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#17189 - 09/09/2000 00:44 empeg car - 2 out of 5 stars
drakino
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/06/1999
Posts: 7868
Loc: Seattle, WA
Rob said a bit ago that review units were floating around the media, and one was at ZD. TechTV's Fresh Gear reviewed the Mark II player on the show and web. I plan on e-mailing the reviewer to get his thoughts and also to see why it got 2 out of 5 stars. Reading the review and seeing the show leads me to believe with extended use, the review would go up. I feel they overlooked a few things as well, such as the home or other non-car usability. I want to start this thread before the message, to allow them something to look at to see why other empeg owners disagree with the review. So, if you own an empeg and can provide useful feedback, it may get the empeg a re-review in a critical company to have a good rating from. (I'll post my extended review of the review tomorrow, since I'm a bit tired now).

_________________________
Tom

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#17190 - 09/09/2000 03:30 Re: empeg car - 2 out of 5 stars [Re: drakino]
altman
carpal tunnel

Registered: 19/05/1999
Posts: 3454
Loc: Palo Alto, CA
Hmm, I didn't like the fact that they ignored the fact that the tuner is an *empeg* add-on - you don't need to buy a second head unit.

Hrmph. Oh well, that's reviewers for you. A recent UK review (MP3 magazine?) got 4/5 stars, would have got 5 if it had the tuner & cost less.

Hugo



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#17191 - 09/09/2000 09:51 Re: empeg car - 2 out of 5 stars [Re: drakino]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 31321
Loc: Seattle, WA
Interesting. Having seen those "fresh gear" folks reviewing other products, I would have thought they'd drool all over the Empeg.

If you actually read through the text of the review, they do give a very accurate description of the player's features. And they seem to actually like the unit- their primary complaint is the cost. (I count the tuner/amp thing as a cost complaint as well.)

Whether or not it's worth docking it three stars on cost alone is a subjective decision.

Also, they start the review talking about how other in-car MP3 players have varying features, but then don't bother to actually compare the empeg's features to the others.

___________
Tony Fabris
_________________________
Tony Fabris

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#17192 - 09/09/2000 11:57 Re: empeg car - 2 out of 5 stars [Re: tfabris]
phaigh
addict

Registered: 04/11/1999
Posts: 649
Loc: Reading, UK
Agreed, the tone of the review is very upbeat.

To me, they didn't really explain what their problem was, bar cost and the fact that you need an amp.

Having said that, they really didn't go into detail on the playlists, one of 'the' best features that the empeg has - I mean look at the competition all trying to be massive CD changes, etc.

Anyway just my 2p.

Paul.

Paul Haigh, Reg. 4120
(mk1) 6GB, Blue, 00254
(mk2) 12GB, Red, 00357
_________________________
Paul Haigh, Reg. 4120 (mk1) 6GB, Blue, 00254 (mk2) 12GB, Red, 00357

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#17193 - 09/09/2000 15:18 Re: empeg car - 2 out of 5 stars [Re: drakino]
rob
carpal tunnel

Registered: 21/05/1999
Posts: 5328
Loc: Cambridge UK
Thanks for pointing that out. I had no idea the review was out, since they didn't bother to tell me, send an advance copy, or ask for any fact checking. Very professional.

Rob



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#17194 - 09/09/2000 22:10 Re: empeg car - 2 out of 5 stars [Re: drakino]
Terminator
old hand

Registered: 12/01/2000
Posts: 1079
Loc: Dallas, TX
The reviewer is upset because he uses a mac. ;-) They didnt mention that emptool is open source and that someone is supposedly working on a mac solution.

Sean


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#17195 - 09/09/2000 23:25 Re: empeg car - 2 out of 5 stars [Re: altman]
hoagy
member

Registered: 19/08/1999
Posts: 116
Loc: Silicon Valley
When reviewing products, Fresh Gear will often compare tem to other similar products. I suspect that as more mp3 car players emerge, they will now have a very high standard to compare them to.



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#17196 - 10/09/2000 00:02 Re: empeg car - 2 out of 5 stars [Re: drakino]
dionysus
veteran

Registered: 16/06/1999
Posts: 1222
Loc: San Francisco, CA
Hmm.. I find their review of the MPTrip mp3 player disturbing. I own this device, and it is the most pain-in-the-a**-piece-of-junk that I've ever owned.. take a look at my own review on that unit here...

What're these guys smoking???

-mark

MK2: 36gb
Tivo: 90gb
CPU: 120gb
...I think drive manufacturers love me!
_________________________
http://mvgals.net - clublife, revisited.

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#17197 - 10/09/2000 09:43 Re: empeg car - 2 out of 5 stars [Re: dionysus]
debauch
enthusiast

Registered: 22/03/2000
Posts: 217
Loc: West Midlands, England
In reply to:

Hmm.. I find their review of the MPTrip mp3 player disturbing


Having read their reviews of both the Empeg and the MPTrip, it's apparant (to me, at least) that they're reviewing both items from the POV of Joe Public. The reason they rave about the MPTrim (even when criticising it - see the bit about the inbuilt record option) and not the Empeg is that the Empeg is all new; it's a completely new way of doing things. The MPTrim, on the other hand, is nothing new - basically it's just a CD player with extra capacity. The MPTrim is a much easier device for a journalist to review.

All this wouldn't be too great a problem but, unfortunately, the Empeg manual isn't very good at explaining exactly what can be done and how to do it.

By way of example, there's no mention of:

Dimmer,
Fader (rear/front),
Loudness,
Function of remote's number buttons during playback,
The entire 'settings' menu,
The musical notes icon in the playlist menu,
All the icons Emplode uses

And there are a few more.

It would be hardly surprising if a reviewer doesn't 'get' the full flexibility of playlists during the shortish time they'll have the unit for review.

Another example - Several of my work colleagues couldn't read the text in the image on page 16 because it was so small. The image is pretty crucial in explaining how playlists work, yet the text size is so small as to make the image look like a fancy page filler.

Now, I'm not having a go at anybody here or the guys at Empeg. I'm a fiddler and I'm quite happy to experiment on my own. I guess everybody here is pretty much the same.

However, is it realistic to hand a reviewer a unit and the present manual and expect them to sing their praises from on high?

Oh, and the other thing - I'd put good money on the fact that most of the Empegs to be reviewed in the popular press won't get anywhere near a car for the duration of the testing.

Nick.



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-- 18GB red s/n 080000299

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#17198 - 10/09/2000 16:39 Re: empeg car - 2 out of 5 stars [Re: debauch]
alear
enthusiast

Registered: 05/07/2000
Posts: 301
Loc: Montana, USA, Bozeman
I think ZDTV is focussed on viewers that have less tech knowledge than most of us here. If you saw the actual TV broadcast, they actually warned people "it's expensive". I have found as a proud owner, non-tech people don't take well to the price. However, tech and car audio people see its value.

As for the review, it was not a truly in-depth review, glossing over the features that make the empeg unique. Customizing, upgrading, and expandability were ignored. Some of their complaints could have been cleared up by talking to Rob (like the disk integrity).

I believe the empeg car player is worth the price. Especially when compared to other car audio products (not other MP3 players).

Alex Lear
_________________________
Alex Lear

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#17199 - 10/09/2000 17:32 Re: empeg car - 2 out of 5 stars [Re: debauch]
rob
carpal tunnel

Registered: 21/05/1999
Posts: 5328
Loc: Cambridge UK
Reviewers have another resource over and above the user guide - me! Most reviewers, when they come up against something they don't "get", throw back queries - sometimes LOTS of queries - in a bid to understand the product well.

At the very least there is a standard practice called "fact checking" which happens after the reviewer has submitted their first draft. Either the editor/producer or the reviewer will extract all of the facts (and often many of the opinions) from the article and send them to their press contact (me) for verification and comment. Unfortunately ZD didn't do this, otherwise I would have corrected a few inaccurate statements. Of course, I can't argue with their opinions, other than to supply my own or maybe client quotes.

My main issue with this review is that I believe the very low score was based almost entirely on the price. I don't understand how they can do this when there is no other comparable product on the market - right now we have something unique, and whether it's worth that much is a very individual decision. My opinion is that reviews should concentrate on the facts and functionality, and let the reader/viewer decide how much they're willing to pay for it.

Rob



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#17200 - 10/09/2000 23:19 Re: empeg car - 2 out of 5 stars [Re: rob]
debauch
enthusiast

Registered: 22/03/2000
Posts: 217
Loc: West Midlands, England
In reply to:

right now we have something unique, and whether it's worth that much is a very individual decision


Indeed, and to me it is. To my cow-orkers it most definitely isn't.

In reply to:

My main issue with this review is that I believe the very low score was based almost entirely on the price My opinion is that reviews should concentrate on the facts and functionality, and let the reader/viewer decide how much they're willing to pay for it.


OK. Here's what I think happened. I'm not saying I'm correct, but the explanation certainly fits the facts.

The review is short, fluffy and has no depth. Now, assuming that that was the kind of review they wanted to write, surely it's reasonable to base the review on the supplied documentation, after all, that's all that Joe User is going to get.

So, they don't see anything new about the way it works - they see the Empeg as just a PJB (for example) for the dashboard. If that is the case, then judging the unit purely on price would, to them, be reasonable. If all the Empeg is perceived to do is done by something else and the only obviously differentiating factor is the price, then price it shall be judged on.

Obviously I'm assuming a lot here, but my original point stands. The documentation could really do with a really snazzy sales section - "Your Empeg is completely unique - it's the only machine which can do X, Y and Z (oh, and A to W too)." and then go on to explain each of these functions in full.

I bought a stereo. It was a simple minidisc/cd/tuner affair. The instruction manual was full A4 and was twice as thick as the Empeg manual (actually, it is about 8 times thicker, but is in four languages). That's 4 times the content, and that was for something as simple as a normal everyday run of the mill household stereo.

Now, I know I have a habit of not explaining myself and consequently being misunderstood on this board, so I'll say this now. I'm not complaining, I'm not angry and I'm not having a go at anybody. It's just that I try (yeah, yeah, I know I'm not always successful) not to cast stones. If the Empeg has been misunderstood, then my first question would be "What have I done to make it be misunderstood". My second would be "What can I do to make sure this doesn't happen again".

Maybe there's a case for the people here to write up some docs for the Empeg too, or am I the only person who thinks this way (say so now and I'll shutup).

Cheers,

Nick.




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#17201 - 11/09/2000 00:51 Re: empeg car - 2 out of 5 stars [Re: debauch]
rob
carpal tunnel

Registered: 21/05/1999
Posts: 5328
Loc: Cambridge UK
The manual mentions a lot of important stuff that wasn't covered - for example, upgrading, searching and the EQ. I got the impression they had no intention of going into that kind of depth. The shame is that they obviously didn't use the player for any length of time, and that's why they missed the point of it.

Rob



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#17202 - 11/09/2000 00:58 Re: empeg car - 2 out of 5 stars [Re: drakino]
teemcbee
addict

Registered: 04/02/2000
Posts: 687
I just read the ZDTV's review.

It provides very poor information about the empeg. There's nothing said about the audio quality (which is really great - depending of the ripped mp3's of course). They didn't mention the upgradeability of the software, the configurability, EQ features, the search functionality, etc etc.
Really a poor review. Not poor because the product is poor but because it seems as if they didn't spend much time on testing it.
As Rob said the price of the unit isn't a thing that has something to do with the quality of a unit. Maybe if they had some sections like

Audio Quality
User Interface
Display features
...
Price

then the subsection Price wouldn't get best values but the overall on this review is really poor and being a Mk2 owner an a reader of this BBS nearly all people here are really glad with their units and know what they have paid for (or what they are going to pay for). I haven't seen too much negative reviews of empeg owners here.

So here's my review about ZDTV:

ZDTV - very poor information, not worth reading: 1 star out of 5


TeeMcBee
Got my Mk2! # 080000143
_________________________
TeeMcBee
[orange]Mk2, # 080000143, 40+30 GB, Tuner, Peugeot stalk hookup</font color=orange>

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#17203 - 11/09/2000 01:10 Re: empeg car - 2 out of 5 stars [Re: debauch]
tanstaafl.
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/07/1999
Posts: 5409
Loc: Ajijic, Mexico
The review is short, fluffy and has no depth.

I'd like to continue and expand a little bit on what debauch has said here.

Of course the review was short, fluffy, without depth. They are reviewing the empeg as a music making device, not as a computer, and quite justifiably so. The empeg IS a music player, first and foremost. That's how it was conceived, designed, built, and marketed. I can tell you, as an empeg owner who is much closer to the "Joe Consumer" image than is typical on this bbs, the empeg is a pretty damn intimidating piece of equipment to operate.

Think about it -- you install a CD player in your car, you slide a CD into the slot, and music comes out.

Contrast that with the empeg. You insall an empeg in your car. Then you install an amplifier in your car. Then you have to have access to a pretty powerful computer. Then you acquire software that can rip your CD, and more software to convert it to an MP3 file. Then you have to install emplode software, and deal with configuring a COM port so you can load the latest software into the empeg. Then you have to make a USB connection so you can actually get some music inside the empeg (if you're lucky, that is... :-( ), so that at some later time you can get it out. In the process of getting the music in, you deal with the concept of hierarchical playlists, using a program that looks a lot like Windows Explorer, but that doesn't follow the same rules as Explorer. You're gonna spend a lot of time figuring out all the little quirks of that program before you can make it do what you want. So, after all that, you have the empeg in your car, its full of music, now you start burrowing down through menus, using a remote control whose button labels have absolutely no correlation with the functions of the player. (Yeah, I just love to DNPP my empeg!) Select Playlist, then choose between a little arrow-triangle-thingie (sorry to get so technical here...) or a genre selection. Then choose between another arrow-triangle-thingie and an album name. Then choose to play the album, or pick a song. Then press the wrong button, and start all over again... Eventually, it will play music. But look what you went through to get there!

Yes, I know: with the incredible power and versatility of the empeg comes an unavoidable increase in complexity of operation. Please understand, I love my empeg. The [email protected] have done a magnificent job. The more I use it the more impressed I become. Now, re-read the previous sentence. I have had three weeks to use it, and learn it, and figure out how to run emplode and figure out workarounds for balky software. I now know how to use possibly 25% of its capabilities. The people that reviewed it had a few days, maybe only a few hours. Even though these are computer geeks at heart, they are still reviewing a music player and they are comparing it with players that they can put in a disk and have music come out and then be prepared to comment on the quality of that music.

So be honest -- what would your reaction be if you were not particularly computer literate, you were used to operating your CD player, and somebody set this empeg thing on your desk and told you that it could hold a whole lot of music and it only cost five times as much as your CD player, and all you needed was a computer, a bunch of software, a bunch of cables, and (by the time you finished loading it with music) a hundred hours of your time to make it work?

Geez -- it sounds like I'm really trashing the empeg. I don't mean to do that at all. It is a fantastic machine with capabilities completely unmatched in the industry. Just don't expect a stereo reviewer with only a limited amount of time and incentive to discover and appreciate those capabilities.

tanstaafl.

"There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch"
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"There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch"

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#17204 - 11/09/2000 01:37 Re: empeg car - 2 out of 5 stars [Re: tanstaafl.]
teemcbee
addict

Registered: 04/02/2000
Posts: 687
Think about it -- you install a CD player in your car, you slide a CD into the slot, and music comes out.

This is very similar to the empeg-player. You have to install it in your car (or at home - you can't do that with a car-cd-player!). The only thing is that the process of "sliding a CD into the slot" is a bit more difficult on the empeg player. You have to do this via the PC and the emplode software. But after that music comes out, too. And you have some more features, too.

You can organize your "CDs" in the playlists. You can search songs. You have 16 EQ-settings which are customable.
You have to select the fader/balance/bass/treble on every factory CD-head-unit like you have to do it on the empeg. But the empeg gives you more possibilities to adjust it. You can also adjust what to display. Have you seen a CD-headunit with now&next? (Now song 3 next song 4,5,6 ) Of course there are Cd-units which show the title,too.

Another thing is the VR coming (of course they can't test it if it's not ready implemented yet) - and here we are at the next point - the upgradability.

And so on..

TeeMcBee
Got my Mk2! # 080000143
_________________________
TeeMcBee
[orange]Mk2, # 080000143, 40+30 GB, Tuner, Peugeot stalk hookup</font color=orange>

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#17205 - 11/09/2000 02:09 Re: empeg car - 2 out of 5 stars [Re: rob]
schofiel
carpal tunnel

Registered: 25/06/1999
Posts: 2992
Loc: Wareham, Dorset, UK
Forgive me, Rob - but to be honest, I have to agree with Doug and Nick.

The empeg really needs a whizz-bang, multi-language, glossy-printed, exhaustive USER MANUAL!

You really need to get a good tech writer/documentation guy onto this. The face that the empeg presents on arrival (whether a journalist or end user) could be vastly improved - and if kept up to date, could significantly reduce your support burden/the size of the FAQ*.

If I am am to compare the documentation received with empeg to that received with other products, then I would say immediately - written by engineers, and thin on detail/drawings. This is not to disparage the work done on it - but it needs to go much further.

*Delete as appropriate

One of the few remaining Mk1 owners... #00015
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One of the few remaining Mk1 owners... #00015

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#17206 - 11/09/2000 03:59 Re: empeg car - 2 out of 5 stars [Re: debauch]
debauch
enthusiast

Registered: 22/03/2000
Posts: 217
Loc: West Midlands, England

Not quite where in this thread this should go, so forgive me for following up myself (hmmm. Not a nice thought )

So, I'm speaking to one of the most tech-savvy people I work with about the Empeg. I mentioned this thread and read selected bits. We were talking particularly about the Journo's anti-price stance. Neville wanted his say, so here is what he typed:

--------
Yes, listening to the arguements about the review of the Empeg would lead me to this comment. OK, I am no tech-nerd but I work in the industry and have at least some grasp... my opinion is that the Empeg is a fantastic piece of kit. I think that this represents the way of the future, and I hope that the guys have got their patents well and truly sorted, since everyone is going to follow; they have to.

Having said that though, I wouldn't buy one; and Yes, the main reason would be price. Simply that if I can spend less money and get something that does what I want it to do, why would I pay more money for something that has (albeit wonderful) features that I don't really want?

So if the reviewer was representing Joe Average, and given that Journalists (at least in my experience) aren't the world's greatest thinkers, then the
conclusion is not that unreasonable. Like I said though, it is a fantastic piece of gear, I'd take this as "opportunity to improve" rather than "criticism".
--------

I should also add that Neville was so impressed with my Empeg, he's done much to promote it to his peers back home in Australia.

Nick.


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#17207 - 11/09/2000 07:46 Re: empeg car - 2 out of 5 stars [Re: debauch]
rob
carpal tunnel

Registered: 21/05/1999
Posts: 5328
Loc: Cambridge UK
If you adopt that approach then if they were to review a BEO stereo it may well get 2 out of 5. After all, you can go to Wal-Mart and get a CD mini system for under $100 that will do everything you need - why pay $3000?

My point is that the review should be qualitative, draw attention to the price, and let the client decide if those features are worth that amount of money. It seems that the reviewer would have a heart attack if he knew that many (most?) of our clients spend more on their amps and drivers than on the empeg head!

Rob



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#17208 - 11/09/2000 07:52 Re: empeg car - 2 out of 5 stars [Re: rob]
schofiel
carpal tunnel

Registered: 25/06/1999
Posts: 2992
Loc: Wareham, Dorset, UK
Well argued; it does boil down to the fact they appear to have made little effort at a review and not bothered to contact you for pertinent fact (How Wooode!); but since when have the facts got in the way of a good story?

One of the few remaining Mk1 owners... #00015
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One of the few remaining Mk1 owners... #00015

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#17209 - 11/09/2000 07:52 Re: empeg car - 2 out of 5 stars [Re: tanstaafl.]
rob
carpal tunnel

Registered: 21/05/1999
Posts: 5328
Loc: Cambridge UK
I saw it the other way around - I thought he was reviewing it with portable MP3 toys and CDR heads in the back of his mind, but didn't have a clue about high end audio.

Contrast this with our review in the UK "MP3 Magazine" from Future Publishing. I thought they would trash it, as they usually run light hearted prose about MP3 toys. Instead they explained that the price seems high, but went on to justify it, and gave it 4 out of 5 (only 1 point dropped due to price). But then, he fired questions at me for over two hours and clocked up almost 600 miles in the demo car. To appreciate the empeg, you have to use it.

Rob



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#17210 - 11/09/2000 07:59 Re: empeg car - 2 out of 5 stars [Re: schofiel]
rob
carpal tunnel

Registered: 21/05/1999
Posts: 5328
Loc: Cambridge UK
You must admit it's better than the Mk.1 manual

The Mk.2 guide was written before a lot of current features were implemented, and it's not cost effective to print a small batch and continuously update it. That's what release notes are for.

I basically agree, though, we could use a better manual.

Rob



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#17211 - 11/09/2000 08:01 Re: empeg car - 2 out of 5 stars [Re: rob]
rob
carpal tunnel

Registered: 21/05/1999
Posts: 5328
Loc: Cambridge UK
One more thought..

Don't forget that the user guide deliverately glosses over emplode - we spent ages writing a comprehensive help system for that. Whether anyone actually uses it is another matter.

Rob



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#17212 - 11/09/2000 08:14 Re: empeg car - 2 out of 5 stars [Re: rob]
schofiel
carpal tunnel

Registered: 25/06/1999
Posts: 2992
Loc: Wareham, Dorset, UK
.. and given that emplode and the player software is (to some extent) still evolving, it would be a bit of a moving target.

To be honest, the extent of any improvements to the manual (a la "standard" manuals produced by companies like Pioneer/Alpine/whatever) would be difficult to define, and the coverage required would be extensive. I realise it would not be a simple task to carry out, but this is mainly (I think) 'cos it looks like an insurmountable task at the moment. The sooner that an effort is started, the better - this would pay back in time as only incremental changes would be necessary as the release process advances the feature set; the mountain would gradually get smaller and eventually be much easier to maintain.

An opening for a professional documentation expert at empeg, maybe?

Or alternatively, how about an "Open source handbook" project? There are many lucid writers on this board, and I am sure they could winkle out and document all the unit's features in short order, generate copy for factual checking by empeg Ltd. and then even go so far as template it and lay it out for paper or PDF release. What about it?

One of the few remaining Mk1 owners... #00015
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One of the few remaining Mk1 owners... #00015

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#17213 - 11/09/2000 08:15 Re: empeg car - 2 out of 5 stars [Re: schofiel]
tonyc
carpal tunnel

Registered: 27/06/1999
Posts: 7058
Loc: Pittsburgh, PA
I'd be happy to help out with this. Though I cannot promise I'll remember to spell things like "synchronise" the British way. :)

---
MkII 080000554
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- Tony C
my empeg stuff

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#17214 - 11/09/2000 10:03 Re: empeg car - 2 out of 5 stars [Re: rob]
debauch
enthusiast

Registered: 22/03/2000
Posts: 217
Loc: West Midlands, England

In reply to:

If you adopt that approach then if they were to review a BEO stereo it may well get 2 out of 5....


Yes, except:

1 - Empeg doesn't have a name as a builder of quality hardware... yet. You can't expect to be treated as a [insert high quality brand of your choice] without proving it.

2 - Nowhere in the http://www.empeg.com/ web site, or in the user guide is the superb quality of the unit stated. Nowhere. It's alluded to, yes, in the same way as Amstrad/Saisho allude to it, but nowhere does it stand up and shout it.

Rob, you know it's high quality. I know it's high quality. Everybody on this BBS knows it's high quality, but unless you sell it as being high quality, it won't be seen as such by a journo or prospective buyer. As much as I despise marketing types, they're vital. Everybody on this BBS is too close to the product. We all know it's wonderful because we've been here for so long. Joe Public doesn't see it the same way.

Nick.


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#17215 - 11/09/2000 10:55 Re: empeg car - 2 out of 5 stars [Re: debauch]
Bill Walker
journeyman

Registered: 24/08/2000
Posts: 62
Loc: NZ
I've now had my Epeg player for about 6 weeks. For the first for it was office/home based on my desk and plugged into my stereo. The comments at work and home have been very good... If the other guys at work had the money they'd all have one (Work pays for the Speakers amp but never pays for head units).

When I had it installed the owner of the installer I used played with it in the shop plugging it into different amp/speaker combinations and said it was the best sound quaility he'd heard out of a head unit. He thinks, the price is justified. Which is a bonus point for the EMPEG.

Also everyone in the pub who's seen it thinks it the best car stereo they've seen. It doesn't take long for people to work out the features etc as I've had some drunken girlies in the car this weekend and it didn't take them long to find playlists/visuals etc.

So all in all I think the "General Public" are very inpressed with it. And price doesn't seem to be a major concern. If they had the money they'd have one!!!

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MK II, (Blue but should be Amber) SN: 118
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MK II, (Blue but should be Amber) SN: 118
MKIIa

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#17216 - 11/09/2000 13:13 Re: empeg car - 2 out of 5 stars [Re: debauch]
rob
carpal tunnel

Registered: 21/05/1999
Posts: 5328
Loc: Cambridge UK
Nowhere in the http://www.empeg.com/ web site, or in the user guide is the superb quality of the unit stated

Hmm, well we don't have huge flashing banners (pun intended) screaming "the future is here! now! yes, really, this IS IT! BUY BUY, its the BEST EVER". After all, we're British, and have an obligation to run a quietly understated company

Nonetheless, we do sing our own praises in a number of places, the front page for example:

Since launching our world acclaimed in-car MP3 player we have grown to become the foremost developer of in-car and networked digital music players. We have developed products for world leading brand names in the automotive and domestic technology markets...

Anyway, the job of a reviewer is to IGNORE the hype, and explore the product for himself or herself.

You have a point though - I couldn't immediately locate the part of our site that said how damn good the car player really is. We assume that the specification talks for itself, but as we expand into a more consumer orientated marketplace we should probably emphasise things like the high audio quality, parametric EQ and total froodyness.

Rob



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#17217 - 11/09/2000 13:17 Re: empeg car - 2 out of 5 stars [Re: rob]
jstrain
enthusiast

Registered: 18/08/1999
Posts: 202
Loc: philadelphia pa
froodyness??? is this a british thing, or is rob just making up words:)?

jeremy

12 gig, green...
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#17218 - 11/09/2000 13:20 Re: empeg car - 2 out of 5 stars [Re: jstrain]
rob
carpal tunnel

Registered: 21/05/1999
Posts: 5328
Loc: Cambridge UK
Don't get them all started on HHGTTG again!


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#17219 - 11/09/2000 13:29 Re: empeg car - 2 out of 5 stars [Re: rob]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 31321
Loc: Seattle, WA
Don't get them all started on HHGTTG again!

Darnit, now Jstrain is going to ask what HHGTTG is.

Jstrain: It's a reference to The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, a series of works by Douglas Adams. The first two books in the series (HHGTTG and The Restaurant at the End of the Universe) are required reading for all life forms capable of reading. Get those under your belt then get back to us.

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Tony Fabris
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Tony Fabris

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#17220 - 11/09/2000 13:40 Re: empeg car - 2 out of 5 stars [Re: tfabris]
tanstaafl.
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/07/1999
Posts: 5409
Loc: Ajijic, Mexico
required reading for all life forms capable of reading.

Is it OK if I just watch them on PBS instead?

tanstaafl.

"There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch"
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"There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch"

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#17221 - 11/09/2000 13:53 Re: empeg car - 2 out of 5 stars [Re: schofiel]
tanstaafl.
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/07/1999
Posts: 5409
Loc: Ajijic, Mexico
Rob S. Said: ...it would be a bit of a moving target.

Rob V. Said: ...and it's not cost effective to print a small batch and continuously update it.

Rob S. Said: ...lay it out for paper or PDF release.


So here's what you do. Don't print up new manuals, just keep them updated in PDF format so they can be downloaded and printed by those of us who want them. You could even have an option of including the PDF file as part of the fileset you get when you upgrade the player and emplode software. Whenever you run out of the printed ones, then send the newest PDF version to the printer for your new stock.

That would work for me.

tanstaafl.







"There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch"
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"There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch"

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#17222 - 11/09/2000 13:54 Re: empeg car - 2 out of 5 stars [Re: tanstaafl.]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 31321
Loc: Seattle, WA
Is it OK if I just watch them on PBS instead?

No. The BBC-TV version sucked. You will be completely unimpressed if you see that. Did you ever watch some of the older Doctor Who shows? The TV version of H2G2 seemed to have about 1/10th the budget of those old Doctor Who shows. And the DW shows were put together on about 1/10th of a shoestring.

Definitely get the novels and read them that way. You will have an immense appreciation for his wit and his ability to string words together, and you will laugh your ass off in the process. I know you appreciate good writing, and Adams delivers that in spades.

There was one redeeming factor about the TV shows: The "Guide" itself. In the story, it's an electronic encyclopedia, with each entry animated via pictures and voice-over. In the TV show, the book entries were done PERFECTLY and were hilarious. They used Douglas' exact words from the novels, and the narrator voice read them perfectly in a sort of matter-of-fact style, and the animations they did to illustrate each entry were just drop-dead funny.

But the rest of the TV show was a complete bomb. The low budget just didn't cut it. Douglas' penned vision of this interesting universe was just not meant for low-budget production.

Fortunately, Douglas is working on a feature film version now, with computer graphic special effects and a decent budget. We'll see how that one goes. It'll hit the streets in a year or two.

___________
Tony Fabris
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Tony Fabris

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#17223 - 11/09/2000 14:49 Re: empeg car - 2 out of 5 stars [Re: rob]
bryan
journeyman

Registered: 25/06/1999
Posts: 57
Loc: New Zealand
How may I fulfil your vertical transport requirements for today?

Sorry couldn't resist.


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#17224 - 11/09/2000 16:19 Re: empeg car - 2 out of 5 stars [Re: tanstaafl.]
loren
carpal tunnel

Registered: 23/08/2000
Posts: 3826
Loc: SLC, UT, USA
In reply to:

So here's what you do. Don't print up new manuals, just keep them updated in PDF format so they can be downloaded and printed by those of us who want them. You could even have an option of including the PDF file as part of the fileset you get when you upgrade the player and emplode software. Whenever you run out of the printed ones, then send the newest PDF version to the printer for your new stock.

That would work for me.

tanstaafl.



My thoughts exactly. A continuously updaated PDF file would be a great gain, instead of having to hunt through the BBS and release notes. (it took quite the effort to look back through the release notes to find out what the numeric remote buttons did on playbeack).

||| loren.cox
||| 080000446
||| 12GB blue

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#17225 - 11/09/2000 17:20 Re: empeg car - 2 out of 5 stars [Re: tfabris]
rob
carpal tunnel

Registered: 21/05/1999
Posts: 5328
Loc: Cambridge UK
Barbarian! The TV series was a work of art, and it was actually quite high budget by BBC drama standards at the time (almost 20 years ago!). If you think that's low budget you should see Blakes Seven (which is also a classic).

You're the type of person that would think Red Dwarf got better with time, whereas in reality there's little past series 3 that's worth watching.

You have to watch these timeless classics as stageplays with a few cameras thrown in for good measure. In the case of Hitchhikers - what a cast! Fantastic casting, and they even got Darth Vader in there for good measure (a man who has purchased tomato soup ahead of me in a supermarket line).

Rob

PS Sorry about the barbarian thing, still friends?


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#17226 - 11/09/2000 17:23 Re: empeg car - 2 out of 5 stars [Re: tanstaafl.]
rob
carpal tunnel

Registered: 21/05/1999
Posts: 5328
Loc: Cambridge UK
Yes, that's what we already do. We just haven't got as far as actually updating the PDF yet. We're waiting for 1.1!

(That said, the PDF on the web site is more up to date than the printed guide, but the differences are subtle!)

Rob



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#17227 - 11/09/2000 17:42 Re: empeg car - 2 out of 5 stars [Re: phaigh]
eternalsun
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/09/1999
Posts: 1721
Loc: San Jose, CA
I have a suspicion they are attempting to break the empeg down to the same level as other mp3 players. Since there ARE no mp3 players of its caliber to compare it with, then they will only bother to mention the few things the empeg does have in common with other mp3 players so hence : they will do a price comparison, ease of use comparison, etc. Since other mp3 players do not have play lists they will not compare or mention these features. Since other mp3 players don't have visualizations, they will skim over these features as well. The way ZD operates is that they tend to like to classify and group products together for the basis of comparison. It's just that empeg is unlucky enough to have very little to go on as a basis for comparison against other products so they forced the review.

Yes, very unprofessional. They docked points away essentially because it costs 10 times as much as an mp3 player, and it doesn't run on batteries like other mp3 players, doesn't have a built in amp like other mp3 players, kind of big compared to a rio, blah blah, so for each of these "not normal enough" comparisons, they docked a star off.

Calvin


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#17228 - 11/09/2000 18:29 Re: empeg car - 2 out of 5 stars [Re: rob]
dionysus
veteran

Registered: 16/06/1999
Posts: 1222
Loc: San Francisco, CA
Hmm.. ever notice that most threads end up being about TV and movies?:)
-mark

MK2: 36gb
Tivo: 90gb
CPU: 120gb
...I think drive manufacturers love me!
_________________________
http://mvgals.net - clublife, revisited.

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#17229 - 11/09/2000 18:45 Off topic: H2G2 TV show [Re: rob]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 31321
Loc: Seattle, WA
Sorry about the barbarian thing, still friends?

Of course. However, I must respectfully disagree with a couple of specific statements:


it was actually quite high budget by BBC drama standards at the time

They certainly didn't seem to spend it on Zaphod's second head. That was painful to watch. The CG version should be awesome when they finish the feature film, though.

By saying it was "high budget by BBC standards", you're not giving it much credence. BBC standards are still shoestring. I'm guessing you guys go through more capital in one month than the BBC spent (in adjusted pounds) on that show.


You're the type of person that would think Red Dwarf got better with time, whereas in reality there's little past series 3 that's worth watching.

Actually, I agree that Red Dwarf was better in its early days, but it had nothing to do with the budget- it was the writing. RD was intentionally kitschy and low-budget because it was written with the budget in mind. On the other hand, Douglas Adams fantasized a rather elaborate universe in the radio program and the novels, not thinking about the possibility of a TV version. When the TV version came around, there just wasn't enough cash and technology to do it justice.

As an example: There's a scene where they activate the Infinite Improbablility Drive in somewhat of a hurry without properly calculating the settings first. In the novel, there is a fantastic description of how the entire bridge gets redesigned in the blast. It's almost like they're suddenly piloting in a whole new ship. In the TV series, they didn't have the budget to do what Doug envistioned, so they just added some potted plants to the existing bridge set. It totally killed the gag.

Fortunately, they'll have the budget to do it right when they make the feature film version coming up soon.


In the case of Hitchhikers - what a cast!

I admit, the cast was pretty good. I could have done without the actress who played Trillian, but everyone else was superb. Slartibartfast was perfectly cast, exactly like I imagined him in the book. Ford I especially liked. He could deliver some of the best lines in a wonderfully dry way.


and they even got Darth Vader in there for good measure

Prowse? I forget: What did he play in H2G2?


(a man who has purchased tomato soup ahead of me in a supermarket line).

I don't suppose he forced his way into the line, did he? Nah, probably not. I'm sure it would have caused a small rebellion in the store.

___________
Tony Fabris
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Tony Fabris

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#17230 - 11/09/2000 18:51 Re: empeg car - 2 out of 5 stars [Re: dionysus]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 31321
Loc: Seattle, WA
Hmm.. ever notice that most threads end up being about TV and movies?:)

You know what? I'm going to bring this thread back around to topic. Watch:

I find it ironic that I just spent a lot of time giving a TV show a bad review because they didn't spend enough money on it. Seeing as how this all started from a review of the Empeg which complained that it cost too much money.

Ha. Did it.

___________
Tony Fabris
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Tony Fabris

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#17231 - 11/09/2000 18:56 Re: empeg car - 2 out of 5 stars [Re: tfabris]
dionysus
veteran

Registered: 16/06/1999
Posts: 1222
Loc: San Francisco, CA
Hmm.. Good backhand return there:)
-mark

MK2: 36gb
Tivo: 90gb
CPU: 120gb
...I think drive manufacturers love me!
_________________________
http://mvgals.net - clublife, revisited.

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#17232 - 12/09/2000 03:16 Re: Off topic: H2G2 TV show [Re: tfabris]
Geoff
enthusiast

Registered: 21/08/1999
Posts: 381
Loc: Northern Ireland
In reply to:

Prowse? I forget: What did he play in H2G2?


Wasn't he Hotblack Desiato's bodyguard at Milliways?

Geoff
---- -------
Got one of the first Mark 2 empegs...

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Geoff
---- -------
Mk1 Blue - was 4GB, now 16GB
Mk2 Red - was 12GB, now 60GB

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#17233 - 12/09/2000 05:08 Re: empeg car - 2 out of 5 stars [Re: loren]
schofiel
carpal tunnel

Registered: 25/06/1999
Posts: 2992
Loc: Wareham, Dorset, UK
A continuously updated PDF file would be a great gain

It should at least be incrementally updated with each new release, with the developer responsible for a new feature also being responsible for a brief amount of updated documentation to be included by the documentation bloke.

To some extent, this is partly done by Mike's incremental release notes, but the release notes do not usually do anything more than state the feature increment; the only documentation increment I can remember from the release notes was John's notes on the use of the Equaliser when it was first introduced in year dot. Since then - well, put it this way - I still can't figure out how the "Tweak" features work and only recently discovered the toggle between "search" and "append" in the Search feature set!
(Mind you though - half the fun of owning one of these things is the "eureka!" experience as you use it )

Small increments in the PDF document with each release would be a way to go, at least initially.

One of the few remaining Mk1 owners... #00015
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One of the few remaining Mk1 owners... #00015

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#17234 - 12/09/2000 07:55 Re: empeg car - 2 out of 5 stars [Re: schofiel]
dionysus
veteran

Registered: 16/06/1999
Posts: 1222
Loc: San Francisco, CA
In reply to:

It should at least be incrementally updated with each new release, with the developer responsible for a new feature also being responsible for a brief amount of updated documentation to be included by the documentation bloke.


Careful - if you force engineers to not release something before they document it, we'll never get any new features:)
-mark

MK2: 36gb
Tivo: 90gb
CPU: 120gb
...I think drive manufacturers love me!

_________________________
http://mvgals.net - clublife, revisited.

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#17235 - 12/09/2000 08:08 Documentation [Re: dionysus]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 31321
Loc: Seattle, WA
Careful - if you force engineers to not release something before they document it, we'll never get any new features:)

True, true.

And there's an old saying:

"Documentation is like sex. When it's good, it's really good. When it's bad, it's better than nothing."

___________
Tony Fabris
_________________________
Tony Fabris

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#17236 - 12/09/2000 13:07 Re: empeg car - 2 out of 5 stars [Re: dionysus]
tanstaafl.
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/07/1999
Posts: 5409
Loc: Ajijic, Mexico
Careful - if you force engineers to not release something before they document it, we'll never get any new features :)

Unless you're Microsoft, of course. They're famous for quelling competition by releasing documentation for products that don't exist.

tanstaafl.



"There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch"
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"There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch"

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#17237 - 12/09/2000 13:09 Re: empeg car - 2 out of 5 stars [Re: tanstaafl.]
dionysus
veteran

Registered: 16/06/1999
Posts: 1222
Loc: San Francisco, CA
Re-read my post - if we force engineers... This doesn't apply to marketting types:)
-mark

MK2: 36gb
Tivo: 90gb
CPU: 120gb
...I think drive manufacturers love me!
_________________________
http://mvgals.net - clublife, revisited.

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#17238 - 13/09/2000 05:52 Re: Off topic: H2G2 TV show [Re: Geoff]
Jazzwire
addict

Registered: 09/06/1999
Posts: 483
Loc: Guernsey
Yes he was the Bodyguard, according to a quick trip to the IMDB... =)

Jazz
(List 112, Mk2 12 gig #40. Mk1 4 gig #30. Mk3 1.6 16v)
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Jazz (List 112, Mk2 42 gig #40. Mk1 4 gig #30. Mk3 1.6 16v)

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#17239 - 11/10/2000 09:21 Re: empeg car - 2 out of 5 stars [Re: debauch]
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 12174
Loc: Sterling, VA
Function of remote's number buttons during playback

If you'll notice, the video review of the empeg didn't even mention it had a remote.

DiGNAN
_________________________
Matt

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#17240 - 13/10/2000 16:53 Re: empeg car - 2 out of 5 stars [Re: Dignan]
Bill Walker
journeyman

Registered: 24/08/2000
Posts: 62
Loc: NZ
They probably lost, as I have many times......Tis a small ickle fing'

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MK II, (Blue but should be Amber) SN: 118
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