by Rick Smith (October 11, 2001)
Now you can play the two most popular digital audio formats with a single portable device. The Panasonic SL-MP50 combines a CD player with an MP3 player that plays back 5 inch CD-R or CD-RW MP3 disks.
Key features of the SL-MP50 are:
Anti-Skip ability -- physical design combined with electronic technology help to absorb smaller shocks and quickly deal with larger shocks that could cause music "skips"
Multi-powered -- car power adapter included, also runs on two standard or rechargeable AA batteries or optional AC adapter
Simple to control -- top mounted control buttons, arranged in a semi-circle allow easy touch operation
Hold switch -- prevents accidental button pushes while moving
Large LCD display -- provides immediate disk status
Easy disk removal -- unique "pop-up" mechanism makes CD changes smoother
Long battery life -- two AA alkaline batteries can run for up tp 15 hours of MP3 playback or 30 hours of continuous CD playback
For each audio format, the Panasonic SL-MP50 provides similar capabilities such as Skip, Random Play, Repeat play and Random programming.
The most powerful technology provided by this Panasonic model is its "No Skip" system. Key features of this technology are:
Unit designed with rubber bushings to absorb shock
Thin and light (low mass and low inertia) read mechanism
Digital servo system detects fractional track errors and corrects them before getting completely "off track"
Horizontal shocks (parallel to CD plane) can be recovered in 40 milliseconds
Vertical shocks (perpendicular to CD) are recovered in 300 milliseconds
Error correction for rotational speed can deal with +150% to -75% extremes
While these are excellent specs, music could still be silenced (briefly) during the recovery period. To deal with this, Panasonic engineers have added a 40 second memory back-up that starts to play until the tracking error is corrected. During MP3 playback, this buffer is extended to 100 seconds (with 128 kbps audio compression).
The Panasonic SL-MP50 includes stereo headphones and lists for $139.95. It will be available in October 2001.
© 2006 Rick Smith All rights reserved.