Letter to Sony concerning car MD players

Rome, 21st October 2000


To: Sony Co.



Subject: defective Sony Car MD players



With deep disappointment I have decided to write this letter in order to report the problems that I am facing with your CAR MD products.

To briefly introduce myself, I am an audio, video and home-theater enthusiast, deeply interested in new media, “early adopter” of new formats and standards and moreover technically aware and curious.

As an hobby I am working for some of the most important Italian audiovideo magazines. As consequence, quite often I have to test and review Sony’s products, such as CD and DVD players, MD player/recorders, VHS recorders, Digital-8 and DV cameras, Digital Cinema Processors and so on. 


I am often impressed about the quality and the innovation of Sony’s products which, in many cases, I consider as reference for the consumer market.

The result is that not only I review your products... but I also buy them and, currently, I am owner of the following equipment from Sony:

- TV Color KV-X2501A (this is my third TV color)

- LCD projector VPL-CS1

- Digital Processor SDP-EP9ES

- VHS vcr SLV-E720

- MiniDisc Recorder MDS-501

- MiniDisc Recorder MDS-JA30ES

- Double MiniDisc Recorder MDS-W1

- Portable Player MZ-2P (this is history...)

- FM-MD-CD combi system DHC-MD1

Moreover I have been owner of one of the first MiniDisc units (MZ-1), bought in Japan on December 24st 1992: early adopter of this fantastic format.


My enthusiasm led me to immediately adopt the MiniDisc format also to listen to my music in the Car. And this is when problems have come...

Currently me and my family are owner of the following car hi-fi products from Sony:

- SintoMD player MDX-C7900RDS

- SintoMD player MDX-C670RDS

- SintoMD player MDX-C150RDS (I have had two of these units, since the first has been stolen from my car after one and a half year of use)

- speakers XS-6038Mk2

- amplifier XM-2545.

Based on the experience I have on these products, I am writing you in order to explain the reasons for my great disappointment: indeed, all of my CAR MiniDisc units have suffered or are actually showing exactly the same problems.


This is what happens, in five steps:

1. after less than two years of use, using mostly Sony’s or TDK’s discs, after a correct installation and normal daily operations, all the three units (four including the stolen one) have started to show problems in reading few discs (showing “Error” or “Blank Disc” messages) especially when the unit is “cold”, switched on after some hours of non-use (for example in the morning). This appears not to be related to dust on the pick-up lens.

2. some months more and the units have started to experience problems in loading discs also during normal operation, after the unit has “warm up”;

3. after this, soon the problem becomes more and more evident until the unit completely refuses to load certain discs, which instead are correctly loaded by all my other home and portable players/recorders. Moreover at this stage the unit also starts skipping during normal operation with correctly loaded discs, which other units play seamlessly.

4. after some more time the unit becomes non-operative and it must be repaired.

5. then… after less than one year since the first defective unit (MDX-C150) was repaired, the unit started to show again exactly the same problem from the step 1, described above…


Presently my situation is as follows:

- MDX-C150RDS: repaired once, 8 months ago, and now again under repair for exactly the same defect starting from step one;

- MDX-C670RDS (the less used unit): not reading many discs, refusing discs when cold, skipping. We can say that it has reached step 3…;

- MDX-C7900RDS: since June it does not load some discs (correctly loaded by other units), and the number of refused discs is growing. We can say it has reached step 2.


Will the newer units get to “step 4”… will I need to repair them? I am really afraid I will, as their problems are growing week after week.

What I think is that the construction of the pick-up block is cheap, resulting in a too early misalignment or failure, and this cannot be an unlucky coincidence since all my CAR MD units, different models bought in different times, are showing exactly the same problem.


Obviously I am really disappointed by the quality of these CAR MD products, which I know assume to be affected by the same project or construction defects. This is something I do not tolerate from Sony’s products (for which you usually pay a “premium” price compared to other less important brands), and it reveals that these products lie absolutely below the quality standard which all the other products I own and I have tested and reviewed up to now seem to be built on.


Now I need to repair (again) my units, but I am seriously considering to completely abandon the Sony MD platform for my CAR entertainment, searching for other solutions from other competitors. The quality of Sony’s CAR MD products is definitively cheap and I will personally take care to ensure that all the people that I know can be interested in buying them are carefully warned about the problems I am facing.

I will contact my colleagues from other car audio magazines, write in the MD-related newsgroups exactly like I am doing, in positive, when I report the nice quality of all your other products like DVDs, cameras, home MD recorders (my enthusiastic review of the MDS-JA30ES has been published in the www.minidisc.org pages), digital processors and televisions.

I wish for a brighter future for your CAR MD units.



Best Regards

Massimo Basile


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