Portable FLAC supported devices
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twoodruff

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I am looking for a portable device that will playback FLAC files, is there anything or is the Rio Karma the only option? If so, does any of the Rio users use flac? I have read about the Rio online but saw some reviews that it was less than stellar. Just wondering as I have no experience in this field and I think flac files would sound better than the ipod that is limited to mp3, correct?
 
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pank2002

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depends.
Fx, my untrained ears can't tell the diffrent between a good encoded mp3/mp4 file and wave, and defently not when I'm on a noisy bus. It also depends what cans your using, some of them would probably sound better with lossless.

no, I don't think there's any other portable, other then the Karma, which supports flac - at least not according to the flac homepage's FAQ.
 
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blessingx

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Karma is it. You do have uncompressed options on most playerz though.
 
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Franchot

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I use flac files on my Karma. I agree with Pank2002 that on a noisy bus or at the gym you probably couldn't hear any difference between them and less optimally encoded tracks.

The Karma comes installed with some MP3 tracks and the sound quality of those tracks are barely less dynamic than the flac files I've added to my Karma.

As far as the Karma being less than stellar, I've found it to be the best in too many categories to buy anything else.
 
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twoodruff

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no problems loading files onto the system? how do you load them? As above, I am a complete novice when it comes these devices, yet have thousands of hours of flac cds laying around the house. I do realize that I would need to load these on my computer before adding them to the karma, but how is that transfer made to the karma? Also, fwiw, I am fully willing to upload any flac files to anyone's server. My list can be found at db.etree.org\tbrown
 
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Franchot

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It's totally easy to load files into the Karma. The Karma comes with a CD that contains a software utility called the Rio Music Manager which allows you to rip, encode, and transfer files between your computer and the Karma. You could just pop your CDs into your computer's CD drive and let the Music Manger guide you through the steps. The Karma is connected to your computer through a USB cable and does the transfers through the USB connection.
 
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Stephonovich

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I thought the Karma also had a dock with a 100MBPS network connection, and there was a Java app that you could use just for transferring... or am I mistaken?

Also, correct me if I'm wrong, but most USB devices now adays Windows will treat as 'storage devices', and you can just drag 'n drop files. I know a lot of Creative ones you can, anyway.

(-:Stephonovich:)
 
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Sczervok

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Yes, many players out there are just UMS devices that can play whatever playable files you stick on them. Karma, is not one of them... quite unfortunately...

Considering you already burned CDs with flac, you should be able to just copy them straight back to your computer, and transfer them over with the software.

The Karma does come with a dock and ethernet connection... and you can use it if USB 2 seems too fast for you

Naaa, there's not much point to the ethernet connection except for sharing stuff... It is slower than USB 2, but it'll suffice. I guess you will be using this on a server eh? Or not... all up to you.
 
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Edvard_Grieg

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Couple points of clarification, yes the Karma comes with a CD, but in reality it is best to go to www.rioaudio.com and download the newest versions of the software and the firmware. In fact you can download the software now and play around with it. I have found it to be one of the better 1st party pieces of software available and is very plain and simple. It will rip and encode to any format (wma, ogg, flac, mp3, etc) and it does a decent job of mass-tagging (although there are many more powerful programs out there).

Yes the Karma does have an ethernet port which is handy for streaming music using riostreamer. Also, the ethernet port allows the Karma to be accessed by any computer with support for Java: *nix, Mac, et al. The speeds are not quite 100mbps, but still significantly faster than USB1.1 if that is an issue. Further, There is USB2 support on the dock and the player itself.

Finally, I do agree that in most cases it would be difficult to tell the difference with Flac in a portable environment; however, you may want to look at dbPowerAmp, EZCDDA, or RioRad from Redchair, all of which will allow you to transcode from FLAC to ogg/wma/mp3 etc. Since FLAC is lossless there will be no compression 'hit' going from one format to another.

Currently, the Karma does not support USB mass storage, however, the Rio Development team has informed us that it is in the works, and on the way. One of the nice things is that the Rio staff has promised that while it may take a little longer to do the USB MSC implementation, they are doing it 'right'. It will still be an ID3 based database, but will be seamlessly integrated. From my understanding with the iPod, iRiver etc, if you go to add a file through MSC, either it is unaccessible for play immeadiately (iPod) or it is not available in 'tag format database' and the database tags a long time to load (iRiver, although still a great player) In the interim, there are java and win32 apps (Rio Taxi) etc that allow you to upload and move files from the Karma back and forth to another computer.

I think the 'support' from the developers is almost reason enough to go with the Karma, if you go to www.forums-riovolution.com you will find that there are quite a few Rio Developers/Engineers etc that post there regularly and help on their OWN FREE TIME with anything that isn't covered under NDA.
 
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Stephonovich

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Reason I'd use the ethernet port is to avoid propietary software. I hate having to use a manufacturers product just to put music on it. Even if it is slower than USB 2.0

I'm still going back and forth between an NJB3 and a Karma, anyway. NJB3 has longer battery life, is proven, sounds great. Karma is dinky, has Ogg/FLAC support, and has a VU meter viz. That right there is a selling point for me


(-:Stephonovich:)
 
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Edvard_Grieg

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How long is the battery life on the NJB3?

**edit** just looked at creative's website, yeah 22 hours would be nice, although i would imagine the larger size is to accomodate a larger battery, but that's my guess**

The Karma is a solid 15-16 hours with 128kMP3wma, 12-13 with ogg, and 13-14 with FLAC (ogg is less than FLAC because ogg requires more processing than FLAC).

As far as the ethernet it is still using 'relatively' proprietary software to connect with the Java app (although there are a number of things being done to build new apps etc). The 'proprietary' software really isn't as you can also you WMP9, RealPlayer (yuck) and Napster. Also, I would download Rio Music Manager from www.rioaudio.com I think you'll be surprised how simple and steamlined it is. It is NOTHING like a sony or creative piece of software.

If you look at the history of the Karma, you can tell that the developers are definetely in support of open-source and good code (the only reason the source isn't released is because Karma has a competitive advantage with parts of it (gapless, crossfader, etc) and they don't want anyone else (apple, etc) to take advantage of it. In fact the Karma runs ECOS which is an embedded Linux OS and the Karma has many ties to the original Empeg which ran a version of linux as well. If you look at the specs of the Karma (FLAC, Ogg, gapless, crossfading, on the fly playlists, Ethernet for Java/Unix support) it is easy to tell that this is a 'geeks' device and the developers aren't releasing anything that could be classified as 'fluff' or 'extraneous'

**Sorry not trying to sound like a rant, just trying to 'inform', seriously though, download RMM and play around with it beforehand, I think you'll be surprised.
 
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Stephonovich

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NJB3 has 11 hours battery life, 22 with the 2nd battery pack installed. That's what I'm going on, call it cheating if you will


RMM isn't that bad, eh? I'm coming from Creative's bloatware, so bear with me if I seem skeptical. I was ecstatic about a year ago when I discovered the kX Project for Creative cards. No more 100MB of crap I never use, and it sounds better to boot. (although I'm soon to get a better soundcard; Chaintech AV-710)

Anyhoo, this is all assuming I can get a job fairly soon, as my current money is going towards another PCDP I'll hopefully win at the end of this week, some DIY cables, and other miscellaneous crap.

(-:Stephonovich:)
 
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Edvard_Grieg

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Ok, yeah cheating a little
Anyway, I am basing my comments about RMM on my experiences with Sony's NetMD software and Creative's software, RMM is very streamlined compared to those too. It doesn't have the fancy schmancy flash transitions and other bloat, but it does what it's supposed to and does it well. Again, just download it, it doesn't require a Rio player to use, and you can always uninstall it
 
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Stephonovich

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I would download it, except I have no use for it currently, and it's 35MB. I'm on dial-up. If nothing else is running, I can usually manage 6KBPS from a good server. 35MB at that rate would probably take me 3 hours or so. It being 2:30AM, that's not a pleasant thought
Especially considering I have yet to practice bass for tomorrow's lesson...

(-:Stephonovich:)
 
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Edvard_Grieg

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lol fair enough, i meant d/l it so that you could make that comparison to other 1st party offerings
Anyway, good luck with the bass!
 
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