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

David Hummel wrote:
> I suppose if you want good Linux support, the Neuros is probably the
> best bet with the open firmware and all:
>   http://www.neurosaudio.com/prod_neuros_main.asp
> As I'm sure Brian Richter would also tell you ;-)

Hehe, I wrote an email about it, but it got really long and I didn't know if it
would be worth everyone's time.

Since it's been mentioned, though, I'll go ahead and paste it below :)

--- 8< -----

Anyway, last time there was a thread on the topic of MP3 players (6-12 months
ago), I mentioned an interest in the Neuros, a hard-drive based player. I've
since bought one, and I'll let you know what it's like.

First the bad stuff: I had to get 2 replacements, because the first two units
failed. I was told they had a problem with flaky suppliers, but whatever the
reason, the experience sucked (though it didn't cost me a dime---they paid for
all the shipping). Tech support is usually painless if you catch them during
business hours (no stupid automated system!), but they were slow via email or
phone messages. In other concerns, the design is a bit clunky, and I don't use
about half of the buttons. The USB interface is proprietary, so you can't lose
or forget your cord. There are some odd glitches in the software, but I have to
chalk that up to using an alpha firmware. :) The unit has to be shipped back to
get a battery replacement, but that costs $5. 

The good stuff is that battery life is long enough to not be a nuisance unless I
forget to charge it two nights in a row. It also plays a bunch of music types,
with MPC and possibly FLAC in the works. It supposedly has good sound quality,
although I'm not enough of an expert to verify that. It can certainly get loud.
It can recieve and broadcast FM, which is handy. The device can be mounted as
USB mass storage, and programs that manipulate the database (that it uses to
browse and play files while in operation) are available in Java, Perl, and
.NET-something-or-other, all open-source. The Perl one, Sorune, is my favorite.
I keep a self-enclosed Windows-executable version of it on my Neuros in case I
have a need to update my database from a friend's computer. 

The firmware is open-source and hacked upon by a handful of people, although
such hacking requires a TI dev kit that costs $thousands. I'm involved in a
project to port GCC to the device's architecture, however, and that might make
things easier. 

For the price, you get a lot more features than with an iPod, but that probably
goes without saying. Also, on the distant horizon is a new version of the
Neuros, which will no doubt fix a lot of complaints. The company is very
responsive to the community (I've had AIM chats with the CTO). If I had to buy
an MP3^WOgg player again, I wouldn't hesitate to buy a Neuros.


http://gcc-c54x.berlios.de (ph34r my l33t HTML)

Bryan Richter
UCDTT President
UC Davis Undergrad, Physics Dept.
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