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  • Cartoon
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Rio stops making DAPs
This is sad news for for Rio lovers:

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Rio was the first major brand to enter the market, and will be the first to leave when D&M Holdings Inc. shutters its Rio division at the end of September

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Just last month, the D&M sold the technology assets related to the Rio players to SigmaTel Inc., the company that makes the chip sets for the popular iPod Shuffle as well as for many other players, including Rio.


I hope my Karma will last me many years yet. Too bad that the long awaited Karma II/Chroma will never show up now... I really wanted >20GB storage. But that's life...

Source: D&M Holdings Inc., PCMAG
  • Last Edit: 30 August, 2005, 08:33:10 PM by Gambit

  • timcupery
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Rio stops making DAPs
Reply #1
This is too bad, although understandable. The Karma did a lot of things very well, in my understanding, and had the best transfer software out there. Though I'd prefer that my computer be able to treat a DAP as a generic mass-storage device and browse through music by directory structure. I may yet pick up a Karma on eBay because they're much cheaper than HP devices, and the sound quality is reputed to be very good.
God kills a kitten every time you encode with CBR 320

  • rjamorim
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Rio stops making DAPs
Reply #2
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This is too bad, although understandable. The Karma did a lot of things very well, in my understanding, and had the best transfer software out there. Though I'd prefer that my computer be able to treat a DAP as a generic mass-storage device and browse through music by directory structure.[a href="index.php?act=findpost&pid=322851"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


iRiver iHP + Rockbox

Does all the Karma did (except WMA playback, but heh...) and works as a MSD.
Get up-to-date binaries of Lame, AAC, Vorbis and much more at RareWares:
http://www.rarewares.org

  • Cartoon
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Rio stops making DAPs
Reply #3
But the sound quality of the iRiver is not as good... at least that's what I've been told. Lots of stuff on the net that would violate TOS #8 here

Anyone done any serious sound quality comparisons? Some people says it doesn't matter, as DAPs are only used on public transportation and background noise ruins sound etc etc... But I find that my Karma is my primary source of music these days. At home, at work, up in the mountain cabin.

I know that the iRiver players are not bad, but you know... going from good to worse is always more noticable than the other way around.

As for MSD... I prefer my DAP to NOT have it. I want my music to be exclusively organized by ID-tags. Copying music to it as a MSD device would involve some level of database sync. How does Rockbox handle that?

Not to mention that I would miss the Rio docking station...

Sorry if I'm ranting... it's just that this news make me feel a bit blue. I guess I'm not the only music lover that feels attached to his audio gear

  • beto
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Rio stops making DAPs
Reply #4
some time ago i got myself a rio karma player and i'm satisfied with it, but i never expected that rio would discontinue manufacturing DAPs. I guess I was not informed enough when making my choice.

if i know that when doing my choice i would definitely taken another route. too late now.

this may be a really naive question but does anyone know if alternative firmwares might be make available for rioaudio players in the same way that they exist for iriver players? I don't know if Rio published a SDK/API to make this possible and if any group (such as rockbox) is interested in that....
  • Last Edit: 26 August, 2005, 03:00:20 PM by beto

  • rjamorim
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Rio stops making DAPs
Reply #5
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Anyone done any serious sound quality comparisons?


I never found any issues with my iHP-120, but then again, I'm one of the least anal guys around here.

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Copying music to it as a MSD device would involve some level of database sync.


Why a database? Can't we just browse the folder trees?

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this may be a really naive question but does anyone know if alternative firmwares might be make available for rioaudio players in the same way that they exist for iriver players? I don't know if Rio published a SDK/API to make this possible and if any group (such as rockbox) is interested in that....


Is there even a list of components used inside the Karma? I never saw any.
  • Last Edit: 26 August, 2005, 03:23:35 PM by rjamorim
Get up-to-date binaries of Lame, AAC, Vorbis and much more at RareWares:
http://www.rarewares.org

  • AtaqueEG
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Rio stops making DAPs
Reply #6
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iRiver iHP + Rockbox

Does all the Karma did (except WMA playback, but heh...) and works as a MSD.
[a href="index.php?act=findpost&pid=322862"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


Too bad those are even harder to find that a Rio Karma.

So right know, the choice for a new DAP seems smaller that ever.

I am guessing my next DAP (once my Karma gives up) will be a PDA or a Phone, or both things at once. Software-based players, such as in a PDA will certainly offer the most features.

Or I might bite the bullet and get a you-know-what... 
I'm the one in the picture, sitting on a giant cabbage in Mexico, circa 1978.
Reseñas de Rock en Español: www.estadogeneral.com

  • rjamorim
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Rio stops making DAPs
Reply #7
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Too bad those are even harder to find that a Rio Karma.[a href="index.php?act=findpost&pid=322882"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


The iHP 300 series can still be more or less easily found, and efforts to port the Rockbox to it have just started.
Get up-to-date binaries of Lame, AAC, Vorbis and much more at RareWares:
http://www.rarewares.org

  • DreamTactix291
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Reply #8
Expect an iRiver H300 port fairly soon.  I'd say within 2 to 3 months they'll have a bootloader for it and after that it progresses quickly since a lot from the H100 port can be brought over software wise.

And as for the sound quality on the H100/iHP-100 players both my 120 and 140 sound absolutely excellent both connected with S/PDIF to my stereo and drive my Shure E3s through the headphone jack quite well.  Is it possible that there are DAPs with theoretically better sound?  Maybe.  Is it something that's actually audible?  That I'm not so sure of

Either way Rockbox + iHP-140 is everything I've ever wanted out of a DAP

Still a shame that Rio has discontinued making DAPs as I really liked the Karma
Nero AAC 1.5.1.0: -q0.45

  • spoon
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Rio stops making DAPs
Reply #9
>hy a database? Can't we just browse the folder trees?

Not as good, a database is needed to select tracks with genre 'Rock' from the 1980's, needed for 60GB+ players where you have 1000's of tracks.

Now it would be possible to design a player that is MSC that has an internal database (and not talking all tracks are synced when turned on, as that is slow, but rather new tracks only).

  • davidd
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Rio stops making DAPs
Reply #10
Rockbox can use a databse. I havn't tried yet myself though. there is some info about on on the rockbox site and misticriver.net. the standard iRiver firmware can also use a database if you want

and if you want a program to sync music to the player, Allway Sync works nicely

and yeah, it's sad to see Rio not makig any more players

  • rjamorim
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Rio stops making DAPs
Reply #11
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Not as good, a database is needed to select tracks with genre 'Rock' from the 1980's


Nah, I browse by filenames and albums. I'm not wanker enough to demand my playlist to only contain "J-pop from 1996 with choral and violin orchestrations recorded by Sony"

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needed for 60GB+ players where you have 1000's of tracks[a href="index.php?act=findpost&pid=322889"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


I have a little more than 60Gb and a little more than 1000's of tracks in my PC, and I never needed playlists, databases and the like.

IMO, a well-designed folder structure is more than enough.

"(and not talking all tracks are synced when turned on, as that is slow, but rather new tracks only)."

Detecting what tracks are already databased and which ones need to be synced would probably be nearly as slow.


BTW, RockBox guys were working on a Java databaser tool that would run on the server PC only. I think that's a pretty nice solution for people that really need esoteric filters for their tracks. The downside is that you would have to run it whenever you added or removed tracks.
Get up-to-date binaries of Lame, AAC, Vorbis and much more at RareWares:
http://www.rarewares.org

  • spoon
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Reply #12
My point was, you can have MSC and a database which shouldn't need updating by special program, it should self update when a new file appears on the player.

  • Dibrom
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Reply #13
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Not as good, a database is needed to select tracks with genre 'Rock' from the 1980's


Nah, I browse by filenames and albums. I'm not wanker enough to demand my playlist to only contain "J-pop from 1996 with choral and violin orchestrations recorded by Sony"

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needed for 60GB+ players where you have 1000's of tracks[a href="index.php?act=findpost&pid=322889"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


I have a little more than 60Gb and a little more than 1000's of tracks in my PC, and I never needed playlists, databases and the like.

IMO, a well-designed folder structure is more than enough.

"(and not talking all tracks are synced when turned on, as that is slow, but rather new tracks only)."

Detecting what tracks are already databased and which ones need to be synced would probably be nearly as slow.


BTW, RockBox guys were working on a Java databaser tool that would run on the server PC only. I think that's a pretty nice solution for people that really need esoteric filters for their tracks. The downside is that you would have to run it whenever you added or removed tracks.
[a href="index.php?act=findpost&pid=322891"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


The problem with a filesystem is that it's sloppy (presentation of metadata should be seperate from storage handle) and non-scalable.  If you want to start adding metadata (that you don't want to store in the file, i.e. filename) -- and possibly lots of it -- a filesystem won't work.  The system for keeping filenames and metadata in sync will be more complex and more dangerous to modify, and eventually you'll run into filename length limits.  You could get around the last problem with some sort of increasingly complex nesting system, but suffice to say, that makes your management code even more complex and error prone again.

Just because you might not use the metadata doesn't mean that it isn't the right way to solve this kind of problem.

And the "Java databaser tool" you mention wouldn't be very good either.  If it ran only on the host machine that you copied files over from, that means you can't do much to change things when you're away from the server.  Not a very flexible solution IMO.
  • Last Edit: 26 August, 2005, 05:21:44 PM by Dibrom

  • DreamTactix291
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Reply #14
Again this all goes back to personal preference.  MSD with filetree navigation was actually one of the reasons I chose my iHP-120 a year ago in the first place.  I had my organisation system exactly like I liked it already so copying it over was no work at all.

The iRiver device's native firmware supported a database, but it had to be built on the PC and it raised the boot times to ridiculous figures.  So I made the choice I'd wanted to make anyhow.  I actually wish more devices would allow filetree navigation as at least an option but again that boils down to personal preference.
  • Last Edit: 26 August, 2005, 05:32:07 PM by DreamTactix291
Nero AAC 1.5.1.0: -q0.45

  • Cartoon
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Reply #15
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Why a database? Can't we just browse the folder trees?


Not for me. Sure, EAC put my rips into folders (Artist\Album\Track), but I still prefer to navigate by tags. In fact, I used my Rio to organize my music in the first place. Put it all on the Rio and back again.

I'll never use a File/Folder organized player again. Just a personal preference of course. The Rio Music Manager makes sorting and correcting ID-tags easy too.

Edit: Oh, and genre, year is only in the tags. And number of times a track has been played... the Rio DJ use that for playing files based on various criterias. If only it supported multiple genres... so much of my music fits in several genres... Like Jazz is one big genre with many sub-genres... and classical music... opera, baroque, chamber music, choir music... the ID-tag system should be expanded.

Often I'm not in the mood for a particular band, but more of a style of music. When cleaning the appartment I want different music from when I sit and relax with a drink on a Friday night after a long week at work.

There's just so many ways I want to organize everything...

The Karma is the only player that fits my bill, perfect size.. both a small joystick and a scroll wheel. Menues and navigation are a joy (with some exceptions, the Shuffle on/off is too far away), and still it's the only (afaik) player that does proper on-the-fly playlists that you can insert, append, delete music as you wish. There's stuff in the Karma that you would not think was needed... until you've it yourself. ...oh well, ranting again
  • Last Edit: 26 August, 2005, 05:52:47 PM by Cartoon

  • rohangc
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Rio stops making DAPs
Reply #16
I have a Karma and I absolutely love it. However, I saw this coming. Seriously, Rio had an excellent product with an excellent legacy. They just wasted it. I will not give up my Karma any time soon. However, I will wait until the next generation of DAPs come out with the new Sigmatel chips. I cannot live without features like gapless playback and parametric EQ.

If I was buying a DAP right now, I would consider the iRiver or the iAudio range. Never an iPod. It sucks!

  • Digisurfer
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Rio stops making DAPs
Reply #17
Sad news. I was looking forward to the possibility of a Rio Karma II. Bought two Karma's late last fall for the wife and I, and they are both still going strong. We love them. I'd really like to have more than 20GB though. Thankfully aoTuVb4 has helped make the most of the space we have. Hopefully some good will eventually come of all this. From the standpoint of audio quality (gapless, FLAC & Vorbis suppport, great EQ) and technological features (menu deisgn, well organized), the Karma is a very tough player to replace. Thanks to Rockboxx, the iRiver's come close, but that's about it at the moment. I have high hopes for the Neuros III as it sounds like they may get the whole open source idea right this time around by desinging and making free programming tools available to the public, plus they should know by now what matters to a true audio freak, but that won't be out for some time to come unfortunately.
  • Last Edit: 26 August, 2005, 06:20:20 PM by Digisurfer

  • rjamorim
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Rio stops making DAPs
Reply #18
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And the "Java databaser tool" you mention wouldn't be very good either.  If it ran only on the host machine that you copied files over from[a href="index.php?act=findpost&pid=322905"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


By "Server PC" I meant it will only run in a PC, and work its magic through the USB cable. Unless someone is insane enough to create a JRE for the ColdFire.

Sigh...
Get up-to-date binaries of Lame, AAC, Vorbis and much more at RareWares:
http://www.rarewares.org

  • DonP
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Reply #19
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this may be a really naive question but does anyone know if alternative firmwares might be make available for rioaudio players in the same way that they exist for iriver players? I don't know if Rio published a SDK/API to make this possible and if any group (such as rockbox) is interested in that....
[a href="index.php?act=findpost&pid=322877"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


Certainly SOME rio players designed by the same team have alternate software, those being empeg car player and the rio receiver.  I got the impression that by the time they did the Karma they were more paranoid about seen as encouraging file sharing, so wanted to make protection of music files harder to break.

  • Febs
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Reply #20
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The Karma is the only player that fits my bill, perfect size.. both a small joystick and a scroll wheel. Menues and navigation are a joy (with some exceptions, the Shuffle on/off is too far away), and still it's the only (afaik) player that does proper on-the-fly playlists that you can insert, append, delete music as you wish. There's stuff in the Karma that you would not think was needed... until you've it yourself. ...oh well, ranting again
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


Rockbox has very robust playlist handling features, including everything that you mentioned above:

[a href="http://www.rockbox.org/twiki/bin/view/Main/IriverFAQ#How_do_I_create_playlists_]http://www.rockbox.org/twiki/bin/view/Main...eate_playlists_[/url]

  • Cartoon
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Reply #21
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Rockbox has very robust playlist handling features, including everything that you mentioned above:


I don't think so, not according to the docs there -- as it cannot do it on ID-tags. The docs was not clear, but I assume you can insert and remove based on directories and not only tracks/files? When my two Karmas dies, I'll have a look at the Rockbox software... but I hope it will be far in the future. Hopefully there will be Sigmatel players out by then.

The players supported by Rockbox is very hard to get hold of anyway... no "ebay" here with lots of good stuff.

  • Dibrom
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Reply #22
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And the "Java databaser tool" you mention wouldn't be very good either.  If it ran only on the host machine that you copied files over from[a href="index.php?act=findpost&pid=322905"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


By "Server PC" I meant it will only run in a PC, and work its magic through the USB cable. Unless someone is insane enough to create a JRE for the ColdFire.

Sigh...
[a href="index.php?act=findpost&pid=322919"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


Yes, that is what I thought you meant.  What did you think I thought you meant?

And that's exactly what I mean as far as being inflexible.  If it would only "work its magic through the USB cable," then that means it's limited to being useful only when the DAP can be docked.  When the user is on the go (which, I imagine, is where DAPs happen to be used most often), it's useless.
  • Last Edit: 28 August, 2005, 01:09:52 AM by Dibrom

Rio stops making DAPs
Reply #23
I recently purchased an iRiver H340. I don't find navigating by directory structure difficult. I haven't tried the way of the database, as the HManager software that should have created the iRivNavi.iDB file only crashes on my PC. I've also read that bootup with many files and database enabled are very slow. Howevere, if you want playback of files in special order you can always create m3u playlists. Ofcourse the creation of these files can only happen while at the PC with the device connected via USB cable. So it's not very flexible as such....

And really looking forward to a stable RockBox for the H300's.
"ONLY THOSE WHO ATTEMPT THE IMPOSSIBLE WILL ACHIEVE THE ABSURD"
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  • ChangFest
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Rio stops making DAPs
Reply #24
Now back on topic: Here's some info on the devices Rio was working on for release...

http://engadget.com/entry/1234000407056297/
http://www.dapreview.net/comment.php?comment.news.2049