Linked by Eugenia Loli on Sun 6th May 2007 18:02 UTC
Multimedia, AV Everytime we feature a multimedia device review here at OSNews the question is always the same: "...but does it support OGG?". Well, this time we do have such a device in our lab to test out for you. Geeks.com sent us in the iRiver E10, a powerful multimedia music and video player.
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Gapless playback
by Dave_K on Sun 6th May 2007 18:43 UTC
Dave_K
Member since:
2005-11-16

Shame about the lack of gapless playback. It's not a problem if you're just playing individual tracks, but can be really annoying when listening to a full album that's intended to play continuously.

The Rio Karma had this feature year ago so it can't be too difficult to implement.

In my opinion that would be a much better use of it's processing power than providing a Flash based UI...

Reply Score: 2

RE: Gapless playback
by Eugenia on Sun 6th May 2007 18:47 UTC in reply to "Gapless playback"
Eugenia Member since:
2005-06-28

I agree with you about gapless playback, but then again, the vast majority of mp3 players in the market do not support it. Even the iPod only added it last year.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Gapless playback
by aliquis on Sun 6th May 2007 19:55 UTC in reply to "Gapless playback"
aliquis Member since:
2005-07-23

The new Trekstor Vibez comes with plenty of storage, gapless, rios interface and more, HDD-based thought.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Gapless playback
by DigitalAxis on Sun 6th May 2007 22:59 UTC in reply to "RE: Gapless playback"
DigitalAxis Member since:
2005-08-28

Apparently the "Rio" interface is just the thing that Sigmatel wrote for their chips- which play back MP3 and OGG...

I'm in the market (sort of) for a DAP, but it's tempered by a few things:
* I want to replace my USB flash drive at the same time, so the device must operate as a USB Hard Drive (drag and drop is nice)
* Must have OGG support. I have too many OGGs from too many sources to consider re-ripping them as MP3s.


Basically I thought I had narrowed it down to the Cowon iAudio X5 (60GB) or the Trekstor Vibez, but there are various problems with each of them...

* The iAudio needs a docking connector to power up and connect to a computer
* Old
* Does not sort by internal file tags (not so much of a problem, my music collection is meticulously sorted by file name)

* The Vibez scrollwheel is apparently very touchy, and hard to center-click
* The Vibez only goes up to 12 GB
* The Vibez isn't really any smaller than the iPod or the X5L

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Gapless playback
by DigitalAxis on Sun 6th May 2007 23:55 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Gapless playback"
DigitalAxis Member since:
2005-08-28

I forgot to finish my post...

* The need for a media manager is a more serious problem for the iRiver, as is the non-standard USB port (possibly)
* 6 GB is even SMALLER than the Vibez. I could get a flash player with no potential skipping problems for less than that.

So anyway, if anyone can speak to any of those problems, particularly my worries about the Vibez, which I'd really like to like (since Cowon doesn't seem to care enough about the X5 to upgrade it) please let me know. It's rather hard to decide without trying either of them. If Trekstor would come out with the 15GB model (or if it turns out to be 20GB, as I've been hearing rumors of) it'd be easier, but still...

If I'm buying one it pretty much needs to be awesome.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Gapless playback
by JrezIN on Mon 7th May 2007 01:15 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Gapless playback"
JrezIN Member since:
2005-06-29

I current have a X5... so, just as a note. The device has to USB connections, one with the mini-dock thing, and the other on the left side of the device wich is an USB host port, but also supports standard connection. It's sad that it's just USB1.1 speed, but still something (but the device doesn't charge from this USB port, just the standard one with the mini-dock).

I don't have a Vibez, but I've read somewhere that it doesn't support UMS under Windows XP/Vista, just MTP thing... Not sure if there's a setting for this that the reviewer didn't find, or if it's a firmware thing... but...

It's really hard to find a descent Portable Audio Player these days... =[
(how about an Open-Source one? We already have the rockbox firmware, just need some real hardware... =] )

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Gapless playback
by DigitalAxis on Mon 7th May 2007 04:56 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Gapless playback"
DigitalAxis Member since:
2005-08-28

It's apparently lacking in the firmware, and makes transfer of OGGs under Windows much more difficult.

Last I checked, the RockBox port for the iAudio X5 was pretty much the most mature and capable of all the RockBox features (including the C64 Sidplay2 feature!)

If only it had a MOD/XM/S3M/IT replayer... though they'd suck up WAY more computing power and probably not be that accurate.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Gapless playback
by markun on Mon 7th May 2007 08:57 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Gapless playback"
markun Member since:
2005-09-05

You might want to take a look here:

http://www.rockbox.org/twiki/bin/view/Main/BuyersGuide

All these rockbox targets act like a USB Hard Drive, have
Ogg Vorbis support (and FLAC, MPC, WavPack, MP3, Speex, ...) support gap-less playback and many more nice features:

http://www.rockbox.org/twiki/bin/view/Main/WhyRockbox

I have a Toshiba Gigabeat F40 with Rockbox on it and am very happy with it.

Reply Score: 1

Is iRiver strongly with Ogg Vorbis?
by rjamorim on Sun 6th May 2007 18:46 UTC
rjamorim
Member since:
2005-12-05

If so, I wonder why they removed Ogg support from the H10... it's a pity.

Reply Score: 1

Eugenia Member since:
2005-06-28

The H10 is more than a year older than the E10. So it's not a case of "removing" Ogg, but not having implemented it yet at the time. All their new players support OGG.

Reply Score: 1

rjamorim Member since:
2005-12-05

The H10 is more than a year older than the E10. So it's not a case of "removing" Ogg, but not having implemented it yet at the time. All their new players support OGG.

My iHP-120 is waaaay older than both the H10 and E10, and supports Vorbis without problems...

Reply Score: 1

Eugenia Member since:
2005-06-28

Maybe then it runs a different OS? Looking the pics, the UI of the H10 does not look very similar to the one on the U10 or E10.

Reply Score: 1

ben_dash Member since:
2005-10-13

The iHP-120 doesn't do gapless OGG, unless you're running RockBox that is...

And no, removing intentional silence from the last few seconds of a track isn't gapless. Gapless means removing unintentional silence between tracks.

I was so happy when RockBox arrived for the iHP-120 a couple of years ago. Without it my iRiver was all but useless since I only listen to albums with overlapping/blended tracks.

Reply Score: 1

Drag and Drop
by jackson on Sun 6th May 2007 18:58 UTC
jackson
Member since:
2005-06-29

This sounds great, but I really dislike it when players require some sort of media manager. I love my iAudio 5 because it's simply drag and drop. I can create folders when mounted and it will just browse the folder tree like a file manager. Works great.

I also wish these players had drag and drop firmware. I know some players do, like the gp2x, so it can be done.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Drag and Drop
by Doc Pain on Sun 6th May 2007 19:42 UTC in reply to "Drag and Drop"
Doc Pain Member since:
2006-10-08

"This sounds great, but I really dislike it when players require some sort of media manager."

I agree. Some of these media managers are ugly as sin, near zero functionality and do not run on standard OSes.

To quote from the posting "On The Benefis of Iriver and Cowon DAPs" by project_2501:

The Iriver and Cowon devices didn't do that. They appear as USB removable storage so you can use any USB compatible OS - including windows, linux, solaris and macos. There's nothing to stop you using the 30Gb and 60Gb models as portable hard disks for your images or spreadsheets. You don't need proprietary software or drivers - just drag and drop your files. In todays market, I don't understand why I should use proprietary software which imposes restrictions on me.

So it seems you can use your favourite file manager, maybe something with clickityclick, drag and drop, or the Midnight Commander or even mount + cp/rm + umount (which is great for automated synchronization). How the files stored on the device are handled by its firmware may be different, of course.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Drag and Drop
by kaiwai on Sun 6th May 2007 22:26 UTC in reply to "RE: Drag and Drop"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

So it seems you can use your favourite file manager, maybe something with clickityclick, drag and drop, or the Midnight Commander or even mount + cp/rm + umount (which is great for automated synchronization). How the files stored on the device are handled by its firmware may be different, of course.


I don't understand peoples fascination with 'usb mass storage' - there is an opensource and very stable version of mtp available - libmtp http://libmtp.sourceforge.net/
If you use iPod, then use gtkpod/libgpod.

Neither of them have given me any grief.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Drag and Drop
by JrezIN on Sun 6th May 2007 22:39 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Drag and Drop"
JrezIN Member since:
2005-06-29

I don't understand peoples fascination with 'usb mass storage' - there is an opensource and very stable version of mtp available - libmtp http://libmtp.sourceforge.net/
If you use iPod, then use gtkpod/libgpod.

Neither of them have given me any grief.


Still... you need to install something... opposed to UMS, when everything just works and you can use you player as a portable storage too. Also, it's more future-proof.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Drag and Drop
by kaiwai on Sun 6th May 2007 23:12 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Drag and Drop"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

Still... you need to install something... opposed to UMS, when everything just works and you can use you player as a portable storage too. Also, it's more future-proof.


How is it future proof? MTP and PTP are fully documented specifications - the use isn't decreasing, in fact, the opposite is occurring.

As for the iPod - they only use it to speed up file browsing/scanning/searching - if you've ever used UMS based music devices or RockBox, you'll notice lag when browsing music.

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: Drag and Drop
by JrezIN on Tue 8th May 2007 14:05 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Drag and Drop"
JrezIN Member since:
2005-06-29

I don't think MTP and PTP can really compare on usage with FAT and NTFS... And I'm sure both are more future-proof then MTP and PTP.

I do use a UMS audio device and there's no lag for browsing at all.
It's all about the implementation.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Drag and Drop
by Earl Colby pottinger on Mon 7th May 2007 00:17 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Drag and Drop"
Earl Colby pottinger Member since:
2005-07-06

Kaiwai:
>I don't understand peoples fascination with 'usb mass storage' - there is an opensource and very stable
>version of mtp available - libmtp http://libmtp.sourceforge.net/
>If you use iPod, then use gtkpod/libgpod.

>Neither of them have given me any grief.

Because some of us like our OSes and their file managers. BeOS and Open_Tracker in my case, and the programs 'libmtp' & 'gtkpod/libgpod' don't work at present with BeOS/Haiku.

But the most important reason is portability, my present HP camera supports access to the pictures as an USB Drive and that not only I can use it on my BeOS machines without extra software, I can plug it into just about anybody's machine *WITHOUT* installing drivers and still transfer the needed files.

I have used my ex-girlfriend's computer only once in the last two years to transfer pictures to her that she wanted. I have transfered pictures twice in the last year to my brother's computer and the same for my girlfriend.

None of them have HP cameras like me, are you suggesting that it makes sense for me to install HP's CD of software for such little use? Any software? When I can just plug in and use the device as a disk drive?

Reply Score: 3

Case
by PowerMacX on Sun 6th May 2007 19:01 UTC
PowerMacX
Member since:
2005-11-06

"It is not bigger than the iPod Mini or an iPod Nano when inside a case."


You definitely don't need a case for the second gen. nanos (made of anodized aluminum). I've been carrying my 8GB nano in my jean's pockets for half a year and it still looks brand new.

So, here is a comparison without an unnecessary case:
http://www.sizeasy.com/page/comp/1709

(look at the side view in particular)

Reply Score: 2

RE: Case
by Eugenia on Sun 6th May 2007 19:06 UTC in reply to "Case"
Eugenia Member since:
2005-06-28

Our Nano is the 1st Gen, not the second one.

Also, remember that the E10 is a harddrive-based mp3 player, not a flash player. So it is more comparable to the iPod Mini, which is in fact bigger than the E10.

Edited 2007-05-06 19:07

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Case
by modmans2ndcoming on Mon 7th May 2007 18:16 UTC in reply to "RE: Case"
modmans2ndcoming Member since:
2005-11-09

why would anyone make a 6 GB hard drive based player when 6 GB flash is fine and much superior for playback?

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Case
by Eugenia on Mon 7th May 2007 18:43 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Case"
Eugenia Member since:
2005-06-28

Flash is not "superior" for playback, it's just a storage format. Maybe they found it was cheaper to use a microdrive. Battery life is good anyway.

Reply Score: 1

msundman
Member since:
2005-07-06

> The player's iRiverOS v1.0.4 operating system [...]
> loads in about 15 seconds after a full reset.

Ouch! Is there some standby/hibernate/whatever, or do you have to wait for 15 seconds every time you start it?

Can it resume playback from where you left it when you shut it off? Can you bookmark a position in a file? These are important features for audiobooks.

Reply Score: 1

Eugenia Member since:
2005-06-28

Please read more carefully. I clearly say that coming back from standby is INSTANT. The player NEVER really turns off when you click the power button. The full loading of the OS that takes 15 seconds *only* happens if you manually reset the player. You won't need to do that more than once every 6 months or something, just in case it crashed.

Yes, the player remember where it was for videos and music. So when you come back to a video, it continues playing back from the second you had left it off.

Edited 2007-05-06 19:12

Reply Score: 1

msundman Member since:
2005-07-06

> I clearly say that coming back from standby is INSTANT.

Ah, good. Sorry for missing it... my bad.

Can you bookmark a position in a file? (E.g., if you want to pause your audiobook and listen to something else for a while and then want to go back where you left it.)

Edited 2007-05-06 19:29

Reply Score: 1

Eugenia Member since:
2005-06-28

Not sure about this because I have no ebooks to test. However, if it works via the main music application, then the answer is yes. Songs "remember" where you stopped them when you exited them, so I guess it could be the same for ebooks.

Reply Score: 1

WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

Can you bookmark a position in a file? (E.g., if you want to pause your audiobook and listen to something else for a while and then want to go back where you left it.)

For me, this is the #1 required feature of any audio player and any reviews of such a device that lacks this information is incomplete. Also, agree with what another reviewer says .. if it can't be read as a UMS drive, then it sucks. I don't need some crappy media manager (*cough* iTunes *cough*) that has to be running just to copy files back and forth.

Finally:
while the up and down keys go/play either the next/previous item or when long-pressed they scan back/forward the currently playing media file.

Which means that if you accidentally press one of these keys instead of 'long-pressing' it, it's going to jump to the previous/next track instead of rewinding/fast forwarding as you wanted. This is a fatal flaw that's present in almost every portal media device on the market. Do makers of these devices assume that nobody uses these things to listen to podcasts or other long spoken-word audio files? At least the iaudio player I own give you the option to disable track skipping, which is the reason why I buy them.

Edited 2007-05-06 19:37

Reply Score: 3

Eugenia Member since:
2005-06-28

Sorry, but you are overreacting. It is the same for the iPod. And you can't easily long press it by mistake, because the screen is off, and when you press it once, it comes back on but nothing is clicked. And THEN you press or long-press, having your full attention.

I used the player for 5 days now, and I never did something by mistake. You are seriously overreacting here. Besides, more functions mean more buttons and that can also be confusing (and more expensive).

Reply Score: 1

Eugenia Member since:
2005-06-28

>For me, this is the #1 required feature of any audio player and any reviews of such
> a device that lacks this information is incomplete.

Well, I spent days reviewing this product, and my article has more information than ANY other review of the E10 online. If your pet peeve is not addressed, sorry. I can't see an Audible option in the player (as there is in the T10 model), so I guess this player does not have *proper* support for them.

Edited 2007-05-06 20:17

Reply Score: 1

project_2501
Member since:
2006-03-20

In a very crowded market for portable music players ... both Iriver and Cowon are highly regarded by portable sound fans, and also technical enthusiasts too. I'll explain why:

Sound Quality
Iriver and Cowon have a good reputation for producing DAPs that sound good. Audiophile-style reviews confirm their dominance. Cowon's excellent Iaudio X5 and their newer D2 can drive some of the bigger headphones too. Myself I can attest to a better sound coming from the Iaudio X5 compared with a few Apple IPods i've tried, using the same files and headphones. The Cowon's X5 has even been used to drive PA systems via amplifiers - i have tried it and it sounds good, replacing the need to lig around a heavy big box of CDs. I'm told that some Iriver devices even had an spdif digital-out.

Codecs
Both Iriver and Cowon have traditionally supported formats favoured by fans of good sound. FLAC for loss-less. OGG/Vorbis for lossy sound. I've never used DRM-laden files so can't comment for sure but some firmware versions do support it (eg. windows media player 10). The newer Cowon D2 supports yet more, ... APE for lossless.

OS-neutrality, Freedom from Inconvenience-Ware
Sony, to give them credit, produced excellent sounding DAPs. But people disliked using them because you were forced to use their terrible SonicStage software on windows only. And they made it clear you should be using their propriety ATRAC file format.

The Iriver and Cowon devices didn't do that. They appear as USB removable storage so you can use any USB compatible OS - including windows, linux, solaris and macos. There's nothing to stop you using the 30Gb and 60Gb models as portable hard disks for your images or spreadsheets. You don't need proprietary software or drivers - just drag and drop your files. In todays market, I don't understand why I should use proprietary software which imposes restrictions on me. I understand after much hoo-haa Sony are phasing out their SonicStage.

Hackability
YOu have a PC? Don't like windows? Want to try somethinf else? People try Linux or BSDs. Well in DAP land people try Rockbox (www.rockbox.org) - an opensource replacement firmware for a variety of devices .. some ipods, toshibas, irivers, iaudios, some sandas... it is open source, under heavy development, has an enthusiastic following, and bring benefits often missing from original firmware - i like gap-less playback on my iaudio x5. People have ported some useful and some silly things to it - like vu-meters, to text notepads, ... even frozen-bubble has been ported!

Most of the facts in the post can be veridied from dapreview.com and sites linked from there.

Reply Score: 5

kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

I'm sorry to say, but I don't want to rain on anyones parade, but given the complete lack of support by iaudio in regards to my iAudio x5 (30gig) constantly crashing, the lack of album art - the lack of an update in over a year - its really pathetic; and around 4 days ago, it died altogether, only had it for 3 months.

The whole reason for moving away from iPod was because of the lack of decent support on *NIX, but given how things have changed today, and the terrible experience I had with iAudio, I'm certainly willing to spend an extra few minutes to download the 'proprietary' codecs later.

Reply Score: 2

bolomkxxviii Member since:
2006-05-19

RTFA! You DO need to use their software to update the database of new songs. It is not really OS neutral. I cannot understand why any media players require special software these days. The software should allow easier transfers/management, but mass storage mode should be the fall-back.

Reply Score: 2

But it's microdrive based.
by aliquis on Sun 6th May 2007 19:53 UTC
aliquis
Member since:
2005-07-23

Therefor Samsung YP-Z5, iAudio U3 or iAudio D2 or iRiver Clix2 for example are better choices. Personally I think I would go for the D2 even thought it's quite expensive, 52h battery life for audio, 10 for video, microsd slot...

Reply Score: 1

not buying proprietary cables/software...
by JrezIN on Sun 6th May 2007 20:10 UTC
JrezIN
Member since:
2005-06-29

"Cons:
* Proprietary USB connector
* Requires a media manager
"

That means I won't buy it... I mean, NO WAY I'm buy it.

(I mean... even if it supported FLAC playback)


Try review more COWON stuff... it has a nicer compatibility. (ARCHOS too, but their price tags is a bit higher...)

Reply Score: 2

Eugenia Member since:
2005-06-28

We have absolutely no contacts at COWON, while the Archos PR team was very, very unhelpful. So, if you would like us to review other products, by all means, send them in.

Reply Score: 1

Ogg compatability
by JacobMunoz on Sun 6th May 2007 20:47 UTC
JacobMunoz
Member since:
2006-03-17

I've personally noticed that some OGG-supporting software only works with newer vorbis files, as the binary (vorbis) format was frozen in 2000 - so if you have some really really old Oggs (as I do) they may not be supported. Some people have reported that newer Oggs have problems as well, but I've not personally witnessed this - and re-encoding to upgrade the format isn't a problem since there are plenty of conversion tools:

see:
www.xiph.org

Reply Score: 1

I think it's nice
by gapan on Sun 6th May 2007 21:37 UTC
gapan
Member since:
2007-05-06

I have the E10 since December and I think it's great. Most of my music is vorbis so I was looking for a vorbis compatible player. The E10 hasn't had a single problem with any vorbis file I've thrown at it.

I only had a look at the windows media manager that comes bundled and I hated it almost instantly, nothing would work right. I'm using the E10 only under linux and it does work as a UMS device. Only difference is that once I fill it with new music I have to run easypmp (pmplib) to update the database - easy and takes only about 15 seconds with 6GB of music.

The battery life is great and the interface is weird at first, but you soon realise that it's really intuitive.

The only things I don't like about it is lack of gapless playback and the proprietary cable, I'm being really careful not to lose it.

Reply Score: 2

Looks good
by Angel Blue01 on Sun 6th May 2007 23:57 UTC
Angel Blue01
Member since:
2006-11-01

Looks great! I'm looking for a digital audio play with about 4-8 GB storage and must support OGG. I don't need movie playing but this looks like it would work.

Needs to be cheaper.

Reply Score: 1

iriver Media Managers
by kwan_e on Mon 7th May 2007 01:06 UTC
kwan_e
Member since:
2007-02-18

I bought an iriver e10 earlier this year. It's great. I like to listen to music to get me to sleep. It's quite capable of supporting my body weight...

The reason why e10 needs their "proprietary" software is because they use a "proprietary" internal database.

You can still use the e10 like a usb mass storage device and copy music into it.

There's an opensource library and an app to go with it called PMPLib and EasyPMP which is able to write to the e10's internal database.

So all you need to do is to copy your music files into the Music folder, create a few playlists using WinAmp or Beep Media Player or anything that produces m3u playlists and run the program. The program will convert the m3u playlists into the e10 internal database format.

The most important thing you have to remember is that every time you want to remove a music file, you have to run EasyPMP again. Otherwise you will corrupt the internal database and have to "revert" the player (ie, the e10 reconstructs the filesystem as it originally was without anything you put on there previously).

PMPLib and EasyPMP works on Windows, Linux and OS X.

The easiest way around all of this is to just copy your files into the e10 as you would any usb drive. Then you go to "Extras" on the main menu, then on to "Browse Device" and you can play your music from there. The drawback is that you do not get the functionality you get from playlists.

Edited 2007-05-07 01:16

Reply Score: 1

RE: iriver Media Managers
by Eugenia on Mon 7th May 2007 02:26 UTC in reply to "iriver Media Managers"
Eugenia Member since:
2005-06-28

>PMPLib and EasyPMP works on Windows, Linux and OS X.

Unfortunately they haven't been ported to OSX.

Reply Score: 1

Some stuff...
by hobgoblin on Mon 7th May 2007 03:25 UTC
hobgoblin
Member since:
2005-07-06

First off i recall reading that cowon/iaudio devices use m3u internaly and is able to scan for new files and read their metadata. As for long press to scan, this have been around since the first cd players...

Browser: Opera/8.01 (J2ME/MIDP; Opera Mini/3.1.7139/1662; nb; U; ssr)

Reply Score: 2

Cowon FTW
by atari05 on Mon 7th May 2007 03:57 UTC
atari05
Member since:
2006-06-05

when it comes down to it, cowon/iAudio has my money. Great little players. Some qwerks here and there but nothing that would make you want to throw it out the window. I have recommended the U3 to many people looking to get ipods (these are non-geeks btw) and they have no issue with navigation and absolutely love the sound quality.

Reply Score: 1

LG has a nice little one
by vegai on Mon 7th May 2007 11:17 UTC
vegai
Member since:
2005-12-25

LG sells a small cute device that plays OGGs as well. LG MF-FM12E1W, costs about 65 euros in Finland. 1GB flash, about 15h reported battery life with a single AAA.

It isn't too ugly, either: http://www.verkkokauppa.com/productimages/orig/44908_01.jpg

Edited 2007-05-07 11:18

Reply Score: 1