Mega-changers can store, play, program 200 CDs

July 06, 1998|By Michael E. Kanell | Michael E. Kanell,COX NEWS SERVICE

It's not so much trouble to reach for the stack of compact discs, pick the one you suddenly have a hankering for, pop it into the CD player and hit play. But wouldn't it be nice to just tap the CD player and have that tune start playing?

You can, if you have every single CD you own sitting in the CD player. And you can have that if you have the cash to buy one of the new Kenwood 200-disc CD mega-changers.

One of the key advantages CD technology has over tapes and records is random access - the ability to play the track you want without first listening to a bunch of other stuff. The new Kenwood line means to take that idea one step further by making the CD player your storage unit as well.

What if you have in mind a musical feeling, but you really don't want to spend a long time picking out individual tunes? Each of the new Kenwoods includes a memory function that lets users fill in data about each disc, designating one of 26 pre-programmed categories (rock, jazz, classical, etc.). Then if you wake up Sunday morning and want to hear Sam and Dave, Aretha, Otis or the Temptations, you just let the machine "shuffle" through the soul genre.

On the other hand, if you want to play DJ for friends dropping by late some night, you can program up to 32 consecutive tracks that slide from Betty Carter to Frank Sinatra to Lena Horne to Percy Sledge. Choose from any track among the up to 200 CDs loaded in the machine.

Kenwood has four machines in the 200-CD class, ranging from $230 to $500 in list price. The top of the line, the CD-2280M, can play two discs simultaneously and send the audio to separate rooms. For more information, call 800-KENWOOD or surf to

Stop and identify

Just how picky are you about phone calls?

Just how much screening do you want your machines to do?

And how many hoops do you demand a caller leap through

before you will deign to pick up your phone?

Caller ID, which shows you the caller's number as the phone rings, is the most obvious option and is available from your local phone company for a monthly charge. But maybe that is not enough for you.

If so, you might consider the Tele-Screen from the Edge Co. of Brattleboro, Vt.

Would you like callers to be greeted by a voice that says "Please enter the four-digit pass code"? If the caller doesn't have your code, the phone doesn't ring and the call is disconnected.

For information, call the Edge Co. (1-800-732-9976) or visit the company's site (

Talk to your VCR

The videocassette recorder, despite its near-ubiquity in the homes of America, just might be the least understood of our most well-used products. You can pop in a movie, but can you actually record on your VCR? Can you set it to tape something next week?

Zenith responds with the SpeakEZ feature, an addition to its VCRs that the company says will talk you through the process of recording.

It works something like calling an office voice mail.

The cost of the machines with the feature ranges from $170 to $250. For more information, visit the Zenith site on the Net (

Pub Date: 7/06/98

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