Iriver Slimx IMP-550. So what do we think?
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AnalyticChick

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Having just subscribed to these forums for a few days, I have swiftly gone from planning to spend about $180 for the Shure e3's to being convinced that I would be lacking a vital part of my life unless I could get my hands on a pair of ($400) Shure e5c's.

Since I am planning (hoping) to get a pair of really nice headphones, I would naturally require a good cd/mp3 player to power the aforementioned entirely too expensive bit of engineering.

Thus, I had my eye on the Iriver Slimx IMP-550. I was wondering whether people who have this player are happy with it and whether there is anything currently out there that is signifigantly better?
Also, having spend much too much time on these forums, I became aware that Iriver is going to launch an IMP 900 in the near future. Do we (read you, oh conglomerated entity of audio knowledge) know anything about that and whether it would be advisable to wait?

As always, thanks for any advice and/or guidance you can provide.
 
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Zoomie

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Well, I may be alone in this, but I am not all that impressed by my SlimX 550. The sound is actually pretty good for a PCDP, but there were just too many little things that aggravated me. First, the advertised battery life is way off unless you plan on playing highly compressed digital files. If you use regular CDs, expect no more than a few hours without the external battery pack. Next, my player did not read digital files very consistently. Also, this may not matter to you, but it made a lousy transport for an external DAC.

It's ultimate demise was when I was preparing for a long trip and it wouldn't read many of the disks I had made to take with me. All of my portable needs are now served by an iPod, which I swore I would never own, but caved in due to my travel needs and now I think I am in love, giant price tags notwithstanding. Anyway, I guess I just haven't gotten around to selling the ol SlimX, but with this sort of endorsement, that is not likely to happen any time soon


I can say that you will likely be more happy with one of the many great HDD players available now. That is, unless you need to be able to play CDs too, or plan on doing nothing but intense exercise. They cost more (sometimes a lot more), but are quite a good investment if you do a lot of portable listening.

I have never been one to wait for new technology - you just end up missing out on today - there will always be something better coming out, so just plan to upgrade forever
 
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NeilPeart

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The iMP-550 fills a very important niche for users like myself who cannot afford/don't need the huge storage that HD players provide. With quality blank CDs so cheap (.25 for TY/Fuji discs) there is little incentive for me to buy a HD player at the moment. The iMP-550 sounds very good and has exceptional battery life when using MP3s (I use --alt-preset standard). When combined with nice portable 'phones like the PortaPro or PX100 the iMP-550 is an excellent solution for enjoyable portable listening; if one seeks better performance and/or isolation than the ER-4P or E3 are still relatively affordable and offer incredible sound. However, if you are one who requires the absolute best performance from a portable solution than an HD player loaded with WAVs and a true line out for an external amp is a better route (you gotta cough up a lot more dough for the goods). I don't need to hear the best decay from cymbals and the absolutely "right" oboe sound when I’m out and about - I just want an affordable, great-sounding portable solution that remains portable (sans amp) and needs little fuss. I found the iMP-550 for $130 (with a $30 rebate) and a 100-pack of made-in-Japan Fujis (TY) for $25. I burned every Opeth album, some Bach stuff, some Coltrane and Miles and every Led Zeppelin album. I have been listening to the same 10 discs for weeks now and I still haven’t exhausted my collection! The value/performance of the iMP-550 is its greatest characteristic (and it does indeed sound damned good; its battery life is excellent when using MP3s too). It's easy to relegate the iMP-550 when comparing far more expensive HD players but when compared to other CDPs in any price range the iMP-550 emerges on top. It's the best combination of sound, portability and price at the moment (IMHO).
 
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HiWire

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How do .wav files compare in sound quality to CDs? Theoretically, they should be identical, right? All that's missing is the laser hitting the disc...
 
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Zoomie

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NeilPeart - I agree that the 550 does have great sound for a portable.

HiWire - technically, wav files should be the same quality as the CDs they were derived from. However, to ensure quality is preserved, using a robust ripper, like EAC, is essential. Just remember that it is difficult to compare formats because it is often difficult to keep sources static.
 
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okinawa_joe

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slunk007

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I've got one. I like it, but it ain't perfect.

My Gripes: Sometimes I noticed that the player won't read the next mp3 song I have on the disc. I think the laser loses it's place or something. Battery life is not excellent IMO. iRiver boasts a crazy 55+ hours of battery life, but that is using the dorky external battery pack (which was designed horribly, btw). The unit is called the SLIMx for a reason: to be slim and ultra portable. I don't want to be carrying around an external battery pack which adds more wires and clutter to my pocket. I use mine without the battery pack, and I get about 10 hours of playback from a single charge. That's fine (better than an iPod), but I wish it was longer.

The remote kicks ass.

Updating firmware is a pain in the ass. Make sure you have a dummy file on your CD-RW. Also, I haven't noticed much of a change with the different firmware releases. Not a big deal to do, but not necessary.

It comes with a good bunch of accessories. The case it comes in is fine but doesn't look the greatest. Doesn't really matter though since I just stick it in my pocket all the time. The remote basically IS the player.

The sound is fine for me. I use it with flat EQ at a volume of 35 using my EX-70's. Works fine for what it does: which is play music while I'm going to or coming from work on the bus.

Lastly, it is pretty impressive (although not as impressive as say, an iPod or iHP) to show off to your friends. It is the thinnest discman around.
 
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slunk007

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Quote:

Originally posted by okinawa_joe
I got myself an iMP-550 this monday and so far so good. I sold all my MD gear and I can tell you that the sound seems to be very good for a PCDP.

Here are some pictures and a brief opinion:

http://www.minidisct.com/forum/showt...threadid=21958

Regards,


joe, you have a slightly different carry case than I do. Mine is all black and doesn't have the trim on the edges. I like yours better.
 
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okinawa_joe

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Perhaps it's a different case because it is the European edition?. I dunno.

Regards,
 
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pank2002

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I acctually find the imp-550 to be a quite nice player. I think it has very nice sound, and even better then the iPod... but I would be kindda cheat to compare them, cuz I usually play audiocds (wave) with my imp and mp3/aac with my iPod.
Sure, battery isn't all that great, but What...

I got the silver edged carrying case too, but mine is also american.
 
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AnalyticChick

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I guess I just have this visceral attraction towards CDs. I really like handling them. In particular, I have always had a weakness for the metallic click of a quality CD player opening and closing. Also, I like the fact that I don't have to organize playlists or find songs from a really long list. Chinese CDs are also a lot less expensive than American ones, and noone else I know listens to Chinese pop, so I don't tend to burn a lot of my music.
Just a personal preference methinks.
 
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HiWire

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The main problem with CDs now is their size... the new players aren't much bigger than the disc itself, but have you tried fitting a CD into a regular pocket lately? I also enjoy the purity of listening direct from the CD, but they aren't as portable as everything else available. Try carrying more than 2 or 3 jewel boxes, plus your player (and amp if you've got one) and decent phones, and you've got a bit of a load to carry.
 
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terrymx

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just buy the red imp400, it have everything the imp550 have without the bugs.
 
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Sczervok

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I was thinking about the iMP 550.. but all my friends just told me $130 is not worth it for simply an mp3 CD player...
But still, for what you get, it's pretty damn good...

I was thinking about shelling out for one, regardless of everyone else's comments, but my brother seems to have already gotten a player for me already... damn...

I miss my Rio Volt 150 (sure, 50 second load times, 5 second load time between songs, excessively loud buttons, a giant size, and a crippled menu system... but it was an mp3 CD player... god I miss that thing)
 
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AnalyticChick

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Interesting...
Although, there is a new development in my quest, as posted in the Headphones forum.
College decisions went really well (haven't gotten any bad news yet...) and parents are feeling generous. So I'm not that concerned with the price of the Iriver 550. I am just wondering if there are any signifigant flaws with it as contrasted with other CD/MP3 players on the market. It's just that I am getting $365 headphones (Shure e5c) and am looking for a portable CD/MP3 player that can do them justice.
Thanks!
 
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