Hi all. I have an iRiver ifp-899 that I would like to replace soon. It still works for my main purpose (line-in recording), but the display and headphone jack are wearing out (display has dead vertical lines, headphone jack only sounds right channel). While I wouldn't mind physically opening the player and trying to fix it, I think I'd be better off getting a new player.
With a few exceptions, I have generally liked the ifp-899. However, there are a few changes / upgrades I'd like.
While I'm willing to settle for 1GB capacity, 2GB or even 4GB would be really nice to have, and if it's not too much more expensive, I might even look at 8GB.
There are many features that the iRiver had that I don't want to skimp on (and if possible would like to be improved), including line-in recording (very customizable - could change the recording level (but not while you're recording), change the bitrate (8 to 320kbps and everything in between), select mono/stereo, change the sample frequency (11, 12, 16, 22, 24, 32, 44kHz), select a mike input which significantly boosted the signal (but it was somewhat noisy)), change the playback speed (-9 to +9, worked out to about +/- 30% or so I think), and many other things.
I have generally liked the ifp-899, but since I'm looking at getting another player, I've thought of a few things I'd like changed / upgraded:
I would really like to up the capacity to 2GB or 4GB, and would consider 8GB if it's not too expensive
I'd like better control (and wider range) of the playback speed.
I also plan to purchase a better mike (I have been using a $50 powered Pogo Products stereo lapel mike which sounds super tinny) for this unit (preferably under $100-120) and I'd like to be able to ensure that I can use it with this player even if it's not powered.
I DEFINITELY want to be able to use this as an external storage device (I want to be able to drag and drop files to/from the device using Windows Explorer regardless of the filetype. (the iRiver had a firmware upgrade that you could install to enable this, but it limited line-in recording to 128kbps (instead of the usual 320kbps max).
A few nice things would be the ability to rename (and move among folders) files on the device from the device, and a simple audio editor (the main features I'd use would be splitting / combining files and normalizing.)
Note: I'm not posting concrete prices here yet, because I want to find out what's available with the features I want, and how much I should expect to pay for it. (Note, though, that I paid about $100 give or take 25% (can't remember for sure) for the iRiver.)
I'd also like to purchase a better portable stereo microphone. I've been using a Pogo Products microphone, but it has pretty poor frequency response, highlighted by a huge boost in the 1kHz range. It would drive the line input on my iRiver quite well, though - for most purposes, setting the microphone at 6.5 (out of 9), the iRiver to 47 (out of 64) line-in volume, and with the mic boost off, gave me fairly good results (except for the abysmal frequency response). I'm thinking I'd be willing to pay upwards of $70 to $150 or so for the mic (the Pogo was $50.)
A couple footnotes:
I'm looking for a flash-based player. While I'd like the extra capacity of a player into which I can install a 750GB Seagate 3.5" hard drive (and am willing to deal with the extra heft/bulk), I am afraid that I would crash the heads very soon, as I am prone to dropping things onto hard floors while they are operating.
Also, the radio is unimportant (although a good AM tuner and/or an XM satellite tuner (subscription would be extra cost not included with the player) would be a plus. Also, photo and video viewing capability would be nice, but not having either won't be a dealbreaker. Another nice thing to have would be a built-in speaker, but that's not required either.
Also, I'm not worried about online store compatibility. Most of the music I may put on this will be ripped from personal CDs, cassettes, LPs, etc.
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