I like to listen to my own type of music, although I'm not the type of person that expects other people to have to listen to my music as well. You know the type? Those that whack up the bass so that the walls start to vibrate as the music blasts through the air, startling every living thing as James Blunt warbles his stuff. Those people should learn to respect other people. Not everyone like to listen to your sort of music so either turn it down or buy a set of headphones so you can listen to your music as loud as you want without disturbing those around you.
Anyway, as I said, I like to listen to music, be that CD's or through a radio station, but I don't need anything that special that should only really be used in a dance factory or at Glastonbury, where all those camera loving 'people off the television' seem to love to be seen these days... (Glastonbury is not like it used to be these days).
So, I tend to stick to small, simple stereo systems, or Hi-Fi's, as posh people like to call them. This makes buying a stereo pretty easy indeed. With my latest one being similar style to my previous one. This one being the Philips FWM154/12 which does everything that a stereo should do without the need to annoy those living around me. (it's called consideration your neighbours, which we should all think about doing really).
* Firstly though...
When you get this out of the box and plug it in you may wonder why you can't hear your music, even though you've put in a CD and pressed all the right buttons. This is because the speaker wires have to be slotted into the ports in the back of the unit. But don't panic, you don't have to be a qualified electrician to do this as it is simple enough really. The speaker wire ends are bare, with only a few millimetres of wire showing at the end. It is this shown wire that slots into with the red of black slot in the rear of the unit, with the red wire going into the red slot and the black wire... yes you get it... then both speakers should be connected and ready to blast out your favourite ABBA track.
* What does it look like then..?
Now it's out of the box and you've figured out that the speakers need plugging into the back, you can go ahead position the main box and the speakers where ever you want to, within reason as the wires from the speakers are only about 2 metres longs, unless, like I did, you add extra wire to the existing wire in order to get the speakers further away from the stereo.
So, know you can have a proper look at it you can see that the main unit is made of a black plastic moulded material that looks nice and shiny, making it sit nicely in most places. There is a slip or two of other colours, such as a nice ring of blue around the inside of the larger speakers themselves, with the top speakers being a silver colour. There's also a bit of silver on the volume know and the wording too, such as the Philips brand name and the Dynamic boost announcement.
The radio itself measures about 300mm high by 220mm wide and 270mm deep, with each speaker measuring about 290mm high by 190mm wide and 170mm deep. The whole lot weighs in at about 8kg.
On the front of the main body are all the controls, with the silver control knob in the centre just below the LCD display, then, right about this display is the CD tray. On the left of the display there is a little light that glows when the 'eco power' is on. Then, on the right, there is the remote control sensor.
On the left of the display, and the knob, as you look at the front, there are a few buttons, such as the power button, CD controls-previous/next. Then there's the DDB and the DSC button and right at the bottom there is the program button.
On the right of the display and volume knob there are more controls, such as the CD tray open and close, more CD controls- play/pause, stop. Then there's the album or radio choice/pre-set options, with the clock/display option button and finally the 3.5mm port for the MP3 connector.
On the rear of the main unit there is the speaker connection ports, being coloured for easier connecting, red and black, so that you know which wire goes into which slot. Plus there's the AUX port which is used for connecting external devices to be heard through this units speakers.
* What does it offer..?
The simple specs, the most important one, are that it has two speakers with two sub woofers, giving a total output of 40 watts.
There's a single CD front loading tray offering several functions such as shuffle, play, play all, play some or pick your own, plus the other usual CD playing features, stop, pause, skip etc.....
MW and FM radio, digital and analogue
The radio has Auto tuning with automatic storing as well with 40 channels for your favourite stations to be stored on.
It also offers a cassette deck, although who uses these in this day and age? I mean, some kids haven't got a clue what a cassette actually is, and don't dare ask them about vinyl.
* Other features include...
It has an MP3 link
2 way bass reflex speaker system
Dynamic bass boost
Digital sound control
* Is it easy to use..?
Yes, it's a piece of cake really.
To insert a CD you press the open/close button which is next to the CD tray, on the front near the top. The tray slides out, then you put in a disc and either press close or push the tray inwards.
Then it's a matter of choosing what track you want and pressing play... and you're away.
There's also the option of listening to your cassette tapes... these are plastic casing that contain a thin, yet very long piece of what looks like flexible fibre of some kind that seems to somehow hold music as if by magic... voodoo magic my kids think.
Anyway, the tape deck is at the lower side of the unit, although it could be a bit confusing as to how on earth the tape deck works as the controls are cleverly, and neatly hidden behind a little door below the tape deck itself. You simply pull open the little door, where is says open and you'll see the 6 buttons, play, stop, rewind, forward, pause and even record, with the cassette cover opening button being the second from the end. This is the button the opens the tape deck so that you can put your tape in, if you own such a thing. Then it's a matter of pressing the buttons you want to press, be that play, rewind of what ever.
Then there's the option of using external devices, such as MP3 player, which are easily plugged into this stereos sockets, either the 3.5mm jack on the front or the AUX port at the rear. Once you plug in which ever port you choose, depending on what device you're using, then you simply select the option through the source button and, using the CD controls, you play the tracks you want.
You can actual record from the radio and CD onto a tape cassette but do watch out for copyright laws or there could be trouble... not from me of course but some rich singer might get a little upset if you try and take a few pence away from them.
So now we're on to the radio, which again is another simple procedure. All you do is press 'source' until you get the radio function, then you press any of your pre-set channels.
You can set your pre-set channels by using the forwards/backwards CD controls to scan through the radio channels, pressing album/preset up/down button for a few seconds to lock the channel onto what ever number you choose. You can set up to 20 channels of your choice.
When you want to listen to a particular channel you simply go through the album/preset button and scroll through.
All this can be done using the remote control as well, which is done in more or less the same way, almost.
* Is the LCD display easy to understand..?
The screen is nothing special. It doesn't show all the names of the tracks that are playing, nor does it tell you the weather or how to bake that perfect roast dinner.
What it does show you is exactly what you need to know, such as the track number of the CD you're playing, or the radio station you're listening too at the time.
It also lets you know the time, or, if you use it, the alarm clock settings.
* Is it loud..?
Well, it can be, especially if you have the DBB on, (dynamic bass boost), which gives your music that extra special bass boost. There's also the options of changing the preset sound functions, (the DSC, or digital sound control), which slightly changes the way that the music comes out of the speakers. Sort of like a graphic equaliser which is set up for different types of music, be that rock, classical or pop... and even Lady Gaga.
But if you whack this one up on full, pushing the DDB button on, then you will upset the neighbours, although the speakers do tend to fluster a little bit at this level which does spoil the quality of the music you are listening to. Sometimes making such noises that you'll think that Katy Perry is breaking wind as she sings Firework.
* Is there anything else worth mentioning..?
I would like to mention the alarm clock feature which is a little impressive, sort of. What I mean by that is that you can set an alarm to wake you up with more than just a buzzer sound, you can set even it to wake you up with your favourite track from your CD, or maybe a radio station. You simply set the alarm time and what you want the system to start playing when the time is reached....
So no more startling buzzers that scare you out of your skin first thing in the morning. You can gently start your day with the gentle sound of Pink Floyd or the arousing noise of Black Sabbath. Or, if you're a nervous type of person, maybe stick with something a little less... well, not so 'gentle' on the ears.
* Apart from the stereo, do you get anything else...
Two speakers, made of the same black plastic material as the stereo itself.
3.5mm cable for external device connection
A couple of leaflets and a thin booklet
Quick guide start
* Is the remote easy to handle..?
Yes. It's just like any other remote control. It has many buttons which are all marked with what each button does.
The power button stand proud at the front, with the 'source' buttons coming up behind. Then we have to CD controls, the cursor, the volume and channel buttons and then the numbered buttons.
There are other buttons as well, such as the clock, program and mute, but as I said, all the buttons are clearly marked as easy to understand.
The remote does need 3 AAA batteries to work, which slip into the back of the remote unit and seem to last for ever.
* What do I think about this stereo..?
It's a nice little unit that lets me listen to my music and favourite radio stations with no fuss at all really. Plus, for those that have still got them, there's the chance to listen to cassette tapes too.
It has everything that a good stereo system needs, offering good sound with easy to understand controls, which is all you need really.
It's got all the fancy names, or initials, such as the DSC, which stands for 'Digital Sound Control', which is a posh name for pre-set graphic equaliser levels, which are Rock, Jazz, classical and Pop. These settings can't be changed but to be honest they don't really do that much to the quality of the music coming from the speakers.
As for the speakers, well, these are second to none really, being a good size, weighing almost nothing so that they can be hung on a wall or placed on a shelf without crashing to the floor.
The sound coming from them fills the room I have mine in nicely, although it's very very rare that I have mine turned up too much, (consideration for the people living around me). There's no, shall we call it 'farting', as it's called in the trade, which can spoil the quality of your music, although it can go a bit 'funny' when it is turned up too loud. But if you keep the volume levels at a nice even state then there's no horrid hissing or rattling thumps to spoil things.
Then there's the DBB, the 'Digital Bass Boost', which makes a big difference when it comes to that thumping sound that most zombies, I mean teenagers love these days. When the DDB button is pressed, turning the boost on, it lifts up the levels of the bass in the tracks that you're listening to.
I do have to say, but not in a complaining way, that the MP3 link is not what I expected when I read the information before buying this one. I expected some form of connection port, such as a USB, but it is simply a standard 3.5mm jack which connects your MP3 player to this stereo in order to play your MP3 players MP3's through the speakers of this hi-fi.
So, what more can I say about this hi-fi, stereo..?
I think I've said it all really. It does exactly what it is supposed to do, it plays music via CD, radio and even those plastic tape things that some people still have knocking about in the cupboards. Plus, you can record onto tapes from your CD's or even the radio. Although recording from the radio does mean standing over the unit, ready to press the pause button when the music stops and the DJ begins to speak. Which you can never get quite right, ending up with a few words from the DJ or the end of the track missing.
* And the price of this ghetto blaster..?
This Hi-F- system sells on the open market these days for about £60, which is the cost
of a good night out really.
* Would I recommend this one..?
Yes, I would, especially if you have limited space for a full blown 'house shaking' system, then this little nice sounding system would come in really handy.
If you want a nice looking stereo that will give you a good sound around you house then this is well worth looking at.