Aiwa XR-H3MD disappointment

June, 1998

I bought the Aiwa XR-H3MD bookshelf MD system, however, upon listening to a few of my MDs I would occasionally hear what I thought was a "skip", a brief interval of music omitted during playback. Finally I found an MD with two spots that would repeatedly fail to playback without skipping. These spots played fine in my Sony MZ-R50 and MDX-C7900.

So I took the unit and my "test disc" back to Best Buy and tried the disc in two other Aiwa units: the display model, and one I received in exchange for my defective unit. All Aiwa units failed at the same point on the disc and in the same way. (I considered doing a second exchange for the last Aiwa unit they had, but with 3 out of 3 failing, I felt the odds of finding a working unit were low). I also tried my disc in a Sharp MD-X5 bookshelf system that was on display, where it played through the trouble spots without a problem.

My hunch is that the SNR of the Aiwa's optical pickup, as designed, is substandard, and causes MD playback to stumble on weak areas of the disc. The upshot: I returned the Aiwa unit for a refund (I considered the Sharp unit, but they were out of stock).

Has anyone else noticed a problem like this with the Aiwa? The date of manufacture for the unit was July 1997.

-Eric Woudenberg

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