By Richard Menta 9/26/02
Not to be left out of the running announcements of new digital music products, Archos has unveiled its latest MP3 portable, a new line of players designated as the successors of that company's successful line of digital players.
The first thing you notice about Archos Jukebox FM Recorder 20 is that it is the same case as the recently released Archos Jukebox Multimedia, so one can probably assume that is the new box for the upcoming Archos line. It looks like an improvement too, with smoother lines and a more compact shape than the bodies of the Archos Jukebox 6000 and Jukebox Recorder.
The stats bear this out. The dimensions of the new portable are 113x79x30 mm v. the older Jukebox models at 115x83x34mm. The unit has also shed 60g (2 oz.) from 350g to 290g. This brings the line further below that of the Creative's Nomad 3 (397 grams) and the 10GB RCA LYRA Personal Jukebox (310 grams), closer to the range of the relatively light Rio Riot (250 grams). The Apple iPos is still the weight champ here at 185g.
As the name states the Jukebox FM Recorder 20 has an FM tuner and 20GB of storage capacity. The FM radio is particularly unique in that this is the first digital music player that we are aware of that can record from its own radio, a feature that makes the unit quite flexible if you catch over the airwaves a great tune you never heard of before.
The record feature can also be implemented using the audio-in port on the side of the unit allowing you to convert analog recordings into digital right into the player. The Jukebox FM Recorder 20 also has a built-in microphone for voice recordings.
Added features to the record function include a 30 second retro-capture buffer, which allows the user to capture songs 30 seconds prior to the record button being depressed. This is handles because the unit will store the previous 30seconds of music in its memory buffer, giving the user 1/2 a minute to decide if they want to capture that song on the radio or not.
The jukebox recorder also includes a built-in edit feature allowing the user to trim tunes right from the box. This includes an erase button that is useful to fans of Trance and Dance who want to remove the space in between songs to preserve the uninterrupted, seamless thump they get at the clubs.
USB 2.0, just like in the 15GB and 20GB versions of the Archos Jukebox MP3 Recorder, handle file transfers. Archos was the first to adopt USB 2.0 in an MP3 player, a trend we are starting to see in other new players who have eschewed USB's competitor FireWire, which is found in the Apple iPod and Nomad 3.
One rechargeable Li-ion battery powering the unit offers 12 hours of playback time. That is a significant improvement over the 4 rechargeable NiMH batteries found on the Archos 6000 and weight saving too
We don't have a final price on the unit yet, but will have it soon. Figure on a price competitive with most of the other like plaers on the market..
The Apple iPod for Windows is available on Amazon in 10GB and 20GB versions.
Other MP3 Stories:
iRiver announces two new digital music portables
Ogg Vorbis Makes Run for Portable Music Players.
New P2P News Site Goes Online
Trade Files? The US Attorney General May Be Coming After YOU.