TDK has made a trademark of its slim-line NXT speaker technology, having used it consistently in past products such as the NX-02, Tremor xa60 and NX-03. The latest entry into the series is the NX4CD mini hi-fi system. It has a stylish design and it sounds relatively good, but some sacrifices to sound quality are a factor of its slim design.
- Slim design, small footprint
- Lacks mid-range, no AM radio
For a system aimed at casual radio and CD listeners, the NX4CD offers great looks and an easy to use interface.
Price$ 219.95 (AUD)
The NX4CD has a modern yet classy look which would suit any living space. Its small size means it can easily fit on a bookshelf or mantelpiece, and the components have a solid feel due to the metal speaker grill design, despite being quite light.
The central piece of the system is the single CD player, with support for SD cards and USB flash drives or MP3 player inputs. An FM transmitter and antenna are built-in, but there is no reception for the AM band — presumably to reduce the physical footprint needed. This highlights the direction TDK is taking with its products — targeting the next-generation consumer whose focus is on stored MP3s and flash memory rather than radio broadcasts.
The CD door, instead of swinging outward, slides upwards. While this looks great, the internal motors are a bit noisy and this design detracts from the style of the system a little. This also means the unit needs extra head room to accommodate this mechanism, and this may be a consideration if you plan to fit it in a tight space.
The unit's speakers are rated at five watts each. While this wattage means the speakers aren't suitable for a large room or party situation, they're more than adequate to fill a living room.
When we looked at the NX-03 we loved the crisp, clean sound that the speakers were able to reproduce. Highs are similarly rich and clear with the NX4CD too and there was no evident distortion even at loud volumes. Treble is one strong point of this system, remaining consistent throughout our tests.
Lower bass notes are also generated well by the standalone subwoofer, with its four inch driver which is rated at 30 watts. The punch of the subwoofer really gave the music energy, especially at loud volumes. The subwoofer definitely seems to be tuned for predominantly low-range, meaning that though there was a deep kick to the sound, mid-bass was largely missing.
The lack of higher bass and mid-range notes is where the unit falters. Presumably because of the thin speaker technology, mid-range notes are extremely quiet, almost inaudible at lower volumes. This isn't an issue when you're listening to the radio, but if you enjoy styles such as a cappella music you may find, for example, lower male vocals slightly weak.
Separation between the speakers is good, with a noticeably diverse soundstage being created when the speakers were distanced from each other. The low-range focus of the subwoofer means that it is often unable to be easily pinpointed in the room, adding to the immersive sound quality.
The TDK system doesn't offer any options for sound adjustment other than a bass boost button, which we found gave the system an appreciable jump in mid-bass, and it made music sound richer and warmer. This is a feature that we think improved the overall sound, giving it a more balanced feel appropriate for listening to music that focuses on mid-range, like classical and acoustic styles.
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