Having read some of the other reviews on this product i felt that i had to get a point across to other potential buyers. Many people seemed a bit miffed about the memory space on this item (32mb as standard). Well they have every right to be a bit miffed although i must defend this hardware. You see, i have a rio600. Yes just the basic model, but with 128mb of memory all for 95 pounds. How i hear you say. Well the secret is, as is for all technology, is to wait untill its proven it self. I bought mine off of Amazon with the free 96mb because it had been out a while and customer reviews had filter through that there wasn't enough memory. And so special offers begin to show themselves as companies fear they will be left with a product that no one wants. Waiting also helps to make sure that you'll get a product with fewer software glitches which in this day and age is a good thing as often computer items and other things like this are usually rushed through with bugs in the software (as with games, tomb raider angel of darkness springs to mind). so my advice to anyone looking for any kind of mp3 player is to see how older models have preformed as well as looking at newer ones. Having said all that i'll review the player! Its bloody great. The controls are simple to use, it has repeat, random, playlists, delete tracks, check battery life, change sounds (eg rock, pop, classical, book, your own) sound quality its excellent (as long as you dont use the headphones supplied) and battery life is 10hours. I usually leave it over night for charging as dont use it then. As with more rechargable batteries their life span decreases with use but this has a nifty little thing which recailbrates the battery so it lasts 10 hours again. this also insures that the battery is fully charged as well (recailbrating takes about 5 hours but its worth it rather than getting a new battery). Because the back of the unit can be removed (the battery and memory part) means
that if fatal damage occurs you've only got to buy a new backpack (and you can ungrade your memory as well). It also hold WMA files which are a darn sight small than MP3 files so you can get about twice as much music on the Rio. Another brilliant detail on this is that it comes with its own software to download music on to the player. This Audio manager is easy to use but also allows for the expert computer boff to tinker away. The audio manager allows you to read cd's, burn a limited number of cd's (you have to register with sonic blue to get more burnings), surf the web (it has its own browser), make numberous playlists and organise your music on your computer. Lastly for the style conscience person the player comes with changeable faces, its small and light, has a lovely neon blue backlight. Ive had my player for over a year now and considering its been through the mill backwards its in pretty good shape. Although the "skin" is peeling off (some kind of black plastic cover on the whole of the player) its never let me down. It comes with a cover case which i havent used but mine has taken some punishment without the case and survived. So if you want a decent player which is provent to work then get this one, but make sure that you shop arround to get the best deal.
I'd been looking around for a portable mp3/minidisc so I could carry my growing collection of mp3s around with me. After much deliberating I decided to purchase a Rio 600. The main reason I bought it was due to the price reduction (Reduced from 150-ish to 60 pounds). Also, the features seemed adequate for my needs (ie One AA battery last 11 hours). After receiving the Rio, the first thing I noticed was how snugly it fitted into my hand. The design of the player is almost perfect. It really looks the business. The buttons are well laid out, and are fairly easy to press (even for my with my big fingers). The oval LCD screen is also very nicely situated. I opened the back of the Rio and found a piece of plastic had to be removed in order to put the battery in, and then replaced after the battery was inserted. Fair enough, I thought, but this can be a cumbersome task as it is tricky to reattach. With a battery now in place, I flicked the player on, and after a second the LCD screen lit up. The layout on screen is excellent, and all relevant information is shown, and is notably easy to read. Several features are available via the menu button. Playlists can be created, The time and date can be adjusted, and several different sound settings are available. The backlight timing can be adjusted, as can the power saving feature. Battery life and memory information is also available. I only have two gripes with these features - 1) Whenever a new battery is installed the time/date are reset, and as I have to change batterys every other day, this feature isn't really very worthwhile. 2) The only sound setting that gives good sound is the custon one, where the bass and treble can be upped. When playing songs, it is easy to select which track you want to play and adjust the volume. The Rio is very loud, I found I only needed to go up to a volume of 12 (out of 20), when playing Metallica, and believe me, I like them lou
d. The supplied earphones are awkward to use so I replaced them. The major problem I have with the Rio is the supplied software. I have had alot of problems with it. The 'Rio Audio Manager' is seems easy to use at first. However it seems to duplicate files if the correct ID3 tags are not in place, and this has left me with 2 different files to choose from when selecting tracks, one of which wont work. Also, it occasionally has trouble detecting the player, meaning you have to set it to Rio 600 in the options or turn the player off and back on. The only problems I have with the Rio player is the battery life. 11 hours they claim? With the backlight set to stay on for 10 seconds only, I listened to the player for an hour and the power had gone down dramatically. The most I've got from a battery is 4 hours. Which is good, but not great. With the backlight off, battery length would be longer. Also, the 32 meg backpack is not really big enough, and extra backpacks are very expensive. The 32 meg is fine for a bus journey or walk but for anything more it is not adequate. A 64 meg backpack costs roughly 85 pounds, add this to the 60 paid for the player and it would cost 145 pounds overall. For this amount of money a mp3 player with higher storage capacity or a minidisc would be a more viable option. Overall - The Rio 600 is a nice piece of kit, with all the features you'd expect of a good mp3 player, and available at a reasonable price.
Introductions… The Diamond Rio 600… A wonder of mans ingenuity, Sexy, elegant and highly sophisticated. This little beauty was the first in the Rio MP3 Revolution and with its endless array of options is it surprising that it was such a hit? My personal experience… I personally purchased a Rio 600 just over a year ago now, MP3’s had just started to become popular and the Rio 600 was an advancement in technology rarely seen before. Whilst it appears simple, and by today’s advancements I suppose it is, it really is more than its appearance might lead you to believe. In order to make it look less complicated the Rio 600 works via an internal menu. In other words, you push the menu then scroll through the options much as you would on a mobile phone – See my op on the Nokia 3310. The Features… Ok, so lets have a look through the features the Rio 600. Firstly there is the main control button, located at the top of the Player, Controlling things such as the on/off control and the hold option. Yes I no, this may sound basic, but this brings me nicely onto my favourite feature of the Rio 600. When the Player is switched on, as opposed to opening the play dialogue strait away, it shows you the Stats Menu – From this menu you can determine the amount of memory you have left on your Player, whether or not it has detected an extension (into the PC) and the full details of the Player. It then skips automatically to the next menu, the Battery level is displayed here in easy to read format. A percentage power is give, not to mention an illustration and an estimated playtime left. Other features include the easy to access Volume control; Play/Pause Button, Stop button and Next/previous track buttons. The Main Display… Displayed at the top of the screen are the song details – things such as the song titles/ artist’s name/ song duration/ record label etc. In the centre t
he song Title is displayed in full screen. Below that is the information to do with the status of the player i.e. the track number, the volume, and the period of time for which the song has been playing. The Menu… -AUDIO… This section is dedicated to making your music sound better. From this section you can select the style of music you are playing, depending on your selection the Rio 600 changes the way in which the music is played accordingly. You can choose from the following options – Normal, Jazz, Rock, Classic, Book, Rap, Flat, Custom. No, Book is not a mistake; you really can store digital Books on your Rio 600 MP3 Player. How unbelievable is that?! -PLAYER From this menu the following things can be selected- -Play Options, From here you can choose to make your player play a song continuously or just repeat once, you could even set it to loop all the tracks. You can even have the Rio 600 play the tracks in a Random order to give you some variety. -Delete Tracks, Well this is pretty self-explanatory, a quick simple easy to understand way of removing unwanted Tracks. -Play list, Here you can create a play list, edit an existing play list, choose from a number of existing play lists or remove an unwanted Play list. What is a Play list…? A play list is a group of songs put together by you in a specific order that is set for you to listen to. -PREFS -Power Saving, here you can select the time it takes before The Rio 600 goes into sleep mode, you can set it to sleep after not being used from 1minute to 9 minutes. -Display, Here the Backlight options are featured. You can select the duration of time that the backlight is on for when a button is pressed. -Time/Date, Yes, your Rio even stores and keeps the exact time and date for you. Using this option you can change the time and date to fit in with things such as daylight savings. -ABOUT This section tells yo
u everything that the starting menu does, but you can take longer to view it and analyse its content. Additional Features… I know, I know, your probably thinking yeah right, what other features could there possibly be, well this is a very unique venture in the music industry, but the Rio 600 offers the Option of Interchangeable front covers so you can change the look of your MP3 player when ever you feel like it without it costing the earth. This Gadget is shear brilliance. Ease of use… The Rio 600 couldn’t be easier to use, it really is child’s play. I have never regretted for one minute purchasing it. Transferring songs to it couldn’t be easier as it comes complete with a full software Package “Rio Audio Manager 3” Everything can be accessed easily using that. The cable that also comes with the software can be plugged into the back of the PC via one of the USB Ports. Exposure’s Final Thought… An excellent product with a 5 star rating, I believe the Rio 600 is available between £100 and £150 in most good electronics stores. With Regards to getting Music from the Net to your MP3 player I would suggest sites such as “http://www.audiogalaxy.com, http://www.kazaa.com or http://www.winmx.com. Thanx for reading and I hope to hear from you soon, Regards, Exposure.
I bought the rio 600 hundred when it first came out. And it was not an auspicious start. I had quite considerable trouble with both the device and the software. It lasted about a week before i had to take it back. It has a dual function port. You connect both the headphones and the pc through the same socket. And somehow this had failed. So i took it back and got another one. On the replaced one the headphones lasted about three weeks. which was probably for the best as they were terrible. The sound quality was okay. But it was the shape. They hooked over and around the ear and just felt like clamps.Causing a slight irritation as they rubbed my skin the wrong way. I replaced the earphones. With some high quality ones. Because no matter how good a device you possess. The sound quality is determined as much by the headphones as the device. Since then the rio it self has been a dream. Everything about it i like. The size especially has to be it's most endearing feature. True the buttons are small. but then so's the player. (it's a music player not a fisherprice toy.) Compared to my old cd walkman it's like wandering around with a pen. Plus because it's basically a mobile hardrive. No skipping and no jumping. But although i loved the player the software makes me mad. First of all it was flawed. You connect the rio to the computer using the usb port.(the same one you connect most scanners to.) Most pc's have them so that's not a problem. Then the other end of the wire goes into your ear phone socket on the rio. You have to put this in the right way round. Although there isn't really distinguishable markings to show you which way that is. So be careful. Then the software.(my main bug bear) should detect it. Which it didn't.The auto detect feature didn't work. I needed to patch it before it would work. The patch was free. but it's still annoying. On top of that you've got limits to how many burn
s you can do. They want you to register the software and buy a newer version and then you've got unlimited rips and burns. Which considering you've paid over £150 for the machine. Is slightly mean. Especially as a combination of musicmatch and easy cd creator can do the job better for free. There's limits to the quality that you can rip at. Unlike musicmatch. And although the name gathering option for your music is useful. Everything else that rips does that aswell. Personally i don't use the software for anything other than transfering the tracks. Anything else, something else does it better. The only other real problem is capacity. the initial memory size is 32mb. Not really that big. And although advertised as mp3. It's far better to use the windows format. WMA. As it gives a smaller file size for the same quality setting. the best being 64kb for size. and 96kb for quality. Anything bigger and it just makes it pointless. As you won't get hardly any tracks on there. You can buy a bigger memory pack if you want. The biggest i've seen being 128mb. But i've never bothered . I've fitted a whole album on mine quite easily. Which i'm quite content with. So although the memories small. It's sufficent for the job. Now i know i've ripped into it a bit. but since. I solved all the initial problems with it. And ways round the other ones. I have to confess I'm really happy with it. Yes it was problematic. But it makes a normal walkman feel like an eight track. Well worth having. Even with all those initial problems. oh and you can change the face. if that kind of thing appeals.
Rio 600 Review I first saw this product in a magazine called ‘Gear’ the magazine was a bit tacky, but they seemed to put forward some good points on most of their reviews. There was one article that really caught my eye, it had a caption saying “You can jump on the Mp3 bandwagon for under £150 nowadays,” Two things crossed my mind, Mp3 and £150, these two things never usually go together, not until now that is. The Diamond Sonic Blue Rio 600, retails at around about £150 in shops, but on the internet you can get it for under £100. The Rio 600 (as it is more commonly known) is a Mp3 player which like most Mp3 players has a screen, a few buttons, software for both Microsoft and Mac users and some fancy headphones. However it stands out above the rest with its looks, simple to use software and quality sound from such a small portable. To start off with you can get a 32mb player, which comes with approximately half an hours playing time. Incidentally when looking at Mp3 players always be sure to ask about how much playing time it has, and when the company responds, ask what Mp3 setting it is on, 128kbps, 96kbps, or anything lower. If your completely confused about this, all you need to know is that each song on a 128kbps setting will take up 4-6mb on your memory, 96kbps and each song will take up to 3mb and so on. Most retailers say that it can hold up to four hours of music, when actually the song wouldn’t be audible to the average person! Going back to the Rio 600, the standard memory capcity is 32mb, special edition portables are available in either 64mb or maybe 128mb, but they only come out at Christmas or special events. I got a special edition 64mb Rio 600 from Amazon, and it only cost me £130. This kind of contrast between shops and the internet is expected, but be careful about the postage and packaging on all the online stores. Also be sure to read the return policy to check how hard it will
be to return faulty goods. The Rio 600 isn’t a entry level product by any means, and don’t be mislead by the lack of buttons, this is a bonus which you will soon realise. The more buttons, the more complicated, and the more that can go wrong. The Rio 600 has got interchangeable fascias which like mobiles can be changed to suit your mood, but watch out, they do come with a price attached! When you turn the Rio 600 on for the first time there will be a welcoming message waiting to be played, this is basically an advert for the rest of the accessories that can be brought, but they do offer some advice. After that you have to load up some software onto your computer. This takes a few minutes to set up, and it has a few problems that can stop you enjoying your Mp3 player. These are shown at the bottom. After that you have to either convert CD’s onto Mp3 format or simply start downloading songs straight from the internet. Some useful sites are also shown below. After that you have to transport them from your computer to your Rio 600 via a cable (that you get at the start) after that you can just simply listen! It may sound complicated, but I assure you from experience that this program is one of the simplest. If you do have any problems that aren’t shown below, email me with the address shown below. I would say that the sound on the Rio 600 hundred is above standard, the controls are very easy to use and the software is very simply. I can easily rate this product quite highly, but because of a few minor faults with the loading and performance I will give it 4 out of 5. Its not quite 5 because of the problems explained below, but it is still worth the money. Value for Money: 5/5 Performance: 4/5 Sound: 5/5 My email; email@example.com Minor Problems. Make sure you record mp3’s on the digital setting not analogue. If there is a problem with the program transferring your songs to
your mp3 player, and it comes up with a notice saying the device cannot be detected, go to the options menu, go to portables, and change autodetect device to Rio 600. Put the USB cable in the Rio with the curves facing away from you, it may take a bit of pushing but don’t worry. The Rio will freeze if shaken violently for a long period of time or if the batteries run out. To remove the screen simply push out the battery and memory pack. Matt Pemberton
There's no denying the Rio is a sexy bit of kit - it's small, it's curvy and it fits snugly in your hand. I actually have the 600SE, which is identical to the 600 but comes with 64MB of built-in memory instead of 32MB. That's enough for about 80 mins of MP3 tunes at 112kbps (which I reckon is enough - I'd rather have more tunes at slightly lower quality). Or, if you use WMA files (this is where PC users have the advantage over Mac owners...) you can nearly double that. Setting it up is a cinch - on the Mac, at any rate; I can't comment on the PC. The player comes with a USB cable that plugs straight into your computer. It comes with Soundjam MP for the Mac (PC users get something called Rio Audio Manager), which is actually obsolete nowadays, so you can't register the shareware version that is supplied. But don't worry - the Rio works just great with iTunes, which is free to download from the Apple homepage. Memory can be upgraded using Rio's "backpack" system, but this is pretty darn expensive - you're looking at another £120 plus to add 64MB. What's wrong with Compact Flash or Smart Media cards? So on to the important bit - the sound quality. Well, surprisingly for portable audio players, the supplied headphones are very good. They hook over your ears very snugly, although they can be tricky to put on. Once on, they're very comfortable (although do make you look a bit like you've got one of those "behind the ear" hearing aids on!) and the sound is very good - plenty of bass, and the in-the-ear design means they cut out background noise quite well. (A godsend on the Tube!) It goes up very loud too - I usually have it on about volume setting 9, and it goes up to 20! If you like to abuse your lugholes (and annoy the person sat next to you!) you'll love it. The LCD display is also very good - it shows all the useful info (song title, artist, file type, enco
ding rate, length etc) and has a sexy blue backlight making it very easy to read. However, if you use VBR (variable bit rate encoding) you will probably find that the track length isn't shown correctly. It makes no difference to the playback though. The Rio comes with a little Lycra case with a clear window on the front (so you can see the LCD display and the controls - although it's not quite big enough to see the top of the screen) and a belt clip. There's no remote control though, and no radio, which would have been handy. The Rio also has a choice of preset equalisation settings (Pop, Rock, Classical etc) and a custom setting. It takes a single AA battery, and this lasts a long time - at least 10 hours. Don't take much notice of the battery level indicator though - it says you have almost a full battery right up until just before it dies. I have had a couple of problems with the odd track - skipping to the next track before the end of one, or corrupted sound - but these are very rare and might be down to dodgy files on my computer (I'd need to test them on a different player to be sure). The main problem with the Rio is simply it's fairly limited memory - an hour's music will see you through the morning commute, but for holidays it's not anywhere near enough. A couple of months after I bought this, Apple launched their iPod, which fits 100 CDs worth of music onto a player not much bigger than the Rio. I must admit I wish I'd waited - OK, the iPod costs over twice as much, but I think it would be worth paying the extra to fit most of my music collection in my pocket! If you only want a basic MP3 player though, the Rio fits the bill.
The Rio Mp3 player was the product that started the whole portable Mp3 player craze upon its original release and the Rio 600 is the latest incarnation in this unique product range. The question is, faced with fresh competition from a now inundated market, can it still come out tops? I think so: bar a few niggles, it’s the perfect choice for any respectable techno-lover. The fist thing that is striking about the Rio 600 is its appearance. Its silver and black exterior is incredibly stylish, but if you feel the need to express yourself, you can snap on one of the interchangeable coloured faceplates that are sold separately (I prefer the default exterior though). The main body of the player is extremely light and connects to a remote control that allows you to flick between tracks and adjust volume without having to use the controls on your player every time. The player itself is small enough to fit in your pocket without forming an unsightly ‘lump’ and indeed, I carry it around quite often all day without any trouble. The current volume is displayed on the well-formed and crystal clear display on the front of the player along with other useful information such as the track name and artist and the bit rate of the recording. If the bit rate doesn’t read 128kbps (CD-quality) when you use this player then you’re missing out because the sound quality is consistently excellent with no distortion, and, no skipping (I tried to make it skip – threw it across the room, shook it, dropped it – and still my tracks played on.) One interesting feature is its ability not only to play music in the traditional Mp3 format, but also Microsoft’s Windows Media Format (*.wma) which is the format the latest Microsoft Windows Media Player 7 encodes to by default meaning that you no longer have to go through the tedious process of converting tracks which so often used to take up my afternoons with my old player. Eve
n better, the Rio 600 is ‘extensible’ (or so I’m told), meaning that when new audio formats come along you won’t be left in the dust and your Rio will be able to play them after a simple update. Obviously I haven’t tested this yet, though, because new audio formats don’t rear their heads every single day! The only problem I have with the Rio 600 is the format in which it stores music. Unlike a lot of new Mp3 players, the Rio 600 doesn’t use memory cards or ‘sticks’ but the 64Mb of memory (adequate for about one CD and a bit of audio) can only be extended by purchasing expensive proprietary packs that clip on. Since I like the idea of storing my entire CD collection on the one player this, in my eyes, is its biggest flaw, but if you’re happy with just 64Mb and can do without the storage space of the more expensive hard-drive based Mp3 players the Rio 600 is the best player I have ever had the fortune to come across. I think SONICblue (the makers of Rio) have done themselves proud by showing their ability to keep up with an ever changing market and still release the best products after several years of relentless competition.
Some may say that it is not worth buying an Mp3 player, and to be honest i was one of them. Then I came accross this wonderful piece of technology, the Rio 600. Its not strictly an mp3 player, it is a Digiratl Audio Player, as it can play windows media files as well as mp3's. It has a 32mb memory, and can hold up to 30 minutes of mp3 or a whole hour of windows media files. It comes with brilliant software to create windows media and mp3. It is fully future proof, as its chips can be upgraded. It uses a USB connection for your PC, so it is easy to transfer the music from your PC. The AA battery lasts a full 10 hours, surprisingly long. It is beautifully designed, and looks the business. It is a handy shape and size, and very convinient to use. The sound quality can only be described as brilliant, even just using headphones, it sounds brilliant. The only bad bit about the rio 600 is the headphones supplied. They make you look like a big idiot, and are surprisingly difficult to put on. It is extremely easy to use, even for technophobics with no idea of how to use technology. At £150, it is a very competitive price for what you get compared to other alternatives. I highly recommend this product.
I've had my Diamond/S3 Rio 600 for almost a year now and I can honestly say that I'm really happy with it! I use it mainly for listening to music while I'm at work, or travelling. The sound quality is superb. The one AA battery will last you a good 30 hours. If there were bad things I could say about it then it would probably be that the expansion packs are a tad expensive! 32MB may not seem like a lot but if you use WMA compression then you can usually get a whole album on there. Another downside of the player is the rubber coating seems to wear off after a few months. Still great though!
The Rio 600 is very good in my opinion. It comes with a USB connection so you can download music from the internet and zap it onto your player using the supplied software. With only 32Mb of supplied storage it doesn't take all that many songs, but it allows you to have a system off "low quality-more songs" or "high quality-less songs". It's features are very well organised and everything is in a nice, compact design so it does fit in your pocket. I liked the idea of a "hold" switch so that if, for example, you're on your bike while listening to music, you can switch "hold" on and it secures all the internal parts from being bumped around. Very clever. I found it very nifty because it was a good player in itself, but you could even switch the covers, making it a different colour. Memory is upgradable which is good if you want to put more songs on it. The players quality is excellent, comfortable to hold etc. The earphones plug into the same socket as the USB connector, saving a lot of space! Even the LCD display hasn't been skimped on, because it shows properly drawn letters, not just digital-style letters like some other players do. All in all this is a cool MP3 player, well worth considering. Just pop in some more memory and you can put twice the number of songs onto it. The actual player, software and flexibility of it all make this quite something.
The Diamond Rio 600 may not seem a natural successor to the 64Mb Rio 500, as the 600 bears only 1/2 as much memory, but what it lacks in memory, no doubt it will make up for in the future. PLAYER The palyer itself is small, smaller than most, and light, supposedly one of the lightest full size MP3 players on the market. It is curvey and fits comfortably in the hand, amking it a wonderful ergonomic design. The front is lightly inhabited by buttons, including the almost trademarked Rio circle dial in the middle. But appart from the dail there are only 4 more buttons on the player. The 2 volume + and - buttons, the Menu button and the On/Off/Hold Button. The display is the normal size but isan oval shape, the acctual lettering is smaller than ever as it has a 'proper' svreen rather than a dot matrix one seen on many such as the Yepp and the MPMan and other budget players. The display will shop the Song Title, Number, Encoding Rate, Time elapsed x of y song placing as well as a scrolling title, album, artist, info section which gives loads of information Seconddly the menu offers various options including the manufacture of playlists, play styles 10 to chose from + a customisable one, options such as display times and 'timeout settings' and an about section showing battery power, memory size, support, and the time day and date. All of this is backlit in a cool blue glow The player itself claims to hold 'up to an hours worth of music' but in actual fact it can hold twice as much at a reasonable quality, and will soon be able to hold around 32hours of taling books. The sound quality is slightly tell tinny than most models with a good treble reduction without overdoing the bass. Software: The Rio software also allows you to burn CDs and Rip them as well as listen to CDs and MP3s not forgetting the making of playlists (possible here and on the portable itself) and the track additio
n system. The Rio comes with a carry case, over ear headphones, cds, leaflets/instructions and the all important USB cable. This cable elimintates the need to have to un-plug your printer to get tracks onto the portable and allows a faster transfer time of a few seconds per track. The Rio is durable and the black look is customisbale with added faceplates to chage the color. The player is scratch resistant and any damage is likely to show up less than with one of the trashy silver models available such as the Rio 500 and numerous competitors In the future the Rio will be upgradable to 392 Mb, and evn further with new updates downloadble from the web. It also promises to support the latest file types and the memory backpacks will include high capacity rechargable batterys for long playback. Although the current, normal batterys are offering around 15 hours playback with the device. Soon as well a new backpack will be available to allow a small disc, similar to MD or the HipZip to be used in the Rio offering an unmimited storage capacity I can't wait
The recent purchase of the mp3 player the "DIAMOND RIO 600" has taken me by complete surprise. It is a technology that I have wanted for a while worth the wait, I should say so. The ease of use of this mid range mp3 player (£149 - £169) has to be experienced to be believed. It is very light and ergonomically designed, it has a simple LCD (Backlit) display and although has only 32 Mb Flash memory, this can be extended, initially to 64 Mb and then to 372 Mb. Which in layman's terms means at 32 Mb you can store 10 - 13 tracks which is not that great or at 372 Mb a lot more! However stick with the 32-Mb, this will give approx. 1 hr of loaded music which can be played for 12 hours on 1 AA battery. Ahhh but the quality of sound, forgive the pun "but music to my ears", the standard of headphones, the ones that fit around the back of your ears! Superb. How does it work? In the box you get the MP3 player the cool headphones a USB connection for your PC, a CD with the appropriate drivers and Music Management Software. You load the CD in your PC and off you go, what can you do: 1. Upload your favourite CD tracks to you PC convert then to WMA (MS Audio Files) make up playlists and download then to your MP3 player. 2. Download mp3 files from Napster.com to your PC and then download to your mp3 player, free stuff, need I say more! 3. Use the software to create CD's using your CD Writer for playing on your HIFI. Is it better to buy a CD player or a mini CD player/recorder?, depends what you want from life! When you upload your cd's they are read in a fraction of the time it takes a MInidisk to record, remember Mini Disk = Real Time, MP3 and WMA does not! Surf, download, mess about, play the results of your hard work onto a machine with no moving parts and suberb sound quality, definitive advantages there. Other things: The Rio 600 has been designed so
that you can of course extend the memory, but that is not all it has been designed to play MP3 and WMA but you will be able to upgrade to other formats as and when they are contrived/released. Disadvantages: Well its the memory size, if you are PC literate you will know that it is the most expensive thing to buy, so the cost of the backpack to extend to 64 MB music storage or 2 hrs of music plus the rechargeable battery is £80, not good but not enough to stop me. Also please ensure before uploading CD's onto your hard disl that they are clean. If not you will get severe play back anomalies. What about an IBM Microdrive, it snaps on the back 340Mb at £200, but do not be fooled by the cheap option. You are introducing a moving part into the Player, battery life? performance, remember CD players have moving parts they jump etc... I like the Diamond Rio 600, I bought it, is technology a godsend or what?
The Diamond Rio PMP 600, an innovation? Or just a PMP 500 thrown in a stylish blue round case which is designed to fit your hand perfectly weather you are walking down the street or running down an alley. I will go through the basic points of MP3 players, and give specifics of this one, and how it holds up with the industry standard of MP3 players. Basic Style, Looks, etc: Like I said before, it is sound design-wise, yet missing some small details which could and should be there, such as a belt clip, or swivel clip. I find it annoying to have it in my pocket, having to use the "hold" feature so that I can’t accidentally press a button, and disrupt my listening experience. Also along with a belt clip, it needs a protective case; I the rubbery type material the back is made of can easily be scratched or peel off from normal handling-semi- rugged use. Interface: Something I really appreciate about this unit is the easy to use interface; it's almost as easy and simple as Nokia's mobile phones. You can easily access the graphic equalizer without having to refer to the manual, and everything adjustable is, and is easily accessed by using common sense. "Tab" style menus are effective yet, eye pleasing. The PMP 600's interface is well thought out, and among the best. Oh, and if you're in the dark, the LCD is matched with a handy Indigo backlight. Memory: It's a shame that Diamond didn't offer a 64 MB version, 32 MB just is not enough, with only enough room for 5, 192 Kbps quality songs (will vary with length of songs). Of course, it is expandable, but expect to pay big money for a decent expansion, you can get up to 340 MB on the PMP 600. But if you're planning on doing that, might as well go for a Creative : Nomad 6 Gigabyte MP3 Jukebox. (tip: if you really need to squeeze songs in it, use WMA files, it's compatible with the PMP 600, and it takes less space) Software
: Average, anyone can figure out how to transfer files from your computer to the unit itself, and it does it via a USB cable, which is much faster than a typical serial port (the RCA Lyra uses serial). The CD is easy to install on mostly all computers with Windows. Battery Length: Diamond says you can get a good eleven hours out of it without having to replace/ recharge the 1 AA battery it needs. But I would say 10 hours, because of the loudness I place the volume on, although I haven't timed it, I am taking a guess using my common sense. Sound Quality: Using a pair of Sony's famous entry level wrap around headphones, I say it sounds pretty good with the volume set on 5- 15, once you get into the 17, 18 19 20 (max), you start to hear distortion in the bass, and that can be a turn off when listening to your favourite song. I’m sure with a decent pair of "studio" style headphones; you will hear the music perfectly no matter what volume.
If, like me, you’re only just starting to break into the dizzy world of MP3 then you’re probably finding that it’s quite a big scary place. Sure, you’ve heard of Napster and downloading songs from the net for free and even buying albums online that you can download to your PC but is that it? You have to trawl the net and spend hours downloading songs to get MP3 files? Of course not – that would be silly wouldn’t it?! Ask yourself just one question – where did those MP3 files come from in the first place? That’s right, someone has got to make them and that someone could be you!! Now hold your horses, we’ll get to the Diamond Rio 600 in just a moment – there are plenty of things you need to know first. So, MP3, what’s that all about eh? Basically, an MP3 (MPEG 3) file is a compressed version of an everyday song. An MP3 player (whether it’s a portable one or one installed on your PC such as Winamp or Windows media player) can read these special files and de-code them to play the music. Very clever and more importantly much smaller. A CD holds around 75 minutes of music and the capacity in Megabits is around 750. Therefore saving a CD in its raw uncompressed form would be frankly ridiculous due to costs and storage. When the audio from a CD is compressed down to an MP3 format the size is reduced quite dramatically leaving you with files that can be stored on your PC or portable player without the need for enormous amounts of memory. OK, that should do you for a rough overview. So let’s look a little closer at the player. The Diamond Rio 600 is on the whole a pretty wonderful little piece of kit and when I say little I am not joking. This thing is actually slightly smaller than a pack of cigarettes and it’s lighter than even some of the smallest mobile phones. This st
raight away makes it a portable option that’s even more convenient than a Walkman or a minidisc player. It acts like a Walkman, Discman or minidisc player too. There’s very little here that will seem out of place, Play/Pause, Stop, Fast forward, skip and volume controls are all here along with a menu button and an on/off/hold switch. As the size of the player is small you won’t be too shocked to hear that the buttons are too and whether you’ve got big hands or not (not that I want to know either way!), you’ll find that the buttons are perhaps a little too small. They are responsive though and certainly nothing to lose sleep over. On the front of the player you will also find a small oval LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) screen which has a rather lovely blue backlight. Although the screen is small, you will not have any difficulty reading any of the information that is displayed – it really is very nice and clear. You can customise the backlight facility too – when a button is touched the light can remain on for either 1, 2, 5, 10 seconds or alternatively you can have the light on or off constantly. This of course will affect the length of battery life. Displayed on screen is all of the Track information (Artist, Song, duration and even bitrate). The menus are very simple to navigate around. When you press the menu button you will have the following options – Audio, Player, Prefs, About. Audio Very obvious, but anyway.... This is the ‘how it sounds’ option. There are seven pre-set sound options (Normal, Jazz, Rock, Rap, Classic, Book and Flat). These all sound slightly different although if seven options aren’t enough there is a custom option too where you can define the treble and bass settings. In effect you have access to a two band graphic equaliser (for the techie geeks among you!). Player
Here you will find your play options (random, repeat), you can delete tracks from the player and you can also create playlists (track order etc). Prefs (Preferences) This is where you can modify your display options such as backlight duration, automatic shut down (if the player isn’t used for a set period of minutes ranging from 0 to 9,Time Date (*), and battery information. (*) You will notice that when you connect your player to your PC that the time and date is automatically downloaded from the time/date information on your PC. Very handy indeed. About Tells you ABOUT (clever stuff) the player – things like remaining battery life, how much memory is used and which file types are supported. A note here – the player is designed to be future proof (we shall see) as the software can be upgraded to be compatible with future file formats. File Types While we’re on the subject of file formats this player doesn’t just play MP3 files. There is an alternative format called WMA (Windows Media Audio) and there is one very distinct advantage here – the files can be smaller but without losing any noticeable quality. An MP3 file will typically be at a bitrate of around 128kbps (kilobytes per second) - although this can be higher OR lower. When you convert songs from CD though (using the supplied software) you will find that you create a .wma file instead of an MP3 file. The big difference though is that the .wma file will be at 64kbps and yes, you’ve guessed it, that means you can store twice as many files compared to just using MP3 files. Audio Quality So, how does the sound quality compare to everything else? We’ll talk about the difference in bitrates (not meant to be dull!) in a moment. The main thing you’ll want to know is how good it compares to the format of choice – the CD. Well, you may have hea
rd that the quality of MP3 files is poor. I’m afraid that quite simply is not true. There is such as thing as a good and bad MP3 file but if it’s been recorded properly I would challenge you to point out differences between the two. I was however fairly sceptical about the quality of the wma files. This was no worry either though – the quality is absolutely brilliant. I would recommend that you replace the headphones which are supplied – they simply don’t do the player justice. Software A CD-ROM is bundled with the player which contains the drivers and the audio software. Once installed it will become very clear just how easy it is to get files onto your lovely little player. You can locate existing files on your PC (from Napster etc) and you can also create your own files from your existing CD collection. This is all really VERY easy and fairly fast – you insert your CD into the drive on your PC and select which track you wish to convert into a wma file. You will at this point also have the option to connect to the net to automatically find the artist and track information (very clever indeed and free). Alternatively you can write the information in yourself if you aren’t connected to the net. Files can then be transferred to the player and this really is exceptionally fast thanks to the USB (Universal System Bus) connection. Make sure you’ve got one or you won’t be able to download files to the player!! You can have either MP3 files or wma files and even both together. Memory This is going to be most people’s main gripe. The supplied memory chip contains only 32mb of RAM. To put this in perspective a typical MP3 file of is approximately 1mb per minute so you get about 30 mins of music. Not very long is it really? If you’ve only got wma files then this is doubled to rough
ly an hour of music, which is much better but still not brilliant. There are upgrade packs available, but this of course is additional cost and it is not particularly cheap to buy. Battery The unit takes a single AA battery (you get a Duracell one supplied) and will last up to 8 hours although depending on your options (backlight especially) this will probably be less. Accessories Supplied with the player you will get a USB cable to connect your PC to the player, the driver/audio software disc, a pair of headphones and a small carrying case with belt clip. There are plenty of other extras you can get including replaceable coloured covers (blue is supplied with the player) and larger carry cases to hold it all in. Check out www.riostuff.com for more details. So, overall a very nice little piece of equipment. It’s certainly not a cheap hobby, but files are easy to create, the player is extremely portable, build quality is good and the performance is very impressive. It’s probably not essential for the casual music fan but if you love music and are a bit of a technology fan then you’ll absolutely love the simplicity and convenience of MP3. Diamond have done a great job with the Rio 600 and if you’re willing to spend a bit more then the Rio 800 is pretty much perfect (with 64mb of memory and a remote control among the additions). That is all I have to say on this matter! STOP PRESS! Oh dear. Dropped it yesterday. The case was only slightly scratched - but it doesn't work now. One drop, case barely damaged but obviously something inside has broken. So don't drop yours. Sniff.
1/2 an hour of less than cd - quality music is poor for £160. I had contemplated buying this but after a few weeks of consideration i decided not to purly because 32 MB is simply not enought memory. I would have ended up spendindg at least £50 or more on a new rio memory backback to make it up to a half decent amount (which, of course is what Diamond intended all along). If i had wanted to spoend that much i would wait for the Rio 800 (comes with 64mb) and is packed with features for only about £200. Yes the 600 looks good, has a nice metallic effect, rubbery buttons, etc... but will it satisfy your needs? i dont think so.