[ MP3 SPECIAL OFFER ]  [ Which MP3? ] [ Tested MP3s ]  [ Unsuitable MP3s ]  [ Promising MP3s ]  [ Multimedia Players ]

Suitable MP3 Portable Players

Diamond Rio 500 (Firmware 2.12) ~ ~ ~ Suitable for Audio Books ~ ~ ~

Connection to PC: USB adapter cable which is the right length
Formats supported:
  1. ACLEP: 8Kbps audio decompression (the same as used in GSM voice data - this we think is the "Audible" format)
  2. MP3: Bits are rated from 8Kbps to 256Kbps
  3. WMA: Converted to MP3 before downloading to the player
Memory: 64MB internal, 32MB on standard memory card - version 2.12.  Firmware takes up 400 Kb of internal memory.
Buttons:
  • Top - slider switched off / on / hold
  • Play / Pause button, Stop, Fast-Forward and Rewind
  • Bookmark - remembers position
  • Rotate and push to select button.  Controls volume by default and selected operations
Batteries: 1 x AA
Sound quality: Treble slightly clicky, electronic is "washy / swimmy" noise at Medium to Low bit rates.
Type Source Output Rating (out of 10) Comments
Low CD 16Kb V.2.5 MP3 4 Voice OK, but swimmy
Medium CD 48Kb V1 MP3 Mono 6 Electronic overtones
High CD stereo 128Kb V.1 MP3 JStereo 7.5 Clear - symbols OK
Very high CD stereo 128Kb V.1 MP3 JStereo 8 Slightly clicky on treble
Software: Rio Manager (both versions 2 and 3) look good but are difficult to use.  The drag and drop command from Windows Explorer is only supported into the track database window, not into the player memory window and no notification of successful addition to database is shown, you have to check the database manually.  The database will not take duplicate file names or ID3 TAG data - it tries to do too much and does not really succeed, it crashes or stops responding.
In use: Reasonably light weight and small (although not as small as the Sony) and well put together.  The memory card is located behind a hinged flap and the memory card is ejected by pressing down on the spring loaded eject mechanism, which works well (much better than others we've seen as it keeps the dirt out of the open slots).
Bit rate: Low bit rate on version 1 and version 2 frames.  The MP3 playback on low bit rate works fine with version 1 and 2 frames - Pause / FF / Rewind.  Low bit rate on MP3 version 2.5 frames
Buttons:
  • Play / Pause: button stops playing the track, so you have to press again and it starts slightly after the position paused at on the track.
  • Fast Forward: Skips to the next MP3 file and only fast forwards when it reaches a non MP3 version 2.5 file.
  • Rewind: as for Fast Forward, but backwards.
  • Bookmark: stores bookmark, but choosing the bookmark always starts at the beginning of the track.
Overall: Audio download software not very good.  USB makes downloads fast.  Bookmarks are handy for long audio tracks, e.g. Audio Books, Classical.  Has problems with MP3 version 2.5 tracks.

 


Samsung Yepp-E64 ~ ~ ~ Suitable for Audio Books ~ ~ ~

Connection to PC: Parallel cable which is about the right length, but with no printer to pass through and can emulate ECP ports on older computers without BIOS/Port support (i.e. Standard / EPP parallel ports).  Pretty average download times for a parallel device.
Formats supported:
  1. SC4: onboard voice recording format
  2. MP3: 
  3. Bit rates from 8Kbps to 256Kbps
Memory: 64MB internal, 32MB on standard memory card
Buttons:
  • Left: volume button +/-
  • Repeat button
  • 3D/EQ button: normal / Jazz / Rock / Classic w/wo 3D effect
  • Hold slicer
  • Font / Mode button
  • Erase button - to erase a track, press twice
  • Record - voice record
  • Rewind / FF / Play / Stop paddle
Batteries: 2 x AA
Sound quality: Medium compression - base overpowering and distorted, mid rage quieter
Type Source Output Rating (out of 10) Comments
Low CD 16Kb V.2.5 MP3 4 Voice OK, but swimmy
Medium CD 48Kb V1 MP3 Mono 7 OK (AM radio)
High CD stereo 128Kb V.1 MP3 JStereo 8.5 Clear - symbols OK
Very high CD stereo 128Kb V.1 MP3 JStereo 9 Fine
Software: Has not crashed once.  Drag and drop interface.  Easy to use.  Intuitive apart for the connect icon after the device is plugged in.  Help is poor, with only links to Internet sites.
In use: Slightly bigger than the Rio 500.  Chrome effect buttons do not give much feedback when pressed.  Track selection is Very slow and awkward - you watch the screen redraw each time.  Control system is not very intuitive to use.  Does not remember the track position when pushed into sleep mode.  Sound quality is very good.
Bit rate: MP3 version 2.5 tracks
Buttons:
  • FF / Rewind - works fine
  • Pause / Play - works fine
  • EQ - pressing the "EQ" equalizer button a few times means super fast forwards to the end of the track, which cannot be stopped - weird - this is only on MP3 version 2.5
Overall: Plays all types of MP3 files without problems (except for the EQ bug).  Sound quality is good.  Built-in voice recorder which may be useful.  The control system in non-intuitive, the menus slow.  The buttons lack a "feel" quality and there is no back light.  There's no way of pausing the audio track for long periods of time due to lack of bookmarks or standby.  No automatic power save mode.  Memory card is OK, but not as well designed as the Rio 500.

 


Pine D'Music MP3 Player Model SM-320V ~ ~ Suitable for Audio Books ~ ~

Firmware: V2.10A (supplied)
Software: Downloading manager version 1.3 (15 pin cable).  Easy to use once deciphered what buttons do, but not very helpful if it doesn't work.  Download speed is slow on KX chipset m/b, faster on BX m/b.  Not clear from the software which version is loaded.
Connection to PC: Parallel cable - length fine - not too long or short, reaches from the back of the PC to twice an average PC case length.
Voice recorder: VOC format
Buttons: "Hold" switch: YES.  Max "Hold" time: untested.
Batteries: 2 x AA
Sound quality: Noticeable click through head phones when powered on.  Resets previous volume to 15 / 30 settings when powered on, which is rather annoying.  Max volume is loud - this distorts the sound - possible clipping.
MP3 Format Sound Comments
V2.5 16Kbps 11,025Hz Noticeable sound inflections on 16Kbps.  V2.5, but understandable voice. FF/Rewind doesn't work on V2.5 files and displayed play-time incorrect.  A/B - start / end loop - doesn't work, but skips the first second on 16Kb V2.5 files
V2.0 24Kbps 11,025Hz Sounds OK - better than 16Kbps - normally.  V2.5 sounds better than 24Kbps V2.0 files
V2.0 32Kbps 22,050Hz Sounds OK - better than 24Kbps
V1.0 48Kbps 44,100Hz Sounds fine - better than 32Kbps

 


Pine D'Music MP3 FM Voice Recorder Model SM-320F ~ ~ Suitable for Audio Books ~ ~

Firmware: V1.55A
Software: V2.0 (18 pin cable) - supplied software V2.0 works only with 18 pin cables - incompatible with SM-320V.  It is not clear from the soft6ware what version is loaded.  Downloads quite fast for a parallel cable.
Connection to PC: Parallel cable.
Voice recorder: VOC format, mono microphone.
Buttons: "Hold" switch: YES.  Max "Hold" time: untested.
Batteries: 2 x AAA
Sound quality: Unlike the SM-320V, there is no noticeable click through head phones when powered on.  Resets previous volume to 16 / 30 settings when powered on, which is rather annoying.  The FM tuner appears to be dependant in the supplied ear-bud phones - using other earphones results in worse reception.
MP3 Format Sound Comments
V2.5 16Kbps 11,025Hz Noticeable sound inflections on 16Kbps.  V2.5, but understandable voice. FF/Rewind do work, but takes about 1.5 seconds to start.  Displays the correct time of tract, including FF/Rewind.  A/B - start / end loop - doesn't work, but skips the first second on 16Kb V2.5 files
V2.0 24Kbps 11,025Hz Sounds OK - better than 16Kbps - normally.  V2.5 sounds better than 24Kbps V2.0 files
V2.0 32Kbps 22,050Hz Sounds OK - better than 24Kbps
V1.0 48Kbps 44,100Hz Sounds fine - better than 32Kbps

 


jazPiper MVR64 ~ ~ ~ Suitable for Audio Books ~ ~ ~

www.elex.co.uk        www.jazpiper.co.uk        www.jazpiper.com.sg

Connection to PC: Some players come with Parallel (not transparent) and some with USB, cable long enough - GOOD
Memory: 64 built-in and another 64 could be added on the SmartMedia Card - VERY GOOD
Loudness: Very, very loud - VERY GOOD
File Sorting: -
Size: 66mm x 90mm x 18mm weighs 86grams - VERY GOOD
Headphones: In-ear
Buttons:
  • [Bookmark] - No
  • [Pause] - Indefinite - GOOD
  • [Hold] - physical lock - VERY GOOD
Batteries: 2 x AAA, easily changeable - 9 hours - GOOD
Software: Easy to use - GOOD
Firmware: Not upgradeable - NOT GOOD
In use: Interruptions - after "off/on" button is pressed, it goes back to the beginning of the current file - GOOD ENOUGH
Bit Rate: 16Kbps MP3 frame V 2.5: works fine (except "<A-B>repeat) - GOOD

Note: Small BUG.  We have tested it with MP3 files 16, 24, 32 and 48Kbps.  All work fine but on the screen, 16, 23 and 32Kbps are shown as 128Kbps ??? Stanbe, but not significant.

Comparable To: It is very similar to the Samsung Yepp-E64 and Vionic MP10-64SV

Vionic MP10-64SV ~ ~ ~ Suitable for Audio Books ~ ~ ~

www.vioniv.co.uk

Identical to jazPiper MVR64


Pontis 503/504  ~ ~ ~ Suitable for Audio Books ~ ~ ~

www.pontis.de        www.abcmp3ltd.co.uk

Connection to PC:
Memory: No Built-in memory but 2 slots for MultiMediaCard (at present, it will give you up to 128MB) - GOOD
Loudness: Loud enough
File Sorting: -
Size: 105mm x 75mm x 18mm, weighs 90grams
Headphones:
Buttons:
  • [Hold] - menu option
Batteries: 2 x AA, 14 hours - VERY GOOD
Software: -
Firmware: -
In use: Interruptions - Generally it will handle interruptions well and stay at the same point at the same file, but sometimes goes back to the point of the previous interruption???

Bit Rate:

-

We can whole heartedly recommend you view the new ARCHOS HDD-MP3 Portable Player which we have on SPECIAL OFFER for US$500 and includes our best audiobooks pre-loaded.