by Richard Menta 6/30/00
What is the holy grail for MP3 players? Memory my friend, memory. Even those of us who have top end 64MB players find ourselves listening to the same cycle of songs over several times before we run back to the computer for a refresh.
Now from the folks at Sensory Science comes two new offerings to follow their excellent RaveMP 2100, one of which has the inside track with a new media format for MP3 portables.
Due to be released in a few weeks, the Rave MP 2300 is the first MP3 portable to use Iomega's Clik! media format. These memory discs hold 40MB of data each and cost the user $99.00…for 10 discs! That means cheap memory.
Right now 32MB flash cards are running just under $100 and IBM's terrific new 1GB MicroDrive costs $500. While the flash cards (available in three competing formats; CompactFlash, MultiMedia, and Smart Card) are dominant due to their use in the popular Diamond Rio line. Their relatively high cost have spawned units using the above IBM MicroDrive, laptop drives, and in Sony's case their own proprietary memory stick. All of the above were settling into different corners in the balance of cost, size, weight and power consumption.
So along comes Sensory Science - the builder of the first 2nd generation MP3 portable - who again think out of the box and develop the first Clik! media player, the Rave MP 2300. Just another new format jumping into a crowded field you say? At $10 for 40MB, the Clik! Drives offer the cost solution for both the low end of the MP3 portable industry and the high end.
The Rave MP 2300 comes with two 40MB Clik! discs, giving the users 80MB to start. Like all Rave MP models, the player has a built in microphone for voice recording and the ability to store phone numbers and addresses. A USB port has replaced the parallel port connection used to download files in the original RaveMP. That will mean four times faster transfer speeds. Despite the USB port, the present literature released says the new Rave MP's only support Windows machines. Hopefully a Mac bios option is on the way.
We will be reviewing this unit in the coming months and give you a full report on how well these Clik! drives stack up with the competition.
Rave MP 2200
Also new is the Rave MP 2200, the successor to the RaveMP 2100. It doesn't have the 2100's distinguishable shape, but like the 2300 above, it graduates to a USB connection. Using Smart Card technology for memory expansion, the 2200 offer 64MB of internal memory.
The 2200 also offers an FM radio and voice recording capability. The Rave MP2200 in encased in an aluminum shell for weight reduction.
We expect to receive our test unit of the 2200 within the week and like the 2300 above, will have a full report.
The original 64MB RaveMP MP2100 has dropped in price! For more information, or to order it from Amazon, click here.
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