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Re: [vox-tech] portable mp3 player in linux
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Re: [vox-tech] portable mp3 player in linux

On Fri, Dec 03, 2004 at 10:01:32AM -0500, Peter Jay Salzman wrote:
> Have you looked at the iRiver iFP 799T?  It appears to be a flash
> player with 1GB of storage.  I didn't think there were any flash
> players with that much storage around.  I've seen it at a remarkable
> $180 on amazon.   1G for under $200 sounds too good to be true.

Yep, flash capacity just keeps going up and getting cheaper.  And it
likes this one supports Ogg too!

> There also appears to be an iRiver H340, which slightly cheaper than
> the H140.  It has a color screen (say hello to more recharging), can
> display jpg and bmp images.  Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to support
> wav.

Right.  These newer models sacrifice audio features (WAV support,
digital I/O) for the imaging viewing features (which I didn't care
about).  One of my intentions is to use it as a portable sampler, so WAV
and digital I/O are important for me.

> Lastly, there were some complaints about the H140 (although I suspect
> these are all ipod lovers who are pretty low or non-tech people to
> begin with).  This is from amazon
> http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B0001BRITE/002-3454873-5363261?v=glance
>  * playlists can't be created on the fly (dunno what that exactly means...)

I'm not sure either ;-> , but I've been hacking together playlists on
the computer (via scripts or whatever) and dumping them to the player.
Much faster than going through 40GB worth of music on the player's

In one sense it does generate playlists on the fly.  In DB mode, if you
select a group of songs by album/artist/genre, only that group will
play.  Or maybe I still don't know what on-the-fly means.

>  * it takes 4 minutes to boot in DB mode (whatever that means...)

Yes, startup in DB mode is very slow, but not 4 minutes.  Probably
better to hack together playlists instead.  Oh, another limitation is a
52 character limit on file and directory names.

>  * sound quality is said to be "OK".

Sound quality is excellent.  Better than iPod.  Better than Creative
Nomad.  These are direct comparisons with identical files, and are the
only other players I've compared.  Most of the reviews I read concur
with this.  I think most of the time people complain about sound quality
on MP3 players, it's not so much the player but the fact that they are
listening to lossy-compressed audio, and the quality varies depending on
the encoder, codec, etc.  And this will _never_ come close to being CD
quality, despite what people claim.  This situation can be helped by
using better codecs, like Ogg, and of course higher bitrates.

>  * maximum volume is not loud enough

Not true, unless you already have hearing problems.  This also depends
to a great extent on the headphones.  If you're using massive,
over-the-ear headphones with inefficient drivers, or headphones that
don't fit snuggly over the ears (allow much of the sound to escape),
then yes, it won't seem loud enough, and you'll suck the battery dry
faster.  I recommend in-the-ear style earbud headphones with a closed
design, and a high-efficiency neodymium magnet.  I use Sony MDR-EX51LP.

> What exactly is SPDIF?

Sony-Philips Digitial InterFace.  To be specific, the digital I/O on the
iRiver H140 is in the form of mini-TosLink (Sony's optical version of
SPDIF), as can be found on some portable CD and MD players.  Regular
TosLink is found on most DVD players and digital audio receivers.
mini-TosLink is an 1/8" connecter that can be shared with a line-level
analog stereo mini-jack.

> And is there any way possible to get one of these things to play in a
> car stereo?  I've been meaning on getting a new sound system in my car
> anyhow.  If I can get something that can interface with an mp3 player,
> that would be really awesome.

If the car stereo has any auxiliary line inputs, then you're all set.
You just need the right cable.

I wonder if there are any car decks that will play Ogg files on CD-ROM.
Many will play MP3 CD-ROMs.

> You've pretty much sold me on one of these things, but I wanted to ask
> a few more questions before jumping in.  :)

I hope I've answered them ;->

David Hummel
Informatics Program
Children's Hospital Boston
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