Sony CMT-CX5 - Performance, Cost & Verdict

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The audio performance of the Sony CMT-CX5 is pleasing. It accentuates the treble

somewhat at the expense of bass and midrange, but music is notably clear

and detailed. Sony clearly recognises this may not please the younger

big beat enthusiasts, and the DSGX mode focuses on both these two shortcomings and

is fairly successful.

It adds greater depth, and while the CX5

still isn’t bass-heavy by any means it is arguably better off for it,

maintaining impressive fidelity as the volume is cranked up. Distort creeps in a little at maximum volume (which with 40W to play with is loud,

if not window shaking), but it is saved by the CX5’s greatest

attribute: its stereo separation.
Sony CMT-CX5 Hi-Fi System 3
Just

as MP3s saw users forget about audio quality in favour of track

quantity, stereo separation has become a near-dead criteria for the

legions of dock buyers focused on near-mono bombastic delivery. Sony may

show the CX5 with its speakers pushed against the main unit (there is

no physical way of locking them together), but the further apart the

speakers are positioned the better they sound.

The supplied

cables for each speaker are just short of 90cm each and mean a wide

radius of sound can be created which clearly distinguishes the left and

right channels and consequently the placement of specific instruments

and effects. It also means the speakers can be positioned independently

to best fill any shape of room regardless of the Sony CMT-CX5’s primary position

and cuts down the need to max out the volume.

We’ve seen the 

Arcam rCube and

Audyssey South of Market docks most faithfully recreate this by

angling their speakers at 45 degrees inside their chassis, but they

cannot compare to actual physical distance.
Sony CMT-CX5 Hi-Fi System 4
That is not to the Sony CMT-CX5 is sonically superior overall to either

of these more expensive docks. Sony is not trying to cause chaos in the

premium dock sector, but what it does is ask serious questions of those

with up to £200 to spend. In this context the CX5 easily outperforms

its similarly priced dock alternatives, gives you a CD player and DAB

radio (admittedly largely redundant for those with internet-radio-sporting devices). Other niceties include an alarm clock and sleep timer

modes, and a neat remote with bags of functionality including the

ability to navigate iPod content. Against is an almost deliberate lack

of cool, no wireless functionality and a sunken Apple dock which means

an iPad cannot be attached.

”’Verdict”’
Ultimately whether

you should buy the Sony CMT-CX5 comes down to priorities. It lacks gimmicks and may not

be as portable as an equivalent dock, but it offers a superior audio

experience to any equivalently priced dock, brings your dusty CD

collection back to life, drops in DAB for good measure and won’t break

the bank – particularly with online discounts. The CX5 is a brave move

from Sony and one it just about pulls off.

Score in detail

  • Design 7
  • Sound Quality 8
  • Features 7
  • Value 9
  • Usability 8

Physical Specifications

Weight (Gram) 4000g
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