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#4136 - 29/12/1999 11:59 What about other MP3 players?
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 31424
Loc: Seattle, WA
I just read a post in another forum, from a gentleman who had purchased an MP Shuttle product. I myself had been scouring the web for a while, looking for other MP3 player products. Since I had lost hope for getting an Empeg Car any time soon, I was desperate to find something. Fortunately, I caught a lucky break and managed to Ebuy a used Empeg just before Christmas. So I'm still curious about the MP Shuttle and its cousins, since I never needed to buy one.

Does anyone else on this BBS own an MP3 player other than the Empeg? What do you think of it? How does it compare to the Empeg in features and customer service?

There was a hard-disk-based portable MP3 player grabbing at its "15 minutes of fame" several weeks ago. As I recall, a few of them were auctioned off at MP3.COM. Has anyone had any experiences with these?


_________________________
Tony Fabris

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#4137 - 29/12/1999 14:22 Re: What about other MP3 players? [Re: tfabris]
mcomb
pooh-bah

Registered: 31/08/1999
Posts: 1649
Loc: San Carlos, CA
Well, I am the one who mentioned the MP Shuttle so I guess I will review the thing.

It is actually a pretty neat device. For a little over $400 (from the US distributor, www.xeenontech.com) I got the hard drive based unit. You must supply your own hardrive (standard 3.5 inch). It does not include a radio and is intended to be plugged into an aux input on your stereo or one of those little FM transmitter units. The unit expects to find between 1 and 20 partitions on the hard drive formatted as Fat 16 or Fat 32. It will scan each of these partitions for mp3s. You can jump back and forth between the partitions so that they can act as dividers. It supports directories, but only one level deep and they act more as bookmarks than true directories that you can move in and out of. It has 8 Megs of memory to buffer the songs. You get songs onto the drives with those IDE hard drive pullout trays, just pull the hard drive out of the unit and push it into a PC with the receiver tray to transfer songs. Sound quality is very good, it will play up to a 256k MP3 and supports VBA. I believe it uses a dedicated MP3 decoder chip. It does random play of songs within a directory, filesystem, or entire drive. The software is upgradable via a 4Meg EProm, unfortunately you have to have a EProm writer to do the upgrade or order a new chip from Xeenon. The unit is intended to be mounted in your trunk, it is about the size of a small CD-Changer and has a non-wireless remote that includes the LCD display and buttons to navigate.

It is definately lacking some of the original Empegs features, but I already had a spare hard drive and nice head unit so I could not justify purchasing an original Empeg (not to mention I am number 10000 something or other on the list). Now with voice recognition and ethernet (and, please, mac software) they have me lusting after an Empeg Mark 2.

Anybody want to buy the Shuttle? I will probably end up ebaying it once my number finally comes up for the new Empegs. Maybe Empeg wants to take it in trade? Ya know, do a little research on competitors products? Maybe give me half off the first Mark2 of the assembly line in exchange :-)

-Mike

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EmpMenuX - ext3 filesystem - Empeg iTunes integration

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#4138 - 29/12/1999 15:27 Re: What about other MP3 players? [Re: mcomb]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 31424
Loc: Seattle, WA

Thanks, that was a good review.

I've used the hard-drive pullout trays before, so I know what they're like. It sounds like it's a much simpler system. Different enough from the Empeg so that it's not really direct competition, but very useful in its own right. The Empeg (even the Mark 1) has some advantages over that design, but it's more expensive.

It sounds like the MP shuttle is the one to go with if you:
- Want to add MP3s to an existing car stereo but you don't have an extra DIN space in the dash.
- Have trouble getting USB to work (for instance if you have a '95 or NT4 system).
- Want to use your own hard disk(s), and don't mind installing the unit into a 5.5" bay.
- Like the idea of storing your MP3s once on a single hard disk that can be shared between your car and your computer.

The Empeg seems to be the one to go with if you:
- Want to put a whole new head unit in your car (or, like me, you're replacing a stolen CD player with it).
- Want the visualizations and the fancy playlist functions.
- Don't want to take up an extra 5.5" slot on your computer.
- Want the full-pull-out security of the Empeg (if, for example, you had a removable faceplate stereo and it got stolen anyway... like me).



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Tony Fabris

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#4139 - 29/12/1999 16:17 Re: What about other MP3 players? [Re: tfabris]
mcomb
pooh-bah

Registered: 31/08/1999
Posts: 1649
Loc: San Carlos, CA
That is pretty accurate the other big advantage to the Empeg (from my point of view at least) is that since it runs a full OS and has a serial port it is possible to interface it with other devices.

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EmpMenuX - ext3 filesystem - Empeg iTunes integration

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#4140 - 30/12/1999 05:57 Re: What about other MP3 players? [Re: mcomb]
rob
carpal tunnel

Registered: 21/05/1999
Posts: 5328
Loc: Cambridge UK
> Maybe Empeg wants to take it in trade? Ya know, do a little research on
> competitors products?

hehe, thanks for the offer but we definitely don't want one of those :-)

Rob



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#4141 - 30/12/1999 06:06 Re: What about other MP3 players? [Re: tfabris]
rob
carpal tunnel

Registered: 21/05/1999
Posts: 5328
Loc: Cambridge UK
Bear in mind that, as well as the dozens of features the Shuttle lacks in comparison with the empeg player, it also uses a hardware MP3 decoder. This means that you don't get multiple codecs - no WMA, no SDMI (*spit*), and all the other standards that are likely to come and go over the next few years.

So, factor in the cost of replacing the Shuttle a few times and the empeg price starts to look more attractive.

By the way, have they got any kind of shock protection into that thing yet? It always amuses me when I see our competitors claim "Shock-proof hard drives" and then, when you ask them, they say "Well all 3.5 inch hard drives are shock proof these days". Yeah, whatever :)

Rob



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#4142 - 30/12/1999 12:27 Re: What about other MP3 players? [Re: rob]
mcomb
pooh-bah

Registered: 31/08/1999
Posts: 1649
Loc: San Carlos, CA
For what it is worth....

The Shuttle has a daughter card that contains the Eprom and (I think) the decoder chip, leaving a possible upgrade path via replacing that daughter card. Why the heck would I want to be able to use WMA or SDMI anyways ;-)

The only shock protection is through a couple of foam pads. However, I have had the Shuttle in my Jeep Wrangler (very bouncy) driving around San Francisco (pretty bad roads) with an old Maxtor hard drive (several years old, a little less than a gig, no shock protection at all) for the last month (about 1500 Miles) and have not had any problems (no bad sectors, no lost data). I think hard drives are a little tougher than most people think.

-Mike

p.s. In the Shuttle's defense... I received the Shuttle two days after I placed the order which was probably less than a week after I learned of its existance. I have known about the Empeg project since 1997 (before Hugo had decided to sell these things to the public in fact) and been on the waiting list since July of this year and I still can't get one.

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#4143 - 30/12/1999 13:08 Re: What about other MP3 players? [Re: mcomb]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 31424
Loc: Seattle, WA

...and been on the waiting list since July of this year and I still can't get one.

Whaddya mean you can't get one? There's one for sale on e-bay right now. As I recall, the auction closes today. What are you waiting for? It's how I got mine! :-)

Of course, I didn't intend for this to become an Empeg-versus-the-world thread when I started it. I just wanted to know about what else was out there. Rob: you don't need to get so defensive. :-) We all agree that the Empeg Car is the best thing since sliced bread. Although your points are absolutely correct-- there's a lot more features and potential in the Empeg. Mike: your point about availability is a good one, but it will be moot come this March.

I get the feeling that the MP Shuttle is made from more off-the-shelf components than the Empeg. It seems to me that nearly everything in the Empeg is custom made, hence the current component and availability issue. Sure, they could have done the Empeg Car like the MP shuttle, but then it couldn't have been a DIN-sized in-dash unit, which was the primary goal.

I have to admit, though, the MP shuttle sounds like it's the next-best-thing to an Empeg. A simple design using relatively inexpensive components to achieve an in-car high-capacity MP3 player. You gotta hand it to 'em for pulling it off.

Then again, now that I own an Empeg Car and I've seen how good it really is, I couldn't imagine owning anything else.


_________________________
Tony Fabris

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#4144 - 30/12/1999 18:28 What the?!?!?! [Re: mcomb]
duranike
journeyman

Registered: 20/06/1999
Posts: 84
How is that in the Shuttles's defense. For a product to be ordered and sent that quickly they must not be as popluar as empeg,
obviously. Plus with a company that dosent sell alot of units in its first couple of months, I see doom for that company, especially
with all the new and improved hardware coming out for mp3's. Please dont use an argument like availability as a good reason to buy
something. Plus if you really wanted one, you could buy it at ebay like tfabris said. I bought mine off another person way before
anyone thought of selling one on ebay. EMPEG 4 LIFE BABY!!!!
-Jordan

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1st Original Mark I Owner in California: Serial Number 27.

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#4145 - 31/12/1999 03:42 Re: What about other MP3 players? [Re: tfabris]
schofiel
carpal tunnel

Registered: 25/06/1999
Posts: 2992
Loc: Wareham, Dorset, UK
A strange line of arguments, really - availability is important, but don't forget that the Mk 1 was primarily a testbed unit to try out ideas. There are several MP3 players available for immediate purchase, and that doean't indicate a failing company, just different logistics.

My colleague here on the other side of the table ( who incidentally is also still on the Empag waiting list, and has been for a year or so) has just taken delivery of a Terratec M3PO player, delivered ex-stock, on announced schedule. It is aimed at a different market (home hi fi components) and uses Terratec's sound card technology for off-the-shelf parts and short development.

Have a look at their web site, it's an attractive slimline unit in brushed alloy that plays back MP3s from CD-Rs or CD-RWs that you can burn yourself.

Me, I'm waiting for the empeg home, or until the price of the Mk1s drops after the Mk2.......

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

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#4146 - 31/12/1999 09:19 Re: What about other MP3 players? [Re: schofiel]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 31424
Loc: Seattle, WA

I was interested in looking for that "Terratec" player on the Web, but www.terratec.com is a different company. Perhaps you could help me find the site?

I've seen several players advertised on the web that supposedly play from burned CDR's. While a lot of folks specifically want that as a feature, it's not the market being targeted by the Empeg. The whole reason for the Empeg is so that you don't have to carry around extra CD's in your car. 650 megabytes would store only a mere fraction of someone's CD collection, so you end up being stuck lugging around more CD's again.

It's fascinating how the MP3 player market is splintered into all these different groups based on the storage media. You have the low-capacity players like the Rio, the high-capacity hard-disk players like the Empeg/MP Shuttle (and that walkman-style hard-disk player whose name I cannot remember), and then the CD-ROM players.

I don't see why anyone would possibly want a low-capacity MP3 player. But products like the Rio prove that there is definitely a market for it. Perhaps we'll see some breakthroughs in solid-state storage technology that allow high capacities without a hard disk?

So far, I don't think any of the big-name consumer electronics companies have put out an MP3 player. You have to admit that it's inevitable-- we'll see Sony and Panasonic MP3 players pretty soon. I wonder how they'll do it?



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Tony Fabris

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#4147 - 01/01/2000 16:32 Re: What the?!?!?! [Re: duranike]
mcomb
pooh-bah

Registered: 31/08/1999
Posts: 1649
Loc: San Carlos, CA
Hey duranike,

This thread was created by someone who wanted to know more about the other MP3 players on the market. I simply replied by letting whoever was interested know about which device I purchased and what I saw as the good and bad points of that device. I am not suggesting that anyone go out and purchase that device based on my recommendations. And yet I get sh*t from you and to some extent Rob for my choice. When I wanted to buy a player, the Empeg did not have the features that would make it a worthwhile purchase for ME at the time. Now it will and when my number comes up for a Mark2 unit I will most likely purchase one. In the meantime I have a unit that suits my needs and I did not waste >$1000 on something that I will be replacing in a few months. All I am saying is availability WAS an issue for me. The Mark2 units are not yet available, the Mark1 are not worth the money (to me) and the MP Shuttle was readily available and works well with my existing equipment.

-Mike

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EmpMenuX - ext3 filesystem - Empeg iTunes integration

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#4148 - 01/01/2000 17:24 Re: What the?!?!?! [Re: mcomb]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 31424
Loc: Seattle, WA

And yet I get sh*t from you and to some extent Rob for my choice.

Hey, don't take his comments too personally. :-) I don't know why, but us "Guys" seem to get defensive when faced with even the slightest possibility that we might have made an incorrect purchasing decision. A wise person once said, "Women get technical about emotional things. Men get emotional about technical things."

As for what Rob said, he was simply defending Empeg's ratio of features to price. I don't think he was giving you any shit. But you're right, I was only looking for information on what else was out there. I didn't intend to start a flame war by beginning the thread. So far, this BBS has been pretty well-behaved. I'd hate to see a flame war erupt on a thread that I started. :-)



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Tony Fabris

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#4149 - 03/01/2000 05:03 Re: What the?!?!?! [Re: mcomb]
rob
carpal tunnel

Registered: 21/05/1999
Posts: 5328
Loc: Cambridge UK
> And yet I get sh*t from you and to some extent Rob for my choice

It wasn't my intention to be impolite in any way. We tend to be very honest about competitors products - what impresses us, what's crap and so forth.

The MP Shuttle wasn't top of my Christmas list I have to admit, however we did spend a lot of time defending the rather tasty Personal Jukebox 100 in the mp3.com Hardware Discussion forum.




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#4150 - 03/01/2000 05:08 Re: What about other MP3 players? [Re: tfabris]
rob
carpal tunnel

Registered: 21/05/1999
Posts: 5328
Loc: Cambridge UK
> I don't see why anyone would possibly want a low-capacity MP3 player.

It's an invented market that relies on MP3 piracy - why do you think most of the solid-state players are marketed as "Internet Music Players"? :-)

I don't think it'll take much longer before people work out that a minidisc player is much better value than a solid-state MP3 walkman, and then technology will progress.

Rob



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#4151 - 03/01/2000 06:56 Re: What about other MP3 players? [Re: tfabris]
schofiel
carpal tunnel

Registered: 25/06/1999
Posts: 2992
Loc: Wareham, Dorset, UK
Terratec is a German company - sorry, I suppose I should have posted the URL - they are behind www.terratec.de. The M3PO player allows you to play burned CD-Rs (and what have you), but it does also have an IDE hard disk built-in as an option, similar to empeg car.

I know it's really a home unit, but (to me, anyway) it's the nearest comparable unit to what empeg car achieves. I eventually intend to pick up a second hand Mk1 to build permanently into a hifi unit with a fixed power supply, but the M3PO is about as close to this as I have seen.

As for big name MP3 players - well, I know that somewhere near where I work, there has been a fully functional box on the bench for about a year now...

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

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#4152 - 03/01/2000 09:30 Re: Personal Jukebox 100 [Re: rob]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 31424
Loc: Seattle, WA

however we did spend a lot of time defending the rather tasty Personal Jukebox 100 in the mp3.com Hardware Discussion forum.

Ah, THAT'S the one whose name I couldn't remember. While waiting for the opportunity to buy an Empeg Car, I seriously considered buying one. However, I was put off by a couple things:

1. I have never seen an actual photograph of one. All they've ever published is an artist's concept rendering. Doesn't instill any confidence in me that way.
2. It looked like it didn't have any expansion or upgrade capability. (Bigger hard disks, upgraded player software, etc.)
3. Simplified display and playlist functions.

Has anyone actually used one of these products? What are they really like?

_________________________
Tony Fabris

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#4153 - 04/01/2000 15:31 Re: What about other MP3 players? [Re: rob]
tanstaafl.
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/07/1999
Posts: 5496
Loc: Ajijic, Mexico
>> I don't see why anyone would possibly want a low-capacity MP3 player.

Another reason might be the transient nature of popular music. While Mozart, Beethoven, Dvorak etc. are immortal in a sense, most popular music is here today, gone tomorrow. How many songs that were popular a year ago can you remember? Of those, how many do you still play?

So you load your Rio up with what's hot this week, and next week it's a whole new playlist, and very little nostalgia for the "old" stuff. No need for a lot of storage capacity.

At the other extreme, at least 95% of my music is 100 years old or more -- I need the large storage capacity of the empeg because I NEVER get rid of any of it. I may need 100 GB hard drives someday...

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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#4154 - 06/02/2000 18:41 Re: What about other MP3 players? [Re: mcomb]
mcomb
pooh-bah

Registered: 31/08/1999
Posts: 1649
Loc: San Carlos, CA
I thought some of you might be interested in a little follow up. I have been having some extreme problems getting the MP Shuttle to recognize anything other than the small drive I was originally using in the unit. Although there are still a few areas where I think the MPShuttle has an advantage over the empeg I am beginning to wish I had never bought it. I just sent the following email to several people at Xeenon.

"Hi,

I appologize for sending this to so many different email addresses,
but I want to make sure it get to the right people and that Xeenon of
Korea gets it as well as Xeenontech (US distributor).

I purchased a MPShuttle II through Xeenontech about two months ago
and I have been having major troubles getting a hard drive to work
with it. I have an old 540Meg Maxtor that works fine, but that is
obviously not enough capacity. I tried a 6Gig Western Digital (Model
AC36400-40LC), a 10Gig Maxtor (returned it so I don't have the model
number), a 27Gig Maxtor (Model 9270U8), and a second 27Gig Maxtor
(Model 92732U8). None of these drives have worked. I have tried
them in two different vehicles wired directly to the battery or
through the cigarette lighter adapter with and without the engine
running. I have tried them with a 12Vold 3Amp DC transformer. I
have tried them with two different MPShuttles (Xeenontech exchanged
the first one for me). The Western Digital will not spin up, the
others spin up but are not recognized by the MPShuttle. I have set
them to master, slave, and cable-select. I have tried using one
partition, I have tried using several partitions. I have used fdisk
and format to prepare them, I have used the Maxtor MaxBlast utitlity
to prepare them. I have tried formating them as fat16 and fat32.

I believe I have done everything within my power to get these units
to work. I have attempted on good faith to try as many drive
combinations as possible in as many configurations as possible. When
I purchased this product I assumed that it would work with virtually
any IDE hard drive available (as stated on the Xeenon web site).

At this point I feel that I have been the victim of fraud, that I
have been sold a product that does not work as advertised. I would
like my money back. What is Xeenon prepared to do about this?

Sincerly,
Mike Comb"

Just thought you all might be interested.

-Mike

p.s. Really wanting a MarkII, any word on Mac software for it yet :-)

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EmpMenuX - ext3 filesystem - Empeg iTunes integration

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#4155 - 06/02/2000 19:20 Re: What about other MP3 players? [Re: mcomb]
JeepBastard
enthusiast

Registered: 08/09/1999
Posts: 364
Loc: Brooklyn
sorry to hear that..

anyone here think that mp3kit is vapour hardware?

anyone actually seeen an iGo?


Empeg Kicks Ass
S/N 00203
http://www.iretro.com
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Mark I + Mark IIa | Jeep 97 TJ
my current blog

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#4156 - 06/02/2000 20:45 Re: What about other MP3 players? [Re: mcomb]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 31424
Loc: Seattle, WA

Wow, that's a bummer. Just out of curiosity, if you put the old 540 back in, does it work?

I've used some of those hard-drive sleds before, like the ones that the MP Shuttle uses. They're not perfect technology. In the past, I've had trouble with the electrical connections in them. Is it possible that there's something physically wrong with the sled on the car-end of it? From your description, it sounds like the one in the PC is working, but it fails when you put it into the car. Trying the 540 again would verify if it's the sled that's failing or not.

I know that this is a forum for the Empeg, and not MPShuttle tech support. I'm just throwing out ideas in hopes that it'll help, since it sounds like you're at the end of your rope.

Ironically, the MPShuttle was one of the products I was looking at while I was waiting for the chance to buy the Empeg. One of the things that turned me off to it was that it didn't look like there was an easy way I could directly contact the manufacturer for tech support. I'd be very interested in knowing how they responded to your requests, because I know some folks who are still interested in some kind of MP3 solution for their car. Please keep us updated on how it's going with the Xeenotech people.



-- Tony Fabris -- Empeg #144 --
Caution: Do not look into laser with remaining good eye.
_________________________
Tony Fabris

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#4157 - 06/02/2000 21:18 Re: What about other MP3 players? [Re: tfabris]
mcomb
pooh-bah

Registered: 31/08/1999
Posts: 1649
Loc: San Carlos, CA
Yeah, the 540 works fine (and I am using it now, for lack of a better solution). I have two of the drive sleds and switching between the two does not make a difference. This is actually the second MPShuttle (they sent me a replacement for the first) so I don't think it is the portion of the sled in the MPShuttle.

The unit just does not seem to work with some types of hard drives. If Xeenon's claims regarding compatability are true than maybe I have just been really unlucky with the drives I have tried to use.

Interestingly enough, the reason that I tried two 27Gig Maxtors is because I read somewhere that they test the units with 27Gig Maxtors so I figured I had a good shot with them. Anyway, I am out of hard drives to try and I think that Best Buy is getting sick of me returning drives.

I will let you know how this all turns out.

-Mike

p.s. Anyone wanna buy a MPShuttle II+? I am willing to let it go cheap ;-) I will include a 540Meg drive to get you started ;-)

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EmpMenuX - ext3 filesystem - Empeg iTunes integration

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#4158 - 14/08/2000 09:52 Re: What about other MP3 players? [Re: JeepBastard]
mardibloke
addict

Registered: 14/08/2000
Posts: 468
Loc: Penarth, UK
I have had an iGo thing for a few months now. Rather inpressed. Performs as expected, nice to have internal speaker, 2 AA batteries power it when away from the car. 680MB in the car ( IBM Microdrives ), 96MB ( 1 x 96MB CF card - you could put two CF cards in ) on batteries. Comes with lots of cables/accessories. Thought I would sell it as soon as empeg arrived, but will be hanging on to it now.

- --
Rod, UK waiting for TNT . . .
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- --
Rod, UK

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#4159 - 14/08/2000 16:46 Re: What about other MP3 players? [Re: mardibloke]
altman
carpal tunnel

Registered: 19/05/1999
Posts: 3457
Loc: Palo Alto, CA
Hmm, an iGo with 2xMicrodrives is rather expensive though (around $1000 for 680Mb of capacity, isn't it?)

I think when you get your empeg, you'll see what you've been missing :)

Hugo



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#4160 - 15/08/2000 01:09 Re: What about other MP3 players? [Re: altman]
mardibloke
addict

Registered: 14/08/2000
Posts: 468
Loc: Penarth, UK
Trick is to buy the eGo with one Microdrive ( net cost is 50usd for Microdrive ), I happen to already have big CF cards ( for digital camera ), and work for a company that makes Microdrives. But do agree that ukp/MB is pretty poor with iGO. However you do get a portable device with enough storage to be worth using in car/home/out and about. I have a place for both in my lifestyle, and the iGo surprised me with actually how handy I find it. Am sure the empeg with surprise me even more. . speaking of which, ordered last Wednesday, order confirmed, but no TNT shipping notice yet ?

- --
Rod, UK waiting for TNT . . .
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- --
Rod, UK

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#4161 - 15/08/2000 01:18 Re: What about other MP3 players? [Re: mardibloke]
altman
carpal tunnel

Registered: 19/05/1999
Posts: 3457
Loc: Palo Alto, CA
I guess you work for IBM then :)

I wasn't impressed by the iGo's minimal power management which means that it's not practical to use the microdrive and batteries; Diamond have solved this with the Rio600 340Mb backpack (when it's out) which houses a second AA battery (total: 2) and still gives 10 hours playback from the microdrive. Cute.

I was *so* tempted by the PJB, especially as they wanted to swap one for an empeg, but I decided against it. We did have plans (when we were next not so busy) to do a hand-portable ourselves - more like a wearable actually, 20G, VGA out for visor-based display, ethernet, etc. Problem is, we're always a bit too busy to get round to it, and it would be fantastically expensive as it'd be incredibly small.

Hugo



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#4162 - 15/08/2000 01:54 Re: What about other MP3 players? [Re: altman]
mardibloke
addict

Registered: 14/08/2000
Posts: 468
Loc: Penarth, UK
. . . hmm "work" is a strange term.

We should see 1gig Microdrives later this year and it would appear people believe Micrdrives can be developed even more, so its a technology to keep an eye on. iGo made some hardware changes ( gold battery connectors ) and also regular software updates ( eGo Boosts - yuk ) you can update the player with, these both increase battery life. iGo do say the Microdrive is not supported on 3v power and I cannot say I would bother with it, however its nice to be able to "demo" it on batteries. Didn't Rio ( or someone else ) launch a battery powered Microdrive solution and then withdraw it again ? Some digital cameras now support Microdrives on batteries, however I cannot really believe we will see Microdrive battery powered MP3 players, unless perhaps they also contain low power storage and tracks are moved from Microdrive to say CF, and then played from that media.

I guess clever that Rio has 4xAA batteries but I find it hard to believe you can get 5 hours from 2xAA batteries, I would have thought more like 60 minutes.

Oh, did I mention the removable media in iGo sticks out the back a little, the belt clip has to be removed in order to change batteries, display is best read from an angle of -15 degrees, if CF and Microdrive at same time, will only sense Microdrive if it is in slot A, cassete adapter connection to car player is not best quality audio.

- --
Rod, UK waiting for TNT . . .
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- --
Rod, UK

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#4163 - 15/08/2000 04:58 Re: What about other MP3 players? [Re: mardibloke]
altman
carpal tunnel

Registered: 19/05/1999
Posts: 3457
Loc: Palo Alto, CA
The RCA Lyra announced support for the microdrive, then withdrew it. 1Gb is ok, and I'm sure 2Gb will be out within a year, but by then 2.5" drives will probably be 64Gb per drive :)

I guess the Rio has local RAM cache in the 340Mb backpack, powering down the drive totally after caching; I've been assured by people who should know that they get 10 hours with the microdrive and 2xAA (normal rio is 1xAA and 11 hours). Cameras are a different kettle of fish, requiring burst transfer when you take a pic, and bugger all the rest of the time, as opposed to the constant trickle of data that playing compressed audio requires - really, IBM should have put 4Mb or 8Mb of buffer into the microdrive and solved it from their end.

Rio have also announced a dataplay backpack (see www.dataplay.com - 500Mb 1" worm disks) - the dataplay drive includes 4Mb of buffer and runs from 3.3v.

Hugo



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#4164 - 15/08/2000 05:06 Re: What about other MP3 players? [Re: altman]
mardibloke
addict

Registered: 14/08/2000
Posts: 468
Loc: Penarth, UK
Don't think there is much spare room at all inside the Microdrive, but yep a memory buffer is exactly what is required. Amazing to get your hands on one and realise there is a spinning disc inside.

- --
Rod, UK waiting for TNT . . .
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Rod, UK

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#4165 - 15/08/2000 07:20 Re: What about other MP3 players? [Re: mardibloke]
altman
carpal tunnel

Registered: 19/05/1999
Posts: 3457
Loc: Palo Alto, CA
4Mb is pretty small in terms of die size, and they're using hybrid construction as far as I could tell so it'd just be fitting another die into the setup. They're so light though, it is hard to imagine there being actuators, a motor, processor, that sort of stuff in the case...

Hugo


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