Sony CMT-CX5 Review - Performance, Cost & Verdict Review

Sections

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.

Trusted Score


Score in detail

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

Unlike other sites, we thoroughly test every product we review. We use industry standard tests in order to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever accept money to review a product. Tell us what you think - send your emails to the Editor.