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Rio, MPMAN and MiniDISC.

bij Fastgraphics vond ik een vergelijk tussen deze twee MP3 spelers en de MiniDisc.

hier kun je het helemaal lezen!

The time of vinyl and tapes is really over. Digital is the magic keyword when it comes to high fidelity audio. Not only is a digital audio carrier generally superior in quality compared to an analog sound carrier, most digital media also offer little of no search and skipping time.

A few years ago Sony developed a digital recordable medium that since has become a standard for home and semi-professional use: the MiniDisc. The MiniDisc is Sony's second digital attempt, following the DAT. Though DAT delivers superior audio quality it has one serious disadvantage: It's atape based system wich means that skipping to the next track costs time. The MiniDisc doesn't have this problem. All very cool you might think, but what does it have to do with portable MP3 players?

Well, the techniques applied to MiniDisc systems is somewhat similar to MP3. When you look at the MiniDisc and compare it to a CD, you'll notice that the MiniDisc is a lot smaller, yet still is can carry the same 74 minutes of audio. This can mean two things: either the tracks on a MiniDisc are smaller, thus having a higher density, or MiniDisc uses compression to fit 74 minutes on such a small disc. And the last option is the case: Like MP3 audio encoding, MiniDisc only records "what we hear" meaning that all unneeded sound info is filtered out and not recorded. This causes a very slight degradation in soundquality but allows for a lot of music to be stored on a disc measuring about 6x6 cm.

With the MP3 format of digital music encoding becoming really popular, several companies developed small MP3 decoders meant for personal on-the-road use. They figured that people would like to play their downloaded music on other places/systems than their own computer. Till now you had to connect a tape, DAT or MiniDisc recorder to the souncard to do this.

To store the MP3 files, these players use FLASH memorycards. The amount of memory determines the amount of music that can be stored.

Knowing that the MP3 algorithm compresses audio with a factor 1:12, this means that 680MB audio CD carrying 74 minutes of audio is brought back to about 57MB.

Flash memory is still pretty expensive, so the players that we looked at carried only 32MB. The Diamond Rio can be upgraded using regular Flash memory cards wich are also used in some digital camera's.

The MPMAN cannot be upgraded, but it's available in both 32 and 64MB versions.

I can be real short about the quality of the MiniDisc recording: It's exactly as good as the output on the SB Live and as such almost as good as the CD. So how do the portable MP3 players stack up to the SB Live?

To do a direct head to head, I connected both my CD-player and the players to a receiver wich was conected to B&O speakers of good quality. I started the same MP3 file on the MP3 players and that track was also played from the CDplayer, and by switching sources on the receiver I compared the sound quality!

What surprised my most is that both players sound pretty bad when the EQ is set to normal. The Rio's quality is so- so, but the MPMAN sounds really bad when compared to the original source. There is however something that can be done about that! Megabass, etc...


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Bron: Fastgraphics.


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