A solid-state MP3 player.
A fantastic little device whose general style and feature-set has continued well into the 2010s.
- Replaced by the Creative NOMAD MuVo2
This page was never and will never be completed. It was, at the time, a fantastic little device. Since I purchased it there have been new revisions of the device however after I broke it I ended up going for a Creative NOMAD MuVo2 for additional storage and about the same feature set as this device.
Two things broke on this device. One was I ended up smashing the LCD screen when I walked into a subway turnstile.. ok that was my fault. The second was the headphone jack ended up wearing out. I had to wiggle it to get it to play audio in stereo.
This is a 256MB USB thumb drive which is capable of playing MP3s and WMAs. It is my current king.
Purchased from https://www.canadacomputers.com/, in-person. I'm very happy with them.
*We!! wa Concertmaster II 256MB MP3 player Dirital Voice Recorded WMP-313z plus*
Technical Specifications ∞
Because I know you'll want to get this out in the open right away..
- One AAA Alkaline Battery, approximately 8 hours constant use.
- 96x32 Dot LCD, blue-backlit
- User-defined backlighting duration.
- Very visible during the day or night.
- 97mm x 30mm x 21mm
- 8Kbps~256Kbps (MP3)
- It handles all bitrates I've thrown at it, including 320 VBR. This bitrate spec may be a typo in the manual.
- This is presumably the format it records its voice recordings to.
Presentation is quite important. It gives a first impression and sets the stage for the feeling of quality a customer has for a product.
This device is boxed in a nice bright green and graphically busy box. It was not shrink-wrapped. There is a lot of Chinese on the box, but everything is well explained in English, so I had no worries there. The box is an amazing design. It is hinged and relies on sets of hidden magnets to latch it shut. Inside is a press-board tray form-fitted for each part. All in all, I was quite impressed when I went to open it. Someone stayed up late thinking this stuff up.
FM Radio ∞
They threw in an FM radio addon, with its own little device and headphones. If I had read the box more carefully I would have noted this.
cr2032 coin cell battery was included for this device, as was a pair of foam earpiece covers. A little slip of paper acts as the documentation for this toy, but the device's use is obvious enough that I don't care to even open up the piece of paper.
The device itself is tiny and, from what I can tell, has to be plugged into the thumbnail drive to operate. I, however, don't listen to the radio so I don't really care about this doodad. I wouldn't expect it to be particularly fabulous, but who knows..
The Earphones ∞
The earphones are designed to allow the entire unit to hang like a pendant. Really fucking geeky, but surprisingly useful for the nudists out there. Pick up some cheap earphones if you need to put these in a pocket during use. The pendant earphones are remarkable.. the plug is supported by a guide-string of sorts, so no matter how much abuse you deliver, it remains firmly in place. The wires run into a central point and out into two neatly meshed strings which loop behind your neck. Out of the meshed strings at two points near where one's neck would go comes two wires capped by the two headphones. Frankly I'm astounded at the attention to detail and the usefulness of this concoction.
The FM radio earphones are of the same quality as the standard earphones, and are also designed with the same pendant configuration. Frankly, I would have preferred a drop in price and a second pair of regular earphones instead of this FM radio gadget. They are attached to the device and are not removable.
Hooking It Up ∞
Think of this as merely a mass storage device which happens to be able to play some file formats. As such, there are no copy protection schemes and custom software frontends to hinder your enjoyment.
This is a standard USB 1.0 device, and many people would question the speed at which one can copy files. Rest assured that it is not particularly sluggish to copy blocks of files over. The fact that you can use standard software to manipulate files on it or copy them back and forth makes life a lot easier than with other devices.
Using it with Windows ∞
This device requires no drivers except in Windows 98 (and presumably 95), and those come on a mini-CD. The thumb drive appears as a drive letter. Windows-centric software does come with the device, but it is largely useless compared to using a couple of explorer windows. The documentation recommends that the device should only be formatted with the included software, although it's pre-formatted so there is no worry there.
Extensive testing has been done with a Windows 98 box. Everything appears fine, save for the standard caveat.. *do not remove the device while it is in use*.. unless you want to blue-screen that is. Close explorer windows before yanking the thing.. and for heaven's sake don't yank it while it's copying.. it'll complain, although I've not seen any damage.
Using it with Linux ∞
Under Linux, it is believed that this device can merely be mounted as a SCSI device. The procedure would largely be the same as with Linux and card readers.
While the documentation says the device should be formatted only by the included Windows software, it is pre-formatted so there is no need for concern.
No testing has been done under Linux, except for sharing files to a Windows box via Samba. Beware that many filenames which are legal on Linux are either not legal for Windows or this device. Prepare to rename stuff. I had some terrible nightmares with this, and it appears that some files which were legally named still didn't want to get copied over for some reason, but this could just be a networking or windows concern and not a concern for the device.
File Types Supported ∞
While any file can be stored on it, it can play the
.wma formats (although I have no WMAs to try out on it). Every variation of an mp3 appears to play without flaw.
Configuring It ∞
It has an astounding amount of configurability. When I first played with this, I noted that the blue backlit LCD screen turned off quite quickly, so I went looking for a duration setting. I was shocked to actually find one! Mind-blowing. The basics are all here, there is a satisfying range of equalizer settings as well as an automatic shutdown feature.. so that it won't drain the battery if left on pause for too long.
That aside, there is even a file management feature, so that you can delete files you don't want any more. You can switch into two views, effectively changing the file mask from music to voice files..
Audio Recording ∞
Voice recording actually works! It's surprisingly sensitive in fact, and I found myself able to pick out subtle background sound when I tried it out. I don't particularly care for this sort of feature, but there are those of you who might.
The device can record with a huge range of quality settings, so I'd suppose you could easily stretch this baby out into at least a couple hours of audio recording.
Random Notes and Wishes ∞
- Comes with a USB extension cable.
- Should remember its last played song. It forgets the last song it played.
- VBR timing is way off.. it counts too fast. Songs play fine, this is just a visual bug.
- No ability to show time remaining on a song.. just time total.
- No ability to shown time remaining on the entire series.
- While it can play songs buried in directories, it cannot randomize through them, it just plays them in order.
- Cannot change directories to play songs in a particular directory.
- Be able to show time left for playing all files in a directory.
- Support Playlist type stuff.
No upgradable bios.
- No ogg support.
- No mp3+ support.
- 512MB would have been nice.
No internal battery charging facility - trickle-charge via USB.
- Should come with a rechargable AAA battery.
Under XP, it shows as: SigmaTel MP300F USB Device.