kbps or 48 kbps I have now recorded 3 CD-R's full of all my favourite CD's in my collection to play at work that's about 30 hours of music per CD The software to do this will have to be installed on your PC using the supplied installation CD it's called Sonic Stage Simple Burner When installed and run, the ATRAC program can collect MP3 music tracks from your computer or music tracks from your CD collection On the left of the screen you can select from two tabs MP3 or CD If you choose CD then all you have to do is make sure you are on the internet and put one of your favourite CD's in the rewriter and watch the screen as all the track information appears on the left side of the screen courtesy of Gracenote CDDB service for audio data recognition There is a big button labelled 'ADD' in the centre of the screen, hit that and the CD is stored as an image in memory in ATRAC format and then appears on the right hand column of the screen. All the track information is stored ARTIST, ALBUM NAME, TRACK NUMBER etc. When you have recorded enough CD's - (I recorded 18 Albums in one hit on my first ATRAC CD) - then put a blank CD-R or CD-WR into the CD recorder and hit the big button labelled BURN on the right side of the screen MP3 files on your computer can be burned on the ATRAC CD also You don't have to worry about filling your ATRAC CD in one hit because yo
u have as many as 99 sessions of recording, which is about 5 tracks per session You can play back your ATRAC CD through the supplied headphones or through a standard sound lead to your hi-fi or TV or computer The player has the option of power by batteries or the supplied mains adapter During playback you can scroll through all tracks using the small screen on the player and all the albums (which are called folders) to the one you want to hear And it can play randomly inside a folder, the whole disk or starting at track one and playing all the way through to the end of the disk No more fiddling with hundreds of CD's, just take a few ATRAC CD's with you wherever you go It's so good that i'm thinking of buying a Car radio (digital radio of course) that has an ATRAC player included Is the standard CD player now out of date? You must buy one of these ATRAC CD players instead because it plays normal CD's and MP3 CD's also