:Great (just don't lose that remote)
Sony is known for making high-quality products at a high price. This is not an exception, so don't expect a bargain.
The build quality of the Sony CDX-57700 feels solid, although there is a lever that the faceplate attaches to that seems a little flimsy. It looks sleek with its silver metallic look, a red glow behind most of the buttons, and a blue display.
It manages to play even badly scratched CDs. If your CD doesn't play on this system, it won't be easy to play it in another system. The shuffle function allows you to shuffle your whole disc of MP3s or just a specific folder. You can cycle through all of your presets in a band with a single button. For example, if you are in preset 6 in FM1 and push "up", it will take you to present 1 in FM2. You can also name each of your presets. So in Los Angeles, instead of seeing 89.3, you can see NPR. The tuner automatically goes to the next station with good reception, which can be annoying if you want a station with a lot of static because it is not easy to tune by individual frequencies.
Unfortunately, the button layout on the remote and on the faceplate is not very intuitive. Furthermore, you can only change many of the options through the remote, such as the time, the option to turn off the randomizer for the "wallpapers" on the screen, and the BBE MP function (read below). The buttons are also rather small on the faceplate and some of them do not protrude very much, so expect to at times press the wrong button or even to find it hard to press a button.
The display is large and functional. You can choose your own display or have it cycle through all the wallpapers (the default). Many of them seem to be focused on auto racing, perhaps an indicator of their target audience. For radio, you can change the display to show the frequency or the name that you assigned. For CDs, you can change the display to show the name of the CD, the name of the MP3 file, or the ID3 tag. Unfortunately, the display uses only one line of text for that information, meaning most information will have to scroll by the screen. By default, the information will not scroll (meaning you may be only able to see the artist and not the song title) and can only be enabled with the remote. Even with scrolling on, it will only scroll the information once. I would prefer it continually scroll instead.
Sony includes many sound functions to improve sound quality, but only one of them is any good. The DSO function is supposed to make you think your speakers are mounted higher than they really are, but all it does is bring out the highs more. The EQ function is great, though. It gives you 7 settings to improve the type of sound you are listening to, such as Voice, Rock, Jazz, and Club. You can even customize your own.
MP3 playback is good, as long as you disable the BBE MP function, which is supposed to make MP3s sound fuller and is enabled by default. MP3s are highly compressed audio files, naturally losing some quality. For specifics, look this up on howstuffworks.com Sony tries to recreate this lost data. I'm not sure what algorithm is used, but it only makes it worst. It actually becomes MORE noticeable that the files are compressed. To get an idea of this, listen to a song on a CD, then listen to the same song in an 128Kbps MP3 format. If you listen closely and have good speakers, you should notice a difference. This difference in quality is magnified by Sony's BBE MP function. Even worst, it seems to drastically bring out the highs but not the lows, providing an uneven and sometimes ear-piercing quality.
Finally, the faceplate can get rather hot, but not to the point of injury.
On the plus side, the system remembers your settings for each band and each source. For example, my AM band as the EQ set to Voice, since all I listen to is talk radio. My FM band has the EQ set to none and my CD is set to Rock. Each time I switch between AM, FM, and CD, the EQ changes accordingly.
In sum, the Sony F7700 looks sleek and has a solid build. It does its job and does it well. Not a bargain, but you get what you pay for, despite some of the annoyances.
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