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Welcome to the 1990s
- 5-CD changer, cassette compatibility
- No USB input, no subwoofer
Sharp’s CD-MPX880H is a sound system that has legacy format support in the form of two cassette trays, as well as a five-CD stacker. It fulfils its tasks admirably but we would have liked to see some more advanced features like USB support.
Price$ 299.00 (AUD)
In a market filled with near-identical mini hi-fi units, there are always a few models that stand out from the crowd. The CD-MPX880H is one of these, but not necessarily for the right reasons. It can hold multiple CDs and cassettes but if you’re looking for modern features like USB inputs this isn’t the system for you.
The CD-MPX880H has the same divisive styling that permeates the market: the faux-classy, space-ship looks that smack of budget design. But flimsy plastic aside, the system does look decent. The control unit has quite a busy front, with the CD trays and cassette decks interrupted by a sizeable central volume dial.
Alongside the control unit are the system’s two bookshelf-sized speaker units. They each possess a one-inch horn tweeter alongside a six-inch woofer — par for the course in the mini hi-fi arena. They’re styled similarly to the control unit, with matt black veneer sides and polished silver accents. They’re made of relatively light materials and don't lend much of a quality feel to the system.
It’s a capable setup that's certainly suitable for a large room or living space. The system has a five-CD stacking system and is able to switch between each individual tray with surprising speed. The tray doors are a little flimsy, but unless you’re overly rough this won’t be a problem.
A slightly amusing feature of the CD-MPX880H is the inclusion of two cassette tape decks. Reminiscent of decades past, the tape decks allow for playback and recording from CDs and the system’s AM/FM radio — great if you need some jammin’ mix-tapes but otherwise not particularly useful. In addition to this novelty there are also the somewhat more useful features of MP3/WMA CD playback and a 3.5mm headphone socket for connecting an MP3 player or external audio device.
The CD-MPX880H pumps out an impressive 140 Watts per channel. Whether this rating is feasible is another question — there were noticeable levels of distortion at anywhere above half volume. In the system’s defence, this is more than loud enough for everyday listening.
Sound quality from the unit is a little superior to the competition, with surprisingly deep and measured bass response setting it apart from the masses of near-identical units.
Treble is not the unit's strong point. At low volumes it’s measured enough, but it soon becomes harsh and ragged when volume creeps up. It’s sufficient for normal listening and more than capable of reproducing MP3-quality sound, but if you’re expecting to listen to crystal-clear female vocals you might be out of luck.
Mid-range is the dominant frequency from these speakers. Guitar solos are prominent and warm, but not particularly detailed. Mid-range sound is very blurred and smooth — which makes music sound somewhat relaxing, but there’s no nuance whatsoever to be found.
Bass is another powerful contender, despite the absence of a dedicated subwoofer. The six-inch drivers allow a lot of air to be moved at lower frequencies; bass is definitely slow and booming but at least it’s somewhat present.
There’s no support for USB devices, but this isn’t much of an issue: if you wanted newer inputs you wouldn’t be purchasing a product with cassette tape inputs. As it stands, Sharp’s CD-MPX880H fulfils its intended roles without any significant shortcomings.
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