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4.3 out of 5 stars42
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 27 August 2003
The Walkman comes with:
- Very basic in-ear headphones - they're OK, but they could have at least had a volume control or something.
- Two instruction manuals - one for the Walkman and one for the ATRAC CD burning software, which I thought was very nice of them as PC software rarely come with PRINTED manuals these days.
- An AC mains adapter (4.5V) - one of those new really lightweight ones. I assume it can be used for recharging batteries (which would explain the extra 1.5V) somehow but I didn't see anything in the manual about it. It's got a pretty long wire too (about 3m?), which I find very useful for playing in bed :D
The Walkman itself is pretty slim, but is a big longer than most with the big display and stuff. The battery compartment is INSIDE the CD tray, which is strange but a very good idea because the usual battery doors always break or get lost with these kinds of things. Build quality is adequate - nice buttons and everything, pretty metallic finish , but the CD door does look a *bit* flimsy. It has buttons for everything you need, and the jog dial is very useful for easy track access, especially with big MP3/ATRAC CDs.
It plays normal audio CDs well enough, and displays track names and whatnot with the few CD Text CDs.
I burned an ATRAC (which, by the way is the standard format used to fit so much onto MiniDiscs) CD at 48x speed using the highest (132kbps) ATRAC3 encoding, and I fit 9 albums on with about 50MB to spare. The CD played perfectly, but did take a while to load because I made it in 9 different sessions. Personally, I think the sound quality is much better than the average 128kbps MP3, as it retains really bassy low frequency sounds better than MP3s. I haven't really tried any other bitrates yet, but I heard ATRAC3plus recordings don't actually sound too bad for such low bitrates. The ATRAC recording software is very easy to use, and it can recieve CD track titles from CDDB databases on the web.
I tried making an MP3 CD using Nero Express (the Walkman isn't supplied with MP3 CD-burning software) at 48x speed. I fit 176 tracks (mostly 128kbps) on the CD with a bit of space left. It's mostly OK but a few of the traks burned at the beginning of the CD occasionally skip a bit. The Walkman seems to be a bit more "picky" with MP3 CDs than ATRAC CDs. Maybe the CD burner just had a bad day - I'm not sure exactly.
I recommend burning MP3 CDs at low speeds (24x or lower) for error-free playback, and try to burn a CD all in one session as it really cuts down on loading time when the Walkman searches for track names when first inserted.
All you need to do is make a normal ISO/Joliet CD and just stick MP3 files on it (you can use folders too) - it's so simple!
I haven't tried CD-RWs yet but it's supposed to be compatible with them unlike most cheaper and older CD players.
The G-Protection system works very well - even on mode 1 (there's a switch inside) you can walk around and even shake the hell out of it with your hand and it refuses to skip! Dodgy MP3 CDs *seem* to skip less on mode 2, too!
Other things I liked:
- Resume function: You can stop playback, leave it as long as you want, and as long as you leave the CD and the batteries/adaptor in it will start playing exactly where you left off when you press play!
- Multiple playback modes: Normal, single folder, one track repeat, shuffle and single folder shuffle.
- ID3 tag (incl. version 2) support.
- Folder select buttons.
- No having to put up with any copy protection or Microsoft stuff.
Things I didn't like:
- The sound level is adequate for headphones, but as others have said it is a bit quiet when connected to speakers or a hi-fi.
- Lack of remote support. I know at this price it won't come with a remote but they could have at least had a socket for one.
- Lack of support for other audio formats like OGG Vorbis (which I personally think is superior to MP3) and AAC.
- ATRAC CDs can ONLY be played on ATRAC Walkmans, and there's no software to play them on your PC. You never know though - future Sony DVD players may be able to play ATRAC CDs if the format takes off.
Still, you don't expect EVERYTHING at this price and it's still GREAT for an entry-level early model of a new system. I don't know if ATRAC CDs will ever be popular but that doesn't stop them from sounding great. Anyway, it's still superb for MP3 and audio CD playback!
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on 25 February 2004
Just a few points to make about this excellent piece of kit.
1) The most obvious but important point is that you can get loads of music on 1 cd at a decent quality (with 64k ATRAC3+ you get 24 hours and it sounds fine).
2) The Volume. Unless you want to seriously damage your hearing the volume is usually fine for the supplied earphones. However, if you listen to classical music, which tends to be quieter and have a greater dynamic range, the volume can be a bit low. When using the cd player at home I plug it into my computer speakers and the volume's fine for normal listening, but can't go as loud as a normal cd in a hifi.
3) The general design of the cd player is good and the jog dial makes navigating an ATRAC cd of 300+ tracks a breeze: you rotate it to scroll through the tracks and press it to play the currently selected one. I do however have a few gripes about the ergonomics. I sometimes find that when I press the jog dial I accidentily scroll up or down one song. Also the volume button is on the side of the cd player so you have to hold the other side of the cd player when operating it.
4) Missing features. The feature I most sorely miss on this cd player is a program facility. Bog standard cd players usually have this and they normally have no more than 20 tracks. With over 300 you really miss this. The play modes are good: you can do random play on the entire disc or just for one group (which corresponds to an album). There is no backlight. The cd player doesn't come with a carry case but it fits perfectly in the padded envelopes you get DVDs in.
5) Power. To start with I used some dirt cheap (20 for a couple of quid) non-alkaline batteries and they only lasted less than 10 hours. I then replaced them with some alkaline batteries and it's still going strong after on average a couple of hours use a day for several weeks. The batteries aren't rechargable but I can safely recharge them with this great recharger I've got (I think it was from a company called Innovations if you want one). The supplied AC adapter is small and light (remember to take out the batteries before plugging this in).
6) Misc. When you insert an ATRAC or MP3 cd it has to scan the whole disc before you can play a song. For a 25 folder (album) 360 track ATRAC cd this takes 20 - 30 seconds; a bit more for an MP3 cd as the ATRAC burning software produces a table of contents to speed up the scanning process (I think). Also it doesn't start reading the next track until the current track has finished, which can be a bit annoying if one track leads into the next. The hold button's nice and it weighs 275 grams with the batteries in it. Also in jumping from one track to another, particularly if they're a long way apart on the disc, the cd player makes quite a loud noise. If you're wearing the headphones listening to music you won't notice but others around you might get annoyed.
7) The software. I found the ATRAC burning software simple to use. There are 2 ways of getting music onto an ATRAC cd: 1) put in the cd and the tracks will get ripped to ATRAC and stored in a temporary folder, or select mp3 files in which case they get converted to ATRAC just before burning the cd. I therfore ripped my CDs to mp3 (using a free and perfectly decent ripping tool dBpowerAMP). This meant that when I wanted to make another cd with those tracks I didn't need to rip them from cd again. It took about 2 - 3 hours to convert 24 hours of music to ATRAC (my PC is 1.2GHz celeron 128MB RAM). I encountered some problems with the ATRAC software reading my mp3 files. Sometimes the track length would show up as 20536 minutes or something ridiculous, in which case I could convert the mp3 file to .wav and then back again to mp3 (so I had to re-enter the ID3 tags using winamp). However, after I had burnt a cd I found that some tracks had been missed out, I think because the ID3 tags were corrupted (maybe dBpowerAMPs fault?) or the bit rate was too low. The good thing is that, even with CD-Rs you can add more files to a disc once you've burnt it if there is still space.
All in all, a great product despite a few problems, especially at the price on amazon.
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on 7 March 2004
So-far (two weeks on) I'm very pleased with my Sony D-NE511, for the money I payed it's outstanding! Sound reproduction in either Mp3, Atrac or normal CD audio is excellent! The Atrac Software included is a Gr8 tool & easy to use! The headphones aren't bad either, some others comment about low volume output, I like my tunes !LOUD! & I say my D-NE511 is quite capable (unless you want to blow your ears off!). I find the headphone cord is about 6ins too short though!
When do i have to replace the batteries in this! I've been using the same re-chargeables the whole time & still going strong (2weeks remember)!! & how do I get it to skip without physically breaking it! Gr8 Shock Protection!!
Pitfalls are as follows:
(1). The headphone cord is too short, i.e, if you carry this in your outside jacket pocket (where you put your hands) & want to run the cord up the inside of your jacket to your ears it makes things a little awkward.
(2). If you're listening to an Mp3 album which is a continous mix (Dance / Trance etc) of individual tracks, the player pauses @ the end of each track for about 3secs to read the next track (doesn't bother me much but may do others).
(3). Surprised that Sony are making alot of players with this chassis format, & so-far i can only find 1 carry case branded by Sony which I think isn't very good.
You may want to look @ this 1 though:
(4). No backlight or remote make it a little awkward for use either at night or whilst running / cycling etc.
(5). The player is quite noisey when scanning / loading tracks etc (could be irritating for others if you're in a very quiet place)
Gr8 box standard player, some good features, ergonomics take some getting used to, but i like it so-far (for the money you could do alot worse). Excellent sound reproduction in either of the formats mentioned above (try not to compress your Atrac's too much though as it may compromise audio).
All in all, very happy, Amazon are very efficient too! product arrived very swiftly & well packaged & I got 5 Sony CDR's free aswell!
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on 20 July 2003
My first mp3-cd walkman; I bought it because it was more flexible that mp3 players, since of course it'll handle the conventional music CDs as well as "data" CDs. The controls of the gadget are really straightforward, and I was pleased that it has random playback capabilities and can bookmark tracks too (I emailed Sony for a full specification before buying).
It reads CD-Rs and CD-RWs, burned with the Simple Burner software on your PC, which I ran on Windows XP. I found the burning of discs with this software reliable, although it didn't like a couple of my own mp3 files for some reason [they make it crash], but most were fine (and it tells you which file it was copying when it crashed so problem easily solved). Of course you need a CD-RW drive on your computer for this- the player doesn't have writing capabilities. As a guide I have just burned a single 700mb CD-RW with over 24 hours of music on it - the majority of my music. That was on the best compression setting [I think!] and I can't hear any loss of quality - and I listen to classical music which normally shows up that kind of thing quite well.
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on 10 December 2003
I ordered one of these fine machines ten days before I leave for five weeks in Thailand. I was originally going to get a straightforward CD player - to provide some entertainment during a two day journey down to Krabi to be reunited with my other half.Using the Amazon site to do some research, I came across the Atrac system. My tastes are somewhat eclectic, while the other half's are mainstream, and it seemed unfair to only take CD's I liked. I'd have struggled to limit myself to 10 CD's. But here was something on which I could have 30 CD's of music on one - surprising how 9 CD's could be the proverbial straw when you're traveling!
So, I ordered one and am absolutely delighted with it.
You can easily get 30 CD's on 1 CD (Atrac3@64Kbps)and the sound quality is far better than a tape walkman which, let's face it, is good enough! Even though I've already managed to lose the instruction manual, it's easy enough to find what you're looking for amongst over 300 tracks.
Loading the software was OK - don't worry about Sony saying that a home built computer won't support it - and compiling a CD is really easy. I'm not a computer whizz and you don't have to be.
It does seem to take a long time if you're compiling tracks instead of just loading down one CD after another, but that's not really a hardship. You've got a personal CD player to review what you want to burn and once you've a system worked out it can be really enjoyable listening to the music you're going to download.
The machine's well designed, well made and does what it says on the label. Even the moans about lack of volume are unfounded. Anyone listening to louder volumes with headphones is looking for trouble. No, it doesn't knock your socks off but if music via headphones does that your ears will suffer - an ex-pro musician speaks!
For the money you can't go wrong.
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on 1 October 2004
This is a great piece of kit. I bought it before embarking on a backpacking trip because I wanted to bring as much music with me as possible, and being able to create ATRAC/MP3 discs was a huge advantage. With ATRAC, I used the best quality sample rate & still got around 10 standard Cd's per 800Mb disc.
The player is as easy to use as other Sony CD players, the sound quality is excellent (although the sample rate for some ATRAC & MP3 albums can affect this) and the display is handy. Not only does it display track information for encoded CD's, it also displays information for certain music CD's (especially those from the Sony/Columbia stable!).
Another advantage is that its quite a solid model, I've lost count of how many times I dropped it! But it's going strong. Regular AA batteries have a good long life with this machine too, and it came with a mains adaptor.
Overall, this really is a great player, perfect for most peoples requirements. I'd recommend using MP3 as opposed to ATRAC (I got some distortion on ATRAC Cd's), and as it also gives the user the option to play regular CD's it covers all bases.
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on 7 January 2007
I have purchased a number of Sony items over the years, including other Atrac CD/MD/ Network Walkman products, and had no reservations about buying this particular model. For the price, it is a superb performer, with a very clear and detailed sound, which belies the Atrac compression. To be able to get 30+ CD's worth of music on to one blank CD-R is a major bonus, particularly for motorists- obviously without the need to keep changing discs every few hours. It's far better than a CD auto changer in that respect. Coupled with a cassette adaptor kit and cigar lighter connection (or even using rechargable batteries) it couldn't be simpler to install and use.

Although many people have criticised Sony for the way that the Sonic Stage software works, I have to say that I have had no problems with it, ever since Version 1 came out and including subsequent updated versions. Yes, it can be a pain uploading all the original CD's to start with, but the Library soon fills up with albums and from there any number of compilations can be put together. I can't recommend this model enough and am well pleased with it. Excellent value for money and another winner from the Sony stable.
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on 30 June 2004
I was amazed to receive my new CD player yesterday morning. I ordered it at 4pm the day before and received it the next day at 9.30am. Fantastic service!!
My only disappointment is the FREE Carry case which only has a waist belt. I hate putting things like that round my waist and it would have been better to have a removable strap that could go over your shoulder as well.
Having said all that - the actual CD and software is amazing. Simple and intuitive to use has several options and is just perfect for the price.
I spent lots of time trawling the internet for an MP3 player and this just outclasses them all. I could have paid double and got a few extra features such as back lite - but this is all I needed for my travels.
I don't understand the comments about the volume not being very loud. On full volume I have been deafened! And as for the fiddly buttons, its not different from most mobile phones and I can work the Sony buttons really easily.
If anyone is hesitating, don't! For the price, it's worth every penny.
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VINE VOICEon 4 August 2003
I've just received my Sony D-NE511 Silver Atrac/MP3 CD which I bought from Amazon at £61.99. I was very happy with the price, nearly 20 pounds cheaper than Argos.
I've always wanted a Sony Discman but they always seemed a bit expensive to me and I've made do with cheaper makes, but when I saw what this little baby professed to do I was immediately tempted.
The first thing I tried (after throwing away the awful headphones supplied) was playing an MP3 Cd of my Springsteen albums which I made a while back. It was recorded at 128kbs. It sounded great. Better even than it did on my PC, which was a big relief. Mp3s at higher bitrates sounded even better. It reads the files into its memory by spinning up the disc, then the disc stops while the music plays. This saves battery life apparently, and I guess it stops background noise too. It recognises ID3 and folders. Which was nice.
Next CD I tried was a normal audio CD, David Gray's white ladder. It sounded nice and clear, and not harsh on the ear as it has done on my cheaper player.
The next step was to try out the bundled software. This CD player features Sony's ATRAC3 Plus format so they give you software to make CDs in that format on your PC. I loaded the software up with no problems and making use of the program is a complete no brainer. You simply put the CD you want to copy in the CD draw, check the tracks you want to copy and press the add button. (first select the compression rate. They recommend 64kbs ATRAC3 Plus) This adds the files to your hard disk for burning. CDDB names everything for you if you are online. You repeat the process as many times as you like until you fill up the size of memory your blank CDR/or RW will allow. You then press burn and the software controls your CDR/RW drive to burn your ATRAC CD.
I managed to get every single album Bruce Sringsteen has ever made onto one CD. About 20 albums. There is still room for a few odd B Sides etc, you can add more tracks retrospectively I believe.
The only downsides to this ATRAC business is that encoding does take quite a long time. I reckon on about 10-15 mins for a 70 minute CD. You can then only play these encoded CDs on your ATRAC Walkman, you cannot play them on a PC like MP3 files. I suggest audiophiles use a higher bitrate than 64kbs, you'll get less tracks on, but at 64 the quality was like an MP3 at 96kbs to my ears. You have to weigh up what you want, great sound, or lots of it, similar to MP3 encoding.
Another thing that annoyed me was that you could not save a burning session, you have to do each burn as soon as you've copied all the files to the PC. Once you close the program the files are gone. So pray you don't have a powercut or crash while you are doing a big session. But you can add multiple sessions to a disc I believe. I think I'll stick to MP3's really, you can play them in a lot more places.
Other points.
The unit is lovely to look at, but rather lightweight in construction, I wouldn't want to drop it. The display, which is very useful when playing ATRAC or MP3 files because it features 2 lines of ID3 info, is a bit small. You may need your magnifying glass granny. Battery life seems to be excellent. The volume is a little lower than I've been used to with Walkmans, but this is probably no bad thing for our aural health. If it wasn't for the niggles with the ATRAC format and the appalling headphones I'd give it a 5 star rating, especially at the price.
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on 7 August 2008
This cd player is faultless and I am glad I ignored the negative
reviews of volume, because this is loud enough on 1/3 to 1/2
volume using earphones.

I use these in-ear Creative Labs EP-630/A Earphones ASIN: B0009G6FQI.
which work superbly.

The headphone output on European models is 1.5 x 1.5 mW.
The frequency response is 20 - 20,000 Hz, which I believe
covers the complete human hearing range.

Those that complain must be using the wrong headphones,
or just prefer listening to extremely loud music.

My choice was between an Ipod or the Sony D-NE511 Walkman,
and I chose the Sony Walkman because:
My top criteria was to have the best sound quality...
..Sony Walkman wins, hands down.
You can play your original CDs and you can also play MP3s
recorded onto disc. I have just stuck with playing my originals.

Second was to have portability, without the soundtrack skipping...
...Obviously Ipod comes out top here, but my solution was to
purchase this cd player sports belt ASIN: B00005T39R.
It fits this Walkman perfectly.
The CD player is also jog proof, It has two settings, even on the
first setting it does not skip.

Included in the box is a mains adapter.
Or you can use dry batteries (two AAs) which are not included.
One niggle is that you cannot use rechargeable ones.

This item has been available since 1 Jan 2003, and a newer
version was brought out (Sony D-NE711) but is no longer available.

All in all this is a brilliant CD player that I highly recommend.
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