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In defense of the Sony D915

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

Just to throw the cat amongst the pigeons! I have both the Sony D-915 and the Panasonic 570 discman's. I have to say up front that these are both excellent players and you can do a lot worse than get either of these two.

I purchased the Sony model first at full retail. Whilst browsing through a second-hand shop one day I came across the Panasonic for the astonishing price of £16 ($24 or thereabouts) – it would have bordered on a criminal act not to buy it even though I already had a perfectly good player with the Sony. After listening exclusively to the Panasonic machine for several weeks now, I have come to the conclusion that I prefer the Sony in all departments.

Sound Quality.
Both players sound excellent. However the Panasonic does suffer from two basic problems which the Sony doesn’t. Firstly, there is a more distinct ‘noise floor’ with the unit and secondly the remote control’s backlight function affects the sound – again with an increased noise floor. The Sony player is virtually silent at all times. The Panasonic’s headphone output is slightly louder than the Sony’s but – I have re-educated my listening habits since owning the Etymotics ER4P’s and I very rarely need to listen to music louder than about 7.5 – 8.0 out of 9.9. If I do have a sudden urge to listen to louder levels, I can always fall back on my trust AirHead portable amplifier.

Again, I have to say that both units are very well made. Although the Panasonic features an LCD display on both the main unit and the remote control, I think the Sony looks sleeker and more sexy (sick I know but I’m a sad git!). I must admit I haven’t dropped either unit to test their strength but I’m sure they are pretty equal in general construction. (I must admit that due to the excessively cheap price I paid for the Panasonic I would much rather drop that one than the Sony!).

This is perhaps where the Panasonic may have an edge. It uses standard AAA batteries and I tend to get good results using rechargeable nMh cells. The Sony uses their own ‘Gumstick’ batteries. Much more expensive to replace but I have to say that they offer better longevity between charges and generally are well behaved when estimating playback time through the LCD display. I also own the Sony MD-R900 Mini Disc recorder which also uses these ‘gumstick’ batteries so I’m quite comfortable with them now. BTW – Both the 915 CD player and the 900 MD recorder both offer outstanding battery life!

Supplied Headphones.
Both suck! I cannot understand why companies like Sony and Panasonic insist on bundling their top of the range players with these crappy headphones! I’m using the following:

Sony 888’s – For general ‘walkman’ use. They’re cheap enough not to worry too much about getting them trapped in car doors (compared to the Ety’s anyway!).

Etymotic ER4P’s – Frightening addictive. I’m beginning to think that these things should have been licensed by the F.D.A. or something. Anyone thinking of getting these should stop thinking and just get them – trust me, you won’t have any guilt-trips about spending that kind of money on headphones once you’ve heard these babies!

Sennheiser MX400 – Poor man’s version of the 888’s? In some ways perhaps yes. They’re smooth sounding, non-offensive and cheap enough to invest in back-up pairs. DEFINITELY NOT AS GOOD AS THE 888’S THOUGH!!!

I accept that there is a possibility that the Panasonic Discman is not performing at its best – being second hand and all, but it works perfectly well with no strange foibles.

In many ways this whole piece is about nitpicking! The differences between units and even headphones is pronounced as far as I’m concerned and I’m certainly not regretting purchasing any of my players or headphones. I just think that, for many casual listeners out there the differences will be fairly subtle and they will not perceive the worth of these units like I do.
post #2 of 15
Me and the sony dej915 dont have such a good history. He scratched my favorite CDs so I smashed him with a rock. People want a thinner cd player and a thinner cd player, well eventually they get so thin that when theyre in your pocket and they get smushed they scratch the hell out of your cds! Anyway it was problems with the 915 from the start, things broke and fell off and got torn out with pliars and all sorts of stuff happened. But it does sound ok with low imp/high sensitivity phones, better than the pan slct480 I think. Well, better as in more exciting, but the 480 sounds more "gentle" and maybe more neutral. It just dont got that oomph. The sony looks pimp and feels solid in your hand, but its built like sh*t. Well talking about built like sh*t the 480 felt like it was gonna fall apart from the start. I opened the lid a little too much and it went *crack!* like something snapped. 1lb of force could break that lid right off!

Could you give a quick comparison of the dej915 and the ct570 from the line out to a TA? Thanks.
post #3 of 15
smashed it with...I see. Very well then!
post #4 of 15
I know I've already stated my opinion on the 915, but I want to make it clear that I did think the sound quality was pretty good on the 915. The build quality felt a lot better than the Panasonic and my older Sony but it was a lot more unreliable.

I haven't compared it to the Panasonic because the Panasonic replaced it, but I still like my older Sony better than the Panasonic and I'd probably like the 915 better too. I liked it's design too and it only skipped when I decided to return it and I gave it a good shake test first.

I think the 915 probably sounds better than Sony's cheaper new players but for the money I wasn't going to put up with an unreliable player that can't even play some cd-r's right.

I am not biased to Sony or Panasonic, I'm just stating the facts. Right now my favorite player is the Sony D-E446CK that I'm listening to right now. My favorite thing about it is it's durability, then its volume output and sound quality.

If I was rich I would have kept The Sony D-EJ915, but I couldn't afford it to break. I would only pay $300 Cnd. for something that's gonna hold up.
post #5 of 15
Peddler, I'm glad to see such a possitive review of the D-EJ915. A lot of people prefer the Panasonics over the Sony in these headphone forums mainly because of the louder headphone amp but not me. I haven't had the chance to compare the two personally but I'm totally satisfied with my D-EJ915 and would recomend it to others. I'm a Sony man all the way.
post #6 of 15
How long have you had your D-EJ915's? Just wondering. I kept mine for 15 days so I could return it. It had started having problems on the 3rd day I had it.
post #7 of 15
Thread Starter 
I have had the Sony now for about 6 months. Up until very recently it was used every day by my wife around the house and stuff - I tend to use my MD recorder for portable purposes.

Through the Airhead - I think it's fair to say that there's no real difference between the Sony and the Panasonic - both sound excellent. The Sony does have one definite edge over the Panny though - the optical output works on battery power with the Sony where the Panny needs to be plugged in for it to work - for copying CD to mini disc with the least amount of hassle - the Sony wins there!

Don't think that I'm writing the Panasonic off though. I certainly don't regret getting it and I think it's still an outstanding player - especially considering the bargain price I paid for it (£16 he he he!).

The second hand shop that I got it from haven't got a clue what they're selling half the time - I can't wait for them to get a Linn Sondek CD-12 in for about £30 !!!! (Chances are, if that did happen, I'd probably have a small heart attack on the way home and then get run over by a truck whilst waiting for someone to give me an aspirin).

I have to say that I don't consider myself to have 'golden ears'. I certainly know the difference between the good stuff and the crap but telling the difference in sound quality between two excellent pieces of kit is a lot harder for me - even with the Ety's - you have to listen for some time in order to hear for subtleties. And sometimes those subtleties really don't bother me that much. I can tell the difference easily between the Sony 888's, the Sennheiser MX400's and the Etymotics - no problem. I have also learned to 'trust' my own judgement when it comes to listening to equipment - for example, I had a Sony MD-r-35 mini disc recorder until recently and it came with a set of Sony 838 earbuds. These headphones (and only these - not other Sony 838's!) were virtually as good as the Etymotics! I think it was a one-off though because the other pair of 838's didn't sound anywhere near as good in the same player - strange eh?

I hope this helps.
post #8 of 15
Hmm, well I have the DEJ815 pcdp... and well, I've got an lcd on the main unit and it uses two AA batteries... so, I am moderately happy with it.. had it for a year and it still works, surprised me. I am waiting for it to finally die so I can buy a pana.. already has this big scratch on the aluminum case and a melted plastic thing on the back and scratches my cds like there's no tomorrow. Oh well, I bought it when I thought my streetstyles were the best thing in the world...
post #9 of 15
Originally posted by chych
Hmm, well I have the DEJ815 pcdp... and well, I've got an lcd on the main unit and it uses two AA batteries... so, I am moderately happy with it.. had it for a year and it still works, surprised me.
heheh... What a f$%+#d-up piece of crap the unit I owned for just over a month was!! It distorted even at half-volume!!! My newest Sony - the D-EJ721 - is better than that old EJ815, but still distorts past 9/10.

Moral: The more features (such as a backlit LCD and an backlit-LCD-equipped remote control) that a PCDP has, the more you'll have to tolerate 5mW of crap (rather than 5mW of relatively good sound).
post #10 of 15
Until I purchased my Arcam last week, I used the Sony D-EJ915 exclusively for an entire year without any problems. No complaints here. I didn't use the headphone jack but plugged my Creek into the line/optical out.

Worked fine...and still does. It sounds fine as well...no Arcam tho

- pearle
post #11 of 15
Maybe I just got a bad one then. I think I paid too much for it anyway. It was the only one they had so I couldn't get it replaced and I wasn't going to send it away to get fixed. It took way longer than my old Sony to start too. It sure did look cool though.
post #12 of 15
Interesting I have a sony 915 that was givin to me as a gift, But since i got my Pan SL-sw 860 i left the sony in the Packaging so it can be used as a backup in case my pannasonic Breaks. Regarding Scratched CD's When i first got the Pan I ended up with a grove around the outer edge of the first CD i played I later discovered that the Battery Door that was located inside the CD compartment twards the Rear of the unit was not closed all the way and this caused the scratched CD's. Maby a similar situation is happening with your Sonys. The last sony i used was the CK-D307 and it sounded more dynamic than the Panasonic but alot more Grain and grit in the Mids and High's than the Panasonic. so while the Pannasonic SL SW-860 is more Polite sounding and slightly rolled off High's it is nonetheless alot Smoother sounding than the old sony was. Maby i should take the new sony D-915 out of the Package and test it . I most often use a Headphone amp via the line out with Portable CD players so i cant say what the Internal amps of these are like.
post #13 of 15
I think you mean the D-E307CK is the cd player you used to have.

A lot of it seems to be preference. Some prefer the Sony sound cause it's more exciting or something. The Panasonics might be more neutral and smooth or something, but maybe boring sounding? Maybe it depends what kind of music you listen to. I know I prefer my Sony D-E446CK over my Panasonic 470.
post #14 of 15
Ya Duce you may be right regarding the Model #. Also it is true with all Audio components that personel preferences are the reason we have sutch a great selection of Products and this is a good thing. What a Drag it would be if we were all forced into the same Mold.
post #15 of 15
Yep it was the battery door, among other things. The thing was that the door was closed all the way. Since it had the gum sticks (I dunno why everyones always hatin on the gum sticks) I just put some smooth tape over the door so the sharp edges wouldnt be poking my cds. I didnt like the fact that it was still rubbing though. Next mod was to tear out all that crap on the inside of the lid, the metal bouncy thingy, and the what was left of the lid latch (the little broken piece of plastic that started this all. if sony wasnt so damn cheap to spend the 3 cents extra for metal instead of silver painted plastic...). I sure had the lightest dej915 ever but it still scratched my discs when it was in my pocket and it got a lil smushed. Also the top flapped open and closed. Plus it messed up some of my favorite cds. What really got me was that one of them skipped like hell during my favorite song, right after my favorite line, so it had to pay the ultimate price. I went to nyc to pick up a j spec ct570 since I sent my 580 back to headwize but I decided that this amazingly tight, inside out, hand blown, donut'ed, killer slide piece was a smarter purchace (my friend just had to go to the f'in headshop before the electronics place). So now I have no way to listen to music portably . Doesnt matter, ill get a portable cdp sometime before I go on vacation this summer (and the slide looks real tight on my binger so im not mad). I want to get a ct470 but I need that remote on the j spec 570 for when the portable system is in my backpack.

You say the 570 and 915 sound the same from the line out? Hmmm, maybe I should get the dej01 for easy disc changing while inside the airbag... J&R has em for $250... Nah I dont want to have another 915 incident.

Does anyone know if I can get remote for a panasonic player seperate? The 860 is lookin kinda nice but I need that remote.
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