Panasonic SL-MP35 MP3/CDP Minireview
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attnet

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I just picked one of these up from CC for $80. Only comes with headphones, but I like the fairly small form factor. It loads up the an MP3 CD fairly quick, in just a few seconds, and is pretty quiet n operation. The display is OK, but the one line display can become a bit of a pain to navigate. It can also only display up to 31 characters, which might be a hinderance with some long track or album names, but the first few characters should be enough hint to jog your memory. The battery life quoted is nothing short of amazing either, with 30 hours for CD and 40 hours for MP3 discs with two AA alkalines! With rechargeables it is significantly less at 12/16hrs. I have not tested any of these claims yet. This is also supposed to work properly with multi-session discs and VBR tracks, which the Sony has been said to have problems with.

Now the important part - the sound. I'm listening to some high-quality MP3s encoded with LAME VBR --alt preset, through Koss Sporta Pros.

I'll start with the bad since these were most apparent when I first started listening. The one major annoyance I found was an ever so slight grainy background hiss, not unlike that of the Iriver MP3CDP's in that it stays consistent at all volumes. It's especially noticeable after the ~1 second gap between tracks, where it is dead silent. Fortunately, it's not terribly annoying, and you can pretty much tune it out after a while. Still, I'd think for a second-gen advanced product from a reputable manufacturer, this would have been fixed by now.

Otherwise, the sound itself coming out of the player is very crisp and dymanic, with a touch of brilliance that makes it sound a bit bright in some occasions (lots of cymbals), but very good elsewhere, if you like that kind of sound. The amp is also powerful enough to power these headphones to my usual listening levels, at volume 3. There's no lineout, so those using amps might want to think about that, although it may get rid of the hissing.

Well, I can't think of much else to say about this player. I'm debating whether or not I'm going to keep this, as the hissing is barely acceptable for me, and it doesn't have any frills such as .m3u support. I can do without a remote, but playlists are pretty important for me. However, for 80 clams this is a pretty good deal for the quality of build and overall sound you get. Does anybody know if an Iriver, Sony, or Rio could do better this?


Addedum 1: The player cannot search through a track. I also found that some songs were perfectly listenable at volume level 1! Seems to have a pretty strong amp. Also, when I tried to skip it, it sometimes made a really loud and sharp "ZIP!" noise. Kind of scary the first time, but hopefully it doesn't do any harm to the player. More addedums will be included as I discover more of the features of this player.

Addedum 2: The hiss from this player is getting slightly annoying since it's not exactly a "smooth" hiss, but a bit grainy. I'm wondering if any of the iRiver players suffer from this (ChromeX, SlimX) because I am thinking of going to one of those if it sounds better, and because it has many more features the Panasonic doesn't.
 
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dinosauract

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attnet -

Do the instructions specify the power output at the headphone jack? THe 570 claims 9mw + 9mw into 16 ohms. I've heard that a lot of the newer Panasonics are specified at 5 mw, which isn't much. Wondering if the model you've got is stronger. The brightness you hear may calm down, my 570 was VERY bright at first.
 
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attnet

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This one seems to be a bit stronger at 6mW+6mW/16ohms. It seems to work just fine with my Sporta Pro and EX70, but these phones are fairly easy to power. I'll try my HD495 soon and report back.
 
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attnet

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On second thought, I think I'll go exchange this unit first. I've just decided to try out the "XBS" function on the player and found that enabling this feature also caused an unorthodox amount of static in the playback. I could hear it clearly through any type of music. I hope this unit is merely defective, as this could become a major blemish on Panasonic's generally good sonic reputation. Will report back soon.
 
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recephasan

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Hi.
The hiss could be due to the unit you got being defective. I had one of these and did not have the hiss or the static with XBS.

My impression was that the XBS is better than the one in my 470. The sound was just fine. It was the other quirks, and the lack of a line out that bugged me. The lack of search within an mp3 song, and the 'extra' that got slapped at the end of some songs, which is some part of the next song, I did not like.
 
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attnet

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Yeah, I noticed those too. I just decided to return it instead, and will probably be getting a Iriver ChromeX pretty soon. It's gotten good reviews, even though it seems to have some quirks of its own, but those can be fixed through a firmware upgrade, where the Panasonic does not have that option at all. I might write up another review for this one once it gets here.
 
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attnet

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Bitten once and coming back for more that's what I am...I decided to try another one of these, the car kit model, for ten bucks more from goodguys. I hoped that my unit was previously defective, like recephasan said it might have been. Unfortunately, when I unpacked the new one, I found that it had the EXACT SAME PROBLEM as my other one. Since my two players were monufactured two months apart (April vs June) I decided this was going to be consistant. This is completely outrageous! The hissing is probably part of a bad op-amp, but there was also a distinct crackling noise that was probably the result of a cheap DSP or poor firmware. Buyer beware...don't get this piece of crap! And hope Panasonic does better next time...they surely won't be seeing any more of my cash any time soon.
 
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attnet

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Bitten once and coming back for more that's what I am...I decided to try another one of these, the car kit model, for ten bucks more from goodguys. I hoped that my unit was previously defective, like recephasan said it might have been. Unfortunately, when I unpacked the new one, I found that it had the EXACT SAME PROBLEM as my other one. Since my two players were monufactured two months apart (April vs June) I decided this was going to be consistant. This is completely outrageous! The hissing is probably part of a bad op-amp, but there was also a distinct crackling noise that was probably the result of a cheap DSP or poor firmware. Buyer beware...don't get this piece of crap! And hope Panasonic does better next time...they surely won't be seeing any more of my cash any time soon.

Oh yeah, and it is most definitely not "skip-proof" as it skipped twice within a minute while jogging.
 
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Joe Bloggs

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The first two MP3 products I bought were pure crap. First the NAPA MP3 CD player--well, wouldn't want to go into that, anyway it's bad--then the NEX II CF MP3 player--it hisses like a snowstorm with sensitive earphones. Luckily I had my etys with me when I bought the Sony D-CJ01 and could check for hiss from this God's XeyeX ear view--I found none
Haven't tested mp3 playback or pretty much anything else though, because it's still with my father in Australia


From the NEX II onwards, the first thing I would check for in a player is hiss
 
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Joe,
The Napa is truely a piece of crap. I just use it as a vcd player.

Purk
 
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