The Search for a Quality MP3 Player Continues…

[Archived from my original site at segoviasdiary.blogspot.com]

So after spending almost an entire day searching online for a new MP3 player that had all the features I needed, I still didn’t find what I was looking for.

Oh, I came pretty darn close on a few occasions. I got so fed up with all the partial desciptions and reviews online. I just drove down th FRY’s and bought several different models and brands.

Here are my thoughts.

The Creative ZenExtra and all other related products aren’t very userfriendly and I didn’t like the software. They advertise that they have this great feature “Innovative EAX™ Technologies” that allows has Time Scaling to speed up or slow down an audio track with no distortion.

Not quite! The distortion was horible. And it only goes up to 1.5x (150%) which still is pretty slow.

iPod
and iPod-Mini: While the rest of the world seams to be completely taken by this sleek, sexy little player. I have my own opinion. It’s lacking in features and the navigation and folder structure is a little bit too MAC for my taste. Besides that it’s missing almost every feature that I would look for in an MP3 Player. They have some kind of a “Speed Study Mody” however it only goes up to 1.25x (125%) which is so slow you might as well not even use the feature.

The Smaller Creative Muvo N200 looked great. After all my research I thought it would be a winner for sure. It even has the Audio Input line which I absolutely must have because I record so many teleseminars and client coaching calls. However when I busted it out of the case I was dissapointed to find that they have a smaller input line jack that is not universal. I didn’t have time to go hunting for some crazy adapter so I had to write it off imediatly. The other part I didn’t like about it was the screen size. While the player is small and could fit almost anywhere without detection. They have such a small screen for navigating through various menues that it takes a lot of getting used to.

The Sony HiMD (Mini Disk Player) I picked one of these up in December as I was in a pinch and needed to be portable with my recording. I went from Analog Audio Casettes to Digital. Now I was quite happy to come out of having to deal with tapes so I guess I was just in a good mood. However after I had recorded about 60 hours worth of phone calls on several 1GB disks I tried to transfer them
and speed them up to 4x using SoundForge. Well would you beleive it, Sony had to go and create their own Proprietary format called .OMG which of course doesn’t work with anything else but Sony.

I spent about 7 hours seaching for some kind of software program that would convert the format to an MP3 and only came up with one solution which did work but for how long it would take me to convert the files over and then speed them
up. It was rediculious. I might as well take that task on and make it my full time job. So I basicly just use it for Music and that’s it. I liked the quality of the audio and it had both Line in and Mic in jacks which was nice.

Another poor feature that absolutly sucks about this player and most of the HiMD sony products is some that is set to start a new track when there is silance for a second or two. That’s nice when your recording music, however if you are having a long conversation for 60 minutes and then have 283 tracks at the end. Not so good. Then you have to take about 15 minutes to manually merge all the tracks together on the player itself as this is faster than doing it with your computer. Ouch!

MPIO ~ Made by Digitalway: This little player had been good to me in some respects
but a nightmare in many other ways. There are a great number of features that it has that I absolutly love.

1) It has a removable / upgradable memory. Which is rare because so many of them have 40-80 GB now.

2) They actually have a “Study Mode” that will speed your audio up to 2x (200%) which is the only player I can find on the market that will do this.

3) They have a voice recording feature which is fantastic.

The only thing this is missing is the Line In recording capability. The software for this player is got to be some of the flakiest crap I’ve ever experienced. It hardly does what it’s supposed to which makes it hard to get your media files on or off the device which really doesn’t make it that helpful. Ive spent about 10+ hours installing the latest firmware, upgrading the software, and even trying 3rd party software and it’s still pretty flaky.

So while this player has a lot of good features it’s not very reliable.

iRiver: Good quality recording and easy to use.

So at this point, after having done several months work testing and pushing the envelope on all the above players. I like the iRiver the best. Simply because it’s easy to use and it has Line In recording. There are no other real features to it. But the software works and it’s reliable. The recordings are in Mp3 and you can adjust the bit rate and frequency of both the Voice and Line In or Mic In.

FINAL THOUGHTS

I will continue my quest to find a player that will speed up my audio and have Line In. Then I won’t need to cary so many little gadgets with me everywhere. Either that or I’ll just have to go to China and contract someone to make me a working prototype that will do everything I want.

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Author: Segovia Smith

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