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The following is an archive of a post made to our 'vox mailing list' by one of its subscribers.

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Re: [vox] Linux-compatible MP3 player recommendations wanted!
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Re: [vox] Linux-compatible MP3 player recommendations wanted!

On Tue, 31 May 2005, David Hummel wrote:

I assume from this that you would prefer a flash player, as opposed to a
"jukebox" hard drive player.  Either way I'd recommend one of the iRiver
players.  I think they're all USB mass storage devices, and more
importantly, many of them play Ogg Vorbis files.  The sound quality is
also the best I've heard from any portable MP3 player.

I have an iRiver iFP795 that does not play well as a USB mass storage device under Linux. After copying about 200MB of files, it corrupts the file system and I have to reformat the player. This leads me to believe the USB mass storage firmware for this device has issues. There's also more severe restrictions for things like audio recording quality on the UMS firmware. Under Windows, one can transfer via USB, but it slows to a crawl and takes about a half hour to fill the half gig device. The Ogg Vorbis support is also a bit constrained as you have to keep the average rate between two values, which runs a bit counter to the oggenc concept of quality values. The default (-q 3) works for most files, but I've had to push up to -q 5 with a few of my rips as using the -m and -M options was not sufficient to produce a file the iRiver firmware was happy with.

I got the player because of the Ogg Vorbis and USB mass storage support, so running against these issues was somewhat discouraging. There is a open source project to access the device via the iFP firmware:


There are others who have run across the iRiver UMS issue and have come up with kernel patches to work around it:


This may also be a problem centric to the iFP line of players, but I haven't looked into their other higher-end products. I just want my xmas gift to work for me, heh. Overall, I do like the device and if I had more spare time (working on finishing my dissertation), I might jump into things like kernel patches, etc to get it to work seamlessly under Linux. But for right now I've just transfer my music files to my Win box and load it via that and go for a meal waiting for the transfer to finish.
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