You can generally rely on Sony products to offer decent perceived value, and this CMT-MX750 micro system is no exception.
It looks good (even if it feels a bit plasticky) and its iPod/iPhone dock is integrated neatly into the fascia, where its rivals’ top-mounted docks make them look like they’ve had a loft extension when a player’s in situ.
The remote handset is thorough and logical, and the speakers (while built from the same chipboard and vinyl-wrap as their competitors) look tidy.
Good spec, but a couple of shortfalls
Specification is more-or-less on the money too: CD playback, DAB, FM and internet radio ability; that drop-down dock; integrated wi-fi; and USB, 3.5mm analogue and ethernet inputs make for a thoroughly flexible device.
Unlike the Pioneer X-HM70 and Pure Sirocco 550 micros, this Sony doesn’t have video or subwoofer outputs. What’s more, its bespoke connections mean it is tricky to upgrade the (short, bog-standard) speaker-cable provided.
Like the Pure Sirocco 500, the MX750 exhibits a quite variable sonic signature depending on the source you use. In this instance, though, it’s the CD player that’s most enjoyable.
A copy of Lemonheads’ It’s a Shame About Ray sounds quite expansive, with good dynamic heft and a nicely judged level of attack.
Separation of individual instruments on the soundstage is good, and there’s fair stereo focus too (if the speakers are given a chance and have a bit of space between them).
Eloquent midrange, but thin on top
The overall sound is on the sibilant side, though, with the top of the frequency range sounding quite thin and strident – a trait only exacerbated by increases in volume.
This tendency is given even more prominence by the rather vague way the Sony enters into and exits bass sounds – the low frequencies are punchy and solid, certainly, but they lack the sort of definition that makes them easy to follow as a series of individual sounds.
The MX750 serves them up as more of a continuous low-end hum. Music streamed from a network is presented in much the same was as from the dock: hefty but indistinct at the bottom, quite eloquent and immediate in the midrange, overly confident and easily provoked at the top.
On first acquaintance the Sony can sound quite vivid and exciting, but it doesn’t take an especially lengthy listen (once through something testing like Buffalo Philharmonic’s reading of Gershwin’s I Got Rhythm is plenty) for the MX750’s latent top-end coarseness and lack of organisational skills to come to the fore.
Ultimately, the Sony is a frustrating device. On paper, and on the shelf, it seems a real contender – but from the way it feels to the way it sounds, it flatters to deceive.