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Iriver2 - a mini review

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
I thought I would share some of my findings regarding the Iriver2 MP3/CD player. I have had the unit for a couple of weeks now and I have started putting together some MP3 discs to put the unit through its paces.

Firstly I have to say that the unit is not up to the build quality of the Sony units – their top of the range players are remarkable pieces of engineering in my opinion. Having said that the unit is not poorly made by any stretch of the imagination. The LCD display is excellent – showing all the relevant information you need to know about the disc and track you are playing.

The remote control also features an excellent LCD display and this is where the Iriver2 does beat Sony. The player also features a 12mw amplifier so it can drive my Sony 888 and Etymotic ER4 headphones to very high levels no problem.

Skip protection is also lacking somewhat. I have (very) recently upgraded the firmware to 1.2 beta so this problem may have been minimised somewhat – I will keep you all posted. Generally the player will work OK when walking – providing it’s not bounced too much.

The sound quality is excellent. Apart from a little noise from the electronics which you don’t find with the Sony’s, the player has a non-fatiguing yet dynamic sound. The increased amplification is certainly welcome and, even through the Etymotics, the sound is detailed with no artefacts present.

Obviously this type of player is very dependent on the quality of the encoded MP3’s but I have to say that even 192’s tend to sound excellent. You can hear differences between different encoding rates easily. When used in conjunction with the Airhead portable headphone amplifier and the Etymotics (with 4S conversion cable) the sound is extremely good – the slight background noise disappears once the music starts playing and most of the time I honestly can’t tell the difference between the MP3 copy and the original CD.

Plus Points

1.Upgradeable Firmware – Ensures a degree of future-proofing for things like different CODECs and increased functionality.

2.Reasonable Battery Life – although not up to the standard of the Sony players, is still easily able to play all day with no problems.

3.Excellent LCD display – offers more information than any other CD player on the market as far as I’m aware – capable of playing a mini version of TETRIS with the latest firmware upgrade.

4.Strong Amplification – FAR better than the current crop of portable CD players from all manufacturers. The EQ features are fairly subtle as well and don’t appear to distort the sound at all.

5.Remote Control – Virtually replicates all the functions on the main unit. Can be customised.

6.Flexilbility – Capable of playing regular audio CD’s and CDRW’s. Conventional audio CD containing CD-TEXT information will display on the LCD.

Minus Points

1.Bulky – Doesn’t fit in the pocket like the Sony D-915.

2.Anti-Skip – I personally feel that this is really important. There’s no point in carrying a CD player around with you if it continually skips. Although this player is by no means the worse, it’s still not up to the standard set by Sony and Panasonic.

3.Construction – again I’m nitpicking – but it would have been nice to have the functionality and sound quality of the Iriver2 in a similar package to the Sony D-915.
post #2 of 18
Comments on your minus points

Bulky - it's a bit thick, but considering that I ALWAYS keep it in the carrying case, it's not a problem.

Anti-Skip - I have never encountered it skipping (I do in-house exercising (no cd player bouncing))

Construction - Feels fine to me. It is the best quality MP3 Cd player I have ever had (I have had the Tavarua and the MiSEL in the past).

-eru
post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 
The new firmware upgrade (1.02) seems to have improved the anti-skip a little but it's still not in the same league as the Sony G-Protection models.

I agree that there's nothing actually wrong with the build quality of the unit, it's just that it's not as well made as say the Sony D-915 or Panasonic 570 models.

Eventually I suppose I will get a HD based jukebox model but at the moment they're too limited in capacity and way too expensive.

Eru - How long have you had yours? What bit rates do you use? Do you feel that the Iriver2 is in the same league as the Sony's and Panny's?
post #4 of 18
I have had my iRiver2 for about a month now. Most of my songs are encoded in 192Kpbs. The last sony CD Player I had was so old that it did not have anti-skip (around 1995-6) so I can't comment on how good iRiver2 is compared to sony however, iRiver2 i can say, is lightyears ahead of sony's upcoming mp3 cd player.


-eru
post #5 of 18
Thread Starter 
The only thing I think the sony model has over the Iriver2 is the G-Protection. The Iriver2 certainly has more bells and whistles.
post #6 of 18
Thanks for the review! Just wondering, how much did you pay for it? Here in America they only sell the RioVolt 250, which is pretty much the samething as the Iriver2 I think. It sells for about $180US. I was ready to jump at it, but just saw some pics of the slimx model from Iriver. Don't you just hate it when something around the corner is always better?
post #7 of 18
Thread Starter 
I paid around £150 from GreyCommerce.com.

Good service. No problems there and the adaptor came with the necessary adaptor for our 3 pin plug system. I'm really warming to the Iriver2. My previous comments about the unit still stand - the noise from the electronics is much more noticable through the Er4P's than through the Sony 888's or the 4S adaptor.

When listening through the line out connected to my Airhead and using the 4S cable adaptor the player easily sounds as good as my Sony D-915 and Sony MD-R900 players.
post #8 of 18

Firmware for Sonicblue SP-250

Hi, I just thought that I might add that if you replace the "IMP-250" with SP-250 " (note space), and name it Sp-250.hex (notice that only the S is uppercase), then you can use the IRiver firmware on the Sonicblue SP-250. Unfortunately, for some reason, you can't use study mode or the games. Oh well. Oh, and 1.03 is out.

Michael
post #9 of 18
Just to add to some unique iRiver2/Volt2 features missed in a review that I like on my unit:

- Remebers 10 recently played disks with resume postions, etc.
- User definable EQ
- Supports m3u play lists
- Dynamic play lists
post #10 of 18
Quote:
The sound quality is excellent. Apart from a little noise from the electronics which you don’t find with the Sony’s

... is it mechnical noise or audio hiss?
post #11 of 18

Noise

For some reason, both backlights (the remote's and the main unit's) buzz when on. If you are wearing headphones, you probably won't notice, but people around you certainly will. I hate that friking buzz. Also, there is a small amount of a hiss in the audio, but it isn't too bad.

Michael
post #12 of 18
Thread Starter 
The background noise is caused by the amplification. The backlights on my unit don't generate any additional noise to this. When using the unit with my Airhead and 4P => 4S cable adaptor this noise disappears and the unit really comes into its own. When used with high(ish) impedence headphones the noise is considerable muted - the 4P picks it up the most, the 888's match the unit very well.
post #13 of 18
i like to buy the iRiver250/riovolt 250...however looking at the mp3.com hardware forum and various sites. it has alot of flaws such as recognizing cd-rw/ skipping problem (during jogging)..i probally wait for the iRiver350 slimx... or the sony d-cj01 (when theres a review for this product)
post #14 of 18
The more I think about it, I'll probably a MP3 portable w/ built in hard drive rather than a MP3 cd player. I've seen 6GB and 20GB models available (Nomad and Archos are the makers), you can pick up a 6GB version for about as much as a SP250. 6GB is more than enough to store my entire collection of MP3s. I figure why should I bother with burning to my MP3 to a CD if I can get a device that will hold them all.
post #15 of 18
the cons on HD MP3 players are bad battery life (less than 4 hours) and they are heavyer than mp3.cd player
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