So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
Pioneer PD-F507 25 Disc CD Player
- It can hold 25 CDs
- Ugly, big, sometimes noisy, not terribly good value
If you’d like a CD jukebox and only have 25 CDs in your collection, buy this one. Otherwise, you could do better.
Price$ 499.00 (AUD)
In an age where music is increasingly being found on iPods rather than the old faithful CD, it's easy to forget that most people still have dozens of these small plastic discs hanging around. One of the most convenient aspects of the iPod revolution has been the ability to mix and match hundreds of tracks, something that is relatively difficult to do with CDs. Relatively difficult, that is, unless you have a CD jukebox such as Pioneer's PD-F507.
Firstly, we have to say that the PD-F507 is really quite awful to look at. The design of the player may have been cutting edge in the 80s, but thankfully times have changed. Clearly for Pioneer's design team they haven't. So it's back to the big-black-box look with lots of plastic, annoyingly clicky buttons and lurid stickers. This is definitely a system to hide away in the cupboard, if you can find one big enough for it to fit in.
The PD-F507 can hold up to 25 CDs in its cavernous interior. A plastic flap on the left hand side of the unit opens up to reveal an array of slots, into which the CDs slide. We were surprised to find that the PD-F507 is in fact very light for such a large machine. This is because it has no built in amplification; to use the device you'll need a separate amplifier and speakers. Connections to the amplifier are supported in the form of standard composite jacks and optical digital out. Correspondingly, the quality of the audio is fairly good.
Using the player is easy; simply connect the wires to your amplifier, plug in the power, load up the CDs and away you go. Navigating through the CDs is very easy, with the remote having all the usual buttons with the addition of next/previous disc buttons. This means all your favourite functions such as programming tracks or random play are supported too. We were a little disappointed to see that the player isn't incredibly clever though. When we tried the random function the PD-F507 would spend a while attempting to load CDs from empty slots - although this is a minor irritation as it soon moves on. Another annoyance is the speed and noisiness of the disc exchange. When using the random track feature it isn't ideal to have a ten second pause between songs accompanied by what sounds like the noise of a heavy machinery.
Extra functions that you wouldn't find on your average CD player include the ability to group CDs and program in favourite tracks. The group function means that if, for instance, you share the player with someone else, you can each program in whose CDs are in which slots so you only listen to the ones you want to hear. Up to three groups are allowed. The "best tracks" function allows you to select your favourite 15 tracks across all 25 CDs for ease of playback later. As it's unlikely you'll remember which CD is in which slot, Pioneer include a numbered wallet to slot in all the CD covers. This is a nice idea, though the wallet does look like it's come from the local discount store.
We do have some more problems with the PD-F507 however. Seeing as the system could theoretically handle in excess of 500 songs, it would be nice if there was support for CD text. This would make navigation a whole lot easier. And although this may defeat the purpose of the player, support for MP3 CDs wouldn't have gone amiss. Finally, seeing as there's nothing all that special about the player, we might actually have liked to see a larger capacity at this price range, especially given its size. 25 CDs isn't really all that many when you consider there are systems on the market that offer ten times as much capacity for not much more in price.
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