Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Rivers vs Pods

(Put an 'i' in front of it....). Last weekend, on a short dash to Vilnius, my 3-year-old Iriver seized up. It contained about 3300 music tracks (including half a dozen operas), and it was the moment I had feared - well, half anyway. The other half of me had waited for a long time to get rid of the clunky, bulky iriver IHP140 which took up a lot of space either in my bag, or on my side whilst travelling. The main reason why I bought the Iriver rather than an Ipod three years ago was that it also had radio reception (so I could have had a change from my CDs - all of which I have bought!). But I never used the radio. So on the way through Munich airport I picked up an ipod, the big one. The others are wonderful and dinky, but 4 or 8 Gb are no good to me.

Like all Ipods, this is wonderfully designed - totally smooth and streamlined, and with a lovely steel back. I have heard that the front scratches easily, though. It only comes with a USB cable, linking it to the computer, including for charging - which is no good if you dare travel without your laptop! So another 30 Euros for a charging cable is a bit steep. Also, unlike the Iriver, it comes without a case - though, with this being a bit of cult item, and thousands of cases around, people may wish to choose their own. Much like Madame Thatcher's social protection model - 'we won't tax you and you can choose to arrange your own pension'. Could not find a case at the airport, though, that was neither naff nor likely to break apart with a bit of heavy use.

The Iriver is easier to load, I think, or maybe I am used to it more. Its folders look just like any other folder on the computer; but if you try to find folders on the Ipod pages you have real trouble identifying continuous pieces of music. In the Iriver I could have deleted music, like a whole opera - in the ipod they are scattergunned all over the place. And I could sort my music into different types, without the system telling me that Mozarts piano concertos are dance music. I had labelled, very labouriously, the Iriver folders where the older CDs did not have the capacity to pull their name, address and soloist details from the internet. These are now on the Ipod as disks 1 to 89 or whatever, and at some stage I will have to sort them out, individually, to re-indentify them. My main worry, that all tracks 1 would be together, luckily has not come true, though I haven't been able to check whether quite all tracks have transferred safely - I now have only 2700 instead of 3300, but I may not have transferred all tracks, she says, stating the obvious....

Not sure I like Itunes all that much, apart from connecting the word 'tunes' to 'music'. Using two different computers, I could easily be in danger of accidentally erasing all the music that I laboriously loaded onto the thing last weekend. Another thing to check out and learn, I suppose.

Once I sussed out how to start and stop the thing, and turn the volume up and down, I was away. It has a very intuitive way of responding to instructions. Bit annoying though that it stops playing at the end of each 'album', so you have to dig it out again and actively look for another album. Or you set it to shuffle and get a bit of Cuban between an opera and an ink-still-wet piece of viola music, followed by Alan Bennett or a chapter of PG Wodehouse. I'm sure there's much more to sus out. Also it does not have a little clip-on remote like the Iriver did, which meant that you did not have to go digging in your pockets every time a CD ran out (which it would not have done anyway, in the Iriver - it just goes on and on).

Oh yes, it takes videos as well - though if they are not bought from the apple store, you have to go through a complicated process of ripping them - but would I really want to watch videos on a very dinky screen?

It is beautiful, though, to look at, and the sound quality is good (especially if you remember to have as high as possible the sampling rate). And of course it holds twice the amount of music as my Iriver - which is a serious factor to consider. Now, if it was even smaller.....


varske said...

We now are an all iPod family after various other unsuccessful tries. Sloph has an old one she got at least 3 years ago and it already has a retro value. I got mine a year or so ago, for Christmas. The clickwheel cracked, but it still worked fine. But when the guarantee was running out I got it replaced. Bee finally got one too, as her attempts to be different all met with no success. Now all we want are proper speakers.