Sony CMT-EX1 Executive CD home stereo - REVIEW

Discussion in 'Write Your Own Review' started by Seth=L, Nov 30, 2012.

  1. Seth=L Audioholic Overlord

    Seth=L
    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2006
    Messages:
    13,309
    Likes Received:
    1,959
    [​IMG]


    What's that you say? "Seth is coming back from hiatus to write reviews for obscure, obsolete audio equipment? What?"

    You read correctly. I'm back, and I'm writing a review for something that most audiophiles and audioholics would not even bother listening to let alone reviewing. Nevermind the fact this thing came out 10 years ago.

    Let me preface by saying that this is a review of a executive stereo. This does not mean it is in charge of other stereos or has climbed it's way up the corporate ladder. This means it's a small, attractive looking stereo system that you might have in an office, on a bookshelf, or at your bedside. Executive stereos are not meant to offer full range sound that one would critically listen to music on.

    Now are you ready, because this might surprise you slightly. The CMT-EX1 exceeds my expectations in sound involvement from an executive system. I did say system, because as a whole (head unit and speakers) the performance is nothing short of amazing. Usually sound is severely hampered by the stock speakers. The other tragedy of the executive systems out there is many of them are not capable of supplying a full range signal to the speaker making them undesireable to use with anything but the stock speakers.*

    The CMT-EX1 isn't riddled with features (aside from bass boost and an artificial surround mode). One feature I could have really utilized would have been the addition of a subwoofer output. This omition is only a minor hinderance and is no where near as annoying as having a useless subwoofer output. Nothing is more troubling to me why other manufactures of executive systems go through the trouble of integrating a high pass filter in the preamp stage of the head unit, then putting a subwoofer output on it. :confused*

    The head unit is the most crucial part here. It's graceful design lends the eye a treat. The face is very thick glass and aluminum. The mechanism for the CD loading is among the niftiest I've seen. Upon touching the conductive eject button a small flap moves aside and a carriage moves upward. You place the disc on the carriage and touch the eject button again, or press play, and the carriage lowers the disc into the transport, the dust flap closes and the transport locks the disc in place. Sony put a lot of thought and engineering into this design of this player. The mechanics are excellent, the transport noise is low even on stand alone CD player standards, and the glass has a frosted line at the 9 o'clock position to shield the laser light from ignorant eyes. The quality of playback is also excellent as well as the amplifier noise performance with speakers and headphones (note: the headphone jack is placed on the rear so as to keep the front panel looking uncluttered). The CMT-EX1 could also be used as a transport by using the optical output.*

    Now on to the amp section. I just love it when an amplifier can be compact, yet effective. While the amp section is rated at 15 watts per channel I'd venture to say it could manage 7-8 watts RMS both channels driven. This is plenty for this type of system. It's a class A/B *output configuration and Sony claims the acceptable load varies from 4-16 ohms. Usually you would expect a prepackaged all-in-one stereo to specify it's compatible with one load, and ironically it's always the same load that's stated on the accompanying speaker system. It seems like someone at Sony decided to throw caution to the wind and say "why not just put an acceptable range?". I can't be any happier about that decision.

    The thing I like most about the amp section I've mentioned already, but let's talk more about it. Let me preface by saying I understand why most manufactures put the high pass filter inside the head module. There are several reasons in fact and they are as follows: protect the amplifier from dynamic or continuous low bass, protect the speaker from high excursion from low bass, protect the owner's investment even though they apparently can't tell they've passed the operational limitations of their equipment.

    Now whomever was responsible for designing the CMT-EX1 probably considered doing this but thought, "who would spend $300 on a work of art and abuse it? And if they did, is that my problem?" Thank you engineer, thank you. I could not have had you ask a better question. This well crafted piece of machinery feeds my subwoofer with a full range signal and does so cleanly and purely.*

    The speakers, while the weakest point of this system are far from disappointing, if used in the prescribed manor. Contrary to what's shown in my pitiful photograph the speakers sound their best nearfield with one speaker placed on either side of the main module. They each have a 3.5" midbass and 3/4" soft dome tweeters. They have surprising resolution and don't suffer from the boxy sound typically associated with compact stereo systems. The subwoofer is obviously needed, but can be blended quite seamlessly.*

    In summary: its old but in my opinion it's a sexy classic. Why even the best manufactures don't rival its looks and sound in this category is beyond me. I honestly feel you would have to reach B&O levels to match the quality in craftsmanship found here along with general aesthetic appeal. It would even make an excellent CD transport as quiet as it is. It doesn't stop at being made well and looking pretty, it sounds fantastic as well. It was a Good deal when it retailed for $300 and it's a real bargain if you can find one used for $100 or less. I highly recommend this product.
    • Like Like x 1
  2. JayWhite Audiophyte

    JayWhite
    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2013
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    Have had this system about 10 years, but just starting using it (loooong and boring story). I love it and appreciate the details! Now, if I can just get the iphone to play through the speakers ... any help there?
  3. JayWhite Audiophyte

    JayWhite
    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2013
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Sorry, just joined today ... Presently, cord is plugged into "headphones" on the back. No sound, though.
  4. j_garcia Audioholic Jedi

    j_garcia
    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2005
    Messages:
    25,222
    Likes Received:
    5,290
    Location:
    San Jose, Ca.
    Headphones on the back would most likely be an OUTPUT not an INPUT. This device obviously FAR predates MP3 players :) You need a stereo headphone to RCA cable and connect it to an available analog (RCA) input on the back. I have a nearly 20yr old Sony executive box like this too and it works just fine the way I describe. I use a USB DAC from my laptop to the Sony with no issues.
  5. j_garcia Audioholic Jedi

    j_garcia
    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2005
    Messages:
    25,222
    Likes Received:
    5,290
    Location:
    San Jose, Ca.
    Here's mine:

    [​IMG]

    Both the kids had it as their system for a few years each and now it is back with me since they are both out of the house. It is older than my son and he can legally drink this year :/
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2013
  6. macddmac Audioholic General

    macddmac
    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2012
    Messages:
    1,029
    Likes Received:
    473
    Location:
    Colorado
    Just bought this one for the wife's office.
    also got a lay flat sub that's under the futon.
    need to get the Boston's off the floor, baby steps in bringing her along to the dark side:D
    Cheers, Mac
    • Like Like x 1
  7. JayWhite Audiophyte

    JayWhite
    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2013
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks, guys - Sony CMT-ex1 working great now!

    I neglected to mention that I am using the iphone as an ipod, not a phone. My son finally set me straight - in the Tape function, just had to plug into the inputs on the back. And, the Sony cmt-ex1 has awesome sound, even if it is 10 years old! I KNEW he had the "ipod" playing through the stereo over Christmas! : )
  8. Seth=L Audioholic Overlord

    Seth=L
    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2006
    Messages:
    13,309
    Likes Received:
    1,959
    Coming up on a year of personal ownership of this unit. Still using it today. I've used it for just about everything, preamp, CD player, CD transport, or as it was intended. The headphone output works pretty well feeding a Tripath amplifier I have. The CD transport mechanism is quieter than most everything else I have, this is particularly impressive considering it's size. Too bad that not many buyers at the time it was introduced seemed to accept that this thing was worth it's price tag, with a few more features and flexibility options it could be fantastic/perfect.
    • Like Like x 1
  9. scotty22 Audiophyte

    scotty22
    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2015
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    I Just copped one of these bad boys from a local thrift store for $10! read this review... and feel that it was a $10 well spent. How would you go about hooking up a Sub to it?
    Thanks!
    -Scotty

Share This Page

  • rbhsound.com
  • BlueJeansCable.com
  • Emotiva.com
  • SVS Sound Subwoofers
  • Experience the Martin Logan Montis
  • CEDIA