This unit came fitted in RAV4 with manual in Japanese. Will accept CD disc into unit but can not select CD play option. (Manual shows a remote control which I do not have if this is significant).
The remote control missing shouldn't be a factor - Pioneers will usually select the same sources with the "source" button as they will with the remote.
I would suggest 2 things - first, try different CDs. If it's accepting and ejecting just fine it may be a problem with reading your CD (I'm assuming you haven't tried this already). Ideally use a regular audio CD (not an MP3/WMA disc) that is relatively scratch free.
If that doesn't work, check to see if the initial settings can be adjusted to enable CD play.
To get to the initial settings menu you need to hold the "source" button until the unit powers off (the car's key will still need to be on at this point). Push and hold the "function" button and it should go into a menu with various adjustments, such as clock, aux enable, etc...
There may be a setting in there to enable CD play. I realize that the display may also be in Japanese but I'm hoping it will be somewhat intuitive for you - you seem to have a decent technical grasp on things already.
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remember those cd kits that came with a tape to insert to the (stero)pioneer fh-p404 and the output jack to the cd player? well instead of plugging into cd player plug it to your ipod....my pioneer fh-p404 has a tape deck and i'm able to hear all of my music without cds or tapes and i found the tape kit without the cd player for 6 bucks at walmart go figure!
It sounds like you have a newer portable minidisc player, and an older deck. There were several upgrades over the years for ATRAC files, and some of the newer recording formats are not compatible with older players.
Your MD player probably isn't LP capable.
Attempting to play an LP recorded MiniDisc in a player that is only SP capable will produce no sound even though the display (time counter, track name) looks like everything is operating properly. Record the MD you were attempting to play in SP and you will get sound.