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Announcements Media Music Hardware

Ogg Vorbis Portables On The Way 362

Emmettfish writes "According to this release on Xiph.org, it looks like the Neuros player will support Linux users, and also give them the ability to play back Vorbis files on the move, starting in late May. Go Ogg! Remember, donating a few bucks to Xiph may not make the world a better place, but it'll definitely help it sound a lot better." For those of us craving a portable that plays from cheap CD-Rs rather than flash media or a hard drive, Emmett says by email that an agreement for development of firmware for a CD-based Ogg player is in the works, too.
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Ogg Vorbis Portables On The Way

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  • It's about time (Score:2, Interesting)

    by KiahZero ( 610862 )
    I'm glad this is finally happening... too bad it doesn't say how much this thing costs. Speaking as a broke college student, I can't afford to pay a ridiculous premium for a small gain in audio quality.
    • Re:It's about time (Score:4, Informative)

      by GigsVT ( 208848 ) on Monday February 24, 2003 @09:58AM (#5369863) Journal
      $250 for the 128 meg, $400 for the 20GB.

      In other words, more than my main desktop computer cost.
      • Re:It's about time (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Dukebytes ( 525932 )
        No kidding. This is great and all - but good lord. All the MP3 players are big $$$$ IMHO.

        They have about $12 worth of parts in them if that much and they are all over $150.00... I want one to work out with at the gym - but I'm not paying that much for one when I can have a CD walkman for $20 bucks....

        • Re:It's about time (Score:2, Informative)

          by arkanes ( 521690 )
          I got the 128MB Nomad MuVo(stupid name, I know) for 131 from newegg, including shipping. Still a bit pricey, I know, but considering the advantages over a CD player (no skipping, much smaller, 12 hour battery life) I think it's worth it.
        • by Chris Canfield ( 548473 ) <slashdot@@@chriscanfield...net> on Monday February 24, 2003 @11:04AM (#5370213) Homepage
          YAMPP MP3 players [myplace.nu] can be made for the parts for about 80 dollars... perhaps less if you can find things on clearance. It is nowhere near $12, however.

          Likewise, many MP3 players are significantly lower than 150 dollars. Poking around on Shopping.yahoo.com, you can find the the Ampigo3 for 50, the Samsung YEPP for 50, the JamP3 for 40, the Audiovox MP-1000 for 40, and the D-Link DMP-100 for 35 dollars. Rio PMP 300's are still available on ebay for $50 or less. They're all about the same quality as the "latest" MP3 players from sonicblue, and will compare favorably to that $20 CD walkman for high-impact activities like treadmill jogging, cycling, etc.

          If you look hard, you can find 20GB Archos Jukeboxes for $150.

          If you want an MP3 player, now is a great time. Actually, last year was a great time. Now isn't that bad though. Do some legwork and start saving those batteries.
          • Batteries galore (Score:3, Informative)

            by LinuxGeek ( 6139 )
            Check here [nimhbattery.com] for a good supplier for NiMH batteries and chargers. I don't work for them and I actually purchased my Ray-o-vac 1 hour charger and batteries from Walmart, but nimhbattery has a much better selection of batteries and chargers.

            Some things I have learned about NiMH stuff:
            - Buy a good charger. Cheap chargers ( probably first gen) generally work by timer not actual battery condition. The Radio Shack fast charger almost cooked a new set of batteries for me.

            - Get second generation batteries, they are properly vented for the fast chargers and have higher current capacity ( 1800-2000mAh for AA size).

            - Get a charger that matches your needs, even if you have to pay more. My current charger allows home or mobile charging (12v cig lighter plug) which is great for digital camera use. I bought three other cheaper chargers and regret the purchases, features and quality will actually be important.

            - Don't let other people borrow your charger or batteries, you may never see them again. If you do let someone borrow your batteries, then make sure you explain that they should not discard them after they are discharged. Don't ask!
      • Re:It's about time (Score:3, Interesting)

        by lobsterGun ( 415085 )
        Just about.

        Assuming you can borrow a CDROM for the initial OS install and already have a mouse, keyboard, and monitor you get...

        Micro ATX Case = $52
        Nforce Motherboard = $78
        Athalon XP1600 = $58
        256MB PC2100 RAM = $41
        20 GB Hardrive = $69

        Subtotal = $298

        If you insist on building a complete system you need to add...

        Keyboard and Mouse = $20
        52x CDRom = $28
        15" Monitor = $99

        Subtotal = $147

        For a grand Total of $445

        You can put together a cheaper system. You could save $25 dollars by going with an 1100Mhz Duron processor and save $20 more by shaving the RAM down to $128. That would bring you down to $400. It just seems like that extra $45 buys a hell of a lot extra power. (check out Toms CPS Performance Check [tomshardware.com])

        Prices courtesy of Five O'clock Computers [5oclock.com]

        For what it's worth, the above desktop system BLOWS AWAY my current desktop system (a PIII 700). So I know its possible to do some serious work on it.

      • I've been waiting years for a cd player that can
        play mp3's , because all the ones I've seen are
        small home company's which never ever get outside
        of the country they were created in. I like the
        idea's behind ogg , but haven't switched to it yet

        If a big name company releases a ogg cd player
        (rw) mind you and it reaches the backwaters where
        I live , I'll jump on the bandwagon 100% and go

        I can't wait for ogm to come to light in the near
        future either
    • Re:It's about time (Score:5, Insightful)

      by tsa ( 15680 ) on Monday February 24, 2003 @09:59AM (#5369875) Homepage
      I find the fact that Ogg Vorbis is an open format more important than the small gain in audio quality.
      • Re:It's about time (Score:4, Insightful)

        by EpsCylonB ( 307640 ) <{moc.bnolycspe} {ta} {spe}> on Monday February 24, 2003 @11:04AM (#5370212) Homepage
        It should be pointed out that the notion that Ogg Vorbis is provides better quality audio is not universally accepted. Audio quality is incredibly difficult to quantify as it is subjective. Even if you ignore all the different variables (CBR vs VBR, quality of audio equipment, etc.) one person may make very different judgements from another (especially with Vorbis and Mp3 being so close).

        And most tech reviews I have read seem to indicate that the different compression formats (Vorbis, Mp3 and WMA) all have different strengths when it comes to particular types of music.
        • It's also not universally accepted that the earth is round, but only bozos think otherwise. Vorbis' quality gain is obvious, esp. at low bitrates.
        • Still, some listening tests [slashdot.org] have shown that most people prefer ogg.
        • Re:It's about time (Score:4, Insightful)

          by orbital3 ( 153855 ) on Monday February 24, 2003 @12:24PM (#5370664)
          As a long time follower of the different audio encoding technologies, I have to agree with you on your point that the quality of the different formats seems to be quite subjective, but personally, I'm one of the many (few?) whose ears are overwhelmingly in favor of Ogg.

          I can't STAND WMA at all... it has a high end ringing screech at pretty much any bitrate, while at the same time, some people swear by WMA. WMA also boosts the volume of the encoded material to give the listener the impression that it's better quality, which is bad form, IMO.

          MP3 is pretty impressive nowadays, with all of the work that has gone into LAME... Even 128kbit VBR is passable. But as I said, to my ears at least, they all bow before Ogg. That same passable quality you get at 128kbit with LAME you get at 96kbit with Ogg. And the artifacts are also much less offensive to my ears, but again, that is a matter of opinion.

          Anyway, I hear too much completely uninformed Ogg bashing, and I wish everyone would do some objective testing of their own. Go read up on blind ABX testing [pcabx.com], and do some yourself. If Ogg isn't the one you think sounds best, that's fine, but just don't say it's crap without giving it a shot!

        • Re:It's about time (Score:3, Interesting)

          by TheRaven64 ( 641858 )
          especially with Vorbis and Mp3 being so close
          Vorbis and MP3 are not close. Even at high bitrates MP3 sucks, at 256Kb/s with the latest build of LAME I hear irritating artefacts (yes, I've done a blind comparison with the original CD, ripped to wav. I could hear the difference every time.). Vorbis and AAC (with the psytel encoder - the Dolby consumer one just isn't up to scratch) are close. For some things AAC is better, for some Vorbis is. I've just switched from AAC to Vorbis because the standard is open, and so I know I'm not going to be hounded for patent royalties at a later date.
          I often listen to a 42kbps ogg stream. Sure, I can hear artefacts in it, but it's fine for background music while I work. I couldn't say the same about MP3 at anything lower than 128Kbps, and even then I'd be dubious.
        • There are some experiments being done and some listening data available, mostly on hydrogenaudio.org site. Seems like the general consensus at this point is that OGG is somewhat better than MP3 at the average rate about 128Kbps, but at the rates 200Kbps+ MP3 is better (meaning 'less artifacts'). At the rates lower than 128Kbps (where MP3 simply doesn't cut), OGG does a good job and apparently is better than WMA. So seems like OGG at this time competes with alternative lossy compressors at the rates 128Kbps and lower. If you tend to record at 200Kbps average, like the latest LAME default settings, you may as well stick with MP3 unless of course you are against MP3 'in principle'.
    • Re:It's about time (Score:3, Informative)

      by radja ( 58949 )
      actually.. on the site, I found the price of $249 for the 128MB, $399 for the 20GB HD one.
    • by raygundan ( 16760 ) on Monday February 24, 2003 @10:07AM (#5369916) Homepage
      You can confirm this cost by hitting the CompUSA preorder site (ship date of tomorrow, feb. 25th).

      http://www.compusa.com/promos/neuros/default.asp [compusa.com]

      Fairly expensive. But I do like the built-in FM transmitter. Also, I would recommend buying the 128MB unit, as the 20GB HDD will be available as a "backpack" that makes the 128 exactly the same (size, shape, capacity) as the 20GB unit. However, the 20GB unit can't be "downgraded" to a smaller, more pocketable 128.

  • MP3 players (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mschoolbus ( 627182 ) <travisrileyNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday February 24, 2003 @09:56AM (#5369857)
    Well this is obviously good for ogg, but even if this does gain some momentum a big name portable mp3 player manufacturer will simply put it in their player and way underprice these guys.

    I am not saying it isn't a good idea at all, but don't you think they could get shut out of business really quick?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 24, 2003 @09:57AM (#5369861)
    Would we have to call it joggvorbising then?
  • About time (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Compact Dick ( 518888 ) on Monday February 24, 2003 @09:58AM (#5369865) Homepage

    make sure the players support upgradeable firmware for future codec upgrades and I'm set - tho the specification does claim that all future Ogg Vorbis files will be decodable by the current decoder, it may miss out on improvements and enhancements.

    The CD-based player is a good idea for those of us with massive disc collections but just cannot be bothered to transfer the songs - much easier with a change of disc.

    Speaking of which - one of Ogg Vorbis' strongest selling points is bitrate peeling - you can "peel" a 192 kbps file to 128 kbps and the resulting file will sound just as good as if it were encoded directly off the original CD/wave file.

    But there is no tool yet. When can we expect to see one?

    Thanks for all the great work.
    • Re:About time (Score:5, Informative)

      by Skuto ( 171945 ) on Monday February 24, 2003 @10:52AM (#5370152) Homepage
      >Speaking of which - one of Ogg Vorbis' strongest
      >selling points is bitrate peeling - you
      >can "peel" a 192 kbps file to 128 kbps and the
      >resulting file will sound just as good as if it
      >were encoded directly off the original CD/wave

      Almost. Peeling will not give *exactly* the same quality, but much better than decode/reencode, and it will be faster too.

      >But there is no tool yet. When can we expect to
      >see one?

      There is a proof-of-concept tool available right now, but it does not get good quality yet. There hasn't been much demand for it yet so developers have focussed elsewhere - maybe with the portables out this will change.

  • But... (Score:5, Funny)

    by CHUD-Wretch ( 578617 ) on Monday February 24, 2003 @09:58AM (#5369866) Journal
    Does it play Ogg? Oh! it does. I'm going back to sleep.
  • by tjansen ( 2845 ) on Monday February 24, 2003 @09:58AM (#5369869) Homepage
    Nice, but I already have a portable Ogg Vorbis player: tkcPlayer [thekompany.com]
    • by evilviper ( 135110 ) on Monday February 24, 2003 @11:45AM (#5370447) Journal
      You're not the only one. My WinCE-based (please stop throwing things at me) Cassiopeia E-100 can run PocketMVP [adelphia.net] which can play MP3/Ogg audio, and MPEG/DivX videos.

      The only problem is (as I see it) that a 32MB CF card (which should hold a full CD at almost CD quality "-q0") currently costs $15. On the other hand, Minidiscs are about $1 per disc, hold more than a CD, can record live audio (analog or digital--no computer required) in realtime, can edit the tracks on the fly, has better sound quality than Ogg at even the highest quality settings, has a longer battery life, puts off less heat, never skips, can be rewritten more times than a CF card, are more physically durable than a CF card, etc.

      Strangely enough, this same subject came up yesterday: http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=54778&cid=5364 720 [slashdot.org]
  • Petition IRiver! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by idealord ( 460644 ) on Monday February 24, 2003 @09:59AM (#5369876) Homepage
    I've got the IRiver MP3 CD player and it's nice but it would be way nicer with OGG support. They've got upgradeable firmware and they mention OGG support in their docs... but it never comes thru!

  • by borgdows ( 599861 ) on Monday February 24, 2003 @10:00AM (#5369878)
    the MyFi feature of Neuros is very fun, useful and innovative!

    MyFi allows you to broadcast the music on your Neuros through any FM radio. Like the one in your car. Or your kitchen. Or your coworker's boombox. MyFi automatically scans the FM radio dial for an available frequency and broadcasts using all digital stereo encoding, just like broadcast towers used by professional radio stations.

    I don't think RIAA will like this, but this feature is really a killer-app amha.
    • I'd like the ability for it to play different songs on different FM frequencies, so maybe I could be in the office and say someone else could be too, and we could all be listening to different music all streamed from the one device. THAT would be killer!?!
    • This kind of technology has been out for a long, long time. There are all kinds of devices that broadcast to a frequency on your radio... why would the RIAA care? The only people that are going to pick it up are the people 2 feet away from your current position.
      • Wow! A 2-feet piracy radius.


        • According to Hillary Rosen
        • "This would provide a very safe perimiter for pirates worldwide. Having this safety as a bonus would surely lead to an increase in piracy like nothing we have yet seen."


        No seriously, really, if their lawyers found out a way to suit these guys for money, they would care.

        Law-suits probably has the record insdustries biggest income/outcome ratio as no real wokr is needed. Just free income(tm). It's their new business-model.

    • Indeed. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Compact Dick ( 518888 ) on Monday February 24, 2003 @10:09AM (#5369928) Homepage

      What this means for me is that I can play my oggs in my friend's car without the aid of any doohickey cable or any other crap like that. All he needs is an FM receiver. A truly useful [and I do not use the word lightly here] innovation. Wonder why no one ever thought of it before...

      I really wouldn't worry about the RIAA here - more likely is the FCC who dictates frequency spectrum allocation, but the transmitting range should be short enough to satisfy their requirements.
      • FCC (Score:5, Informative)

        by crow ( 16139 ) on Monday February 24, 2003 @10:17AM (#5369969) Homepage Journal
        The FCC allows unlicensed low-power FM broadcasts without a license. This is how drive-in movie theaters usually work--you listen using your car's sound system. I'm sure someone here can post the exact limits the FCC imposes on such broadcasts, but they're certainly much more generous than this device would require.
        • Up until a few years ago, the only way to listen to Los Angeles Valley College's radio station was to be on campus with a portable radio. It too used a drive-in type transmitter Actually in the case of KVCM it was an AM transmitter. [eew!] When I was on staff, I was hearing "United Artists Cable (East SFV cable franchise) is going to carry us Real Soon Now" but that didn't happen until about 10 years after I left. There was also talk of a "community radio license" (low-power FM stations that have their transmissions restricted to a very small radius) but of course that option never really got a chance. The FCC first proposed that, then withdrew it under pressure from Big Radio.
        • Re:FCC (Score:4, Funny)

          by damiam ( 409504 ) on Monday February 24, 2003 @11:53AM (#5370506)
          unlicensed low-power FM broadcasts without a license

          As opposed to unlicensed broadcasts with a license? :-)

      • Re:Indeed. (Score:5, Informative)

        by cjpez ( 148000 ) on Monday February 24, 2003 @10:37AM (#5370078) Homepage Journal
        Wonder why no one ever thought of it before...
        Um, they have. Drop by your local Radio Shack. For fifteen bucks you can buy a little device that plugs into the headphones jack on any portable device and broadcasts it on a channel of your choice (well, usually there's a choice of maybe four channels to try). This is how we listen to cassette tapes in my girlfriend's car, which only has a CD player. That said, it is pretty cool that it's built right into the device.
      • I really wouldn't worry about the RIAA here - more likely is the FCC who dictates frequency spectrum allocation, but the transmitting range should be short enough to satisfy their requirements.

        Shouldn't be a problem. There are already a bunch of CD changers that broadcast to your car FM radio to avoid having to make a physical connection between the changer and the deck.

    • the MyFi feature of Neuros is very fun, useful and innovative!

      Indeed. Does anyone know of one that can be picked up in the UK (preferably London) which has a range that covers the house?

      I'd love to tune the kitchen radio into my MP3's playing in my room without having to mess about with cables and moving equipment.

    • ..Huh? You can do it with a wireless FM modulator you can buy at Radioshack for $10 anyway (and people with a discman or mp3 player in their car do it quite a bit already). It IS awesome that it's built in, though.
  • by Frodo420024 ( 557006 ) <henrik&fangorn,dk> on Monday February 24, 2003 @10:04AM (#5369901) Homepage Journal
    Recently, I've experimented with Ogg vs. MP3 for streaming voice (lectures, not music), and I find that at the low end of the bandwidth spectrum, Ogg is much better than MP3.

    An MP3 file at 32 kbit/second sounds muffled - high frequencies largely removed - while an Ogg at 23 kbit/second (16 kbit nominal) has a much better tonal balance. The Ogg stream is not pristine quality, but much better than the MP3.

    If you're interested in packing many hours of low bitrate material, Ogg is the way to go.

    • If you're using Ogg Vorbis for recording lectures, I suggest you switch to Speex [speex.org]. From the website:

      The Speex project aims to build a patent-free, Open Source/Free Software voice codec. Unlike other codecs like MP3 and Ogg Vorbis, Speex is designed to compress voice at bitrates in the 2-45kbps range. Possible applications include VoIP, internet audio streaming, archiving of speech data (e.g. voice mail), and audio books. In some sense, it is meant to be complementary to the Ogg Vorbis codec.
    • by jmv ( 93421 ) on Monday February 24, 2003 @10:21AM (#5369993) Homepage
      Actually, if you're interested in compressing voice, try Speex [speex.org], another Xiph.org codec. At 16 kHz sampling rate, you can get almost transparent quality around 20-24 kbps and still decent quality in the 12 kbps range. (disclaimer: I'm the Speex author)
  • by hwsquaredcubed ( 527387 ) on Monday February 24, 2003 @10:04AM (#5369902)
    I have my doubts about this unit. In my opinion, the days of the flash-based MP3 (ogg, etc.) players are numbered for one simple reason: they don't hold enough music. Even if it's relatively simple to sync the device with the computer, it's still a pain to have to do that every time you want to listen to new music. I own the 15GB Archos Jukebox Recorder, which I got on sale for $150 (including rebate) a couple of months ago. I was able to put all of the songs I'd downloaded from my desktop and laptop - about 10GB worth of music - on it, and a bunch of my CDs as well. Now I don't have to take a bunch of CDs around with me, as the player can hook up to my home stereo, car stereo (it's a newer stereo that has an MP3 port and I use a cable to connect the player to the port - with the Neuros you could broadcast over the stereo's FM frequency), and also at work (I hook my computer's speakers up to the player). For me, it's a much better option than the flash-based players because I can fit so much more music on it. My only complaint is that there is so much music on it that it is sometimes hard to navigate around the HD to find exactly what you're looking for, especially if you don't take the time to really organize your music by folder, track number, etc., before you upload it to your player. I have heard that the user interface for the iPod solves some of these problems, so I am hoping that Archos comes out with a software fix soon. Anyway, the bottom line is that I would go with the 20GB option here - I guess my only concern about that in this instance is that the 20GB "backpack" looks huge, and might add a lot of weight to the unit and make it bulky. The Archos I have is a little heavier than I would prefer, but really not that bad. I am still able to jog with it, which is key. I carry it in my left arm now and for the first time in years, my left arm is the same size as my right arm. Just kidding.
    • by raygundan ( 16760 ) on Monday February 24, 2003 @10:15AM (#5369962) Homepage
      The 128MB Neuros player can be upgraded via a backpack to be exactly the same as the 20GB unit. Total price for the 128MB player and the 20GB backpack is only $430, just $30 more than the 20GB unit. The 20GB version is much larger and heavier, and cannot be "downgraded" to be the same as the 128MB unit. By going with the 128MB unit and a backpack, you can have a small, light, solid-state player for the gym (or whatever) and a 20GB backpack to hold all of your music, too. With the 20GB backpack on, it is *identical* to the 20GB unit. The 128MB piece is not available as a backpack, though.

      If you jog with it, this is definitely the route to go. Tiny player for jogging, plug in the backpack for huge capacity.

    • I think you've got it backwards. In my mind, the hard drive based players' days are numbered. Flash memory capacities are raising almost as fast as the prices are dropping. It's difficult to predict the market in 3+ years, but I don't think it will be much longer than that when it will be both reasonable and affordable to fit your entire mp3 collection on flash memory. The fact that hard drives offer more storage for your money won't matter since flash will provide you with enough storage and in a much, much smaller form factor. Keep buying your hard drive players for now -- I definately agree that right now, they are a better deal (unfortunately no one offers one with enough storage for me..), so let the more casual users drive the price of flash based players down.
    • Check out Rockbox [rockbox.haxx.se] for an open source alternative firmware for the Archos Jukebox. One of the long-term goals of the project is the implementation of vorbis decoding (and other formats), which they claim may be possible provided they are given more information on the decoding chip.
  • by teks0r ( 622346 ) on Monday February 24, 2003 @10:08AM (#5369920)
    I've been researching various portable MP3 players for some time, meanwhile budgeting some cash that I could use to buy one. I had my mind set on a iPod for a while because the design looked sleek and elegant, stored gigs of music, and reportedly got good life out of its batteries.

    My alternative to an iPod would have been the player from Archos, which was AFAIK the second portable music player that stored giga-, not mega- bytes.

    Since the investment in one of these players is fairly substantial (300-400 USD), and as of late I have more and more music files in .ogg format, I decided to hold off until something actually played .ogg's.

    This is probably the music player that I've been waiting for. A hard drive so I can store thousands of songs (as opposed to whatever I can squeeze into 32 or 64 megs), and some 'smart' features such as recording and being able to broadcast to a radio.

    I'm sure there are other people out there like me that have been waiting for this kind of player to come along, so I for one am ready to plunck down the cash and buy one, and show the industry that .ogg is a viable format. Hopefully more players will come along.

    I wish Neuros the best of luck with their new product, and of course, kudos go out to the Xiph.org team for all of their hard work.

    -Jason Jones
  • by WPIDalamar ( 122110 ) on Monday February 24, 2003 @10:09AM (#5369923) Homepage
    There's one benefit of Ogg that many people miss... compaines can use it in their products, whithout paying a royalty, and without worrying about the libraries changing (since they can distribute the libraries). For applications other than music players (such as games) that play sound, it's perfect. Who wants to use a system supplied mp3 library that may or may not work with your application 5 revisions down the road?
    • If I'm not mistaken (99% sure I'm not), UT2003 uses ogg for all of it's music.

      Not the only game I've seen using ogg either!
    • Who wants to use a system supplied mp3 library that may or may not work with your application 5 revisions down the road?

      I don't understand what you're talking about. Can you explain? I have mp3s that I downloaded 6 years ago that work in Winplay3 and Winamp 3.

      • The parent wasn't talking about being able to decode files 5 or 6 revs down the road. He was talking about being able to use the libraries that implement the codec years down the line. It is easier to keep an evolving app in sync with a standard if the standard is fully documented. Also, one does not have to trust the OS vendor to keep this process easy.
    • Yeah, and you should ship your own STL, standard C lib, ODBC libs, GUI toolkit, print drivers, and graphics drivers with your app, too. Who knows whether the system supplied versions of the same will work with your application 5 revision down the road?

  • Almost Perfect (Score:2, Insightful)

    by entrigant ( 233266 )
    If it had usb2, firewire 800, and bluetooth support this thing would be damn near perfect. The ability to transmit music via FM radio is already hella neat. I like this thing.. although it is a wee bit expensive :(.
  • Nex IIe player (Score:3, Interesting)

    by nicedream ( 4923 ) <brian@nopant s . o rg> on Monday February 24, 2003 @10:14AM (#5369953) Homepage
    There have been several rumors lately that the Nex IIe [frontierlabs.com] from Frontier Labs will support Oggs RealSoonNow (tm).

    Link to yahoo group thread [yahoo.com].
    • Re:Nex IIe player (Score:3, Interesting)

      by evilviper ( 135110 )
      I e-mailed them recently asking for a time-frame. Their only comment was that they are working on it. Personally, I wouldn't hold my breath, although a CF-based, $100 Ogg player is better than the Neuros IMHO.
  • Nex II player (Score:5, Informative)

    by N8w8 ( 557943 ) on Monday February 24, 2003 @10:17AM (#5369966)
    FYI, Frontier Labs expects to have ogg support ready for their Nex II [frontierlabs.com] player in Q2 2003.
    • I don't mean to sound rude, (I'm a NEXII owner and have been waiting a LONG time for this) but how do you know q2 2003? I've looked on their site, and couldn't find any info. :(

      I've received email from them about this before and was informed that they are indeed working on it. But I've never heard a date from them.
  • Nice but... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by arvindn ( 542080 ) on Monday February 24, 2003 @10:17AM (#5369967) Homepage Journal
    This is a Good Thing for sure, but keep in mind that the important thing is to help the average Joe see the benefits of Ogg. Sending your mom the CD you ripped in ogg format is way more useful than preaching benefits of ogg on slashdot.
  • But why can't people hire Apple's design firm or at least be 'enspired' by the iPod?

    And, while we're tossing out wish lists, more file formats to play, can't someone make the damn thing play everything under the sun? Why not use an engine design that allow for plug-ins, ala WinAmp?
    • Re:Neat and Nifty (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Have Blue ( 616 )
      1. There is no "Apple's design firm". Apple does the design themselves.

      2. Probably because you can't fit that kind of functionality into a $5 chip in an embedded device. MP3 players use hardware decoders that cannot be easily reprogrammed.
  • On one of the Neuros surveys, it asked which new format you prefer they add support, and FLAC was one of them. I thought FLAC was a lossless format so one could record and edit sound files, not for listening? Do audiophiles really notice the difference between a high quality ogg/mp3 and FLAC? I don't notice any distortions with a high quality ogg vs the original. Is the FLAC file smaller? Logically and from what I've seen, the FLAC file should be bigger. It is lossless after all...

    • Re:FLAC? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by 0x0d0a ( 568518 ) on Monday February 24, 2003 @10:27AM (#5370023) Journal
      I thought FLAC was a lossless format so one could record and edit sound files, not for listening

      Yup. You can certainly listen to it though.

      Do audiophiles really notice the difference between a high quality ogg/mp3 and FLAC?

      Not with a portable player and earbuds, they don't.

      Is the FLAC file smaller?

      No. It's much larger. At the bitrates I usually feel comfortable with, FLAC tends to be over five times as large as ogg. FLAC on this player would be more a gimmick than a useful feature.
    • Re:FLAC? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Junta ( 36770 ) on Monday February 24, 2003 @10:36AM (#5370071)
      FLAC is indeed lossless, and is also indeed large. Yes, audiophiles do insist that all lossy compression is unbearable. Even if they couldn't tell the difference, they would still make the claims I'm sure. Else how could they call themselves audiophiles?

      As for myself, I think Vorbis acheives the best quality to size ratio. If there are artifiacts, they aren't as irritating as mp3 artifiacts, since I notice mp3 artifacts and don't Vorbis (until you get past 128 kbps, at which point I can't tell anything about an mp3. For listening on mediocre at best headphones in public with noise around me, I would say a 64 kbps vorbis would be good enough, not so about mp3.
      • I have a friend who recently bought what he claimed was 5.2 channel surround sound. So I asked him, "Uh, what's the difference between that and good old 5.1 channel surround sound?"

        Apparently the extra 0.1 is a "virtual" speaker that only "audiophiles" can hear.

        I then spent the next half hour explaining the "Emporer has no clothes" story.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 24, 2003 @10:20AM (#5369981)
    I have built the plugin for the Qtopia media player on the Sharp Zaurus SL5500 myself a few weeks ago. You can also find someone else's build as an IPKG on http://www.killefiz.de/.
    And the Zaurus could accomodate a CF harddisk (1gig)... I'm not saying that it would run off the battery for long tho.
    Also, I heard that the integer only decoder (Tremor) used less power than the built-in MP3 one, so battery life as affected by that is supposed to be longer (10 percent I read someplace).
  • by yelims ( 160240 ) <marksmiley@@@gmail...com> on Monday February 24, 2003 @10:24AM (#5370010) Homepage Journal
    I love my Rio SP250. I have a fairly large CD collection, and I love being able to just switch CD's and have a different portion of my collection.

    But my question is, why would I want to make a lateral move to something that plays .ogg files off of CD (vs. my RIO which plays mp3 off of CD)?

    What I would really like to see is a DVD +/- R solution. Then I could have 4.7GB vs. 700MB of music ready to go.

    Am I just dreaming, or is there a market for this besides me?
  • Zaurus? Sharp's zaurus has supported several ogg players for ages. And it's more than just a digital music recorder/player. I've been drooling over the damn thing for months, but cannot bring myself to spend the $800CAN for one of these things yet. Perhaps next week when I go consultant full time and can write off the PDA as a business expense.
  • only usb1.1 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by alanak ( 451478 ) on Monday February 24, 2003 @10:52AM (#5370155) Homepage
    I was thinking - this is pretty cool. Then I saw it connects to your computer via usb 1.1. Who in their right mind would develop a new product with a 20GB harddrive and stick a measly USB 1.1 connection on it? There's no way that's going to work without frustrating every user
  • finally (Score:2, Informative)

    by doodzed ( 35795 )
    It is great that they added in an fm transmitter, but this may be the mp3 player for me for another reason. They added in mp3 recording with a line in. That means I can go, but a couple good mikes and record every show I go to. Hopefully the quality will be great.
  • Connections (Score:5, Interesting)

    by HalfFlat ( 121672 ) on Monday February 24, 2003 @10:57AM (#5370178)
    This device looks really nice: switchable piggyback storage, FM transmittery thing, not too heavy, not too bulky, 20Gb, etc. etc. Of course ogg support is a big plus too. It could be the iPod competition we've all been waiting for! But ...

    USB 1.1?! What were they thinking? How could they get so close and still drop the bundle?! Transfering a CD's worth of music onto the device would take well over a minute at any decent quality. Transferring a collection onto the drive would take hours. If there were no alternatives, then sure, it's certainly not too bad. But with a disk attached to the device, there's no good reason why transfers couldn't be ten times as fast, if only they used USB2 or firewire.

    As a portable harddrive, USB1.1 speeds are apalling.

    Would putting firewire or USB2 on really have been so hard? As it stands, the player seems to be in the 'so close but' category.
    • Transfering a CD's worth of music onto the device would take well over a minute at any decent quality.

      Moe: Oh boy, the deep fryers here..I got it used from the Navy--you can flash-fry a buffalo in 40 seconds!

      Homer: 40 seconds?! But I want it now!
  • Other ogg hardware (Score:3, Informative)

    by RiffRafff ( 234408 ) on Monday February 24, 2003 @10:58AM (#5370185) Homepage
    According to this site: http://www.mixstix.com/ they already have ogg playback.
    • by Lin_Matt ( 527854 )
      Actually, the software they ship with the MixStix will play ogg, not the hardware (http://www.mixstix.com/onlinehelp.htm). Besides, would you really want a 256MB ogg player??? ;)
  • My 2 cents (Score:2, Interesting)

    by JSkills ( 69686 )
    I've got the Archos 20 GB multimedia Jukebox. Not only does it hold hundreds of CDs worth of music and allow me to record to MP3 - but it holds all of my digital photos and I can display them on the screen. Who needs to carry photos in your wallet anyway? It also plays movies. Yes you have to make sure they're a specific file type (DivX MP4), but I will admit to watching Dude, where's my Car on the train ride home ;-)

    The only thing I wish this thing did is have an FM Radio and (why not) support Ogg.

    This Nueron thang sounds like it's got some nice features, but the lack of the video/picture functionality, plus being $100 more, I think I'm still ok for now.

    Of course, something new and better will come out soon enough to make me start thinking about selling my Archos on eBay (like I did with my 10 GB model) and upgrading ...

  • by figa ( 25712 ) on Monday February 24, 2003 @11:31AM (#5370374) Journal
    SonicBlue's Pearl [ign.com] plays Ogg. It was demoed at CES this year, so it should be on the streets by this fall. A SonicBlue employee reported [rioworld.org] on RioWorld that it supports Ogg. It also has an ethernet base, which is unusual and forward thinking.
  • Another OGG player (Score:5, Informative)

    by dabadab ( 126782 ) on Monday February 24, 2003 @11:41AM (#5370431)
    There's also a german firm, Pontis, coming out with an ogg capable player [pontis.de]. (Note: .ogg support is in the works)
    It works with CompactFlash, Secure Digital and Multimedia Card memcards (and acts also as an USB card reader/storage device). It lacks the ability to record and the radio, but I for me these are not necessary. Also, it can be used as a handheld game console, although so far it seems there are two games for it :)
    I have seen it for 95 Euros, so it is not that expensive. The only thing keeping me back from buyin it is its size and weight (nearly 100g - though that's half what Neuros weighs) - I want to see an .ogg firmware for the Diva MP3 player (a sexy, 36 g device :)
    (Yes, I love the idea of memcard based players: I have a digital camera with CF cards so I don't want to spend on built-in memory (that can not be expanded) and CDs are too big and require lots of power to operate so there will never be really small and low-powered CD-based players)
  • If this product comes as promised (with OGG support) it will be purchased by me. I was browsing through my Crutchfield catalog last night, picking out something, ended up throwing the catalog away in disgust because not a single player had Ogg compatibility (my entire collection is self-ripped Ogg files).

    With this player and its features (especially like the MyFi radio broadcast feature) it WILL be in my possession as shortly after March 1st as humanly possible! And please, please, please let that be before mid-March and the annual road trip season.
  • Too late (Score:4, Informative)

    by Cyno ( 85911 ) on Monday February 24, 2003 @01:16PM (#5371033) Journal
    Already got my own. Remember that Sharp Zaurus that came out a year or two ago? It makes an excellent ogg player. And it only cost me around $100 to upgrade the ram enough to store several hours of music. The advantage to using the Zaurus to these other devices is you can have your network and computers manage your music collection for you through ssh and rsync over an 802.11 net. Show me a $100 ogg player that can do it right now and you might get yourself a customer, if I didn't already have one.
  • ogg player (Score:3, Informative)

    by scottp ( 129048 ) on Monday February 24, 2003 @01:27PM (#5371115)
    I emailed frontierlabs [frontierlabs.com] and they said the firmware for ogg would be added to their website soon for the nexII (model). It'll take CF and IBM microdrives for about $115 USD.
  • by dberger ( 44485 ) on Monday February 24, 2003 @01:47PM (#5371291)
    The Neuros HD was reviewed [siliconvalley.com] a few days ago in the Mercury News - and the author had some less than stellar things to say about it. The software issues he mentioned will, I'm sure, be eventually worked out - but apparently the unit uses USB 1 (gack!) rather than Firewire or USB2.

    Anyone care to compute out how long it would take to actually fill that 20GB hard drive that USB 1 speed?

"I prefer the blunted cudgels of the followers of the Serpent God." -- Sean Doran the Younger