Sony CMT-MX550i 

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The Sony CMT-MX550i is a elongated rather nice audio unit, it has DAB and FM radio, tray CD player, external audio in as well as the ability to play iPod and iPhone and to cap it off it can also play input from a USB stick drive for good measure.

Sony CMT MX550i compact hifi system
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With leads inserted in the rear it measures 31x28x12cm, the last figure the height might increase according to the size of your iPod. The iPod dock is a drop down open unit on the front and is 9.5cm from the top of the unit.

It is supplied with two 1.5metre long wide aerials that push onto the DAB and FM aerial sockets at the rear of the unit, it looks crude but they work surprisingly well giving me excellent reception in my area by just extending the wire to around 80degrees.

While on leads the speaker leads are also 1.5metres long and the hard wired power lead is the shortest at only 1.3 metres. The rear of the unit has the FM socket around halfway up the back the hard wired mains lead near the base and further along the DAB socket also around half way up, the speaker leads connect near the top of the rear.

The sides are clear as is the base apart from four tiny rubber feet inside the circular plastic feet that raise the unit slightly. The top 4.5cm of the face is shiny black and whatever the unit displays shows through this. The bottom 6cm is a brushed grey colour and looking at it from the front has the iPod/iPhone dock on the left then a line of six push buttons and between the fifth and sixth buttons a large 4.5cm circular twist wheel along with the second, third and forth button this is chromed. The fifth button is the ubiquitous joystick control and either side and above this are two small buttons. Below all these is the tray CD and near the base is the Audio In and USB socket.

The speakers are 23x14x20cm and are black wood with a black fabric front.

The only thing that appears to me to be missing is a headphone/earbud out socket for the times you want to listen without disturbing others.

There is a 29 button remote control, for those times when it cannot be found most operations can be conducted from the front of the unit.

The instructions are a large fold out double sided sheet with eight columns and sufficient diagrams to illustrate it.

To move from one feature to another requires sequential movement of the function button but once you know the order of the items you can move back as well as forward for slightly quicker access to the one you want. It remembers which function you used last and when returned from standby it starts at that feature on next switch on.

It can display a clock when in standby mode however this needs to be manually set most units today will take the time from broadcast stations.

Sound quality was excellent across all bands but the radio reception in my area is good and if yours is not then you might need an additional aerial to achieve this. There are separate bass and treble controls operated from the remote and there is a choice of graphic equalizers to suit most tastes.

You can of course have Presets (20 for DAB and 20 for FM) once tuned the FM station changes from a number (frequency) to a name but of course you need to know the frequency to tune to it in the first place.

There is a sleep timer function that either turns off after 100 minutes or when the CD or USB stick has played.

The Sony CMT-MX550i is available for £179.95 with free delivery from the first link below.

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Comment by Bob H, Feb 10, 2013 22:03

Nice Unit; but why no Headphone Output Jack?  I was very pleased until I tried to connect a set of Wireless Speakers our Children had just given us as an Anniversary Gift.  I cannot believe that there is no provision for this in a unit made by Sony !!!!!  I amvery disappointed in Sony with this glaring omission by their Design Group.

Does anyone out there have a "work-around" solution to add wireless speakers to this unit?  Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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OverallSony CMT-MX550i rated 80 out of 100

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