A comparison of

CD-Based MP3 Players for OTR

Many OTR fans are now collecting and trading their OTR in MP3 (MPEG Layer III) format. Until fairly recently, this digital format was playable only on computers.

CD-ROM Player Recently, several CD-based MP3 players have appeared on the market. These players are capable of playing CD-ROMs with up to 170 or so selections per CD. The players are, however, optimized for stereo music MP3s, that are encoded with a high bitrate and sample rate. Most OTR MP3s are monophonic, encoded with a low bitrate (around 32 Kbps) and sampled at around 22 KHz. Early MP3 players did not read these low rates.

The following table shows some of the currently available, portable CD-based MP3 players, with information pertaining to their suitability for playing OTR MP3s. Check back here every so often to see if the information has been updated. Click in the REVIEW column to read visitor's reviews.

List Price = MSRP at time of original review. Prices of older players may have dropped significantly.
"Supports LFN" = Can the player play selections with long file names?
Dir = "Directories" = Does the player support directories and subdirectories?
"Display" = What information does the display provide about the recorded material?
"FF/REW" = Does the player have a fast forward / rewind capability? (useful to find one's way to a particular selection)
AS = "Antishock" = how many seconds of vibration can be tolerated before skipping

Sony CFD-S20CP Boombox $150  YY 5-char AlphanumericResume onlyNoYes
JVC KD-SX980 (for vehicles)$259  YY AlphanumericResume Yes
Iriver SlimX 400 $20088YY Alphanumeric (ID3 V1, ID3 V2 2.0, ID3 V2 3.0)Y
True Resume
Iriver SlimX 350 $15088YY Alphanumeric (ID3 V1, ID3 V2 2.0, ID3 V2 3.0)Y
True Resume
Iriver ChromeX $10088YY Alphanumeric (ID3 V1, ID3 V2 2.0, ID3 V2 3.0)Y
True Resume
Rio SP90 $100  YY Alphanumeric Track / Title / ID3 / Dir / MoreY
Rio SP-250 $180118YY Alphanumeric Track / Title / ID3 / Dir / MoreY
True Resume
AVC Soul DMP-01 $165328? 22?YY Alphanumeric Track / Title / ID3 Y
True Resume
Rio Volt $199328? 22?YYAlphanumeric Track / Title / ID3 Y
True Resume
120 .
Emerson HD7088$80???N?Short Filename, ID3 V1YYYes
RCA 2410$170?64?44YYFilename?YYYes
Philips Expanium $20024?8Y?YNumericY?45 
Pine SM200C$2003244YYID3
(Only when playing)
Classic CM415$1003244YYAlphanumeric (Short title, ID3)Y105 for MP3sYes
EasyBuy MP3Trip<$1003244YYNumericY50Yes
EasyBuy MP3Fit$1094844?YYAlphaumericY50 
Genica Tavaura (Dragon State 818)<$1003244YYNumericY50Yes
Encino Voyager$150??YYNumeric?45? 
Lenoxx MP786
Datawalker MP786
NOT 22!
Supertek MP-2000$1153232?
NOT 22!
Likko (AKA MP786b)$125??PoorYNumeric?45?Yes
Memorex MPD8505CP<$10032?44?Y?Y?Play: ID3
Browse: Short filename?
D-Link DMP-CD100$1503244Y?YNumeric?Y??? 
AIWA CDC-MP3 (for vehicles)$3493222YYFilename, ID3 (title/artist/album)Y?? 


Most OTR MP3s are recorded at 32 Kbps bit rate, 22 KHz sample rate. Although most of the listed players can handle 32 Kbps, many of the older ones cannot read files recorded at 22 KHz (The Expanium, Rio Volt and AVC Soul being exceptions). Almost all older players require a minimum sample rate of 44 KHz sample rate. This means users of these devices must re-burn their MP3s, upsampling to at least 32/44, UNLESS they have one of the abovelisted players with better capabilities.


Most of the older, listed players do NOT show filenames (or ID3 info). Users of these players must keep a printed list of track number vs directory and filename, so they can find the tracks/shows. The older players that show filenames (or ID3 info) seem to do so only during play, and not during fast forward/rewind.

Some machines that do show filenames may require the CD be recorded using ISO 9660 file system, long file names (maximum of 30 characters).

The listed players may have a RESUME button. Usually, resuming seems to start at the beginning of the current track, rather than the last-listened section of the show. Some folks claim the 786 series of players have a useful RESUME feature. The new RIO firmware also supports resuming in the middle of an OTR show, and this feature is present in the SOUL player as well.

Look for the image. You probably won't go wrong with any players whose list displays the smiley face.

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More information about MP3 players, including reviews, prices and dealers, may be found at MP3.COM