Letters: 10/26/00

Rave mp2300 review

I was reading your review of the new Rave MP 2300 and noticed that you gave it a glowing review, heralding it as a milestone player. I was curious on your opinion on one of the machine's limitations, however:

Basically, this is my gripe. The Clik! disks hold 40 MB each.With average encoding at 128 Kbps, an average of 1MB for each minute of music, that gets you roughly 40 minutes of music.

The Rave MP 2200 is available on Amazon for $279.00

Now one of the things I like to use MP3 players for is to have a LOT of music at near-CD quality able to fit in my pocket (something which I'll grant that the new Nomad Jukebox can't do). However, 40 minutes is generally not enough to hold even one CD.

Most CDs run over 40 minutes, with only a smaller percentage of them below that time threshold (this is my observation from my own personal 300+ CD library). I believe the fact that you have to swap out your music every 40 minutes with another disk is rather limiting. It's akin to taking a CD you've dubbed to tape, listening to it on a Walkman without auto-reverse and having to flip over the tape between sides -- actually, worse, cuz it's more like taking the tape out and putting a new one in every time you want to hear the end of an album. And Clik! disks aren't going to be holding any more capacity than 40 MB, either, from what I understand. Flash media/smart media card devices (such as my Rio 500) can store up to 128 MB at a time (some even more).

True, no one's going to carry around 10-packs of flashmedia cards the way you can carry around 10 (much cheaper) Clik! disks. But you can go a lot longer without swapping out media. One Clik! disk wouldn't even last my commute to work in the mornings. The only way it could would be if a) I take down the encoding, which is not an option (I'd rather increase the encoding rate, actually), or b) if the Rave accepts WMA format (and then I have a Mac, so no guarantees that's supported for myself either). Maybe if you could have two Clik! disks in there at a time....

Well, just wondering what you thought about that. Love the site, by the way. I like that you were one of the first to give coverage to the Personal Jukebox, very commendable. For me the jury's still out on the Nomad Jukebox, especially now that I have a Rio 500 and I'm so used to the compact size. But the idea of carrying around a hundred of my favorite albums everywhere is...well, tempting! I'm just waiting for 1 gig memory cards to be small enough and power-efficient enough to be able to pop into something like a Rio 500.

OK, thanks for reading!


Did Napster Take Radiohead's New Album to Number 1?

Just wanted to say that this article: 'Did Napster Take Radiohead's New Album to Number 1?' by Richard Menta on 10/23/00, is not very well on the mark. I don't think the guy knows anything about Radiohead. The truth is they've done an excellent job in marketing themselves as a major band that thinks like an indie. Notwithstanding the fact that their last album, OK Computer, was quietly their most successful, without having to make any "top 40" noise. It furthermore proves that a band can operate on the fringe and not have to live in obscurity.

Admittedly, the Napster story is a bit intriguing, and probably contributed to the success, but not nearly to the extent the author believes. In two+ years since OK Computer, I've met BY FAR the largest amount of music fans across the country (you might call it an unscientific poll) who include Radiohead amongst their favorite bands, and particularly cite that album as the reason. My decision to buy the next Radiohead record, and MANY others', was made long before I even heard of Napster, mp3.com, etc. I think the Napster numbers were influenced by THIS factor in the first place! So, despite their lack of pop power with the kids, this is an instance where many real music fans see Radiohead as probably the last real "major" band that doesn't come off as a packaged commercial music rehash - which certainly fits into the supposed Napster idiom,

Hey, I'm all for the new way of the music business, it makes it a little easier for everyone to get heard, but make no mistake, the shift in the way the business works hasn't yet been that great, for what it's worth. I've been in it for more than ten years. I suppose I'm just getting tired of internet news stories screaming about how great it is and what a wonderful thing is happening. Sure. Probably true. But it's beginning to sound a bit more like cheerleading than news. There's been a lot of editorializing going on lately, I think some balance needs to be achieved.

Chad Corley

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