Need Opnions on Portable Music Player
Mar 29, 2002 at 2:38 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 14

bubbaj

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I recently purchased a pair of Etymotic ER-4Ps. Now I’m looking for a portable music source. I’m considering the SlimX CD/Mp3 player, the Rio Volt SP250, or a NEX II MP3 player.
I’ve read that some have said the SlimX has a little hiss, yet others have said no. This would drive me crazy. Can anyone give any input here?

Do any of these units support playlists? If so, how are they created?

Can the Rio’s firmware be updated like the SlimX?

I see that there is a “caption editor” for the SlimX. What is that?

Any input or comments about other aspects of these units would be most welcome. Does anyone suggest other players? I'm interested in the best sound. That is most important to me.

Thanks
bj
 
Mar 29, 2002 at 8:44 AM Post #2 of 14

disturbed

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Quote:

Originally posted by bubbaj
I recently purchased a pair of Etymotic ER-4Ps. Now I’m looking for a portable music source. I’m considering the SlimX CD/Mp3 player, the Rio Volt SP250, or a NEX II MP3 player.
I’ve read that some have said the SlimX has a little hiss, yet others have said no. This would drive me crazy. Can anyone give any input here?

Do any of these units support playlists? If so, how are they created?

Can the Rio’s firmware be updated like the SlimX?

I see that there is a “caption editor” for the SlimX. What is that?

Any input or comments about other aspects of these units would be most welcome. Does anyone suggest other players? I'm interested in the best sound. That is most important to me.

Thanks
bj


I've just gotten my SlimX so I'll update you on what I am aware of.

(1) SlimX is a great player and is very versatile. It can play mp3's(duh!), ACC, WMA but they plan to support other formats such as Ogg Vorbis etc. which is a much superior format to mp3 and i believe it could be the future. Supports various formats such as CDDA, Joliet, Romeo, Packet Write, ISO9660 etc.. Also it has powerful 12mW headphone out wihich is GREAT
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. Battery life is decent
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but UPDATE your firmware to get the benefits.



(2) Yes! There is hiss present thru the headphone out...but it is very prominent with low impedance phones such as the Etymotic ER-4P...frankly with time it didn't bother me so much but I would SO much prefer the hiss to not be there. Also the "BEEP" sound it makes whenever you do anything with the player drives me nuts with the 4P but most people aren't bugged by it.

With an amp thru the line out there is almost no hiss present so an amp would a good purchase for it.

You could try increasing the impedance of the ER-4P by purchasing an adapter from fixup. (someone paste his url here pls
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)

(3) Build quality: This deservers a mention as it is amazing compared to other mp3 CD players
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(4) Sound qualitywise it makes me want to sell my standalone Redbook CD Player the panasonic SL-CT780 but the hiss on the SlimX makes me keep it for those days when I want things perfect. But then again I have an amp so might just sell the 780.

In direct comparision to sound quality...the 780 is better but not by too much...I wouldnt mind a tradeoff as the SlimX is capable of reading multiple formats etc..

(5) Yes the SlimX supports playlists just use Winamp to make a .m3u file and burn it on your CD. (add "tada" sound here
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)

(6) I dunno what the caption editor is but I guess it;s to change the iRiver names that pops up on the LCD when you start the player.

(7) Firmware updateable? Yes it is possible.



I have had the Rio you mentioned but it sound much MUCH worse to the SlimX. Yes its firmware is updateable but Rio doesn't update its firmware as frequently as iRiver which is one of the reasons I bought the SlimX.

I have no idea about the NexII but I suggest the SlimX is a great choice and you'll love it to death (just ask me how much I love it
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).



Now you are suggesting you want the best possible sound...in that case a standalone portable cd player would be a better choice such as the Panasonic SL-CT780 as the sound quality is near perfect IMO. But the SlimX is quite close if the hiss and "BEEP" was eliminated.

So for the BEST sound get a good standalone cd player such as the Panasonic SL-CT780 but iif you want more of a balance and versatility get the SlimX and you can listen to both Redbook CD's or carry a ton of music on a CD for those long trips.

Hint: I use my SlimX much more than the Panasonic SL-CT780


Hope this helps
smily_headphones1.gif
 
Mar 29, 2002 at 12:08 PM Post #3 of 14

Peddler

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I agree completely with disturbed - the beep can be disabled through the menus on the machine though.

The hiss really isn't that bad - certainly it's better than the Iriver2 but it is still present - the line out is fairly clean though (be warned though it shares the same pathways with the headphones socket so you will need to ensure the EQ settings are flat if you are using an external amp).

The EQ controls on the SlimX are also fairly subtle and allow for a nice range of bass and treble control - certainly far more than you will find with other portable CD players. In short I would wholeheartedly recommend the SlimX.
 
Mar 29, 2002 at 8:25 PM Post #4 of 14

bubbaj

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Thanks guys for your replies. Is the hiss significantly less from the line out? I assume I'd be able to drive the Etys ER-4P from that output.
bj
 
Mar 29, 2002 at 10:06 PM Post #5 of 14

joelongwood

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Quote:

Originally posted by bubbaj
Thanks guys for your replies. Is the hiss significantly less from the line out? I assume I'd be able to drive the Etys ER-4P from that output.
bj


First off, let me welcome you to Head-Fi, bubbaj! As far as connecting the Etys to the line-out, you would most likely have no ability to control the volume, unless the player has a variable, not fixed line out. The line-out is for connecting to an amp, not headphones.
smily_headphones1.gif
 
Mar 29, 2002 at 10:20 PM Post #6 of 14

bubbaj

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Duh! How stupid of me. Of course I wouldn't be able to control the volume.

How much to headphone amps cost? The hiss wouldn't bother me on a plane, or when working in the yard, or treading. But it would when I was doing some serious listening.
bj
 
Mar 30, 2002 at 12:05 AM Post #7 of 14

Atomicarnage

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An amp could cost you anywhere from $130-250+ yes they're expensive. In fact a good one is usually more expensive than a pair of headphones. However, they are worth the cost, because they can improve the sound dramatically. I would reccommend a Headroom amp www.headphone.com, or a Porta Corda amp http://home.t-online.de/home/meier-audio/. There was a review in the amps forum between the two competing models just a little while ago, and the reviewer preferred the Porta Corda over the total airhead, so you might consider that one over the headroom one. The porta Corda runs off of a 9v battery for about 48 hours, so it is very economical.
When running the headphones from the amp, which is connected to the line out, the hiss SHOULD be reduced or even eliminated. But I must tell you, I have the Rio Volt sp90(yes it is the lower end model). I don't know about the sound in comparison to the slimX but I do know that I do not hear any hissing with my Grado sr-60's, and it has a line out, which i'm sure that when used in conjunction with an amp will improve the sound. Although I'm still not sure about disturbed's claims that the Rio sounds worse.


Review
http://www.head-fi.org/forums/showth...&threadid=9514
 
Mar 30, 2002 at 12:16 AM Post #8 of 14

Atomicarnage

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I just checked out zdnet, and it seems that they rated the iRiver SlimX iMP-350 over the Sonicblue Rio Volt SP100. Although they make no mention about the sound. Both players were rated a 9 for sound quality, while most other players got an 8 or less.
 
Mar 30, 2002 at 12:18 AM Post #9 of 14

phidauex

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Concerning the SlimX

Yes, the beep is easily disabled (or changed in volume) from the menus.

I'm not sure what this hiss deal is all about. I hear almost no hiss at all from the headphone amp, and I hear NO hiss when I use my cmoy amp from the line out. And I use a pair of 32 ohm HD497s with it.

It might just be different phones accentuating the hiss differently, but i don't have a problem with it at all.

Also, the Line Out is controlled by the volume control on the unit.

All in all, i'm very happy with my SlimX.

peace,
phidauex
 
Mar 30, 2002 at 9:09 AM Post #10 of 14

disturbed

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Quote:

Originally posted by phidauex
Concerning the SlimX

Yes, the beep is easily disabled (or changed in volume) from the menus.

I'm not sure what this hiss deal is all about.


I hear a VERY VERY minimal amout of hiss thru the line out using an amp....its because etys isolate so much but it is very subtle.

But if I remove the 4P-4S adapter then....using the 4P thru the line out I hear some hiss as they are of low impedance...nevertheless it isnt too bothersome
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Mar 31, 2002 at 12:07 PM Post #11 of 14

bubbaj

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Ok guys, I did it! Placed an order for SlimX yesterday. $196 including shipping from nxgen.com. If I'm lucky it will be here Tuesday. I'll let you know what I think.

Yesterday I tried my ER-4P with my Yamaha home theatre amp. on Onkyo cd changer. WOW! I never heard such sound. The Yamaha has a "base extension" mode that provides a very subtle enhancemet to extreme low freq. It was a nice enhancement. I wanted to sit there all day and listen to all my cd's. I'll probably want a headphone amp too. Damn, this is getting expensive!
bj
 
Apr 6, 2002 at 1:22 PM Post #12 of 14

bubbaj

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Received My SlimX on Thursday afternoon. I happened to be home that day and thoroughly enjoyed sitting on the sofa looking out the window, knowing that the FedEx truck would pull up any minute. (Package tracking is great!)

I'm very pleased with the SlimX. There is a very slight amount of hiss from the headphone jack. If you're listening to very quiet classical tracks where the instruments emerge out of total silence, it is noticable but strangely not offensive. I think that the freq. of this hiss is somewhat lower than the type of hiss that one would experience from a cassette tape. If I use my ER-4Ps thru the line out the hiss is almost eliminated. However, I prefer the sound from the headphone jack. I thought I would be very annoyed with the hiss but it is NOT a problem at all.

The sound quality from the SlimX blows away the output from my computer's cd players and the cheap portable my wife uses to exercise with. The only thing that sounds better to me is my home Yahama Amp. One can definately tell the difference between MP3s ripped at lower bit rates. They are terrible! In fact, I find listening to older CDs somewhat tiring as the sound quality is not always that great. All my CD's are brand new again. I can't wait to listen to every single one again!

The SlimX remote takes a little getting used to. There is a lot of functionality crammed into those little buttons. I need to re-read the manual about playlists and such. There is one complaint I have and that is if I'm playing an MP3 file and I press the NAV button to browse the other files on the disc, the only way I find that I can simply get back to the display indicating the current song playing is to re-locate the song in the directory and select it. Is there some sort of escape key sequence that will accomplish this?

The other thing I would like to do is while songs are playing, browse the disc and queue up additional songs to play next. I think I can do this but I must read the manual more.

I also e-mailed iriver and suggested that they add some of the formats available at audible.com to their list of supported formats. This would be a big plus.

All in all, I love the player and am quite pleased with it. Now I have to find a good pouch that I can hook to my belt. I want to use it while doing yard work.
bj
 
Apr 6, 2002 at 4:59 PM Post #13 of 14

Peddler

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I'm using the pouch which came with my Iriver2 player (which I subsequently sold to my sister when I got the SlimX).

The 'esc' key you're looking for is the STOP button, press once to return to the play screen and again to stop the music playing.

The caption editor is something I personally am not all that bothered about - adds lyrics to the songs - can't be arsed with that nonsense! The latest firmware for the machine (version 2.0) offers an improved user interface and better skip protection. I would say that the SlimX nearly offers the same level of skip protection now as the G-Protection on the Sony models.

In some ways the 4P is not the best match to the SlimX because of the hiss - it is no big deal and frankly doesn't bother me but I would imagine it would some people. Perhaps a custom cable (not the S as this would perhaps rob you of too much volume) of around 50 ohms is the way to go with this player.

Most of the time I use my Sony 888's with the SlimX. They match the player well and make a good combination. The SlimX does have a higher output than most modern portable CD players and with the efficiency of the 888's means that I'm actually listening to music at half volume most of the time. This means that there's power in reserve which also offers an improvement to the sound.

I own the Panasonic 570 and Sony D-915 discman players and frankly, are now redundant. The SlimX has become my primary listening source - for both MP3 and regular audio CD's.

The SlimX has to be the most sophisticated portable CD player currently on the market. It's EQ settings are better than anything else out there and generally are fairly subtle (which is a good thing!), the volume goes plenty loud enough, skip protection is bordering on excellent and its flexibility is unparalleled!

Don't wait - buy it (and then send me your SACD players!).
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