[clug] Portable Audio Players

Paul Warren u3292467 at anu.edu.au
Mon Aug 8 02:17:32 GMT 2005

> I'm sure this has been covered on the list before, but my Googling has
> been unsuccessful...
> I'm looking at buying a portable audio device. The main use will be for
> when travelling (in the car, mostly) but would like the option of taking
> it on a 'plane or whatever - so a car-player is off the list.
> It MUST have support for OGG Vorbis files and preferably FLAC as well.
> I would like a 20G or larger HD. An inbuilt FM transmitter (to send the
> music to the car radio) would be a big plus. Linux support and/or
> firmware on the device would be nice, but not absolutely necessary. I'd
> like to keep the price under $500(AU) if I can.
> The iPod's are nice, but no support for OSS codecs. I was about to buy
> an iRiver, but read a review stating that the OGG support was 'poor' and
> using OGG resulted in a huge decrease in battery life (something like
> 15hrs for MP3 down to 2hrs or so for OGG, from memory).
> I'm now looking at the iAudio X5 - this appears similar to the iRiver,
> but I don't know if this suffers the same battery hit as the iRiver.
> Has anyone had any experience with the iAudio?  What do other Cluggers
> think?
> Thanks,
> Ian.
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Haven't seen an iAudio.

I've had a 40Gb Neuros (http://www.neurosaudio.com) for a few years now,
and it has been pretty good. It does all that you want it to do, plus a
bit more (recording from FM and line in).  At the moment it doesn't do
FLAC, but there is an open source firmware project to get that going. (Tho
I'm not sure of it's feasability given a lack of an open source compiler
for the weird arse TI chip the neuros uses.)  One criticism of the neuros
that I have is the use of a non-standard USB 2.0 connector.

It works as a standard USB Mass Storage device, and there are several
implementations (www.sorune.org, neurosdbm.sf.net) of the database manager
to enable the firmware to know where the songs are.

They may be a little hard to find these days as production has stopped, in
order to get the Personal Video Player out, and to start development on
the third iteration of the neuros. I bought mine second hand for AUD$450
about 2 and a half years ago.

Paul Warren
u3292467 at anu dot edu dot au

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