Gadgets Review

In praise of an old iRiver MP3 player


The spring of my freshman 12 months of school, my mother bought my drum set. I used the cash to purchase an MP3 participant. Sorry. A multi-codec jukebox.

There’s a sure kind of one that, when confronted with a glossy, pleasant, easy-to-use Apple product, will rail on about all of the options it doesn’t have, all of the issues you’ll be able to’t do with it, all of the methods the walled backyard is a lure. This particular person has existed for the reason that daybreak of time. I was that man. I nonetheless am, generally, however I was, too. And so, within the spring of 2004, when the iPod had been out for 2 and a half years, I spent $330 on an iRiver iHP-120. Rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?

The iHP-120 was so bodily. The place the iPod was grey and white, the iRiver was a black brick with silver rails and visual screws. It had a 1.8-inch 20GB spinning exhausting drive. It had a joystick on the entrance. It had 4 bodily buttons and a lock slider on the perimeters. It had an FM radio. It had an equalizer button. It had a 3.5mm headphone jack plus a pair of optical / analog combo jacks: one for line-in, one for line-out, which meant another person may plug in a second pair of headphones. It got here with a lapel mic and a wired distant. The distant had an LCD display screen, headphone jack, and three management dials, so you can depart the MP3 participant in your backpack, fish the distant out, and clip it to the backpack strap.

The wired distant for the iRiver iHP-120 let me hold the primary unit in my backpack. On reflection, it’s a bit a lot.

Is that this an excessive amount of stuff? Perhaps! The wired distant, particularly, tended so as to add a bunch of static, so I didn’t use it a lot. Can’t say I ever used the optical ports, both.

However I used the MP3 participant continuously. Not only for listening to MP3s (it additionally helps lossless FLAC and Ogg Vorbis!) but additionally to file interviews for my journalism courses. I recorded my pals telling mildly scandalous tales (on the file! not secretly). I dragged and dropped entire collections of dubiously tagged MP3s from my pals. Earlier than I had a laptop computer, I used it to switch my schoolwork between the library computer systems and my dorm room desktop.

I bought a gummy case for it, with a belt clip. I joined a discussion board about it. In some unspecified time in the future, I changed the iRiver firmware with Rockbox. Some of us changed the exhausting drives on theirs with CF card adapters and later changed the CF playing cards with SD-to-CF adapters. I by no means fairly bought that far.

I’d virtually forgotten about shortage

Finally — both in late 2006, after I bought one of those Windows Mobile smartphones with the sliding keyboards, or in 2008, after I bought an iPhone — I finished carrying the iRiver all over the place, however I hung onto it. Its exhausting drive turned a fossil file of my musical style within the years earlier than streaming: a 4GB “varied artists” folder, only a ton of Elliott Smith and Mountain Goats albums, a set of mashups from my first 12 months in San Francisco. The 30 best-rated albums on Metacritic in 2008, no matter style. A recording of my pal Invoice speaking about his time within the Jesus Folks commune. All these recorded interviews and essays. Now and again, I’d pull it out and let the recollections wash over me.

I’d virtually forgotten about shortage. My children barely work together with bodily media, and it’s exhausting for them to grasp the concept of, like, after I was a child, in the event you didn’t have a bodily copy of one thing — an album on cassette or CD, a film on VHS or (later) DVD — and it didn’t occur to be on, you simply didn’t have entry to it. In highschool, I carried a transportable CD participant and a type of huge binders of CDs. Once I bought the iRiver, I crammed it with those self same CDs, which I’d (very slowly!) ripped to my pc, plus no matter MP3s I’d borrowed from pals’ computer systems and the dorm community. It was principally a extra moveable model of that binder stuffed with CDs. I listened to what I had, and what I had stayed on there. It was a very totally different ball recreation than the overabundance we take without any consideration right this moment.

The opposite day, I fished the factor out of a drawer and turned it on once more. It labored positive, however all of the recordsdata have been gone. I figured I should have deleted them in some unspecified time in the future. I felt weirdly unhappy. Then I hit the “rebuild database” possibility within the menu. It discovered a thousand recordsdata within the recycle bin. Nothing had been misplaced in any respect.

Images by Nathan Edwards / The Verge


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