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Questions regarding iRiver iMP-550

I was looking for some good and cheap CD based MP3 players and came across the iRiver iMP-550. I also read some posts here on Hydrogenaudio. Some users are very happy, some users claim that the chasis is somehow fragile or that they have other problems.

Anyways, the iMP-550 seems to be the best choice. Before buying the product, I would like to ask some questions.
  • Does the iMP-550 work with "normal" batteries, or does it come with some proprietary accumulators?
  • Does it have any problems with MP3 files (VBR in particular)?
  • Is Ogg Vorbis support limited to certain bit-rates? IIRC, someone said that only -q6 would be supported. Is that correct?
  • Which tag formats does the player support?
  • Does any of you have problems with track playing order? A user on HA stated that his player wouldn't respect the track order and that it would play 1, 10, 11, ... , 2, 3 ... He also wrote that he was able to fix that problem by tweaking some Nero / EAC options, but wasn't specific.
  • Any other things I should take care of?
Also, according to the technical specifications, the player should have a pretty good quality. What is your opinion (CDA, MP3 and radio)?

Edit 1: Anyone tried playing 90/99 minutes CDs with it?

Sebastian Mares
  • Last Edit: 19 July, 2004, 07:39:45 AM by Sebastian Mares

Questions regarding iRiver iMP-550
Reply #1
I have the iMP-400, but the hardware (apart from processor) is essentially the same.

It works with 2 "gumstick" batteries which are inserted in two separate bays inside the unit. It means the CD has to come out to change the batteries. (If you get a spare set) An (ugly) external battery pack (2AAs) can be attached but this only makes sense if you carry it in a bag of some sort.
No problems with high bitrate MP3.
Vorbis - minimum bitrate supported is 96 max is 160.
ID3 Tags  - anything EAC can generate regarding MP3 seems to work fine.
Tracks will be played in order if you name them 01 02 03 etc otherwise alhabetically.
The wired remote can be a real pain until you get used to it. Some buttons on mine are not responding as they should. Its not firmware related.
AFAIK 90-99 mins CDs do work but reliability over the 80 min mark is not great.

  • trubl
  • [*]
Questions regarding iRiver iMP-550
Reply #2
Vorbis - minimum bitrate supported is 96 max is 160.

the IMP-550 supports bitrates between 96 and 256kbps with the updated firmware

[a href="]iRiver News - iRiver International[/url]

  • Lev
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
Questions regarding iRiver iMP-550
Reply #3
iMP-250 plays up to ~90 mins, although I dont really have anyway of knowing if my burner burns the 90-99min range properly or not really, it will read it back itself, but not much else will.  Anyway, I cant believe 550 regresses on this

Without answering any of your other questions, I dont think you'll be disappointed with it

Questions regarding iRiver iMP-550
Reply #4
I was able to get an unit from my Dad's mate and noticed the following things:
  • If the ID3v2 tag contains non supported fields, like ReplayGain information, the whole tag is skipped, rather than the particular fields.
  • It takes very long to load CDs at all. While the disc spins up, I can hear a crackling noise coming from the lens.
    CD-RWs containing MP3s take about 30 seconds to load.
    CD-RWs containing digital audio tracks take about 20 seconds to load.
    CD-Rs containing MP3s take about 20 seconds to load.
    CD-Rs and CDs containing digital audio tracks take about 15 seconds to load.
  • When stopping, the lens is moved to the middle of the CD. When turning on, the lens attempts to read that position (50%). This works fine for CDs which really contain more than 50% data, but when inserting an erased CD-RW with 20% data, the device seems to crash (it won't load the CD at all, but keeps spinning up and making a crackling noise). Instead of moving the lens to the beginning of the CD, it tries to re-read over and over.
Unfortunately, I am not allowed to install a newer firmware. The current one is 1.04.
  • Last Edit: 04 August, 2004, 02:14:42 PM by Sebastian Mares