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Sony D-111

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My first CD Walkman, specifically Discman, was a 13th birthday present via grandparents. The D-111.
Previous experience with CDs was limited to a Sony CFD-50 boom box. 2 key features made their introduction to my music world, all thanks to this new portable music player.

Megabass was immediately impactful. Suddenly I could experience low end boom in the most unaccommodating headphones. Position 1 is more usable across a wider range of headphones and music styles. Position 2 is intense and more selective in situational performance. YMMV.

Line Out came with a steeper learning curve. I have a clear memory of going to Burger King with the Discman and struggling to figure out why audio level in headphones was stuck at minimum level regardless of Volume dial setting. Yes, I mistakenly plugged into the Line Out. Lesson learned, in part. It wasn’t until years later did I obtain a secondhand Y-cable made by my uncle. Then I could connect my Discman to the Sony Receiver in dad’s stereo cabinet.

Unlocking the Line Out of [this unit] resulted in things making sense. It was nothing less than revelatory. Using a HiFi integrated amp and mid-tier (Radioshack) bookshelf speakers with D-111 as source, provided an important lesson in digital sound quality. A reference point I was fortunate to assimilate before having the D-111 unceremoniously stolen from my school locker. Unlucky.

Okay then, how does it sound?
The D-111’s Line Out is open and relaxed without being lethargic. It occupies the Goldilocks zone. Not too forward or pushy, not at all anemic or subdued. Just right. Able to play well with clean or colorful line stage amplifiers alike. Suitable for all styles of music.

D-111 headphone amp has hot output (15mW) and enough juice to drive just about any headphones you may have handy, with room to breathe. Subtle flattering response from MDR 7506 studio monitors. Plenty of power from a pair of AA cells, although the real headroom magic is unlocked by using a 6V wall wart ac adaptor, spreading its benefit between both headphone amp and line driver circuitry. This unit is hungry for power; keep it fed and your ears will be full.

Revisiting old favorites brings me back to a simpler time, cliches fail me. Metallica. The Beavis & Butthead Experience. The Chronic. Midnight Marauders. Pork Soda. Siamese Dream. In Utero. Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). Only Built 4 Cuban Linx. Ready To Die. Mezcal Head.

Bliss with the spice of life.

Pros: Headphone amp, Line Out, robust metal-hinge, attached battery cover
Cons: No ESP, battery life (~2.5hr continuous)


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