- Excellent sound quality with pumping bass, convenience of SD card recording and storage, included SD card player
- Only 128MB SD Card included, CD tray slow to open
The SC-PM71 is an exceptional sounding unit which has the added convenience of an included portable music player and the ability to record and share via the popular SD card medium. An excellent product but perhaps a little on the pricey side.
Price$ 769.00 (AUD)
The SC-PM71SD Micro System is a unique foray into the Hi-Fi world by Panasonic, combining the convenience and popularity of SD Card storage into a sound system. Panasonic haven't stopped there though and has also included the remarkably attractive SV-SD100M SD Card music player, so that you can take your recorded music wherever you go. The SV-SD100M is a very stylish and compact unit that features an OLED display, WMA , MP3 and AAC playback as well as an inbuilt FM tuner.
We were genuinely excited when we began unpacking the SC-PM71, as SD Card storage is rapidly growing and a device like this is the first of its kind. Our first impressions were positive - this sleek micro system looks fantastic and its wood grain speaker finish combines well with the chrome aluminum mirror surface of the main unit. It really creates quite a contrast that would make a great addition to any bedroom.
Setup was a relatively simple process, with only the speakers and the AC Power cable needing to be connected. There are also both FM and AM antennas, which plug directly into the back of the main unit. When we first powered up the SC-PM71, we were put off by the multitude of buttons and dials, but after a short period of use, we found the system is relatively hassle-free and its functions are not difficult to grasp.
The main selling point of the SC-PM71 is the ability to record and play off SD Cards. The unit houses an SD card slot with a chrome silver flap on its front left. You simply slide the included SD card into this slot, and you can then record from any of the three mediums provided on the SC-PM71 (CD, Cassette and Radio). It's a remarkably simple process; select the source, then the recording mode and press the record button. That's it. The three recording modes offered are XP (High-Quality), SP (Normal) and LP (Long Play). The unit records CD's to the SD card in AAC format and cards up to 1GB can be purchased. Panasonic do include a 128MB card in the sales package, but this isn't nearly enough and you'll quickly be purchasing a larger card. We also noted that the recording level is set automatically, meaning adjusting the volume or changing sound settings whilst recording won't effect the outcome.
There are some excellent features included with the SD functionality. The first is the ability to record 5 CD's in succession to an SD card with one touch. You simply insert the CD's, select the recording mode and hit record. If there isn't enough space on your SD card to record all the tracks, the display will conveniently show what track it has recorded up to (e.g. REC UNTIL DISK 3 TRACK 7). You can also record specified tracks from any disk (instead of the whole album), which we found highly useful. After the recording is completed, the SC-PM71 allows you to edit the SD Card, including erasing, moving and renaming tracks. You can also create new playlists and edit them through the unit, as well as format the SD card contents. Overall, the SD card functionality was extremely impressive, very functional and easy to use.
The SC-PM71 has three main components - a 5-disk CD player, a cassette and an AM/FM radio. The cassette compartment is located on top of the player and really, we were puzzled why Panasonic chose to include this on the unit, considering that cassette is a virtually extinct medium. However, for those who still have a pile of cassettes at home (and there are plenty of them out there), the ability to record your cassettes onto an SD card is an enticing option and does provide a way of finally throwing away those tapes. The cassette player included an interesting feature called TPS (Tape Program Sensor) which finds the beginning of a track and resumes play from that point. We found this feature extremely useful in coordination with the SD Card recording.
The AM/FM radio provides 15 presets for each band and these can be entered either manually or automatically. The latter is called "Auto Memory" which scans for channels in the area and presets them automatically at the touch of a button. The unit also has RDS (Radio Data System) broadcasting, which displays artist and track information, but this service is not currently available in Australia.
The 5 disk CD player is certainly functional, but we grew extremely frustrated with the amount of time it took to open the disk draw. At one stage, we waited about 5 or 6 seconds before it opened after we pressed the eject button and this may put some people off. It's not a major problem by any means, but it was definitely something worth mentioning. Apart from that, we experienced no issues with either the CD player and it does provide full MP3 and WMA support.
The sound quality of the SC-PM71 can be summed up in a single word: outstanding. For such a small unit, it pumps out an excellent amount of bass and also has an extremely loud volume range. We experienced no distortion or feedback at high volume levels while blasting the rest of the office into space from our test labs. Most tunes sounded crisp and clear and the SC-PM71 really suits heavy tracks with deep bass, such as Deftones' White Pony album. There are a couple of excellent sound features on the unit, including H.Bass, which provides more powerful bass on wide range speakers, Re-Master, which reproduces the frequencies lost during recording to give you a sound closer to the original, and Surround effects, which adds natural width and depth to the sound. H.Bass was definitely the standout sound feature and provided three levels of extra bass to the music, which we really appreciated.
The round out the package, the SC-PM71 also includes some convenient functions such as a clock and timer, an auto off function, a sleep timer, a play timer (which allows you to set the time music is played) and a useful display dimmer which we'd love to see on other units in this category. The SC-PM71SD pack includes a 128MB SD Card and a Panasonic SV-SD100M SD Card player.
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