Monday, January 17, 2005

100Gb Brick

Over the weekend, I managed to bump up my Creative JB3 to 100Gb. I mean, for a player that was originally designed for a 20Gb disk, this is pretty impressive. I've now got ~10,000 files on it, and although it is a bit of a handful on both Notmad Explorer and Creative Mediasource, it is all up and working.

Since I switched from iPod to going through a variety of other players for the purposes of curiousity, I've been backing up and culling / re-ripping my music from AAC / Apple Lossless to ~256K MP3. Say what you like about MP3, it's the only portable file format out there, and with the sheer variety of players at my disposal at any one time, any other format is too unmanageable... leading to multiple libraries which don't work for me. But what about sound quality testing? Simple, I retain a totally separate 20Gb-ish "test MP3/ATRAC/AAC/FLAC/Apple Lossless/WAV library" containing choice tunes for testing purposes. The test library is stored both on one of my laptops and on a Sony GigaVault, which means it's fully portable. As it may be apparent to you, I take all of this pretty seriously!

I've also spend a lot of time during the last couple of weeks on going through my library. The culled and reduced music library is 80Gb+ at the moment but might actually reduce by about another 10-20Gb or so due to dupe tracks I've discovered (thanks to iTunes for letting me do this in as painless a manner as possible), before I start adding new rips again. So it's expected that the JB3 can store all the CD's I've ripped from my music collection for a few months more at least. Incidentally, this ripping business is a real pain. I might give one of those ripping services a try soon, because the more time I spend on library management, the more CD's pile up to be ripped.

The JB3's a brick, but since the moment I've got this player I've loved it. It's got a flexible and usable (although not quite as good as the iPod) operating system, allows me to playlist and delete on the fly, records to hard disk at a quality that's not really much different from Minidisc (in a native MP3/WAV format, immediately uploadable) and lasts 15-24 hours on a charge. It also has Creative's proportionally accelerating fast forward, which is the next best thing to the iPod among all the other players I've had for scrolling through my longer podcasts. The new Zen Micro goes one better by copying the iPod, allowing pretty accurate time pointing by using the touchpad.

Although it's clearly antiquated I love the fact that the JB3 with upgrades keeps being the HDD DAP that I arguably use the most. I use it to record online broadcasts which aren't podded"to go" by just hooking it up to my laptops or my mixing console's Tape Out and hitting Record. It's still the player I travel with when going further afield, and I even used to use it as a home player thanks to the infrared remote control (I've programmed a learning remote with the codes), although with the introduction of the Squeezebox in my living and bedroom it's no longer needed in the role.

Sound's good too... more or less as good as the best portables curently on the market, and the basic 4-band EQ works for roughly correcting headphone response issues. Although while in normal use I never use the EAX modes they at least do what the labels say ("Arena", "Bathroom" etc actually sounds like the effect titles suggest), unlike Sony's V-Surround implementation for example which is a complete waste of time ("which version of your music coming through a drainpipe would you like?") .

I do hope, although probably in vain, for another firmware release for this player to keep it even more current. I'd also really like to have a folder-navigable display remote, unlike the current remote... I'd pay quite a lot of money for that, since it's the thing I miss most on the JB3.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi bangraman.
I've stayed with MP3 primarily because I use multiple players. In blind ABX testing I've heard differences between AAC and MP3, but anything above 256k on MP3 is acceptable to me for my purposes. I've tried lossless (Apple and Windows), AAC, OggVorbis, etc., but MP3 is still the only universal format. So I'm with you - compatibility is supreme.