My "new" kawaii miniCD player: Aiwa XP-Z3C

Discussion in 'Digital Sources' started by SA-708, Mar 14, 2017.

  1. SA-708

    SA-708 Appalachian-American Subscriber

    Messages:
    4,832
    Location:
    NE Tennessee
    A few weeks ago, while adding some new acquisitions to my collection of three inch (8cm) compact discs, I decided that I'd like to have a small CD player to go with all of my small CDs; getting up to change CDs every few minutes wile looking through my collection was probably a factor. Following several days of research, I selected an Aiwa XP-Z3C that was available on eBay, which I received yesterday.

    The iconic collectable player for the miniCDs is the Sony D-88, introduced in 1988 when the miniCD format was first introduced for audio CD singles. On the positive side, they are often available for sale and there are available options for repairing the players and dealing with the battery. On the negative side, they are going on 30 years old, usually sell for good money in non-working condition so one will have to spend more money to get one working. There is a good amount of information available on this model.
    http://www.techmoan.com/blog/2015/1...-ever-made-is-a-modern-day-health-and-sa.html


    After some research, I decided to look for other options. While I could not find any information about other small format CD players from the 1980s, I discovered that several models were introduced in the early 2000s, after the introduction of miniCD-R discs. They were capable of playing MP3 files burned onto miniCD-R, which was a viable option for a window of time. They were smaller than the personal CD-MP3 players for standard 5 inch CDs, but had cheaper storage than the early flash memory and hard drive MP3 players. Within a few years, flash memory had dropped enough in price that the days of the miniCD-MP3 players were over.

    Many of the models available at the time were made by the companies that made CD-R media. Models I looked at were the Memorex MPD8081, Imation RipGO!, Verbatim MP3/8cm, and Freecom Beatman (Freecom is a subsidiary of Verbatim). I also decided to pass on the Compaq iPaq PM-1 for similar reasons. In addition to concerns over the sound quality of products from companies not known for audio equipment, some of these were rather ugly and also larger than I expected. Some were about 4 inches square, while others were around 3 inches by 5 inces.

    Of the audio manufactureres, Philips went pretty heavy into the portable CD-MP3 market, and made at least four models dedicated to the 3 inch format. A couple of the models looked interesting, including a Nike co-branded player, but were not currently being offered at a price I was willing to pay.

    The other one was the Akai XP-Z3, also sold as the XP-Z3C when packaged with a "car kit" of a power supply and cassette tape adaptor for use in a vehicle. It was small, it was well designed with a "kawaii" cuteness factor, and there was one for sale at a reasonable price on eBay. It was made in 2002, the year that Sony became full owner of Akai (they had been the majority shareholder for some time), so it is 15 years old, about half the age of the Sony D-88. Portable power options are two "gum stick" NiMH batteries (still available for sale) that fit into the player itself, and an extra add-on battery pod for two AA cells.

    After several anxious days, the player arrived yesterday. It came complete with the box and all of the accessories, apart from the Aiwa-branded car cassette adaptor, and looks like it has barely been used. I am certain that several of the accessories in sealed bags were never used. From the box and paperwork, this was sold by Aiwa Canada, and is not packaged for sale in the USA (no FCC language, for instance). It came with a charging dock, wall wart, wired remote control, ear buds, manuals including product registration cards in French and English, car power adapter, carrying bag, AA battery pod, two Sony-branded NiMH "gum stick" batteries inside plastic cases, and a small shrinkwrapped brick of 5 miniCD-R discs in jewel cases. The manual only mentions one miniCD-R so the brick may be a substitution for the original.

    I have not yet attempted to burn & play a miniCD-MP3 disc, but I have charged the NiMH batteries and played a few 3 inch audio CDs. I have learned that the in-line remote isn't needed for simple usage. I'm very happy with my new toy. It is newer, smaller, and cuter than the Sony D-88, and looks to serve the purpose I purchased it for.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2017
    soundboy likes this.
  2. SA-708

    SA-708 Appalachian-American Subscriber

    Messages:
    4,832
    Location:
    NE Tennessee
    [​IMG]
    In the box.

    [​IMG]
    Playing in my hand.

    [​IMG]
    With a 3" digipack, for scale.

    [​IMG]
    In the charging dock & with a standard sized jewel case, for scale.

    [​IMG]
    Playing in the dock, with the box and the in-line remote.
     
    soundboy likes this.
  3. slow_jazz

    slow_jazz AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    13,847
    Location:
    SE Michigan, Downriver....
    I still have a Koss player that is still going strong.
     
  4. SA-708

    SA-708 Appalachian-American Subscriber

    Messages:
    4,832
    Location:
    NE Tennessee
    I wasn't able to identify any Koss personal CD player models in the three inch miniCD size.
     
  5. soundboy

    soundboy Super Member

    Messages:
    2,073
    Location:
    Pleasant Hill, California
    I have a iPhone 7 and my portable CD players are still my main portable music playback gear. I have at least 3 of them in use (Aiwa, Panasonic and of course, Sony) and a couple still factory sealed.
     
  6. SA-708

    SA-708 Appalachian-American Subscriber

    Messages:
    4,832
    Location:
    NE Tennessee
    Y'all don't seem to be grasping the scale of this cute little CD player. It is small, smaller than a standard personal CD player, small enough to fit a shirt pocket, far too small to play a standard 12cm CD. It can only play the smaller 8cm MiniCDs.

    [​IMG]
    Here is the tiny Aiwa XP-Z3C (8.5cm by 10cm) with a standard sized Philips personal CD player (13.5cm diameter) and an 8cm CD single.

    [​IMG]
    Here is the 8cm CD in the tiny Aiwa player. A standard 12cm CD will not fit.

    [​IMG]
    For comparison, the same 8cm miniCD in the standard sized personal CD player.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    There are two rechargeable "gum stick" batteries that fit in the player; no external battery pack like the Sony Discman D-88. Based on eBay prices, these two Sony NI-MH cells are worth around 2/3 of what I paid for the player, batteries included.

    I test-walked the XP-Z3C around campus today on my lunch break today. It sounds great, the anti-skip works fine, but it is bulkier than the Zune I usually use. I'll probably just keep this safe at home with my collection of miniCD singles.
     
  7. ilusndweller

    ilusndweller Super Member

    Messages:
    4,125
    Had no idea they existed. I knew the smaller cds existed though Ive never seen one in person. Thanks for sharing.
     
  8. Hobie1dog

    Hobie1dog Super Member

    Messages:
    1,484
    Location:
    NC
    Long time Aiwa fan, wish the pics would show up.
     
  9. SA-708

    SA-708 Appalachian-American Subscriber

    Messages:
    4,832
    Location:
    NE Tennessee
    I think I fixed the issue with the images.
     
  10. SA-708

    SA-708 Appalachian-American Subscriber

    Messages:
    4,832
    Location:
    NE Tennessee
    I received a pair of replacement "gum stick" batteries today from HQRP, and replaced the old Sony cells, after running the Sony batteries down as far as I could. Looks like Sony used this size of Ni-MH rechargeable cells in several Walkman and portable Minidisc models.

    image.jpg

    Here it is with the optional external pod for two AA cells, that attaches using a thumbscrew. According to the manual, the claimed 26 hours of playback is based on using both sets of batteries.

    image.jpg
    image.jpg
     
  11. lini

    lini just me...

    Messages:
    5,052
    Location:
    Munich, Bavaria
    SA-708: Kinda cute little thingy. I'm surprised to see that it looks pretty different compared to the XP-Z5, though...

    Greetings from Munich!

    Manfred / lini
     
  12. SA-708

    SA-708 Appalachian-American Subscriber

    Messages:
    4,832
    Location:
    NE Tennessee
    That is a puzzlement. The later XP-ZV1 seems to be a better match, design-wise. V for 5, perhaps?
     
  13. lini

    lini just me...

    Messages:
    5,052
    Location:
    Munich, Bavaria
    SA-708: Actually to me the most similar big one in terms of looks would be the XP-275 - with MP3 compatibility, that blue MP3 design element of the XP-MP3 on the lid and the black parts in grey, I'd think that would have been a good candidate for a big brother...

    Greetings from Munich!

    Manfred / lini
     
  14. zebra03

    zebra03 All Audio - NO BS

    Messages:
    9,701
    Location:
    West of Weedville
    Take one of your old CD's and serrate the edges and turn the Sony D-88 into an electric hand saw for balsa wood .
     

Share This Page