Sony MDX-670RDS Radio/MiniDisc
Car Audio Unit Review

(c) 1997 Dirk Vael, Luxembourg ([email protected])

Bought the unit for approx 15050 BEF, plus CDX805 for approx 14900 BEF (negotiated a deal for a package, 2 MDXC670RDS units and CDX805 charger for 45000 BEF, about 1300 USD)

Installed it in my brand new MGF 1.8 VVC roadster (145hp). Good clear manual (8 languages, 28pp per language) for unit itself, manual for cables (big sized paper) and small manual for safety commander.

I had to modify my little MGF locker to get the CD unit inside, and it works now. I used my original MGF 3-way integrated 8 inch loudspeakers because they were suprisingly good compared with my brother's 120W Boston Acoustics Rally RC61's installed in his MGF 1.8i (120hp) using an Alpine TDA7456 unit & 601 CD loader (I miss a bit the Boston tweeters though). Somebody told me Rover has a good reputation regarding pre-installed loudspeakers, unlike Opel or Renault :-)

The cables with connectors were no problem (whow, a miracle!?), that was plug and play. The CD charger was also installed on the fly (except for the 2 hours needed to modify the MGF locker!)

The MD unit was very hard to install because of the little iron plus rubber knob stabilizing stick all the cables at the back which prevented the unit from 'clicking' into the frame (had to narrow the mounting frame a bit, plus A LOT of pushing onto the MDX unit before it secured itself with the famous 'click'). Getting the unit out of the frame was also very tricky, since the unlock key is not that great for its intended purpose, but okay, it works after some push'n pull exercising ;-)

Beware to check the three little slots on top-front of the unit. It seems that I incidentally pushed the one of these clips too hard, and it jammed the MD eject mechanism. (top of unit was a bit plied inwards, protective MD cover (to keep dirt out) didn't close, MDs couldn't get out, etc) Just use a screwdriver to push the midslot on the topfront of the unit back into original position and your MD unit will work as an MD toaster! Very smooth in/out now.

The remote sucks for installing. The 3.5mm jack has to be cut off (or just cut the cable in two) if you don't want to drill a huge hole in your interior of your precious car. Soldering the cable back together afterwards was no problem. I opted to screw/paste the remote rotary in the middle, just behind the gear-stick, and infront of the armwrest. Absolutely fabulous thing, I can't live without it, and because of this stick, I don't use the (sturdy) knobs onto the unit itself. And it features a reverse function, to reverse the direction of all actions for left handed operating.

If you install the unit alone, it takes about 10 minutes. If you install additional loudspeakers, amps and cd-loaders, it can become several hours...

The unit itself in operation is great. The red/green/yellow LCD looks great, and I know, every car audio unit is unreadable in direct sunlight, so I don't know why people are complaining about that. It is readable in *normal* daylight. In sunlight, you can't read any LCD, whether it's Sony, Philips, Alpine, Kenwood, Clarion etc.

You can set the contrast of the LCD to VERY bright (too IMHO), or very darkish. Also there's an autodim function if you use your car headlights. This can be switched off of course. Finally, the LCD can easily be cleaned (it's just a rectangle).

I have set the buttons to an amber (orange) color, because they match the rest of my MGF interior indicators (oil temp, clock, buttons). Green is the alternative.

The amp is very powerful, the loudness is really LOUD (unlike many other car audio brands), treble and bass settings are significant, balance, fader and volume are other amp settings, all displayed graphically with a gauge on the display, and selectable & tuneable with the rotary too.

For quick decreasing the volume, use the rotating knob, or even better, the mute button on the rotary. VERY VERY handy, esp. in conjunction with GSM (cellular phone) or a very talkative passenger next to you ;-)

The buttons on the unit feel as cheap plastic study ones, but they work without a problem. They are placed logically, and are big enough to avoid confusion. The rotating knob works very responsive, and is the only one which doesn't feel sturdy. All knobs are alluminated in amber or green (you choose)

The eject mechanism is fast and smooth (spits out, sucks up, all real quick). I already got one TDK colored disc which came out with its shutter open, but for all the other times, they came out as they should (TDK black, TDK color, Fuji, Maxell, Sony)

The unit reads a TOC in one go, just as fast as an MZR3. CDs take the same time to load & read (3s at the max).

I tested my car on very rough roads, but the MD nor the CD would skip (the Alpine CD loader skipped once on the same road with an MGF). I don't think 10s shock memory is necessary. 6s, perhaps even 3s, are more than enough IMHO. But I do think the 3s memory of the CD is sometimes necessary! (the MDX805 mechanism 'floats' in its casing, so I guess the ESP memory won't run on empty that much)

Had one problem when playing a Minidisc: switched the unit during play off, switched back on, but display said DISC ERROR, and spitted the MD out. Just pushed the MD back in and played fine... Could not reproduce this error, but I think there is some bug in the MD software.

Another bug that I have seen twice is the settings of treble and bass, which is sometimes switched!! Put the bass to the middle of the gauge, and the treble a bit to the right of the center of the gauge. Afterwards, the bass had the treble setting and the treble setting was neutral (in the center of the gauge). A BUG!? And once, I was modifying the treble with the rotary, and while beeping (during changes), the unit switched to Bass without any notice!??? I did NOT push the Sound button on the Rotary, so I really think there is somewhere a software flaw in the sound settings of the MDX670RDS. Luckily, this happened only twice, and extensive testing could not reproduce this software flaw (yet?)

There is always a clock visible in the LCD (big yellow if switched to standby (off), or little green in top left corner if MD, CD or radio plays. You can also tune the clock by using RDS frequencies. Very handy for those who travel a lot to different timezones. You are however unable to switch the clock completely off for display.

Other text functions: scroll on/off, check default radio station during MD/CD play. Discname, Trackname, and time elapsed (no remain though).AMS, seek, shuffle, programmable play (bank) , repeat 1/all, intro (10s), give names to CDs (overrides CDtext, but only 8 chars) are all there. Very nice is the fact you can see the radiostation your tuner is currently tuned into while playing MD or CD, without stopping the MD/CD. Just push the display button >not on rotary possible :-( and after time/discname/trackname appears the radio station name (RDS only of course). Push again to return to elapsed time display.

Names are best made with the rotating knob on the unit, not the rotary, also since the rotary has no shortcut for 'Enter' (to accept a char), so you always have to push a button on the unit itself to accept the selected letter. Very silly :-(

Tuner has 20 FM, and 10 LW and MW stations, all with BTM (Best Tuning Memory) options, for the lazy people :-). What I liked a lot is that BTM will order the found stations based on numbers in the RDS name (Radio 1, 2 3 etc are assigned to button 1, 2 , 3 etc) Very cool! If not RDS name is avail, it orders based on frequency. Manual programming, mono selection, and a megaload of RDS functions are avail too. (Traffic Announcement, Regional programs, Traffic program, volume control of TA, EON, Alt Freq and 30 seekable types of RDS broadcasts, from Sports, over to Leisure, till Documentaries!) The rotary can seek, PI seek, select & program manually frequencies, select band. RDS names are stored in memory, so when browsing through RDS FM frequencies, it will display the assoicated station name with each number, even if the station cannot be received (if the signal is too weak or non-existant, when you're abroad a lot, like me ;-)

CD operation work transparent as MD operation, and reads CDRs and fairly scratched discs flawlessly too. Great sound. I had once a constant 'Push Reset' message with three accompanying short beeps when I wanted to play a CD. it seems the CD disc magazine of the CDX805 was jammed, and after some pushing onto the magazine, the loader reloaded all 10 discs as usual (even with the radio switched off, it just checks all the CD IDs/names I think) Hmmm, never had this with Alpine. And this for the most hi-end car CD player of Sony... this seems to be the difference between Alpine & Sony :-/

What else can I say?

Those who like great car audio & MD, BUY IT!



Nice to have


I still haven't seen/heard of an RDS radio which will look for an alternative frequency before switching off the output of the radio. it is very annoying that, in urban areas, the radio goes on and off every two minutes because it finds a signal which is a little bit stronger than the current one. Can't it do this in the background (preread/scan or what), so the listener doesn't notice the 0.3s silences for autoswitching between frequencies, but hears a continous radio programme, although the RDS LCD displays different frequencies.????

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