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In Pursuit of the ULTIMATE DAP.. aka My Long Boring Post :(

by LiQuiD_FuSioN / November 22, 2005 3:00 AM PST

Okay, let's take a look at the mp3 player market.

First, we had flash players. I remember seeing the name ''Rio'' and it's mp3 player sections collecting dust on the shelves; at this time I was never interested in digital music. That's until my friend got a RCA lyra 64mb player for his Christmas and boy, I was amazed. It had amazing bass-pumping sound and ever since, I've been in pursuit of an MP3 player like this one packing that ''wowness'' effect.

On Christmas, I asked my dad for a ''RCA Lyra'' just like my friend and they were probably 100-300 dollars at the time. Sadly, I only recieved a Rio Volt MP3-CD player and an Outkast CD (Stankonia, I didn't even know them at the time); and maybe a pair of socks on the side. My Christmas was minimal about 5 years ago and I understood that money was tight so I had to be happy with my CD-MP3 player instead of the high tech ''digital music player''. Honestly, the Rio Volt sucked major a*s. I would walk 10 steps and it skipped on me, the battery life was probably a defective 2 hours and it made me angry enough to throw it across the room. I wasn't happy at all period and my friend was still flaunting his until 2 weeks later it was stolen. LOL. And that was the end of MP3 players for him, he forgot about it and was into other things. However, I was still brooding over his MP3 player. I still wanted one.

Then years later and still searching for an mp3 player to rival my friend's Lyra, I found a Rio Riot 20 gig player on sale for $150. I had a very small part-time job (>15 hour work weeks) and forked my money out for this player. And later my dad bought one too. I remember seeing it on TV and I thought it was cool. So, I opened it up and I was amazed at the size of the thing. I fired it up, loaded it with music.. which took forever for a few songs and started rocking.

So, the Rio Riot was a better player for me. Even though I never knew what the term ''portability'' was, the Rio Riot was a huge BRICK. I still have it and to this day I'm amazed at how far technology has come in a couple years. I guess after owning the Riot and later having it's headphone jack ripped when my headphones got caught on a bus seat, I figured I was experienced enough in the DAP market.

My next purchase was the Rio Karma. I guess from using the Rio Riot and loving it's UI, I decided to test out their new model. I was (again) amazed how much smaller this thing was compared to the Rio Riot. The big aching feeling in the back of my mind was getting the Apple iPod. (At the time they had the 3G out with the 4 playback buttons at the top.) But after much research beforehand, I figured the Rio Karma would be the viable purchase. Since it had OGG, FLAC, WAV, MP3, WMA, a 3-second crossfade and an FM tuner, I knew it was the best. And it was very good, it lasted a good 3 years before the scroll wheel broke off and the fact that it alyways skipped after 10 minutes of continuous walking; not to mention the HD freezing up. Still, ending this point on a lighter note: It did the job and supplied me with fun when I needed it.

Finally, after deciding that the player needed an update and having dropped the player on an icy sidewalk scratching the heck out of the screen. This is where I went totally wrong imo, I let my greedyness and taste for the ''hot new product'' get the best of me. I bought a 4G 40GB iPod for my dad. At first it was supposed to be right on his birthday, but I couldn't contain myself, so I bought it 3 months early. Then it didn't stop there, I bought a 4G 20GB for my mother since I didn't want her carrying a bulking Sony Walkman CD player (which was probably worth it). Last, but not least, I bought myself a whopping 4G 60GB iPod Photo for over $600!!. *gasps for air*

I tested out the features, tested the photos, looked at the games etc etc. It still doesn't have the Rio Karma's intuitive menus, no Rio-DJ, no custom EQ, no crossfade, no MP3 information to be viewed and last of all no GAPLESS playback. Still, I followed the trend and now I have only a slightly-satisified feeling from the iPod; which is a feeling mixed with just spending cash for the heck of it.

Bottom line, I'm not yet happy. And my heart is still broken from finding out that Rio is out of the business. Even though they may have had one good product out of a crappy bunch, I just miss the quality that made the Karma great. Even though there are other players out there like the iAudio or iHP-120, or Zens.. if I don't see gapless or audio quality listed under the specs or read breaking news about them in forum news, I just don't bother to look.. Maybe I overlooked some? I don't know, but with today's players I can't be certain that everyone who loves music as much as I do could be completely satisfied with what they got right now. Or maybe most are? Who knows, all I know is that the perfect player that has most of everything still has yet to be created. Sure, most players come damn near close, but they still lack in some areas imo.

The Perfect Player IMHO would be:
1) Supports ALL major audio codecs: OGG, FLAC, WMA + DRM, AAC, MP3, WAV etc.
2) Supports ALL major video codecs: MPEG-4, AVI, MOV, MPEG, WMV, etc.
3) 4-5 inch WIDESCREEN display, let's say: a bright display
4) FM tuner AND an XM/Sirius satellite tuner!
5) 512mb, 1 GB, 6 GB, 20 GB, 40 GB, 60 GB, 80 GB, 100 GB, 120 GB models
6) Small thin design (hope HDs get smaller and smaller)
7) 1-10 second crossfade
Cool Ultra bass technology, I want a player that can pound your ear drums like the ancient RCA Lyra player as well as the Rio Karma.
9) Custom-5 band EQ like the Rio Karma
10) Drag and drop file system
11) Sync to documents and Outlook for the business aspect of this player
12)A Wifi connection. Let users go online and buy music, check e-mail etc. Listen to other people's playlists by syncing up to other players of the same model. ALSO - upload other songs to other player wirelessly
13) Web browser; like the PSP even though it's tedious when typing on the keyboard
14) A DJ system like the Rio Karma. Play the newest songs, old songs, most played songs etc.
15) A very long lasting Li Ion battery, lasting anywhere from 50-100 hours. SigmaTel currently has the technology for this type of thing.
16) Long life for video as well, maybe 20 hours (which is normal for audio only life, haha) even.
17) The perfect player also comes in a CELL-PHONE slash PDA model, all the same features as the normal DAP except it costs more for the extra stuff.

I have no reason to believe that this isn't totally impossible other than beefing up the DAP (or now the digital audio AND video player) with a 120GB HD. *sigh*

*looks over at his 60GB iPod Photo.. looks at his old Rio Karma.. then looks at the beat-up Rio Volt.. then looks over at the Rio Riot covered with dust. And then drops down to see the Nano he bought recently.*

*sighs again* -_-

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