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.
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||Y||Y||5-char Alphanumeric||Resume only||No||Yes|
|JVC KD-SX980 (for vehicles)||$259||Y||Y||Alphanumeric||Resume||Yes|
|Iriver SlimX 400||$200||8||8||Y||Y||Alphanumeric (ID3 V1, ID3 V2 2.0, ID3 V2 3.0)||Y|
|Iriver SlimX 350||$150||8||8||Y||Y||Alphanumeric (ID3 V1, ID3 V2 2.0, ID3 V2 3.0)||Y|
|Iriver ChromeX||$100||8||8||Y||Y||Alphanumeric (ID3 V1, ID3 V2 2.0, ID3 V2 3.0)||Y|
|Rio SP90||$100||Y||Y||Alphanumeric Track / Title / ID3 / Dir / More||Y|
|Rio SP-250||$180||11||8||Y||Y||Alphanumeric Track / Title / ID3 / Dir / More||Y|
|AVC Soul DMP-01||$165||32||8? 22?||Y||Y||Alphanumeric Track / Title / ID3||Y|
|Rio Volt||$199||32||8? 22?||Y||Y||Alphanumeric Track / Title / ID3||Y|
|Emerson HD7088||$80?||?||?||N||?||Short Filename, ID3 V1||Y||Y||Yes|
(Only when playing)
|Classic CM415||$100||32||44||Y||Y||Alphanumeric (Short title, ID3)||Y||105 for MP3s||Yes|
|Genica Tavaura (Dragon State 818)||<$100||32||44||Y||Y||Numeric||Y||50||Yes|
|Likko (AKA MP786b)||$125||?||?||Poor||Y||Numeric||?||45?||Yes|
|Memorex MPD8505CP||<$100||32?||44?||Y?||Y?||Play: ID3|
Browse: Short filename?
|AIWA CDC-MP3 (for vehicles)||$349||32||22||Y||Y||Filename, 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.