Panasonic SL-S261C CD Players Portable

Panasonic SL-S261C CD Players Portable 


Portable CD Player w/Anti Shock Memory


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[Jun 17, 2000]
Brian Wenink
Audio Enthusiast


good sonics for a portable, appearance, battery life, anti-skip


questionable EQ settings, storing settings

I first purchased a Philips player from their new line of portables. The unit looked great, but it sounded terrible (noisy output, very noticeable noise from the spindle motor) and on top of that it had trouble seeking on at least one of my CDs (not a CDR!). Unless their 2000 models are much improved, I can't recommend the Philips portables.

The 261C looks great, is very small, and does just about everything anyone would want out of a <$80 portable. I think it's pretty obvious that the headphones that come with any portable can be ignored... I use my Grado SR80s with good success. The 261C can drive these fairly well, sacrificing a bit of bass extension and very high treble. Out of the small handful of portables I've listened to, it sounds the best.

The EQ modes include a bass boost and a setting called "train" that is supposed to reduce the noise for people around you while you're listening.

The bass boost might be good for really cheap headphones or ear buds, but it's a really excessive boost in the 80-200Hz area that is just plain stupid for any reasonable headphones to need.

Let me put it this way... if you need to put it on "train" setting because you're distracting those around you, you need to turn it down, especially if you're on a noisy train. "Train" seems to cut mid-treble (where the human ear is most sensitive, around 3-5Khz) and a bit of low-mid. Not too pleasant.

Beyond the EQ settings, my only major complaint is that the unit tends to jumble its settings when disconnected from external power. For example, in the car I might have the EQ off and repeat mode on, but when I disconnect it and start playing it later, the bass boost will be on and repeat off. I'm not sure why this happens, and in my opinion this is a minor issue.

I've only owned this unit for a little over a month so I cannot attest to its reliability, but the build quality seems acceptable. It seems likely that most if not all of the Panasonic units are identical players with slightly different packaging; the reviews of the other Panasonic players should have relevance to the 261C.

Similar Products Used:

Philips portable (1999), old Sony Car/Discman

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