The Null Device

Time to buy a new MP3 player

When I last went to recharge my Archos Jukebox Recorder, I noticed that the DC IN socket wasn't there. It had snapped off and was rattling around inside. I opened the unit up to take a look, but it turns out that the socket is inside a box of soldered-together circuit boards, and impossible to get at without serious disassembly, something my electronics kung-fu isn't quite up to.

Anyway, this suggests that it's time to buy a new MP3 player. Can anybody recommend a good hard-disk-based unit with at least 40Gb of capacity, USB 2.0, USB Mass Storage capability (i.e., if you plug it into a computer, it appears as a hard disk to which you can copy MP3s, and doesn't require custom drivers or software), recording from microphone/line in to MP3 files, decent firmware and decent sound quality? (Has anybody had any experience with the iRiver H140?)

(Alternately, I could join the white earphone brigade. The problem with that is that iPods are a hassle to get files onto under Linux because of the custom database they use, and my PowerBook's hard disk (or at least the OSX partition) is far too small for me to carry a copy of my music collection on. I could at most feed an iPod Mini from it.)

There are 5 comments on "Time to buy a new MP3 player":

Posted by: simon http:// Tue Jul 13 11:18:25 2004

yeah ive owned an iHP-120 (the 20 gig model) for over 6 months now and ive got nothing but good things to say about. compared to an ipod, u require no software and theres no DRM (grrr!!) - u can use it just like u would an external harddrive in windows explorer. also, the battery lasts approx twice as long (around 12- 16 hours), and u can record using a mic for as long as you want. people who buy ipods havent done their research - iriver beats it on all accounts.. nuff said.

if u have any other questions about them i'll be happy to help. and no, i dont work for iriver.

Posted by: Andy Gimblett Tue Jul 13 11:27:22 2004

Hi Andrew,

Brain dump follows:

I've had an iRiver H120 (the 20Gb version) for a couple of months now and I like it a lot. It does everything specified in your second paragraph. I sync by plugging in, mount /mnt/flash, and copying files across (well, OK, because I have to make things more complicated than that I have a python script to take care of certain details, but anyway...). There is a "database" utility for Windows but of course I haven't explored that. I've just got a big tree of music which I navigate, usually at random... It can take m3u playlists though you have to format then correctly (windows-style \ slashes and CRLF at end of line, trivial to script anyway).

It's a powerful little device, and I'd say my only complaint is/was that there are many features but only (necessarily) a few buttons, so some things are doubled up which can (initially) cause confusion. If I'd bothered to read the manual I'd probably have discovered a lot sooner how to get it into shuffle mode (while it's pla

Posted by: Andy Gimblett Tue Jul 13 11:28:56 2004

D'oh - my essay on the iRiver got a bit cropped. I'll email you the whole thing... :-)

Posted by: cos Tue Jul 13 12:17:35 2004

you don't need to keep an entire copy of your iPod on your laptop, FWIW.

(but i know, i know, you wanna be able to record stuff, etc.)

Posted by: cos Tue Jul 13 12:19:33 2004

as for linux connectivity, see et al. One of my friends uses an iPod exclusively with Linux etc, blah blah blah.

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