Space is everything when it comes to buying music systems these days so I was on the look out for something basic and compact without the need to take my main ghetto blaster to university. However after buying this from a seller on EBay, this sad little stereo has been left at home simply for its lack of power and frankly a sound quality which I've been disappointed with.
** JVC as a brand **
My first experience of a JVC portable "boom box," was their first model in the UK (I can barely remember the model number) but it was a squat looking single tape cassette player with a CD player and a radio. The bonus was that it came with a full logic remote control unit but the sound quality was extremely tinny and bass was non existent even though it had bass levels you could choose. The preset style buttons also began to fail with age just after three years ownership and the JVC was consigned to the bin.
By comparison my friend's similarly labelled JVC model which had come from Israel was the best portable CD player ghetto blaster I had laid my eyes on because the bass was rich and smooth compared to my tinny British model and the controls had a much better quality.
** Nar's Quick Skip Product Spec **
4 watts maximum RMS; 2 watts per speaker.
FM/AM analogue tuner radio.
CD-R/CD-RW playback facility.
Basic CD & Cassette functions.
LCD display with track number - unlit.
32mm headphone socket.
"Hyper" bass button facility.
Built in aerial for analogue FM radio.
Compact: Height 17.8 cm by Width 42cm.
Basic remote control for CD player basic functions.
My Price: Ebay £24-99 including postage and packaging rates, condition NEW (purchased December 2006)
Online prices: £39-99.
** General Impressions **
As with most portable CD stereo units these days, it's as basic as it gets with this JVC in terms of specification and because my parents' Sanyo is white and light blue it gets really dusty far too quickly. My own silver Panasonic as a comparison doesn't show up much dirt and whilst the RC EX10 comes in silver, I could only get the dark blue model of which I'm slightly glad of as its a really vibrant colour, laser blue infact whilst the all silver remote control looks like a Car key fob rather than a proper remote control unit.
But then the excitement of a new ghetto blaster or boom box soon begins to dispel; for starters, to look at it with its chrome inserts and buttons, thankfully whilst they are clearly marked and well spaced out, JVC have given the model a fresh organic look but against other rivals in the market, JVC's model here has a built up look rather than a smaller sized unit although it has a sloping front. All buttons are clear to see and function with the exception of the "HBS" function button which according to JVC means "Hyper Bass sound," but to you and me; extra bass where its needed in playback performance of the CD player, tape player and radio. When this tiny button is pushed, the button lights up to indicate that bass has been selected; it's a small issue but our Sanyo doesn't have this light up feature but in some ways the Sanyo which is near to this JVC's price brand new is slightly better made which is a surprise for all that the premium brand of JVC suggests.
One very good feature of this stereo is the fact that in a symmetrical design, the control for the CD, Tape (off) and Radio mirrors the same on the other side of the stereo and that slider works out for the choice of AM or FM radio. They don't move with softness though which is an expectation of the price; what is not an expectation is that despite the curved look of the unit, the buttons and sliders feel cheap and rattle their imperfections through the somewhat thin shell of the stereo case.
I'm pleased to report however that against our Sanyo which has an up and down telescopic aerial which moves in two stages, JVC have a better 4 stage telescopic aerial which can additionally be moved around in a 360° access. Getting a radio station is far easier than our Sanyo, especially in FM mode.
The funky little remote control unit consists purely of playback, play, stop and search functions for the CD player; nothing else, not even a power on button. Whilst it would be impossible to ask for extra buttons for the tape player, JVC could have added a volume button at least.
An A3 fold out user manual is also supplied and once folded out reveals all you will need to know about the RC EX10. Common sense dictates most of the uses displayed in the manual and unless you've never used a CD player before with search buttons the user manual really isn't worth looking at.
** Playback **
As with most budget priced compact CD stereo units, although the JVC can handle and play back chrome cassettes you can't use 120minute tapes in the player itself as it can damage the heads thanks to prolonged playback performance.
The buttons for the tape player reveal a rather cheap feel although luckily there is a soft eject function on the tape cassette door and all buttons, just like the CD buttons are soft touched and no sharp edges means user activation is made more comfortable.
The CD part is exactly the same; although the buttons have a soft touch to them, they feel and sound cheap whenever a track is selected, and the display is unlit which is a major downside for people with poor eyesight. At times my CD player also fails to recognise the suggested feature that it can play CD-RW and CD-R discs. Whilst it can play these types of compact disc, the JVC dithers about looking for the first track although its happy to tell you how many tracks are on the album.
** Sound Quality **
When the bass button is not activated the sound is tinny but tone isn't too bright and overly sharp. Infact the sound is closed off, almost as if it's hidden behind a wall and muffled; for classical music though this seems to be fine. When the HBS bass button is pushed I was expecting a good overall warmth of bass sound but instead, bass appears to add more vibrancy rather than deep rooted bass which is disappointing as it doesn't feel very powerful, even when the volume control is twisted to its maximum and for dance or rock music, this is an offence to anyone looking for good quality sound.
I was surprised at the quality of sound that JVC have built in the RC EX10 though as it seems it has a better sound quality than the Alba/Goodmans compact stereo at work though, especially from music which has plenty of electronics and stereo imaging effects. On the JVC you can hear each track and bank distinctively. At least JVC here haven't forgotten their roots even if their so called "hyper bass" doesn't equate to very much.
And even at maximum volume this stereo isn't very loud either, which is perfect for someone in a house or a flat, but in a student halls of residence where students are competing for privacy, the lack of actual maximum volume designed to let your neighbours know not to mess with you will probably hear a patter of music rather than a room full of it.
** Other Downsides **
The radio station guide view window is curved and set at the top right hand side of the stereo unit. It is really difficult to see what station you can tune to without having to hover over the stereo. Sometimes it's easier just to guess where each station is if you're working but it can be a pain if you can't see it without having to move your seat. Although this is a minor downside against JVC's higher priced model which has a digital tuner, I generally prefer the old system of tuning despite having no facility to save radio presets. If you know the radio station number anyway, it's easier just to find it than fiddle about with presets, numbers and worry whether you have put in another secondary battery to allow the stereo to save what you have selected.
The higher priced silver JVC model has a digital tuner in this respect which can be seen here on Dooyoo and the RX10S model is my unit but in silver with the same hopelessly small manual radio dial; a friend of mine has the silver unit with the digital radio and it is much better but even her and I agree the sound is crap regardless.
** Conclusion **
For general consumers, the RC EX10 doesn't do many things which are likely to impress consumers looking for a stereo unit where tone, balance and adjustable channels can adjust the sound; for the price it's even harder to get a stereo which has preset sounds. For consumers who are looking for a budget stereo with minimal fuss and minimal controls I'd say its worthy of its £25-00 price from Ebay but for £40 I think there are better rivals out there.
One final advantage is that the remote control unit which comes with 2 AAA 1.5 volt batteries to get you started. Yippee?
At best the JVC makes sense as a perfect player for private bed and breakfast places or for a small child and even perhaps for a small privately owned commercial business for background music, but for the more sensitive of musical ears, the JVC RC EX10 has cast a major disappointment and thats against the nonsense marketing JVC would have you believe. Thanks for reading. ©Nar2 2007.