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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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 Parent 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 Parent Score: 2