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Walkmans, Small Portables and Boomboxes Talk about your Walkman-type and other small portable units here.

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  #1  
Old 05-08-2014, 04:40 PM
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RonChiChio RonChiChio is offline
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New boombox: Sony CFD-S50

Saw this while browsing amazon.com:

http://www.amazon.com/Sony-CFDS50-Po...pr_product_top



Quote:
Originally Posted by Amazon
Technical Details
Brand Name: Sony
Model: CFDS50BLK
Battery Average Life: 12 Hours
Product Description
From the Manufacturer
Enjoy full-function portable audio at home or on the go with the easy to use CFD-S50 boombox. With MEGA BASS for extended bass response, and your choice of CD, Cassette, and an FM/AM radio playback, it also operates on AC and battery power. That said, it’s powerful, convenient, and always ready to entertain.

Enjoy full-function stereo sound
Stereo speakers housed in a bass-reflex design deliver an enjoyable listening experience.

Battery operated for portability
Enjoy your favorite music on the go, for up to 19 hours1 (6 size C, sold separately). For battery swaps that are a snap, the battery compartment quickly and easily clicks open and closed.

Enjoy FM/AM radio programming
A built-in digital FM/AM Stereo Tuner with 30 station preset memory (20 FM, 10 AM) lets you choose from a wide variety of radio, talk and music programming.

Enjoy convenient CD playback
Enjoy your favorite CDs or personally recorded CD-R and CD-RW discs, including those with MP3 files2.

Cassette playback and record
Playback your old mix tapes and record new ones with the built-in cassette deck.

Plays well with others
An auxiliary audio input lets you connect digital music players to the speaker dock for easy access to your music (cable not included).

MEGA BASS
Bass boost circuitry enhances low-frequency bass performance at the touch of a button.

Comes equipped with everything you need
Complete with headphone jack and AC power cable, the CFD-S50 is ready to go when you are.


1.Actual performance varies based on settings, environmental conditions, and usage.
2.Playback may not be compatible with all files, depending upon recording conditions.

Product Description
Enjoy full-function portable audio at home or on the go with the easy to use CFD-S50 boom box. With MEGA BASS for extended bass response, and your choice of CD, Cassette, and an FM/AM radio playback, it also operates on AC and battery power. That said, it's powerful, convenient, and always ready to entertain.
I never seen this one before, it must've been released within the past year. All the reviews were posted a few days ago, and the instruction manual .pdf on Sony's website is copyrighted 2013. I love that it can also play mp3 CDs and that it has an AUX jack. I'm now thinking of buying this.
  #2  
Old 05-08-2014, 06:25 PM
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ke4mcl ke4mcl is offline
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it does actually look like a great all in one box. plays legacy media as well as accommodating modern players. if you get one, give us a review will ya!
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  #3  
Old 05-09-2014, 01:18 AM
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Looks like an updated version of the CFD-S05, which lacks MP3 playback. FWIW, there's a variant without the cassette deck.

They certainly are built a notch up in quality compared to a run-of-the-mill "generic" chinese CD/Radio/Cassette boombox (e.g. the cassette deck actually has full FF/RW auto-stop, not found in cheaper mechs), and it also records a notch quieter, making it not totally useless for making straight MP3/CD -> cassette copies. The Aux in also makes it useful for a lot of other things (e.g. recording computer audio out/using it as a"multimedia speaker").

The only problem is that when they are sold alongside similar mini systems with similar features (e.g. the Sony CMT-NEZ3) the price difference is usually non-existent or even in favor of the mini, which will usually have better amp/speakers, so unless you really need the portability it makes little sense to choose the boombox.
  #4  
Old 05-09-2014, 01:39 AM
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Nice to see a major name still manufacturing cassette recorders of some description.

However the "product details" on Sony's UK site fail to mention that it even has a cassette recorder function!

Eventually found the manual and the specs say that frequency response is 80Hz-10KHz so, sadly, I am guessing DC bias. No W&F figure is even given and it's type I only.
  #5  
Old 05-09-2014, 01:59 AM
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The CFD-S05 is AC bias with PM erase head (so you could call that "DC erasure"), as it has been the norm for BPC boomboxes since the 80s.

With pure DC bias you'd get nearly unlistenable tapes, which is clearly not the case here. I've only seen (and heard!) pure DC bias on ultra-portables (e.g. "recording walkmans"). And boy, does it show....

The freq. response itself, without mentioning at what level and whether it's PB/REC usually refers to recording at -10dB. Some manuals of similar devices that "extend" this to 14-15 kHz at -20 dB, while PB usually has a fuller range. W&F is also pointless to mention: it will be the same found in the millions of boomboxes made in the last 30 years using the Tanashim mecha. And FWIW, it's a pretty decent mecha for what it is. The only weak point it has with regards to W&F is the smallish pinch roller, which hardens and becomes slippery relatively quickly. I've been able to "revive" such mechas (found on devices made decades apart!) by transplanting pinch rollers between them.

However, since you got me curious, I'll try to record a "sweep" sound from CD to cassette with my CFD-S05 today and post the results here. My ears tell me that it does not magically make frequencies above 10 kHz disappear ;-)

Last edited by Velktron; 05-09-2014 at 02:06 AM.
  #6  
Old 05-09-2014, 02:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Velktron View Post
My ears tell me that it does not magically make frequencies above 10 kHz disappear ;-)
With the help of the single driver fullrange speakers, probably it does. :')
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  #7  
Old 05-09-2014, 04:06 AM
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Since I found the PDF manual on Sony's UK site I would assume they are using the standard frequency response measurement of +/- 3dB at -20dB....as anything non-standard would have to be pointed out under British law. The only other cassette machine I've ever seen with such a low spec was a Binatone Piece of garbage that I owned in the early 80s that had DC recording bias....and a Radio Shack radio/cassette from the late 80s similarly 'featured'.

Any cassette machine I have ever owned or studied with AC recording bias had frequency response given as 50Hz-12KHz at the very worst. Even the cheap-o-crap Radio Shack handheld that's still on sale today.

FWIW DC bias isn't always terrible sounding. The Ferguson 3T07 used DC bias with response given to 10KHz but it sounded OK. Just not in any way hi-fi.

Still, it's worthwhile doing a sine sweep and analysing the replay on a decent deck. Of course there probably won't be a cliff at 10KHz, probably a serious decline with some activity up to 14KHz or so. But for the reasonably flat response to be only 80-10KHz is pretty basic.
  #8  
Old 05-09-2014, 04:45 AM
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A simple way to check for AC vs DC bias is simply to monitor overall output level: with pure DC bias, it peaks way lower than it does even with poorly implemented AC bias, for the simple fact that DC bias can only use one quadrant of the tape's magnetic curve, while AC bias can use two quadrants. Increased noise (in addition to the DC or PM erase head's rumble) is also another dead giveaway.






I have a chinese Waxiba cassette/radio unit which must be using DC bias, as everything recorded with is extremely noisy and scratchy, while actual output levels hardly ever register -6 dB on a deck with peak meters.
  #9  
Old 05-11-2014, 06:19 AM
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The Final Showdown

Well, I did a very crude "frequency response" test. I used the following decks, in order:
  • Sony TC-WE305 (source: portable CD player). Recorded with the meters showing -10 dB
  • Luxman K-373 (source: portable CD player). Recorded with justinput level showing -10 dB (actual tape monitor output was lower)
  • Sony CFD-S05 boombox (source: built-in CD player). ALC, so nothing to set.
  • Sony CFD-S05 boombox (source: aux-in connected to portable CD player). Also full ALC, nothing to set.

to record a CD-RW Audio with a 30-second 20-22000 Hz sweep at -10 dB. I used the same C60 Maxell UR "Tinted Oval Window" tape on everything.

The Sony TC-WE305 is used as an example of a "low end deck", the Luxman as that of a "hi-end" deck (hey, it's the best I've got ) and ofc everybody's eyes are on the Sony CFD, the boombox. I used both ways to play the CD with the boombox (both built-in CD player and aux-in jack).

For final transfer to the PC, I used the Luxman K-373 for playback, and set the input level so that the first sweep would peak at about half-amplitude.

So, my interpretation of the results, looking at the waveforms and the spectrograms:
  • Both the Luxman and he Sony TC-W, being "true decks" with AC erasure and AC bias, performed more or less the same on such a basic tape, with the TC-W being a tad noisier and having a less flat frequency response, but that's expected of such a basic deck. Still, both get usable response until 15 kHz and even beyond, being capable of making even such a basic tape sound good.
  • The Sony CFD, with its permanent magnet erase head, has always a noisier background than both "true" decks. The ALC during recording also makes things harder. However, it's obvious that response decays rapidly after 10 kHz. I'm not so sure that this is not done deliberately by design. In any case, this is during recording only. Playback specs must certainly be a bit better, as it can obviously play back tapes better than those it can record
  • Channel balance on the CFD is off, at least with this tape.
  • The CD players' DACs introduce some obvious aliasing and secondary harmonics, especially at higher frequencies. The CFD's internal CD-player is worse than the noname portable I used, in this respect

Anyway, the conclusion of my quick and dirty test: the tape sections on these boomboxes certainly do suck, if you were expecting hi-fi performance, but are probably adequate for playback or casual recording from e.g. the radio. Just don't use them for critical listening material and then wonder why the tapes you made don't sound so good.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg sweep-wave.jpg (14.9 KB, 10 views)
File Type: jpg sweep-spectrum.jpg (18.2 KB, 15 views)

Last edited by Velktron; 05-11-2014 at 11:25 AM. Reason: no teeth
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