Sony CDX-MP40 Review/Blog

Please note that this webpage is organized chronologically, so be sure to read through the entire thing as the information you are seeking could be anywhere.

11/19/2003 - Purchased this to replace my portable MP3 CD player I was using in the car. The "car kit" cassette adapter (fake cassette that connects to the portable's headphone jack) was auto-reversing in cold weather to the point of making it impossible to listen to the MP3 player.

12/1/2003 - Finally got it installed. Unfortunately, it wasn't very reliable. The CDX-MP40 had trouble reading MP3 CDs (beware S/N 3605930 on the refurbished market). Took it back to Best Buy 12/2/2003 and got another. We'll see how well it performs.

Important lesson learned: be sure to purchase the wiring harness for your car BEFORE purchasing a new radio. I used the Scosche FDK-1B (aka FDK1 or FDK1B) wiring harness ordered from Sound FX Audio to hook it all up to my Ford Premium Sound System. Works great, but the Scosche premium sound connector FD03 was a bit tough to connect. Had to push more than should be necessary to get it to really connect. I electrical-taped it when I was done, and it seems to be working great now. Also, to remove the factory radio from a 2000 Mystique, you need to cut and bend some clothes hanger wire to make "removal keys". It's covered on the Install Doctor site.

My main complaint is that this model has no dimmer feature. The display is much too bright at night. With a dimmer, and better reliability, this would be an excellent unit. As it stands, I would give it a 9/10. As with all consumer electronics, buy locally from a retailer that has a no-questions return policy and be prepared to take it back.

12/9/2003 - The second CDX-MP40 is now having trouble reading CDs as well. The problem is not as severe as with the first one, but it is the same problem. Appears to be worse with cold ambient temperature, but could simply be runtime-related. Lesson Learned (aside from the one about consumer electronics being lousy) be sure to install a new car stereo in the coldest part of the winter. This way you can test it at both temperature extremes, cold when first turned on, and hot when the heater has been cranked for a while. I was able to find a couple of reviews of the Sony CDX-4250 where a user in New Hampshire, and a user in Canada said that theirs skipped a lot in cold weather. This might be a common Sony problem.

At any rate, I waffled a bit, then ended up keeping this one. It also seems to have poor radio reception when compared to the previous one. But, I haven't re-checked the antenna connection to make sure it is snug. Those things have a tendency to pop out.

On an unrelated note, Maxell makes a product called the "CD-AUTO" Automotive CD Lens Cleaner that is specifically designed for cleaning a car CD player's lens. I have had trouble with my CD recorder that was fixed completely with a CD lens cleaner, so they do work. Of course, a computer has fans that pull all the dust in the room through them. Car CD players probably aren't as prone to dust. More likely dirt from improperly handled CDs.

4/4/2004 - Some tips on operating the CDX-MP40 (for those who've lost their manual). I've seen reviewers who lament that they lost their manual and cannot turn off demo mode. I've also seen reviews that have been negative toward this player only because they couldn't figure out how to turn off demo mode. Read on.

Setting the Clock
Press "DSPL" and hold for 2 seconds. Use Volume +/- to adjust the minutes. Press "SEL" to go to hours. Again, use Volume +/- to adjust. Press "DSPL" when finished.

Auto Scroll
Press and hold "SEL" while pressing "3" repeatedly to turn Auto Scroll on and off.

Motion Display/Demo Mode
Press and hold "SEL" while pressing "4" repeatedly to change Motion Display and Demo Mode. A value of "1" is the default. This enables demo mode, and the spinning things between selections. A value of "2" turns off demo mode, but keeps the spinning things. A value of "OFF" turns off demo mode and the spinning things. I might have "1" and "2" reversed, but you get the idea.

Press and hold "SEL" while pressing "6" repeatedly to turn beeps on or off. This only affects the speaker outputs, not the preamp outputs as they never beep. My manual has a typo and indicates that "SEL" and "5" do this.

Best Tuning Memory
Press and hold the "SENS" button for 2 seconds, and the radio will automatically store each station it encounters into memory, wiping out previously stored stations.

Storing Station Names
Tune the station you want to name using the number buttons. Press and hold "LIST" for 2 seconds. Use Volume +/- to select the letter, and "SEL" to go to the next letter. Press and hold "LIST" for 2 seconds when done.

Tuning by Name
While in radio mode, press "LIST" to see the current station name. Press "LIST" repeatedly to select a station to tune. Press "SEEK+" or "SEEK-" to tune the selected station.

7/7/2005 - After obtaining a PoGo! Products Radio YourWay, and using it for a few weeks, I've come to realize that the fast forward function on the CDX-MP40 is quite poor. I'd call it "slow-forward". If you are dealing with very large MP3 files, like radio shows or books on tape, don't even think about fast forwarding to the middle of a four hour file. It will probably take one full hour to fast forward two hours into a file. It's that slow. I learned this lesson the hard way while fast forwarding through the commercials in the radio shows I had recorded. Since the fast forward button is also the "next track" button, one wrong move on the fast forward button and it skips to the next track. At this point, the show is over, especially if you were at the halfway point in a four hour show.

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