CD Players through the years-A.A.’s Collection, 1990-2006 CD players

  

 

CD Players through the years-A.A.’s Collection, 1990-2006 CD players:  

In this review:
Sony D-EJ626CK
Sony D-EJ761
Sony D-F20
Sony D-NE800
Sony D-EJ011

Panasonic SL-SX240

Panasonic SL-SX430

Notes:
I listened to each player with MDR-E805 earphones. 

Panasonic SL-SX240:2000

A nice Panasonic portable CD player with a simple design is the SL-SX240.

It’s a not a circle shaped player, but rather with a curved edge at the bottom to the middle with angled sides near the top. 

The color is silver with blue arounfd the controls on the top.

Buttons are nicely arranged in 2 sections:stop,previous,next,play/pause and mode,vol -/+/memory/recall and EQ with a purple like surround.

On one side is: hold, headphone and a DC-in jack at the back, and the display is quite small but easy to read.

10 second anti-shock protection is offered on this model-but adjustable anti-shock settings:POS1/POS2 is not available on the SX240
2 EQ settings are offered:one-stage S-XBS (Panasonic’s name for bass boost” and TRAIN. 

The sound is very nice with warm mids and lows. 

Photo:

D-EJ626CK:2000

The Sony D-EJ626CK is a Sony PCDP that was released in 2000 and is part of the EJ620 series which replaced the earlier entry-level EJ610 series (which used the old CD Walkman logo) 

Mine came in a very nice silver and grey color-silver on top, grey on the bottom, the EJ620 series also came in other colors as well. 

Most controls are on the top of the player:arranged in a half-circle style, along with a very nice blue backlit display.

Opening the player to insert a CD is via a spring-loaded slide switch

The stop button is dual-function:stop and battery charging, while volume buttons are not a rotary dial, but rather two buttons for volume – and volume +, which is also seen on the later D-EJ011. 

A proper Line-out is included as is a remote jack. 

The CK in the model means it would have come with a kit for in-car use. 

No MEGA BASS is available on the player-only a basic two stage bass-boost but has a “volume graph” display style. 

G-PROTECTION is on this the model-and its switch is near where a CD is placed. 

I’m guessing this model was released after the Discman name was retired,there are still CD Walkman models with a version of ESP in 2000-by 2002 all CD Walkman players would use the G-PROTECTION system. 

Of note, some 1999 D-E/D-EJ model have G-PROTECTION-so this anti-shock system was introduced in late 1999. 

AVLS is present as well-it’s located out of the way, in the battery compartment which I like-no accidential turning it on/off. 

You can use rechargeable or akaline AA batteries with this player-use the stop button to charge rechargeable type batteries when you connect a 4.5v AC adaptor.

I like to use Sony’s own AC-E455 adaptor which has been around for many year, dating back to at least 1992 or 1993 and supplied with various CD Walkman/Discman models. 

Sound-extremely subtle bass enhancement with the bass boost and I played some Enya music on it and the sound reproduced was very nice. 

The bass boost is not as strong on this model unlike models with MEGA BASS. 

One feature that would later be common on 2002-2006 CD Walkman players is CD-R/CD-RW playback makes a appearance on D-EJ626: despite being a 2000 can play CD-R/CD-RW discs but playback of these is not as refined as later models would be.

Line-out

I used a set of 1994 Sony SRS-A20 speakers which feature a built-in amplifier to test the line-out on the EJ626.

No distortion was audible and the player sounds fantastically loud-a bit room-filling, even more so with the bass enhancer on. 

Remotes:
Just like on the EJ761, the RM-MC33L will work-buttons do function, but the remote display doesn’t. 

Mine did not come with the original remote, so I use a RM-MC33L instead. 

Other:
The D-EJ620 series and D-F20 use the same optical pickup unit:the CDM-3123EBA. 
Photo:

D-F20:2001
For a 2001 model, I take a look at the D-F20.

It’s a AM/FM capable CD Walkman, with 5 bands available-these can be either AM or FM. 

The design is slightly larger due to the internal AM antenna and not as round as the other Sony players. 

There is no line-out on this model, but I suspect, as with the D-EJ011, the headphone can be used as a psuedo line-out. 

Again like the D-EJ626, a 2 stage bass boost is available with the same “volume graph” display type.

Presetting FM/AM stations is simple using the BAND/Memory button, the reception in my area is flawless:it’s a US model but found and purchased in Australia. 

Opening the player to insert a CD is via a button instead of a spring loaded slide switch. 

Sony’s over the ear style MDR-24 headphones are supplied and have nice bass and balanced sound. 

2001 was the last year that ESP was featured in a wide variety of “D-” series players- it’s ESPMAX on the F20. 

Sony introduced ESP starting from the early 1990’s models and continued until early 2002 when it made ESP the best it could-the F20 is virtually skip-free

But as with the 2000 D-EJ626, other 2001 models used the G-PROTECTION name instead of ESP. 

Both switches for AVLS and ESPMAX are located on the inside of the D-F20 where a CD is placed. 

Sound quality is quite nice:nicely defined mids and highs with the bass boost enabled, I played some rock and pop:it sounds quite lovely and the bass is nicely enhanced-not too loud, just the right level. 

Remotes:
You cannot use a remote with this model-there’s no combo 4 pin connector/minijack.

Line-out

No line-out jack is available on this model-you can use the headphone jack instead. 

Photo

Sony D-EJ761

In late 2001-2002 Sony designed and released some very thin models (eg. D-EJ2000/D-EJ1000), and there were some models released that could play MP3 discs.

CD Walkman models around this time are of a full-circle design and became progressivly thinner and lighter-some barely bigger than a 12cm compact disc.

In mid-2002, the ESP name disappeared after about 11 years-finally G-PROTECTION became the new name and it has been used ever since.

On the other hand, there some CD Walkman models that used the ESP name for anti-shock protection in early 2002. 

Sony came out with CD/RW and MP3 compatible models around this time.

Also a bookmark feature appeared on CD Walkmans in this year.

Sony standardized on the optical pickup units starting this year-with most 2002 units using the DAX-25E pickup. 

The Sony D-EJ761 is a impressive and well featured CD Walkman from 2002

My EJ761 is finished in a attractive blue color, the EJ761 has line- out, headphone jack with remote jack,with minimal amount of buttons-playback is via a jog dial instead of next/ previous buttons and a small display at the top. 

Just flick the jog dial back and forwards to select tracks, long flick to fast forward/go backwards. 

This makes finding a track to play very easy and is very user-friendly. 

Opening the player to insert a CD is via a spring-loaded slide switch.

Also, this player is quite slim, though a slight bit taller than the D-NE800 

The EJ761 sounded beautiful-it must have good DACs used, when used with Sony earphones the sound was very good.

Digital MEGA BASS is present on this player:it is 2 stage, volume bar display type again. 

The EJ761 has dedicated line out, different play modes (repeat,shuffle,PGM play, repeat 1) and built-in battery charging via a AC adaptor and plays CD-RW’s-but not MP3 discs. 

Remotes:
The RM-MC33L will work-buttons do function, but the remote display doesn’t. 

Line-out

I used a set of 1994 Sony SRS-A20 speakers to test the line-out on the EJ761.

No distortion was audible with MEGA BASS on and the player sounds very loud-the best line-out quality of the players I’m reviewing here. 

Photo:

Panasonic SL-SX430:2003

The Panasonic SL-SX430 is a MP3 capable portable CD player from 2003.

Controls are arrranged in a half-circle on the top-and there are 9 buttons:memo,mode,EQ,play,stop,forward,previous,vol-/+.

EQ is impressive with a good range of options:a audio remaster feature for MP3 discs, 2 stage S-XBS bass boost (S-XBS/S-XBS+), and a live EQ type.

While it’s not adjustable or varied as say, the Sony D-NE800, I liked what is on offer. 

Panasonic calls this sound system “D.Sound”

The display is split into 2 parts which is quite funky and a fun design style. 

The SL-SX430 is impressive in sound quality-when playing a MP3 disc, the SQ is beautifully balanced. 

Line-out
There’s no line-out on the player.

Photo:


Sony D-NE800:2003

The Sony D-NE800 is a premium CD Walkman and was released in 2003.

This CD Walkman wasn’t released in the United States, but was available in Australia, Europe and Asia.

In 2003 Sony started to come out with models that can play ATRAC discs that are created with the Windows-only SonicStage and MP3 playback became featured on a lot of models in this year.

It came with a RM-MC33L remote,MDR-E808SP earphones, and a charging stand. 

The design is impressive, very beautiful and quite slim:a glossy and mirror effect blue with white bottom, and the battery cover is made out of metal instead of plastic. 

Inserting a disc is via a slide switch.

Controls are elegant-a 5 way control for next/previous/display/menu/and play/pause and stop, which is very easy to use and minimalistic. 

The 5-way control is shaped like a click-wheel, but with physical buttons. 

There’s a small LED operation light near the display, which can change color depending on what you are doing.

All of this is arranged in a white oval section on the top. 

The only buttons around the sides of the player is a slide switch to insert a disc and volume buttons (vol -/vol +).

The hold switch is located on the bottom-just like some other CD Walkman models. 

On the supplied remote, controls are:a jog dial,1 line LCD display,hold,display button,P MODE,SOUND,Stop,slider for play/next/previous/folder -/+. 

Sound options are extensive:a 6-band parametric equalizer, and soft,active,heavy sound modes.

It is very adjustable-you can adjust lows,mids and highs:now that is a great choice for a audiophile. 

There’s no MEGA BASS, but active and heavy sound types mimic MEGA BASS type enhancement quite well. 

G-PROTECTION is 2 level-1/2 levels (with 2 giving the most anti-shock protection). 

Line-out is via the headphone jack, and this can be activated through the D-NE800 menus. 

Playback modes are very extensive and these are:
-auto ranking
-auto ranking shuffle play
-by group
-all files in a selected group
-random
-repeat
-m3u playlist play
-bookmark (like on 2002-2006 CD Walkman)
-program play
-shuffle group

An additional playback mode:timer can be set via the NE800’s menu system (for playing a disc for a certain period of time). 

The D-NE800 can not only play audio CD’s,CD-R/CD-RW discs but can also play MP3/ATRAC discs-for this purpose: Sony has built in a neat track browser system, accessed using the display/menu button (the track browser will work for audio compact discs too). 

As you would expect from Sony included support for playback of ATRAC3 discs created with SonicStage on “D-NE” players starting in 2003. 

ATRAC3 is Sony’s own audio format offering good compression and efficient storage-for example a 2CD album will only require 80-100MB of space on a CD-RW. 

You can use SonicStage to make ATRAC discs to use in the D-NE800, while you can use something like iTunes or Windows Media Player to create a MP3 CD. 

When playing a MP3 or ATRAC disc, song, artist and album information is displayed. 

A very nice feature only available for ATRAC discs is gapless playback-you can enable this using the “seamless” menu option. 

 

The D-NE800 sounds beautiful-sounds are perfectly reproduced and with the extemely adjustable EQ, it’s possible to create the sound quality you’d like to listen to, for me heavy highs with lots of bass. 

NH-10MWM/NH-14WM “gumstick” batteries can be used for upto 130hrs playback time and are charged with a included stand (BCA-WM91), but a AA battery case is usually supplied-mine did not come with one.

Remotes:
Yes, the D-NE800 has the remote/headphone jack and is supplied with a RM-MC33L remote. 

Line out:
The D-NE800 is very loud and quite powerful sounding. 

Line-out is via the headphone jack and is switched via the NE800’s menus, it’s a digital based line-out with a 3.5mm jack. 
Photo:

D-EJ011:2006
There have been a lot of CD Walkman models and before that the Sony Discman models released from 1984 until late 2006 but today there are no newer models. 

The D-EJ011 is such a example-being notable for being a part of the last new series of basic PCDP’s by Sony.

A step up from the EJ011 is the EJ017/021CK series which include a remote and car kit.

The NE240/NF340 added MP3 playback and its display is on the top.

All of these are examples of the final and best generation of Sony CD Walkman. 

Being the most basic model, it is sold for under $50.

The design and controls
It has a full circle design-a bit bigger than a CD, and a two tone color scheme: silver top, black bottom. 

It’s not as slim compared to the likes of the D-NE800 and D-EJ761-in fact about the same size as the D-EJ626CK.
A silver ring in the center of the top is used for a decorative purpose and makes this player quite stylish. 

Opening the player to insert a CD is via a spring-loaded slide switch

Controls are placed along the bottom, with sound/P MODE,VOL -/+,open,a 1 line display, stop/pause ,next/previous.

Unlike the intuitive and smooth operating jog lever on players like the EJ761, Sony went for a separate set of next and previous buttons-similar to the D-NE800 and D-EJ626CK. 

Although there is plenty of room on both sides of the EJ011, Sony chose to smartly position the hold switch on the bottom. 

Some buttons have double functions-eg.
P MODE toggles between several play modes:repeat, shuffle, repeat one 
Sound has 2 settings: SND1/SND2 and AVLS

There is also the bookmark feature as seen on 2002-2006 models.

Unfortunately, there is no backlit display (other models feature this-eg. D-EJ626-so it’s best to use this player in a well-lit place. 

Sound Features

Sony’s Digital MEGA BASS is present with 2 stages-SND1 and SND2. 

Unlike older Discman/CD Walkman models, there’s no volume graph type display-only “SND1/SND2″ to indicate the MEGA BASS level. 

AVLS (volume limiter) is present and is turned on by a long press of the P Mode button. 

Mechanism
The D-EJ011 uses the DAX-25E optical pickup which is very responsive.

The spindle design is of special mention:it features a series of steel balls with springs to firmly hold the disc in place. 

SQ

Being the last of its kind-no newer CD Walkmans were released after the FJ030/040/EJ011/NE240, the EJ011 has nice sound-eg. listening to Michael Jackson music with MEGA BASS sounded very good with a nice wide sound stage. 

Remotes:
There is only a standard 3.5mm jack on this player-so using a Walkman remote is not a possibility. 

Line-out
No line-out jack is available on this model-the headphone jack could be used for this instead. 

Photo:

Updates:
5/10/2008 – added “remote” and “line-out” part to each player section, added info or corrected various parts of the review.
7/10/2008 – in most sections, I added photos of each unit and also added more information about certain features.
12/10/2008 – added reviews of 2 Panasonic models
13/10/2008 – D-NE800 added
15/10/2008 – Panasonic SL-SX240 & SX325 added, added more details to SL-SX430 and D-NE800 section
17/10/2008 – cleaned up and reworded parts of the review
18/10/2008 – removed SL-S155 from review because I’ll be getting hopefully, some pre 1999 players soon), updated SL-SX240,D-EJ011,D=EJ761 and D-NE800 sections
19/10/2008 – revised D-NE800 section to cover MP3 and ATRAC disc playback 


 


 

 

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