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iriver iHP120 - comments please?, remote? long filenames? random? vbr?
juglesh
post May 28 2004, 03:39
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hi, thinking about getting one of these, mostly cuz of the lcd remote. but i've heard it doesnt display the artist? is this display from tags or filenames? playlist names? if your tunes are 'folderized' does it recognize these folders? is there any workaround for this artist vs. remote thing? (renaming/tagging/folderizing/playlists?)

also, i hear there is a problem with long filenames, or is it long tags also?

the random is funky? i guess you could load a randomized playlist?

mostly, i'll be listening to random, but how hard is it to find artists, albums and playlists? i'm guessing changing from Abba to ZZtop is going to be a hassle?

important- are there issues with differnt flavors of cbr vbr abr js ss and high and low bitrates?

does it remember where you are in the song/playlist/filelist if you turn it off? does it remember your settings if you turn it off?

i dont see a VU for the recording feature, is there at least a clip indicator?

thanks for your time,


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theGrue
post May 28 2004, 05:13
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I don't have this specific player, but I do know iRivers pretty well, so here's what I can offer:

You're not going to run into any playback issues, with mp3s at least. ABR, VBR, CBR, it's all good. They've been known to be a bit spotty in ogg implementation, only supporting certain ranges of bitrates because of hardware limitations. OGG decoders are more complex, apparently.

Navigation is up to you. You can browse your own, customized dirtree, or use the "database" system, which I assume pulls info from tags. I have heard that this contributes quite a bit to the player's startup time, and if you can lay everything out how you want to see it, it should be unnecessary.

I'm sure it displays tags, their SlimX line of CD players definately does, at least, and all their players are basically structured the same.

The rest of the questions I don't know much about, hopefully some other users can help.
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screaminghell
post May 28 2004, 10:19
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ask the guys over on this unofficial iriver forum

http://misticriver.net/
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SebastianG
post May 28 2004, 16:13
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I own this device (H120) and I'm quite happy with it.
Very good soundquality with the supplied ear-plugs.

Main unit display (playback):
[x] Folder (not scrolling)
[x] Artist (not scrolling)
[x] Song title (scrolling)

Remote display (playback)
[x] Folder (not scrolling)
[x] Song title (scrolling)

Among those infos you can also see the (remaining) time, battery status, the number of this song (all songs are numbered sequentially), Format (mp3,ogg,wma,wav), sampling rate, bitrate, equilizer/effect setting and a progress bar of the current playing song. (on both displays)

I'm using this naming sheme for albums, now:
%artist%/[%year%-]%album%/%trackno%-%tracktitle%
It eases file structure navigation and you get the album title displayed (folder).

Long filenames / browsing:
The player handles long filenames but there's a limitation in the database-mode. Usually you browse the file structure (default) or a list of playlists but you can also create the file "iRivNavi.iDB" in the root of the device's hard disc with a special tool. This allows browsing by artists, albums, genre and track title. However the file format of this database does not allow to store filenames longer than 52 characters (currently).
Anyway, if you have lots of music including lots of singles the usage of this database mode is rather painful because scrolling all artits takes very long. So I prefer browsing by file structure. No problem with long filnames here.

Playback modes:
The device allows multiple playback modes, different combinations of shuffle and repeat for the current directory, a playlist, all files... however, the current firmware uses a relativly simple method for seeding the random number generator.
According to some comments on the iRiver user boards it is believed that the seed is the number of the current playing title. So, it's not unlikely that a specific order can be reproduced easily. iRiver promised a firmware upgrade fixing this issue and scheduled it for May.

File support / seeking (scanning):
It plays all files I have fine. These include CBR and VBR mp3 files and Ogg Vorbis files from -q2 to -q6 (1.0.1 encoder & aoTuV beta 2). I don't know of any bitrate limitation. By the time writing this, i remembered that seeking of ONE SPECIFIC VBR mp3 file didn't work properly. Maybe because of a missing VBR-Header-Tag or something, I haven't checked it yet. Anyhow, seeking usually works at selectable "scan speeds" (1X, 2X, 4X). If the 4X mode is still to slow for you you can enable the "study mode" and skip a user definable amount of minutes and seconds.

Playback resuming:
It supports resuming of the playback when it is switched off and on again. It works for playlists, too. Cool feature for audio books because playback starts at the exact position.

Recording:
I haven't yet played much with this feature, but AFAIK you can toggle the automatic gain control on/off and monitor the volume by enabling the monitor feature and check for yourself via earphones.

Conclusions:
Neither the iPod nor the iRiver H120 is a perfect player. They both have some pros and cons. 3 friends of mine own an iPod and I've played with it, too. For me iRiver's H120 is the better choice.
CONs: Navigation via database mode isn't that useful to me. Suboptimal shuffle mode.
PROs: Remote control has a display. You can control everything with the remote. Browsing by file structure is sufficient for me and allows a personal "layout" of your files. I don't have to use a special software application to transfer my songs (like iTunes), I can directly copy them via the USB mass storage protocol which is nativly supported by most OSes and it supports Ogg Vorbis (and WMA).
The CONs are pure firmware issues IMHO and maybe fixed in upcomming versions. At least the shuffle thing is taken care of by iRiver among stuff like gapless playback and "on-the-fly playlists" (whatever that's supposed to mean).

Firmware release schedule accorging to www.iriver.com:
May: on-the-fly file deletion and a real shuffle mode
June: on-the-fly playlist and gapless playback


bye,
Sebastian

edit: wording

This post has been edited by SebastianG: May 28 2004, 19:06
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dobz
post May 28 2004, 16:45
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I was looking for similar info myself, i just cant decide between this and a rio karma!

anyway heres a bit more info

From there general FAQ

http://www.iriveramerica.com/support/H100_FAQ.aspx

Q. How does the H100 sort files?
A. By default, the H100 will sort files and folders numerically or alphabetically based on a folder's title or file's iD3 tag. Once the H100 has been updated using the Database function, the Player will be able to dynamically sort files by Artist / Album / Genre / Title / File-Folder.

hmm does a track number id3tag override alphabetical song title sorting? hmm..

Also found this problem which put me off a bit

http://misticriver.net/index.php?name=PNph...b729834f3cae934
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SebastianG
post May 28 2004, 19:24
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QUOTE (dobz @ May 28 2004, 07:45 AM)
hmm does a track number id3tag override alphabetical song title sorting? hmm..

I wouldn't count on it. It's wise to name your files like i proposed.
like "Prodigy\1997-The Fat Of The Land\04-Funky Shit.ogg" for example.

bye,
Sebi
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Lurkas
post May 29 2004, 06:45
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Now that gapless playback seems to be possible with this device, I'll most likely buy one.

The spec. sheet says it reads ID3 tags and Winamp playlists.

Does the iHP 120 read Vorbis Comments?

Does it take advantage of and read the #EXTINF in playlists?
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ger@co
post May 29 2004, 07:12
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QUOTE (SebastianG @ May 28 2004, 09:13 AM)
Very good soundquality with the supplied ear-plugs.


I apologize for veering off-topic, but your statement has peaked my interest. Are they actual ear-plugs that fit into the ear canal like the Etys, or are they simply ear-buds that sit at the opening of the ear canal? If they are, indeed, ear-plugs, I am definitely interested.

Later.


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dev0
post May 29 2004, 10:07
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They are very simple ear-buds. I replaced mine with MX-500s.


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SebastianG
post May 29 2004, 12:51
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QUOTE (Lurkas @ May 28 2004, 09:45 PM)
Now that gapless playback seems to be possible with this device, I'll most likely buy one.

The spec. sheet says it reads ID3 tags and Winamp playlists.

Does the iHP 120 read Vorbis Comments?

Does it take advantage of and read the #EXTINF in playlists?

If gapless playback is an important feature you expect from a player. You should wait until the firmware is released before buying the device. Just in case.

Yes, it reads Vorbis comment tags.

As for the #EXTINF stuff: No.
It's just a WinAMP tag and depends on the input plugin settings.
It's not always %artist% - %title%

bye,
Sebastian
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indybrett
post May 29 2004, 16:27
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QUOTE (SebastianG @ May 28 2004, 10:13 AM)
Firmware release schedule accorging to www.iriver.com:
May: on-the-fly file deletion and a real shuffle mode
June: on-the-fly playlist and gapless playback

Gapless playback? With MP3, Vorbis, or both? Do you have a link to that information on the iRiver site? I'm going there to see if I can find it now.

This post has been edited by indybrett: May 29 2004, 16:32


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ep0ch
post May 29 2004, 18:11
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QUOTE
Gapless playback? With MP3, Vorbis, or both? Do you have a link to that information on the iRiver site? I'm going there to see if I can find it now.


Firmware for Gapless comes out in June apparantly. Wait till then and I'll let you know if it works with mp3. IMHO it probably won't be perfectly gapless with mp3 but will be for Vorbis.

PS. iHP-120 is the best gadget I have bought in a long time!!

This post has been edited by ep0ch: May 29 2004, 18:13
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ger@co
post May 30 2004, 00:16
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QUOTE (dev0 @ May 29 2004, 03:07 AM)
They are very simple ear-buds.


Okay, thank you.

Later.


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juglesh
post May 30 2004, 19:16
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ok, thanks all, specially sebastian for the detailed info, and screaming hell for the link to that forum, i hadnt found them yet.


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bhangraman
post Jun 4 2004, 20:57
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For what it's worth, I have the iPod, iPod Mini, NJB3 and Minidisc. I have a variety of MP3/CD players as well. I've owned the Zen and of course the iHP-120. The iHP was at the same time the player which showed the most promise but disappointed most severely. It's an excellent gadget: It's just not a very good recorder or player.


The MX400 as shipped with the iRiver is a canny gesture. It does make the unit sound considerably more resolved than some of the POS phones that other players are bundled with. However ultimately these are $10 phones and bringing much better headgear into the equation dulls that advantage. If anything I found the iRiver to have a bloated and dull sound.


I find iTunes actually useful. It's a very good tool for allowing me to listen to music in a variety of ways, and also for managing a very large library of music. I find a lot of comments against it made by propellerheads (who probably have 100 CD's to their name, if that) irrelevant.


Perhaps I'm being harsh against it because I bought it based on all the positive comments which were made by iHP owners... the unit was intended to replace both the NJB3 and the iPod. However owning, not trying, the NJB3 / iHP / iPod simultaneously did bring to light the inadequacies of the iHP for recording AND playback.


To add to what Sebastian answered:
The H120 has no clipping indicator, and no VU meters.

This post has been edited by bhangraman: Jun 4 2004, 21:02
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jamesattufts
post Jun 5 2004, 08:38
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I don't share your feelings about the sound being dissapointing, without the equalizing nonsense mine sounds as good as any portable I've heard, including the 2g ipod i still own and the 3g i returned. If you work out or don't like walking around a city worrying about advertising you're holding something worth 400 bucks that's instantly fenceable, the remote is a big deal. As is the battery life when your 40 gigs of music can't always make it through a transatlantic flight or a week's worth of morning commutes. I've used the radio enough to miss it on the ipod, and it's a good portable hard drive in a pinch.

They're under 300 dollars now, at least on newegg, mine's taken a couple of drops onto concrete without incident. I'm not sure I'd ever pay apple's asking price now that the ipod isn't alone in the hard-drive game, especially with the experience with a bum 3g headphone amp I had(my 2g is still going strong, in fairness).

I don't think any portable will sound good with 580/600/650's, but my iriver drives my e3's, px100s and rs-1s with the stock grado adaptor admirably. the latter seems a bit better if you don't use the remote and plug it in directly to the unit.

I'm a creature of habit in how i tag and organize things, since lots of it is being transcoded from flac these days so the fact it doesn't limit my ability to do this is a bonus for me. if you'd rather have one, generally adequate, way to do things, you'll like the ipod better since it makes your decisions for you.

basically, there's nothing to worry about with the sound---it's not an ipod, but it's under 300 dollars and has the remote, radio, and about double the battery life that apple can't sell you for 500. if you like itunes, the software will seem crude. if you like eac, it's as easy as dragging and dropping the albums you've extracted, albeit with a little less-hand-holding and tweaking required than itunes. i don't know much about the karma, but the ipod and ihp are both decent products that'll probably make it hard to imagine life before carrying 20-40gigs of music with you all the time-james

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bhangraman
post Jun 5 2004, 09:17
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Last year the 3G was a little "bum" as you say. I too noticed this and returned it. Now? Not really. With a decent pair of phones for example (ER-4S, E5, etc) it's noticebly cleaner than even the iHP's optical out .

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ep0ch
post Jun 5 2004, 10:49
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QUOTE
With a decent pair of phones for example (ER-4S, E5, etc) it's noticebly cleaner than even the iHP's optical out


And just how did you compare an analogue signal with a digital one?
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indybrett
post Jun 5 2004, 14:36
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I have the 140. I would not trade it for any other player.

What I would improve:

1. The jog dial.
2. More Volume (because I want it louder)
3. Gapless

That's it.

4. Recording level meter wink.gif

This post has been edited by indybrett: Jun 5 2004, 15:18


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dev0
post Jun 5 2004, 14:41
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QUOTE (indybrett @ Jun 5 2004, 02:36 PM)
1. The jog dial.
2. Gapless
3. Recording Level-Meter

I corrected that for you wink.gif.
The volume is loud enough, really.
IMHO the iHP is by far the most flexible portable music player you can get at the moment. An iPod may be sexier, but why should a device I'm going to carry in my pocket most of the time be uber-sexy?


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ep0ch
post Jun 5 2004, 17:58
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ipod aint sexy, it looks like a bar of soap!
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bhangraman
post Jun 7 2004, 19:21
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QUOTE (ep0ch @ Jun 5 2004, 01:49 AM)
QUOTE
With a decent pair of phones for example (ER-4S, E5, etc) it's noticebly cleaner than even the iHP's optical out


And just how did you compare an analogue signal with a digital one?

I have the Audio-Technica ATH-D1000 which I was using with the iHP-120. Note where it's plugged in.



I 'controlled' the output with a variety of portable CD players. The iHP sounded unaccountably worse than some of my PCDP's with the same source data.

Analog output comparison between iPod and iHP-120 (Line Outs):
Ray Samuels XP-7 amp + Audio-Technica ATH-W2002

Stax SR-007 Omega II + Stax SRM-007t
iPod won on each occasion.


I'd suggest going with the iRiver if the extra features are worth it to you. If you're a jobbing musician, etc the recording facilities although not ideal may come in handy. If you're a 'damn the quality, check out them gadgets' geek, similarly this is the most gadgety player in existence. If sound is of the essence however and you're prepared to make a heavy investment in phones to suit, then the iPod is what I'd recommend. It's also smaller but only by a bit and a hell of a lot easier to use.

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jamesattufts
post Jun 7 2004, 20:36
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QUOTE (bhangraman @ Jun 5 2004, 03:17 AM)
Last year the 3G was a little "bum" as you say. I too noticed this and returned it. Now? Not really. With a decent pair of phones for example (ER-4S, E5, etc) it's noticebly cleaner than even the iHP's optical out .

Apple was decent about taking it back and I was lucky I used amex since moving 500 dollars around on credit cards can turn in to 20 dollar fees sometimes. i know the first model of cars, motherboards, etc tend to be buggier, but part of the thing's selling point and justification for costing more than comprably sized stuff is it's supposed to work well-you expect more when you buy stuff like a MB S/E-class versus a kia in build quality, a pricing premium like apple has in a unit it already got right before should mean the headphone jacks shouldn't get junky since they aren't something apple had to do much innovation with.

that issue, apple's problems with the mpeg-4 standard and failure to do much about it, and battery issues convinced me not to buy another one of their products on blind faith. \

The ipod headphone jack WAS good, i don't know if it was fixed, in fairness. IF you get a flawless one and use a headphone amp costing more than the ipod through 650's you may indeed notice a difference if you set out looking for one. The genius of these things is that you can take them places---if one has stuff like the rey samuels, you've probably got a better source to listen to around the house----a cd player has no transparency issues, no batteries, and a full-sized jack for an amp, so does a decent soundcard and foobar's better to use if you're sitting at your desk as it doesn't have wires and you're already using your mouse.

fundamentally, i liked the 600s i sold along with amp more than the rs-1s, but whatever i gave up was worth actually being able to use headphones i own with a portable.
it struck me as totally absurd to carry around 1200 dollars in amps, player and headphones all the time-not why i'd buy a portable. there are headphones comprable to the higher-impedance favorites that you can actually take places. I'd love my laptop to perform at the same level as my tower, but it's an acceptable tradeoff for portability, just as i'm ok if if i don't feel my iriver is as good as a traditional source if i was putting it through expensive amplifiers and phones. i've actually never noticed any flaws.

if you need a perfect source and can hear differences due to equipment or deliberatley looking for them, lossy files on an mp3 player have the potential to drive you nuts, with the codec being much more likely a culprit than the jack.
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calx
post Jun 7 2004, 21:18
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QUOTE (bhangraman @ Jun 7 2004, 01:21 PM)
QUOTE (ep0ch @ Jun 5 2004, 01:49 AM)
QUOTE
With a decent pair of phones for example (ER-4S, E5, etc) it's noticebly cleaner than even the iHP's optical out


And just how did you compare an analogue signal with a digital one?

I have the Audio-Technica ATH-D1000 which I was using with the iHP-120. Note where it's plugged in.



I 'controlled' the output with a variety of portable CD players. The iHP sounded unaccountably worse than some of my PCDP's with the same source data.

Analog output comparison between iPod and iHP-120 (Line Outs):
Ray Samuels XP-7 amp + Audio-Technica ATH-W2002

Stax SR-007 Omega II + Stax SRM-007t
iPod won on each occasion.


I'd suggest going with the iRiver if the extra features are worth it to you. If you're a jobbing musician, etc the recording facilities although not ideal may come in handy. If you're a 'damn the quality, check out them gadgets' geek, similarly this is the most gadgety player in existence. If sound is of the essence however and you're prepared to make a heavy investment in phones to suit, then the iPod is what I'd recommend. It's also smaller but only by a bit and a hell of a lot easier to use.

Not exactly portable now, is it? rolleyes.gif laugh.gif
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bhangraman
post Jun 7 2004, 21:37
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I've always believed in bringing a tactical nuke to a gunfight tongue.gif



As for portable phones, my comparison did involve some more realistic gear... Shure E5 and Etymotic ER-4S. Once again the iPod took it.

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