Time for me to chime in I guess.
So far, all I've seen is people saying what they personally don't like about the player whether the problem be associated with the way they're going about using it or not. This IMO, is a pretty bad way to go about picking out what may be bad, because these are things that others may totally disagree with, or even find a way to correct the OP about because they weren't aware of the "other side of it".
Let me start by saying what the REAL bad things about the IHP are and what you already know...(which boils it down to what you're willing to put up with or not)
1) Some older models came with a remote which cause a VERY faint ticking sound when scrolling through the menu. Recent buyers are saying they are hearing no such thing and it's known that there are two different models available. The one with the ticking has no screws on the chassis, and is taken apart with a slight wedge of a flat head screwdriver. The newer one, has micro screws and can't be pried apart. But I honestly can say, that the ticking thing has been blown way out of proportion. people love to whine. I have a "ticker", and it's hardly anything to talk about. It does not affect the music unless you have the hearing of superman.
2) The line out is NOT a true line out. I know this has been beaten to death, but I've recently been talking to Xin, and because of the discussions I've been having with him, I understand what's going on with the board of the IHP now. Long story, so if you want to know the explanation, you'll have to visit Mistic River soon. I haven't put up the thread which explains it yet, but I may do it this weekend. It's interesting stuff.
With that said, this does not mean that the sound quality is an issue. Matter of fact, I only use the line out now, without an amp using my Sony V6's. granted, an amp would make a big difference, but the line out is supplying more juice than the HP out because of the capacitors on the H out...(that's a big key right there.) Still, a true line out would have been the way to go.
3) The player boasts 32 MB worth of memory, but I can't for the life of me figure out what the hell so much of the memory is being used for. IMO, the buffering system is not as efficient as it could be. At most, with songs which average 6-7 MB, the HD buffers about 4 songs. I know that memory is used for the firmware etc, but it seems weird to me that more memory isn't allocated for the HD to buffer songs.
4) In keeping with the Buffering, there's something in the FW code, which keeps the power going to the HD making the platters spin until a song is selected. Upon this event, the songs are buffered, and the HD spins down and the heads park. Just seems to me that the former part could be prevented. Not the biggest deal in the world though..I usually get around 14 hours with normal shuffling, and browsing etc...Letting it play straight through, I DO get 16 hours.
5) The Queue up feature is more a waste of battery juice than it is a useful feature. Because your songs have been pre buffered, if you choose to queue a song, the buffer is no longer in effect because it has to now buffer those songs which are calculated to follow the now chosen song. Stupid that.
6) The ergonomics of the LCD remote are utterly ass backwards. (literally). The alligator clip CAN be turned around, but the cords are still all buggered. Definitely not stream lined design. I managed to sort it out though. I keep it clipped on my backpack and have some weird arrangement that keeps things tidy.
Other than those inherently "bad" things, (which I think are minor) all the other stated issues are entirely subjective. I personally don't care much about on the go playlists. When I'm en-route, I'm usually um..what's that thing associated with travelling..aah..Oh yeah..Moving ! So whatever for on the go messin' round. Smart playlists would be cool. The Karma has a nice mix feature that I'd love to have, but as the saying goes, ignorance is bliss.
Now to clear some things up:
| SQ is okay, but very forward-sounding with little soundstage (which is good for a portable I guess, just gets on my nerves otherwise) and high treble, which makes the music sound weird if you listen closely |
This vary's with different headphones. The IHP's sound quality is headphone dependent. Which IMO, is a great thing. Put on some ****ty cans, and you'll hear ****. Put on some nice cans and you'll be like...wholly crap ! I'd rather have this than a player that makes all headphones sound the same. The IHP enables your cans to tell it as it is. That of course goes for the quality of your encodings too.
| Everything plays in alphabetical order (folders and tracks are set up this way, have to add a number to tracks sometimes to get them to play in order) |
Well of course it does unless you're using the data base mode. Files are stored and arranged as they would be as if in Windows Explorer. Only using tags will it recognize the album as it is. And anyway, when albums are ripped properly, the track number is usually included as part of the parameter scheme...so unless you're ripping without this, yeah, you'll have to re tag your music with a program like the godfather or something. Not a major catastrophe IMO.
| Browsing through files in the file tree with the stick gets repetitive and somewhat annoying |
Repetitive yes. But what do you expect it to be ? Browsing in any other fashion gets to be repetitive too. Annoying ? You must be browsing an awful lot to be getting annoyed by it, or you must have tons of artists with the same first initial ...I've never gotten annoyed.
| Reading text is a hassle because you have to return to the text folder (you default to the folder of the song you're playing when you exit a text doc) to open up another text file |
If you keep a single file at the root level with the .mp3 or .ogg extension, (I keep a 200 kB file there) you'll always return to the root screen rather than the first artists folder. It was stupid of Iriver to have it be this way, but the single track does the trick.
| The sound of the line out isn't too different than that of the h. out, it does sound slightly little better (dynamics, soundstage pretty much the same) but the h. out has less treble |
I've found that the opposite of this is true. I never use the H out anymore with my V6's. The overall volume is increased, and the detail is emphasized more along with the soundstage. The thing is, this is dependent on the cans that are being used. Cans that have a low impedance actually sound worse on the line out because the output is too much for them to handle, thus, distortion occurs at medium to high volume levels. The line out was still made to be used with an amp. Keep that in mind. Best results are achieved at the IHP's full volume when using an amp.
So Austin, you already know of all the issues people have with the IHP, but AFAIC, these opinions are not shared by some common collective. I can't find fault in the IHP for what it does and what I expect out of it. Do I wish it had gapless..**** yes. Do I wish it had smart playlist features ? Sure. do I want a different UI ? Not really. I like the current one because it serves its purpose...I'm not trying to impress the ladies with my GUI fashion sense. The navigation nubbin', as I like to call it, does a good job at getting me where I need to be and fast enough for me not to be agitated.
Don't know what else to say. It's all about what you consider to be priority. If you must have gapless then don't get it. If you must have smartlists or playlists on the go, don't get it. Want Flac ? Right...don't get it.
Let me just say though, as I've said so many times before. It has been a solid player from day one. Not one HD lock up, freeze or crash. Excellent sound quality, feels good to hold, is nice to look at, and fun to play with. I don't think that the recording features are useless...they can in fact be very useful. I could go on, but I'd just be bragging. So [/done]