Just keeping this thread alive. Over the last year I have got pretty much a full 500 series and have been very happy with them, just waiting on some decent speakers in the post to help them show themselves off a bit more. I think they look very smart, especially the amp, and the reduced footprint is such a benefit, they even fit nicely in the cubes of a kallax.
I think the only annoyance I have is that if I fully power off the amp when I turn it on again it automatically switches to the turner. A more minor issue is that to use all the features of certain decks, like the Minidisc, you have to use a separate remote but then you can't have it synchronised with the rest of the system and the switch to swap is at the back of the decks.
My current set up is:
A-H500i - Amp
MD-H500i - Minidisc
MD-H500 - Minidisc (recent purchase to have a spare)
PD-H500C - CD
T-H500 - Tuner
R-H500 - Cassette
I've looked through the various manuals and have just gone through the whole thread and still not completely sure about the differences between models as the specifications in the various manuals are sometimes identical. Also the manuals are not always very specific, e.g. the manual for the MD-H500i just refers to the remote supplied not a model number.
A-H500/A-H500i - an earlier post points to the 'i' to some upgraded connections and components and an power switch on the side, as opposed to the rear, but the specs in both manuals are identical.
MD-H500/MD-H500i - this seems to be one of the clearest differences. There is a different LED panel and the "i" version is much lighter (3.7kg vs 6kg) as well as some other differences in the specs such as Frequency response and signal to noise ratio.
PD-H500/PD-H500C/PD-H500i - The differences have been asked a few times but couldn't see any responses. There doesn't seem to be much by way of differences in the specs in the manuals other than slightly different consumption wattage. The 'C' is clearly labelled on the front that it is CD-R/CD-RW compatible. I have yet to find a CD that my deck will not play.
To me it seems a little strange that model numbering is a little off as where there are different versions to get the 'best' set up you probably want the A-H500i, the MD-H500 and the PD-H500C.
From what I can tell, other than the amp none of the other components were significantly better than the 300 series (many seem to have the same innards some use the same service manual) and some decks for the 300 and 100 series were more advanced such as the MD-H100LP & MD-H300LP which were more advanced than either of the MD-H500s.
Any way very happy that I stumbled upon these wonderful little decks.