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Good Cheap Portable w/juicy amp

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Hey all, two weeks ago I strolled into my local walmart and stumbled upon an awesome cdp for a mere $30! It's the Lenoxx CD-87. Thanks for the lenoxx recommendation Hawkeye! You're right in every respect!

Features:
It's less than an inch thick (about 7/8 mostly, 1in at the top of the buttons) with a 45 second skip protection, which you have to turn off every time you turn it on. Personally, I find the sound degradation is next to nothing, but since it wastes batteries, I still turn it off. Anyway, the skip protection really works. Skip protection without ESP is ok, but nothing special. It's got the usual round of features like programmability and random play, and it comes with its own ac adapter. The amp section is good, it is rated at 20mW. Yes, you read that right. TWENTY! Also, the construction is really good, the spindle base is made out of metal (!) and the cd platter spins really nicely on it. Actually, I bought it because my sony spindle broke and it's wobbling like crazy now making CDs unreadable past the 3rd track or so, so this is a very nice surprise. According to the manual, it uses a 3 beam tracking system too, which is another pleasant surprise! Also, the feel of the buttons is way better than any of my sony portables. This is a really solid unit. Not only that, but the unit looks really nice, especially for $30. It's light metallic blue; sorta resembles a panasonic.
http://www.lenoxx.com/CD%20Personals/cd87b.htm

Sound:
As Hawkeye said, the lenoxx has a really smooth sound. It is much more laid back than my sony CDP, which at times becomes so harsh that it hurts my ears. I listen to classical music, and sometimes those violins can get pretty piercing on bad recordings, if you know what I mean. This cdp definitely tones down my grados a little bit and makes them more laid back. Also, I just got a pair of etymotics and I'm still doing some evaluation... Haven't quite gotten the seal down pat yet, so I shouldn't make too many comments. In anycase, it doesn't quite sound as clear or deep as the lineout of my Denon cd player, but then again, the denon is definitely not portable. However, the etys do sound a bit better on the denon.

Weaknesses:
You didn't think you would get away with a perfect cdp for $30 did you? No, you won't. But keep in mind most of these "problems" are just me being fussy about a really cheap player. Firstly, the battery indicator only tells you when your batteries are about to die, rather than how much is left, which is a rather trivial complaint. Battery usage is supposedly around 8 hours for 2 AAs, which isn't terrible considering the 20mW amp. Another quirk is that the battery compartment doesn't have the greatest tolerances so your batteries will move around when you handle the unit. This is really annoying, but I fixed it by wrapping the second battery (obviously not covering the terminals) with a small piece of tissue to make the fit tighter. Worked perfectly. Another minor complaint I have is that when I play CD-Rs with anti-shock on, sometimes it will get stuck at the end of a track, and you have to press forward to continue the CD. Not a big deal, and it doesn't happen when you turn anti-skip off.
Also, here is the biggie...apparently the power supply circuit is not filtered so when you plug in the AC adapter the headphone jack hisses. It's a pretty bad hiss too, at least it is to me. With batteries there is no hiss whatsoever. Personally, I could care less because when I use it with the AC adapter I'd be using it with my cmoy amp anyway, which is dead silent. Also, there is only one level of bass boost and it sounds horrible, but heh, what are you to expect from bass boost anyway. If you happen to like the bass boost, you will be happy to know that you can also turn on the bass boost for the line out too. I have no idea whether this affects the lineout quality, but I use my cmoy from the lineout and it sounds fantastic so far. And what's really cool is that when I'm on the go I won't need to drag around my cmoy cause of that 20mW amp! Great stuff!

Conclusions:
Overall, this is outstanding for a $30 cdp (yes, that's regular price, not on sale). I think it might even be better than the ratshack model that has been all the rage in the past few months. I don't know how long this thing will last, but hey at that price it's easy to buy a replacement or two. As I said though, it looks like it's a solid unit, so I don't think I'll have many problems, if any.

http://www.lenoxx.com/CD%20Personals/CD%20Personals.htm
Here is the link to lenoxx's website. Originally, I wanted to buy the round version of the CD-91 because it's got a radio and it's even smaller for $40, but my local walmart only had the CD-91 in the big fat ugly case you see in the manual (there are different cases for the CD91). The CD-91 I saw has HUGE! It was like 1.5inches thick and just...well big and ugly. So I went with the CD-87 and I'm quite happy indeed.

So again thanks goes out to Hawkeye for getting the word out on these Lenoxx players, and as always, happy listening!

btw, I'm now jim...jc, my former name on headwize is too short! doh!
post #2 of 18
huh, I never thought that lenoxx might be a contender in the portable CDP market. I may need a replacement for my dying Panasonic SL-SW860 (I don't want to though, I love this player) and this might be a good cheap short term solution. Thanks for your review!
post #3 of 18
That Lennox sounds very interesting, jim. I just may haved to pick one up. Thanks for the excellent review.
Neruda, why is your SW-SL860 dying? I hope it's not a genetic defect, as I have the SW-SL870!
post #4 of 18
Joe, it's taking about 45 seconds on average to start up and flashing an "F 15" signal all the time. I think it's because dust is building up inside the player so the laser can't move down the little "bar" it travels on as easily. I've tried to open it up once or twice but haven't succeeded. I'm going to try again though, and this time I'll remove the lid as well. wish me luck!
post #5 of 18
Quote:
Originally posted by Neruda
Joe, it's taking about 45 seconds on average to start up and flashing an "F 15" signal all the time. I think it's because dust is building up inside the player so the laser can't move down the little "bar" it travels on as easily. I've tried to open it up once or twice but haven't succeeded. I'm going to try again though, and this time I'll remove the lid as well. wish me luck!

Uh oh. Knock on wood. What was strap's little prayer at the end of the infamous butterknife thread?

post #6 of 18
umm....I don't know...

But I did manage to get the cover off, so that's a start.
post #7 of 18
Hey, thanks for the review. For $30 I can't pass it up. 20 mW -- that's fantastic, eh? I was all pumped to find out my old school Sony had a 15 mW amp.

After I use it (beat it up a little) I'll be sure to let you know how it held up.

Only hurdle in this whole thing is Walmart. Walmart is like a K-Mart full of Anthony Robbins' as employees. However, I do like the little bouncy head in their commercials ( ) that whips down the prices.
post #8 of 18
Quote:
Walmart is like a K-Mart full of Anthony Robbins' as employees
- ROFL!!
post #9 of 18
yeah, I'd be slightly embarrassed to buy my next CD player at walmart, but if that's what it takes them I'll do it!

Not that I'm sure I'll buy one of these (I'm sort of after the CD-91 myself), but my panasonic is still malfunctioning and isn't getting any better. Since I have no money, one of these will probably be my only choice. Dammit, though! Such a short battery life!
post #10 of 18
Thread Starter 
Haha, you guys are hilarious! Anyway, yeah, it is quite humiliating to buy a CD player from walmart...and a no brander at that! But really, it's not all that bad. My gear is disgusting looking...a no brand cd player, a little ugly white box amplifier, and goofy looking blue and red things sticking out of my ears. Nevertheless, one of the guys at work asked me if my lenoxx was some really high-end pcdp, cause he hadn't ever heard of the brand before!

Neruda, tell me if you find that round version of the CD-91, maybe it's just my local walmart that doesn't carry it. Also, if you do get a lenoxx, you'd be a great candidate to compare it against your panasonic, since I don't have one.
post #11 of 18
hey, does the entire Lenoxx line have 20mW amps? How do you know the CD-91 has a 20mW headphone amp?
post #12 of 18
Thread Starter 
No, iirc only the cd-87 has the 20mW amp. I think all the others have 15mW amps. You can take a look at the manuals that are online; they have all the specs printed in there. I know for sure that the CD-91 has a 15mW.
post #13 of 18
damn! I thought you wanted the CD-91 because it had a 20mW amp also. Oh well...
post #14 of 18
Neruda: Try gettin one of those cans of compressed air and spraying the areas where you suspect dust buildup thoroughly.
post #15 of 18
I'm starting to doubt that it is dust, though. The inside area that I did see what totally clean, and I don't think the section I didn't check could have gotten mich dirtier. It might have been my abuse, since I was very unkind to this player.
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