updated 04:30 pm EDT, Mon September 8, 2008
Sony intros mini systems
Sony on Monday announced it will soon begin shipping three new mini sound systems, two of which are network capable and all of which feature built-in drives. The NAS-M500HD and NAS-M700HD sport 160GB hard drives and a 4.3-inch LCD display, while the CMT-E300HD has an 80GB drive and makes do with an 8-color monochrome LCD screen. In addition, the two NAS systems will connect to users' existing home networks via their Ethernet jacks. All will be capable of ripping music CDs and storing the contents on their built-in drives, though the NAS drives can do it at 16x speeds versus just 4x for the CMT-E300HD.
The difference between the two NAS drives, apart from available colors (black for the M700 and white for the M500) mainly have to do with the quality of their sound reproduction capabilities. The M700 does have a MiniDisc player, but featus a better, S-master amplifier and higher quality speakers made of Aramid fibers replacing the M500HD's 4.7-inch drivers made of less costly materials. The 1-inch tweeters are also soft-domed on the M700.
Either's speakers receive amplification from two channels, making 20W of power. The two systems are also DLNA 1.0-certified, allowing them to easily sync with other such devices, including many of Sony's own MP3 players and cellphones. A pair of USB ports allows non-DLNA devices to sync with them. A Walkman port allows Sony's line of players to sync with the devices.
The CMT-E300HD is available in pink only and foregoes many of the new NAS players, including a USB port, network jack and, conspicuously, the ability to play MP3-encoded CDs. It also has smaller drivers, at 3.9 inches, but larger 1.6-inch tweeters. A Walkman port again allows devices to transfer music to and from the system, including Sony's PSP portable gaming console.
In Japan, the NAS-M700HD is priced at the equivalent of about $420, the NAS-M500HD at $600 and NAS-700HD at $790. All are expected to ship in the middle of October. No US release dates were announced. [via Impress]