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#25348 - 21/01/2001 14:18 NEO 5100
Alan
member

Registered: 06/05/2000
Posts: 142
Loc: Cedar Grove , IN
As usual specs are pretty vague, but if this makes it to market there will be alot more folks with a hard drive based player in their car.

http://ssiamerica.com/products/cj5100/

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#25349 - 21/01/2001 15:16 Re: NEO 5100 [Re: Alan]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 31307
Loc: Seattle, WA
Okay, now THAT is starting to get scary. If they pull it off as spec'd at the page, that's definitely Empeg competition.

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#25350 - 21/01/2001 16:45 Re: NEO 5100 [Re: Alan]
eternalsun
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Registered: 09/09/1999
Posts: 1721
Loc: San Jose, CA
Wow.


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#25351 - 21/01/2001 20:07 Re: NEO 5100 [Re: Alan]
rob
carpal tunnel

Registered: 21/05/1999
Posts: 5328
Loc: Cambridge UK
At CES it was an empty plastic case. If they're serious about a February 15th launch they would have to be running production prototypes through EMC long before now, so why an empty case? Sony and Pioneer both had more to show than that, and they're not even hinting at a launch any time soon.

Also consider this is Neo we're talking about - look at the state of the software on the Neo 35 currently and draw your own conclusions.

Rob



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#25352 - 21/01/2001 23:24 Re: NEO 5100 [Re: rob]
gbeer
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Registered: 17/12/2000
Posts: 2665
Loc: Manteca, California
At CES it was an empty plastic case.

Was what you saw an injection molded part or rapid prototype? If the former, it means they already have molds made. First production could be immenent.

-- Glenn

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#25353 - 22/01/2001 05:44 Re: NEO 5100 [Re: rob]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 31307
Loc: Seattle, WA
If they're serious about a February 15th launch they would have to be running production prototypes through EMC long before now, so why an empty case?

Not to rain on your parade, but...

Whether or not they hit that particular date isn't really important. If it works as advertised (whenever they release it), it's something to keep a close eye on.

Now, I've only glanced at their page so I don't know any product details. And already I see several reasons why the Empeg is a superior product. Still, they've definitely made some careful choices about how their product will differ from the Empeg. And some of those choices will look very attractive to the consumer.

For example, as you already cited, it's obvious that the software and the user interface of the Empeg will fly circles around the Neo. But the problem is that the consumer doesn't get to experience this aspect of the product until after the purchase.

Of course, I've got reservations about the mechanical longevity of their hard disk and CD mechanisms (having both in the case means little room for vibration damping- is there any?). But again, this only becomes an issue in the long term-- at initial purchase time, the consumer only sees a feature set and doesn't consider things like shock mounts.

And the shape of the unit looks a little odd to me. Does it fit into a DIN space?

Fortunately, you've got that great display and Toby's visuals as a way to set the software apart. And issues with installation and durability will sort themselves out with product reviews and such.

Empeg has pioneered a whole new field of personal electronics. Now others are starting to stake their claims in this new frontier. This is going to be a lot of fun to watch over the next few years.

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#25354 - 22/01/2001 08:19 Re: NEO 5100 [Re: rob]
Alan
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Registered: 06/05/2000
Posts: 142
Loc: Cedar Grove , IN
Also consider this is Neo we're talking about - look at the state of the software on the Neo 35 currently and draw your own conclusions.

I imagine vibration, shock and heat will give this unit a rather short trouble-plagued life span (if it reaches production). You got to give them credit for trying to please the masses though.


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#25355 - 22/01/2001 11:45 Re: NEO 5100 [Re: tfabris]
crewe
member

Registered: 12/01/2001
Posts: 114
Loc: London, UK
This thing is soooo ugly! It looks more clunky than the Mk1 empeg, and at least that had a certain minimalistic charm.

I don't really see the point of a CD player if there's a hard-drive in there. Guess it's just for simplicity uploading MP3s, and I'm sure a lot of people will continue to want to play their CD's in-car despite having MP3 (I switched to MiniDiscs years ago...)

I reckon the empeg has/will launch multiple cheaper imitators, just as every great new invention does, and I won't be surprised if the crappy imitation brand outsells the original. But there will always be a market for people who know the difference and are prepared to pay for the best.

Empeg has nothing to worry about, at least not in my house!


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#25356 - 22/01/2001 13:35 Re: NEO 5100 [Re: Alan]
reggie
member

Registered: 24/06/1999
Posts: 118
Loc: Chile
Let's face it. That thing is what many guys at mp3.com's boards have been waiting for. If the neo 35 made such a splash, imagine what this thing will do, regardless of durability and reliability. In my opinion, it's very hard competition for the empeg, not in quality and features, of course, but in terms of appeal.
Now if someday the empeg gets fully redesigned, please please make the hard drives removable just like this thing!

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#25357 - 22/01/2001 13:54 Re: NEO 5100 [Re: reggie]
Smoker_Man
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Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 165
Loc: Calgary, CANADA
The drives are removable! (just not by your average user, which I am pretty sure is not the averege Empeg user! did that make sense?)

If anything, more memory and a 10/100 Ethernet connection.
And while we are at it, a IEEE 1394 "FireWire", Scsi, colour display, and Majel Barrett menu voice-overs!

Smoker_Man
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#25358 - 22/01/2001 14:20 Re: NEO 5100 [Re: Smoker_Man]
eternalsun
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/09/1999
Posts: 1721
Loc: San Jose, CA
The drives aren't really removable. Come on, if you have to invalidate the warranty, then you can argue anything is removable.

Calvin


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#25359 - 22/01/2001 14:44 Re: NEO 5100 [Re: gbeer]
rob
carpal tunnel

Registered: 21/05/1999
Posts: 5328
Loc: Cambridge UK
SSI specialise in plastics moudling - they seem to knock out tools at the drop of a hat. Even Rio often have injection tools complete many months ahead of a product launch.

So, doesn't mean anything, either way.

Rob



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#25360 - 22/01/2001 14:47 Re: NEO 5100 [Re: eternalsun]
rob
carpal tunnel

Registered: 21/05/1999
Posts: 5328
Loc: Cambridge UK
You can have one easily removable hard drive, or you can have two shock protected units. Given that synchronisation is going to get faster as the software matures, I know which I would choose.

Rob



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#25361 - 22/01/2001 20:42 Re: NEO 5100 observations [Re: rob]
gbeer
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Registered: 17/12/2000
Posts: 2665
Loc: Manteca, California
From the pages, their drive isn't just removable, its designed to allow the user to attach it to the home computer via usb. I'm guessing but I would expect it to be mounted as a storage device. Drag and drop loading, no need for Emplode, just a file manager.

From another point of view. It could be said "Failed Drive? so what! go buy a new bigger cheaper one. Drop it in the sled. Load it up and get going again."

Did anyone else note that the other units they sell can be had without hard drives. The NEO 35 is priced Cheap. It can be mounted in the trunk. Remote display. Looks like they use 3.5" drives. I saw a 3.5" 30g selling for... Well the point is that compared to the 2g's I dropped on the empeg... Ok I'll stop beating that horse now.

Then only thing that gives me pause is that I didn't see anything in the way of specs on what actually converts the bits on the disk into music.

Still all in all I suspect they are going after a different market segment.

-- Glenn



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#25362 - 23/01/2001 04:00 Re: NEO 5100 observations [Re: gbeer]
altman
carpal tunnel

Registered: 19/05/1999
Posts: 3454
Loc: Palo Alto, CA
I'm suspecting, seeing as the unit won't do anything computationally intensive (like ripping) that the box is basically a Neo35 (well, Neo25 now - the display is the same as the new Neo25's one) with both the CDROM and HDD attached to the single IDE channel.

Hence you can copy MP3 files from the CD to the HDD and do all the usual Neo things (bad shuffle play, not a lot of caching, etc), but it still uses a 3507 for audio decode so you just get MP3 playback only, no EQ, etc.

Yes, the Neo35 can use 3.5" hard drives. I could comment on how unadvisable it is to use a 3.5" drive in a mobile environment at this point (and how the 12v supply for the drives is badly regulated)... the lack of emplode as a manager is a major disadvantage (IMHO); extra metadata and structure is very hard to apply to a plain storage device (you'll see a lot more of this stuff becoming very useful in 1.1).

Hugo



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#25363 - 23/01/2001 08:41 Re: NEO 5100 [Re: Alan]
smu
old hand

Registered: 30/07/2000
Posts: 879
Loc: Germany (Ruhrgebiet)
I see a few points why that device would be of minor use to me compared to an empeg:
1. No emplode/other managing software
2. inferior shock protection of the drive(s)
3. no visuals
4. no equalizer (as it seems)
5. minor display and UI quality
However, I still think it will probably outsell empeg, because it is cheaper and it plays from CD.

cu,
sven
(MkII 12GB blue, #080000113)
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#25364 - 23/01/2001 11:35 EQ? [Re: smu]
SuperQ
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Registered: 13/06/2000
Posts: 429
Loc: Berlin, DE
there is an EQ button on the remote, so there's a chance

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#25365 - 23/01/2001 11:42 Re: NEO 5100 [Re: Alan]
SuperQ
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Registered: 13/06/2000
Posts: 429
Loc: Berlin, DE
all things considered, this device isn't so bad. tho i would love to see it have the power to rip/encode onboard.. maybe the Empeg2 will have that ability. there is certinly enough disk space to easily store the entire CDDB database (last i checked, it was less than 20MB) so tracks could be titled automaticaly.. just using something like lame, and some simple tools.

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#25366 - 23/01/2001 12:12 Re: NEO 5100 [Re: reggie]
Alan
member

Registered: 06/05/2000
Posts: 142
Loc: Cedar Grove , IN
Quote "Let's face it. That thing is what many guys at mp3.com's boards have been waiting for."

There's one fellow in particular named "Giant" who couldn't imagine the empeg not having an integrated 40X4 amp. He hasn't been spotted for a while, perhaps he's working for SSI. :)

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#25367 - 23/01/2001 14:29 Re: NEO 5100 [Re: SuperQ]
rob
carpal tunnel

Registered: 21/05/1999
Posts: 5328
Loc: Cambridge UK
maybe the Empeg2 will have that ability

..you mean empeg 3. We already reached 2

Rob



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#25368 - 23/01/2001 14:44 Re: NEO 5100 [Re: smu]
gbeer
carpal tunnel

Registered: 17/12/2000
Posts: 2665
Loc: Manteca, California
1. No emplode/other managing software
Just means they do it differently. They support the playlists generated by other software. (what are they? meu3 or something like that.)
2. inferior shock protection of the drive(s)
Are you sure their sled doesn't have shock mounting?
2,3, 4, 5
I think those fall under the "You get what you pay for."

--Glenn

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#25369 - 23/01/2001 23:39 Re: NEO 5100 [Re: smu]
mcomb
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Registered: 31/08/1999
Posts: 1649
Loc: San Carlos, CA
1. No emplode/other managing software

Well, I am not about to trade my empeg for one, but I have to say that not haveing to rely on something like emplode is actually a huge advantage. These types of devices are basically large hard drives that happen to have built in mp3 decoding. The more you can treat it like a bare drive the better. I think the ideal compliment to emplode would be a USB mounter that allowed you to treat the empeg like a USB hard drive (and automagically created the appropriate FIDS and database entries as you copied songs to it). Ideally the empeg could emulate a generic USB storage device and no driver would even be necessary for most operating systems. You could plug your empeg into just about any computer withouth extra software and copy music to it. I wonder if you could do this and make it 'write only' to keep the RIAA happy?

-Mike

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#25370 - 23/01/2001 23:46 Re: NEO 5100 [Re: mcomb]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 31307
Loc: Seattle, WA
These types of devices are basically large hard drives that happen to have built in mp3 decoding. The more you can treat it like a bare drive the better.

There are advantages to doing it Empeg's way. Many of the best features are made possible because of the Empeg's database. There are certain things you just can't do if all you've got is a hard disk full of MP3 files.

Agreed, database bugs and synch failures are headaches when they happen. But these are very rare, and the advantages we get from the database are worth it.

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#25371 - 24/01/2001 04:32 Re: NEO 5100 [Re: gbeer]
smu
old hand

Registered: 30/07/2000
Posts: 879
Loc: Germany (Ruhrgebiet)
1. No emplode/other managing software
Just means they do it differently. They support the playlists generated by other software. (what are they? meu3 or something like that.)
They do not state which type of playlist the support. And by the description of the navigation, I assume they use playlist as an other word for directory and/or vice versa.


cu,
sven
(MkII 12GB blue, #080000113)
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#25372 - 24/01/2001 04:50 Re: NEO 5100 [Re: mcomb]
smu
old hand

Registered: 30/07/2000
Posts: 879
Loc: Germany (Ruhrgebiet)
1. No emplode/other managing software
Well, I am not about to trade my empeg for one, but I have to say that not haveing to rely on something like emplode is actually a huge advantage.

While I agree that I would be happy with a unit that does not need a software like emplode, I canīt see a way to handle this amount of sound files without a descent managing software.

These types of devices are basically large hard drives that happen to have built in mp3 decoding. The more you can treat it like a bare drive the better. I think the ideal compliment to emplode would be a USB mounter that allowed you to treat the empeg like a USB hard drive (and automagically created the appropriate FIDS and database entries as you copied songs to it). Ideally the empeg could emulate a generic USB storage device and no driver would even be necessary for most operating systems. You could plug your empeg into just about any computer withouth extra software and copy music to it. I wonder if you could do this and make it 'write only' to keep the RIAA happy?

I guess this would solve the problems with almost any operating system. However, I donīt see how you could realize the current functionality of storing only one playlist/song no matter how often it is referenced by other playlists. There are simply limitations in that approach that might or might not outweight the limitations emplode implies on us.


cu,
sven
(MkII 12GB blue, #080000113)
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#25373 - 24/01/2001 08:27 Re: NEO 5100 [Re: gbeer]
smu
old hand

Registered: 30/07/2000
Posts: 879
Loc: Germany (Ruhrgebiet)
2. inferior shock protection of the drive(s)
Are you sure their sled doesn't have shock mounting?

I didnīt say they have no shock protection, I said they have inferior shock protection. This might include no shock protection at all, but I canīt say that for sure.
However, guessing from the pictures and the text on their website, they have very little room for shock protection. There are two ways how they might have shock protection:
  1. The shock protection for the harddisc (Iīm ignoring the CD player for now) might be within the enclosure of the harddisc. But when you look at http://ssiamerica.com/products/cj5100/images/cj-04.jpg, you can see that there simply is no room for it in there. However, they might be able to add some shock protection here if they switch to notebook drives, like the ones empeg uses. If they do so, however, they will get considerably more expensive.
  2. Another place for the shock protection might be somewhere in the unit itself, but apart from this being very hard to do (the whole slot where you insert the disk has to be shock protected, and therefore moveable relative to the front of the unit), when looking at the above image again, you can see that this also is not the case here.

Now, letīs have a look at the CD drive. Though this is not as much in need of shock protection than a standard desktop HD, I still would like to point out that it is simply not shock protected either.
As one can see on the above image, they use standard desktop HDs. Those are much more susceptible to shock than the notebook drive of the empeg. A few years back, when I last checked this, notebook drives where able to take shocks up to 10G in operation and up to 100G while spun down, while desktop drives where able to take shocks up to 3G and 40G respectively. Though I guess that they are more insensitive nowadays, but still the desktop drives can take much less than the notebook drives.
The NEO units are indifferently built as cheap as possible, no matter how (in)sensible the design is. To me, it would make sense to built a shock protected unit with dektop drives or a unit with notebook drives and without shock protection, but omitting both shock protection and notebook drives doesnīt make sense to me.

cu,
sven
(MkII 12GB blue, #080000113)
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#25374 - 24/01/2001 12:40 Re: NEO 5100 [Re: smu]
eternalsun
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/09/1999
Posts: 1721
Loc: San Jose, CA
I think the Toshiba notebook drives take 175G operating and 800G parked. For some manufacturers they may say that is enough for in car use, no shock mount needed. I don't know.

Calvin


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#25375 - 24/01/2001 13:20 Re: NEO 5100 [Re: tfabris]
mcomb
pooh-bah

Registered: 31/08/1999
Posts: 1649
Loc: San Carlos, CA
Many of the best features are made possible because of the Empeg's database.

I agree completely, and I think you may have missed my point. I was not suggesting any changes to the empeg's DB, just a new way of adding songs. Whenever you drop your mp3 on to the empeg mounted as a drive, the empeg would receive the file copy and use the ID3 tags on the file to populate the existing database. Basically the same way emplode does now, but with an interface that everyone is familiar with (their OS's native file browser).

Most of us would still want a tool like emplode to do after the sync database editing and configuration of the empeg. The USB drive thing would just make it dead simple to get files on the empeg at anytime with any computer.

-Mike

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#25376 - 24/01/2001 13:25 Re: NEO 5100 [Re: smu]
mcomb
pooh-bah

Registered: 31/08/1999
Posts: 1649
Loc: San Carlos, CA
I canīt see a way to handle this amount of sound files without a descent managing software.

See my response to Tony, I guess I was not very clear but I was suggesting that we could have both.

I donīt see how you could realize the current functionality of storing only one playlist/song no matter how often it is referenced by other playlists.

Quite simple really, a file copy from the empeg to the empeg would create a reference to the file or folder (additional database entry) rather than a copy just like it does with emplode.

-Mike

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#25377 - 24/01/2001 15:06 Re: NEO 5100 [Re: eternalsun]
altman
carpal tunnel

Registered: 19/05/1999
Posts: 3454
Loc: Palo Alto, CA
The mounts are really for vibration - drives are much more susceptible to vibration than shock. The picture of the Neo5100 shows a 2.5" drive, not a 3.5" one which probably accounts for quite a bit of the price difference over the Neo35.

I'd be interested to see what the skip protection was like when playing a vanilla audio CD in the laptop CD drive they are using though - I suspect it's almost non-existent.

Hugo



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