Sony MiniDisc

Sony MDX-C7900 AM/FM MiniDisc in-dash head unit

[9/12/2000] Reviewed by Mike Menozzi - mx5@chicagonet.net

Applicable to '90 - '97 1.8 liter

The Sony MD player came from Crutchfield who provides wiring harness, adapter plate, antenna adapter, and very good directions. This particular unit will control a Sony CD changer, supports text display, had a 3 position "D-Bass" selector, two color choices (green and amber) for backlighting (the green matches the rest of your lighting perfectly), control of the display contrast, and various play settings. It has a removable face, which may deter thieves. It also has pre-outs if you're inclined to add a amp later.

MiniDisc provides more flexibility than cassette ever could and sounds better to boot. Track access is immediate, shuffle play is available and they can be re-recorded over a million times without audio degradation. Text display makes it easy to find the disc or track your looking for. Twenty AM FM presets, and AM and FM stations can be named and chosen from a list.

 Removal of the dreaded center eye-ball vents (well documented elsewhere in the "garage"), created a problem for me too. Uncertain of the amount of pressure I could exert without destroying them or the dash, I did the sane thing. I went to my local dealer and told him what I was doing, they removed the vents while I waited, and at no charge. Problem solved. Removal of the stock unit was straightforward aside from the lack of room they left me behind the unit.

(This is a great time to replace the shift boot, short shift kit, and add a brake boot, if you're inclined to do so)

The antenna, and CD controller plug unit slides in the back of the unit. Because the old radio was a 1 DIN you may have had the little pocket beneath the radio which was just large enough for change. You'll lose that with this setup, even though the new Sony is 1 DIN, the bottom is blocked out with Crutchfield's adapter. I hear the lower pocket is available from Crutchfield if you ask for it.

The resulting installation is fairly stock looking, clean, straight, it doesn't look too "aftermarket".I'd do it again in a minute, the sound is great, it was an easy install. It makes a great car even better if you love music. And it's completely reversible if the next owner wants the stock unit or you want to take this setup with you.

Over 30 minutes to remove completely


Sony MDX-C670 MiniDisc

Reviewed by: Nelson Clayton - nclayton@ix.netcom.com

The Sony MDX-C670 is an in-dash car stereo featuring an AM/FM receiver and a MiniDisc player. The power output rating is 35 watts per channel for 4 channels.

I recently purchased one of the last of the 1997 Miatas off the new-car lot at a huge discount. Not being satisfied with the stock stereo system, I did some research and concluded that the Sony MDX-C670 was perfect for the Miata. Installation was easy. I merely had to obtain a Mazda wiring harness from the local car-stereo shop and follow the instructions in the "Audio" section of "Tips from the Garage" from this website to remove the stock unit. The new Sony unit seems to provide much greater power than the stock stereo, without having to use an external amplifier of any sort. Radio reception is also excellent. However, the strongest appeal of this system is the MiniDisc. The MiniDisc is vastly superior to ordinary CDs for the Miata. Partly, this is because there are no good places to store CDs in the car. All available compartments are too small. On the other hand, I can easily fit 14 MiniDiscs in the little console compartment between the seats, and at least another 6 in the little bin under the stereo. This is because the MiniDisc is tiny. It is also self-enclosed in a package similar to that of a computer floppy-disk, which makes it much easier to handle than a CD. Changing discs while driving is a piece of cake. The sound quality from a MiniDisc is identical to that of a CD, since both are digital. A single MiniDisc can hold up to 74 minutes of music, which is the maximum that a CD can hold. MiniDiscs are re-recordable, which gives them all the advantages of tape while at the same time providing the random-access capability of a CD. It's like having the best of both worlds. The only downside is that pre-recorded MiniDiscs are not readily available, wo you have to buy a home MiniDisc deck, such as the Sony MDS-JE510, which I purchased for $300. Other much more expensive home decks are available, but this has all the features I could ever want. You can then record your own selections of music from any medium you wish. I record my own "Miata Mix" from my CDs, selecting pieces that sounAlthough it has taken a bit of time for me to produce a library of 20 "Miata discs" in my spare time, the task of selecting and recording appropriate tracks has been an enjoyable one. Coupled with Clearwater door and headrest speakers, my Sony MiniDisc car stereo provides incredibly good sound, as well as great convenience and ease of operation. For those of you who want a changer, Sony makes a MiniDisc changer which is tiny and wiould probably fit in the glove compartment of the Miata. I don't believe that MiniDisc systems are going to sell very well. They may go the way of DAT. However, I really don't care, because I already have my system and own lots of blank discs (and can always record over tracks that I get tired of). I really can't imagine a stereo better suited to the cramped concines of the Miata.


Back to Product Reviews 14 September, 2000