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Sony Xplod ES MDX-C8500X

MiniDisc receiver with CD changer controls

Item # 158MDXC850

Enjoy CD quality home-recorded MDs in your car with the Xplod ES MDX-C8500X MiniDisc receiver.

Find what Fits your vehicle

Enjoy CD quality home-recorded MDs in your car with the Xplod ES MDX-C8500X MiniDisc receiver.

Discontinued item

Item # 158MDXC850

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About the Sony Xplod ES MDX-C8500X

Enjoy CD quality home-recorded MDs in your car with the Xplod ES MDX-C8500X MiniDisc receiver. Wide Bit Stream processing uses 20-bit technology to smooth out the digital playback for warmer, more natural sound. Ten-second Shock Resistant Memory eliminates the possibility of skipping on rough roads. Sony's SSIR-EXA tuner is famous for its station-grabbing power, and 4-way Sony high power (19 watts RMS/50 peak) will make sure that your music stays clean and crisp.

Enjoy CD quality home-recorded MDs in your car with the Xplod ES MDX-C8500X MiniDisc receiver. Wide Bit Stream processing uses 20-bit technology to smooth out the digital playback for warmer, more natural sound. Ten-second Shock Resistant Memory eliminates the possibility of skipping on rough roads. Sony's SSIR-EXA tuner is famous for its station-grabbing power, and 4-way Sony high power (19 watts RMS/50 peak) will make sure that your music stays clean and crisp.

Impressive control of the sound contour is yours when you access HX DSP, Sony's most powerful built-in signal processing package ever. Switch on the digital EQ — you'll get eight useful presets (Rock, Vocal, Jazz, Classic, Groove, Talk, Techno, and Custom) that can be modified with a 7-band equalizer. You'll always sit in the "sweet spot," thanks to Digital Seat Position — its five settings correct for your speakers' audio path length differences. The Dynamic Soundfield Organizer (DSO) offers eight presets with various combinations of soundfields (Club, Live and Off) and different speaker height/width enhancement settings.

Three sets of 4-volt preamp outputs and TV/CD/MD controls make it simple to expand your system. A wireless remote is included.

  • detachable, fold-down face
  • multicolor display with dot matrix readout
  • CD/MD changer/TV controls
  • Custom File Memory (with compatible changer)
  • CD Text decoding
  • 3 sets of 4-volt preamp outputs
  • Wide Bit Stream processing
  • 10-second Shock Resistant Memory
  • HX-DSP for extensive control over your vehicle's acoustics
  • Dynamic Soundfield Organizer
  • digital EQ
  • multi-language display (English/Spanish/French)
  • clock
  • wireless remote
  • 19 watts RMS/50 peak x 4 channels
  • MD frequency response 10-20,000 Hz
  • MD signal-to-noise ratio 90 dB
  • FM sensitivity 8 dBf
  • 2-year warranty

What's in the box:

  • AM/FM/MD/Changer Controller receiver with 10-amp fuse inserted into chassis
  • Face
  • Hard face case
  • Trim ring
  • Sleeve
  • RM-X91 wireless remote
  • CR2025 lithium battery (installed in remote)
  • Wiring harness
  • 2 DIN side springs (for "E" mounting)
  • 4 ISO-mount screws
  • 1 Metal backstrap
  • 1 Self-tapping screw (for backstrap)
  • 1 Machine screw (for backstrap)
  • Operating instructions
  • Installation/Connections sheet
  • Correction sheet
  • Warranty sheet
  • "Sony Mobile" window sticker (6-7/8" x 2-9/16").

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More details on the Sony Xplod ES MDX-C8500X

Research Team

Product Research

Disc Changer Controls
TV/Video Controls
Warranty and Clock Display Notes


Display/Button Illumination: This unit uses a multi-color LCD with a dot matrix readout for station frequencies, track numbers and times, text and spectrum analyzer displays.  Display brightness is enhanced with EL backlight. The main display line (which shows tuner frequency, track number, track time and text info) and the menu navigation arrows (cross-key controls) are displayed with white illumination. The clock/source portion of the display, the MD-in indicator, the repeat indicator and the shuffle indicator are displayed with red illumination. All buttons are backlit with red illumination.

Dual Info Display: There is a portion of the display that can be set to show the source name (FM1, FM2, MD, etc) or the clock time while the main display line displays MD text, the track number and elapsed time, or the tuner frequency.  While the unit is playing, you can only view the clock when the Dual Info Display feature is turned on.

Motion Display: There are two motion display modes.  One mode uses a dot matrix graphic of a roller coaster, and the other mode shows a dot matrix graphic of waves washing in, then out.  After the roller coaster races around the dot matrix portion of the display, the source info scrolls onto the display.  When the second motion display mode is selected, the source info appears on the screen as if it was left there by the waves washing out to sea.  When the tuner is activated, the display alternates between the motion display graphic and the tuner frequency.  When an MD is playing, the unit will cycle through the MD track number and elapsed track time, the MD disc name (if any) and the MD track title (if any), with the motion display graphic appearing between each type of info.  The motion display can be turned off.

Adjustable Display Contrast: The display contrast may be adjusted for better viewing from various angles and in less than optimum lighting conditions.

Spectrum Analyzer:  You may set the unit to display any of six different spectrum analyzer patterns, or it may be set to automatically cycle through the patterns.  If you prefer to view a display with less action, you may turn the spectrum analyzer off.

Selectable Display Language: You may change the display language to English, French or Spanish.

Dimmer: This unit is equipped with a lead for connection to a vehicle's light switch. When the dimmer mode is set to "Auto" and the illumination lead receives power, the display dims to a preset level.  The display brightness is not affected by the vehicle's dimmer control.  Also, the dimmer feature may be turned off, so no dimming takes place when the illumination lead receives power.  You may have the display dimmed at all times by setting the dimmer mode to "on".

3 sets of 4V preamp outputs: This unit is equipped with front, rear and subwoofer preamp outputs. The subwoofer preamp outputs provide a summed mono signal.  For info on high-pass and low-pass filters for these outputs, see the "HX DSP" section below.

Wide Bit Stream Processing: A 20-bit data path through the digital filter and digital to analog converter delivers improved dynamic range and low-level linearity for lifelike sound.

MD Text Capable: When used with an MD that includes text information, this unit will display the Disc Name, Artist Name and/or Track Name.

10-second ESP: This unit is equipped with 10-seconds of electronic shock protection memory. This feature prevents MD skipping during disturbances lasting up to 10-seconds in duration.

Station Memo: You can assign a name of up to 8 characters in length to each tuner preset station.  Station Memos can be used with the List-up function to locate a station.

SSIR-EXA with Adaptive Reception: The SSIR-EXA tuner is equipped with "Adaptive Reception".  The Adaptive Reception feature has two (IF AUTO and WIDE) for optimizing FM reception.  The "wide" mode decreases the tuner's selectivity but results in better frequency response.  The auto mode automatically adjusts the tuner for a good balance between frequency response and minimum station-to-station interference.  The Adaptive Reception feature cannot be turned off.

Source Sound Memory: This unit will memorize the DSO menu and EQ curve settings used for each source (AM/FM/MD), so, the next time you select a source, the settings you last used with that source will be automatically recalled.

Remote Compatibility: This receiver can be controlled by the included wireless remote, and it is compatible with Sony's optional wired rotary commander (item 158RMX4S).

Attenuator/Mute: The attenuate/mute function is accessible only by remote (wireless remote included, wired remote sold separately).

Cellular Mute Lead: This unit is equipped with lead that mutes audio output when a cellular call is received; when the call is over, the audio level is automatically restored.  To use this feature, you MUST have a cellular phone with a muting output that can be connected to the cellular mute lead.

Settings: You can change the following sound and display settings:

  • Clock: used to set clock time.
  • Beep: Turns on/off the beeps that the unit normally makes when a function is selected
  • RM (Rotary Commander): changes the control direction of the optional remote so it corresponds to where the remote is mounted (left or right of steering column)
  • English/French/Spanish: changes the display language
  • D.Info: Turns dual info display on/off
  • SA (spectrum analyzer): changes the display pattern of the spectrum analyzer
  • Dimmer: selects auto, on or off
  • Contrast: changes the contrast of the display
  • M.Dspl (Motion Display): turns the motion display on/off
  • A.Scrl (Auto scroll): automatically scrolls a disc or track name from a CD/MD changer or the built-in MD player if the name exceeds 10 characters
  • EQ Tune: adjusts EQ frequency and level
  • Front HPF (High Pass Filter): selects front high pass filter setting
  • Rear HPF (High Pass Filter): selects rear high pass filter setting
  • Sub LPF (Low Pass Filter): selects subwoofer low pass filter setting


HX-DSP Sound Control: The "HX DSP" package includes DSO (Dynamic Soundstage Organizer), EQ, Listening Position, HPF (High Pass Filter) and LPF (Low Pass Filter) functions.  Since the unit has built-in DSP, it doesn't need, or include, controls for an external DSP processor.

DSO (Dynamic Soundstage Organizer): This function incorporates psycho-acoustic principals to improve sound quality.  The DSO creates a more ambient sound, by making speakers mounted low in the front doors sound like they're mounted above the dash.

  • DSO 1-3 (Standard): speakers mounted low in the front doors sound like they are mounted in the dash.  You may choose from 3 standard settings to improve the response and stereo imaging of door mounted speakers.
  • DSO Wide (Wide): one wide setting is provided to make speakers mounted low in the front doors sound like they're mounted above and beyond the doors

EQ: This unit has a built-in 7-band equalizer. Eight equalizer curves are preset into memory and may be modified.  The 5 preset curve names are "Rock", "Vocal", "Groove", "Techno" and "Custom". The following bands may be adjusted up to +/- 12dB for each curve: 62Hz, 157Hz, 396Hz, 1kHz, 2.5kHz, 6.3kHz and 16kHz.

Seat Position: This feature allows you to select a seating position and adjust the position (from left to right and front to rear) to make it feel like you're in the center of the sound field, no matter where you are seated in the car.  The positions you may select from are: All, Front, Front right, Front left or rear.

High-Pass Filter: The front and rear speaker and preamplifier outputs may be set to provide full-range output, or they may be set for 78Hz, 99Hz, 125Hz, 157Hz or 198Hz high-pass output.  The high-pass filter setting may be different for the front and rear outputs. For example, the front may be set for 125Hz high-pass operation and the rear may be set for full-range.

Low-Pass Filter: The subwoofer preamp outputs may be set for full-range, 62Hz, 78Hz, 99Hz, 125Hz, or 157Hz low-pass operation. The subwoofer volume is independently adjustable.  The subwoofer outputs are non-fading.

CD/MD Changer Controls

Control of Multiple Changers: A maximum of 5 CD changers, or a maximum of 5 MD changers may be connected to this receiver.  When connecting CD and MD changers, you may connect up to a total of 7 changers (but there must not be more than 5 of one type of changer).  When connecting more than one changer to this receiver, you must use item 158XAC30.


  • Changer select
  • Track +/-
  • Disc +/-
  • Track search +/-
  • Shuffle-1: one random play disc (does not repeat tracks)
  • Shuffle-2: plays track from all CDs in the selected changer (will repeat tracks)
  • Shuffle-all: plays tracks from all connected changers in random order (will repeat tracks)
  • Repeat-1: track repeat
  • Repeat-2: disc repeat
  • Custom File (FILE): for 110 discs (per changer). Assign up to an 8 character title per disc (Disc Memo). Assign "SKIP" OR "PLAY" to each track on the disc. A maximum of 24 tracks per disc can be set to "SKIP" and the disc must have a title first. After a disc has been given a custom title, you may search for the disc, by title, using the List function.

Remote Control Functions

RM-X91 Remote: Sony's RM-X91 infrared remote control is included with this unit.

Remote Dimensions: L = 3.485", W = 2.046", H = 0.403"


  • Off
  • Menu: brings up the menu functions (sound and display settings)
  • List: after a disc has been given a custom title, you may search for the disc, by title, using the List function. Additionally, after a radio station has been given a custom title, you may search for the radio station, by title, using the List function.
  • Source: selects source (Tuner, MD, CD/MD changer)
  • Seek-/Track Search/Track Skip: two buttons used to increase/decrease tuner frequency, skip tracks forward/backward, search tracks forward/backward and moves cursor while entering disc names
  • Disc+: selects next disc and navigates through menu
  • Disc- : selects previous disc and navigates through menu
  • Sound: cycles through bass, treble, balance and fader
  • Enter: enters menu selections
  • DSPL: switches between MD name, track name and track number/elapsed time in MD mode. In tuner mode, the display button switches between station name and frequency.
  • Mode: cycles through FM and AM bands
  • ATT button: attenuates output
  • Volume +/-: two buttons used for volume control

TV/Video Controls

TV/Video: You can connect an optional Sony TV tuner and TV monitor to this unit. This unit will automatically memorize the strongest TV signals (up to 12 channels).  You can store a name for each channel (up to 8 characters) and display it by using the list function (displays on the TV monitor). Disc info that is stored in memory and radio station names can be displayed on the TV monitor.

Simultaneous Play: This feature allows you to watch TV or video while listening to an MD or CD; this feature will not work while you are listening to the radio.

Warranty and Clock Display Notes

2 Year Warranty: Some MDX-C8500X units were packaged with a 1 year warranty sheet.  Per Sony, the sheets were mis-packed, and the unit actually carries a 2 year parts and labor warranty.

Clock Display: Pressing the OFF button once will turn off audio output, but the clock display (on the Active Black Panel and the control panel) and button illumination (on the control panel) remain on.  This makes the clock display "Keyed" instead of "Unit On" only.  To turn the unit off completely, you must press the OFF button for two seconds. 

Note: When installing in a vehicle without an accessory power wire at the radio location, you must turn the radio completely off (this defeats keyed operation), or you may wire the accessory power wire of this radio to an alternate source of accessory power to retain keyed clock operation.

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