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Creative Muvo Micro N200 1GB short review

post #1 of 102
Thread Starter 
Creative Muvo Micro N200 1GB

Recently I gotten myself a new portable music device.

It is small, light and has more storage space than a CDROM disc! 994MB usable on Windows/Firmware display.

It runs on the new Sigmatel D-Major Decoder which has the following features:
18Bit Sigma-Delta D/A
SNR >90dB
THD <0.05%
96Kbps, 128Kbps, 160Kbps Mp3 Recording.

Transfer rate is very fast. with USB 2.0, averaging 2-3MB/sec.

My model is made in China.


Claimed battery life on a single AAA battery is 15hours, I was able to get 13hours from it. So the figures are quite accurate.

The amp is very quiet and the player sounds laid-back which is good for long hours of usage, but don't expect it to power up your audiophile headphones, as it's ouput power is pretty weak, I am guessing something like 8mW or 10mW max as the figures are not published.

The only issue I have with this player is that the backlight causes a buzzing sound but it is not of a big concern.

FM Radio reception is quite good, infact it is very good for a non-dedicated FM radio reciever.

The controls are nowhere near Apple ipod's Scroll wheel. or Sony's Jog dial, but compared with some of other Creative's products, this player has good controls.

UI is not blazingly fast, some menu actions may take 1 sec to initiate, but overall it is responsive enough.

It only allows 1 level of subdirectory, anything beyond that is not readable by the mp3 player.

It can double up as a portable flash drive, but I think I rather rely on other methods to transfer files as all flash devices have "finite" read/writes.

It has chinese id-tag support too, but no japanese id-tags which is a non-issue for me.

Overall as a portable player, the Creative Muvo Micro is a good design and the 1GB model has enough storage to allow for long weeks/months of listening without need for refreshing.

Add: there is a 5 Band EQ. 62, 250, 1k, 4k, 16k with +14 to -14 settings.
post #2 of 102
What is this about "finite read/writes"? I just got one of these and sounds alarming, as every time you transfer music onto this thing it is a "write."
post #3 of 102
I'll also add my initial impressions after a day of use (I have the 512mb). I have to say that I just like this player, apart from some drawbacks: first, as noted above the amp is really wimpy. In fact, it struggles to power some headphones, such as the Sony 7506, that are generally considered quite portable-friendly. But using my Shure E2c's or Portapro's, I'm quite happy with the sound. So as noted in the first post, not a device for audiophiles but probably acceptable for casual portable use. Also, apart from the limitation of one directory below root, previously mentioned, it seems that there is no way to navigate through the directory to find a track prior to playing it. You simply skip forward by song or (in another mode) by folder. On the other hand, I find this system much easier than the iRiver 790 which I never quite mastered.

Ergonomically I find this player quite satisfactory for a flash device. It is *tiny* but the controls are well laid out. Creative's scroll wheel is much easier to use, imho, than the iRiver joystick. Push it one way to advance a track and the other way to go back. Push it straight in to bring up the menu system. It feels quite sturdy and has a nice sense of "response," by which I mean that when you perform an action there's physical feedback, which I found lacking in the iRiver joystick. There are separate up and down volume buttons which are fairly large. The play/pause button is located on the face of the unit (the others are on the side); this means that all the controls are quite distinct by location or tactile quality. Almost immediately I was able to operate it inside my pocket. The lcd display is small but crisp. The overall feel of the player is solid, which I guess doesn't prove anything but is reassuring. It comes with a nice, snug-fitting rubber belt clip. The USB port is covered with a hinged rubber insert. The N200 runs on a single AAA and is specified at 15 hours of use. This seems plausible to me since I've run it for at least four hours today (with volume near maximum) and the battery indicator is still at full.

I have to say it's really nice to be able to transfer songs through Windows with no additional software to install. Maybe not essential, but you wonder why more players can't do this.

I paid $129 for the 512mb unit, which strikes me as quite reasonable. On the other hand, prices for flash mp3 players seem to be coming down recently so maybe there'll be more competition at this price point in the near future.

To sum up, I think the iRiver 790 is superior in sound quality; at least its stronger amp is able to bring out a decent response in a wider variety of cans. But I never got comfortable with the iRiver ergonomics and interface. The N200 seems much better in this regard to me and, on the whole, just seems like a better player to live with.
post #4 of 102
Muvo Micro N200 512mb version.

I got my N200 a week ago and generally agree with the above posts.

Here is some added information:

1) The N200 is USB powered for UMS usage. No other functions are available when it is PC connected.

2) The voice recorder and FM recorder use IMA ADPCM codecs (monaural 8KHz WAV for voice at 4Kbytes / sec and stereo 16KHz WAV for FM at 16Kbytes / sec)

3) The battery contacts appear to be gold plated.

4) The N200 comes with a stereo patch cable for its line-in MP3 encoder. The line-in jack fits a submini stereo plug.

5) The N200 allows monitoring of its recording and encoding.

6) The N200 amp is more than sufficient for MX500s, E3s, EX71s, and other Sony earbuds.

7) I also experienced the backlight buzzing. It is a very low volume high pitched buzzing.

8) The FF/REW scan speed is fixed at about 12X.

9) There is no record level control. Voice record sensitivity is set up for dictation. I do not recommend it for lecture recording. When monitoring MP3 line-in encoding, you can hear clipping distortion when the source is too loud.

10) There is no external mike support unless you use an external mike pre-amp.

11) There is an auto sync MP3 encoding option to provide multiple tracks when encoding a whole CD.

12) There is a lanyard hole

13) I encountered no annoying pops or clicks in the audio.

14) The volume control provides 40 steps. The lowest levels are bedtime use low (very quiet).

15) The N200 has a pleasing slightly warm sound. It is easy to listen to all day.

16) The N200 is unbelievably light.

17) Voice and FM recorded tracks are stored in a special folder. MP3 encoded tracks are stored in another folder.

18) During recording/encoding, all controls are disabled except for play/pause.

Compared to the Iriver IFP-7XX/8XX, the N200 is more convenient to use (buttons not easily disturbed) and easier to carry.
post #5 of 102
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Davie
What is this about "finite read/writes"? I just got one of these and sounds alarming, as every time you transfer music onto this thing it is a "write."
NAND VS NOR
post #6 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by evillamer
I take it that mp3 players use NAND, which is indicated as having 100,000 to 1,000,000 erase cycles. This seems like quite alot to me. Assuming the low end (100,000) and 5 erase cycles per day, the player would be good for over 50 years, no?
post #7 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by Davie
I take it that mp3 players use NAND, which is indicated as having 100,000 to 1,000,000 erase cycles. This seems like quite alot to me. Assuming the low end (100,000) and 5 erase cycles per day, the player would be good for over 50 years, no?
only 50 years! class action lawsuit!!!

nahhh. i only expect 3-5 years outa my stuff. 'specially hard drives.
post #8 of 102
Thread Starter 
I believe the erase cycles are like Manufacturer MTBF ratings aka YMMV.

Aren't those CDR/DVDR supposed to last 5years? But I have some disc that start to rot before then.
post #9 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by austonia
only 50 years! class action lawsuit!!!

nahhh. i only expect 3-5 years outa my stuff. 'specially hard drives.
You only expect 3-5 years out of a flash player? I would have thought flash memory would outlast a hard drive. Not that many people are likely to find out since anything that old will likely be sitting in a drawer while a newer player is being used.

I guess my point is that, even if 50 years is very optimistic, that these devices are likely to outlast any normal period of use. A rather manic tech support guy at my company told us we should conserve our CPUs because chips have a finite lifespan. Personally, I've never heard of a computer that was retired because the CPU gave out.

EDIT. In the paragraph above I'm referring to flash players. Hard drive players are another matter, as I know since my Karma died due to hard drive failure.
post #10 of 102
Can anyone tell me how files are organised on this player?

Does it use normal m3u playlists?
Is it easy to organise your songs with playlists?

I'm going to listan to a lot of audio books so I need a good way to organise my files.

/ Havoc
post #11 of 102
Thanks for sharing your experiences with this new player. Helps a lot.

I found a reason for this problem you guys noticed while I was researching this player. Here is what someone said who also owns the player:

"My last minor gripe is that there is a high pitch very low in volume whine whenever the LCD is backlit. This problem is apparently a Impedance issue with headphones with a impedance of less than 32 ohms. I found this out from Creative's tech support. Of course my Fontopia's have a impedance of only 16 ohms. @ first i thought I got the whine from the bundled headphones as well but it came to be only apparent with my fontopia's so this is warning for anyone planing to use it with the fontopia's. Its not a major issue because the whine is very low and is only apparent when you have the LCD backlit."

Hope this helpes you out.
post #12 of 102
Does the N200 only support MP3 with bitrates up to 160 kbps? I did not find specific information on the creative homepage, but that would be quite strange (and would be a no-go for me).

I am leaning towards the V200 since it does not need a USB cable. Does anyone know how it compares sonically to the N200? I guess the electronics are very similar.

It is really unfortunate that there are no HD players that run on normal exchangeable batteries (e.g. AAA's). I find that much more convenient, since it allows me to carry some backup batteries on longer journeys. So thats why I will probably go with the N/V200.

Thanks for your impressions!
post #13 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by breadnbutter
It is really unfortunate that there are no HD players that run on normal exchangeable batteries (e.g. AAA's). I find that much more convenient, since it allows me to carry some backup batteries on longer journeys. So thats why I will probably go with the N/V200.

Thanks for your impressions!
You can get an external battery pack for the ipod that is supposed to run the player for up to 20 hours on 4 AA's.
post #14 of 102
I have a Muvo TX. The sound quality is as good as a 'classic' D-555, only with a bit more bass (with the EQ on 'flat'). I'm amazed that I can just buy AAA's off the shelf or walk out with a bunch of rechargeable AAA's, power this thing pretty much indefinitely and refill it from my laptop (or in fact any Windows 2000+ PC) as necessary. I'm thoroughly impressed with this tiny thing.


post #15 of 102
Hm, the battery pack for the Ipod sounds nice, but I guess it makes the player quite bulky. For example I used to carry my Nomad IIc with me all day, with some backup batteries in my backpack. On the weekend I recharged the batteries, and for long vacations I just bought some nonrechargebles on top of that.
The Zen Micro with an extra battery pack might be an option, but I heard that you need the player to recharge them, which somewhat defies the purpose. Plus buying additional packs is not cheap either.

So I guess I will have to buy the N or V200 and live with the limited capacity...
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