- Backlit LCD
- USB 2.0 high-speed file transfers
- Attractive design
- Short cord between left and right earbuds
- Doesnt auto flip between main memory and memory card when playing
- FM recordings flat
How It Looks:The 512MB model of the Rave-MP AMP series was tested. The player is small and well built, measuring a mere 1.9 x 2.8 x 0.9 and being extremely light as it rests in the palm of your hand. The design is somewhat rectangular with curved edges. This particular model is in an attractive blue/black dual tone and has silver buttons.
The front side consists of the 128 x 64 dot matrix LCD display with backlight, the song play/navigation four way button and the voice recording mike. The left side of the player hosts the headphone jack, the bottom the covered USB port and the right side the volume, menu, lock and power buttons. On the back is a removable cover which houses the battery and MMC/SD memory card slot.
How Well It Works:The chief function of the AMP512 and its brethren is to playback MP3 and WMA music files. It uses flash-based memory to store the music as opposed to a hard drive based player like the iPod. Besides playing back music, this player is also capable of FM playback and record, voice record and playback, drag and drop support of music and data files through a high-speed USB 2.0 connection and expanded memory storage through a MMC/SD card memory slot (this is a special type of memory card you can buy at stores to expand your player's ability to hold music). It is powered by a single AAA battery.
5 CDs worth of music equaling 313MB of MP3 files (192 kbps) were used in testing. The total transfer time of this block of music from a Windows-based computer to the AMP512 was a respectable 2 minutes, 53 seconds through the USB 2.0 connection. The sound quality of these files was good and the ability to choose from several preset equalizer choices for a little crisper tune is always a welcome addition. The included sports earbuds were comfortable in the ears and sounded nice, but a short cable between the left and right ears made the whole thing feel a little tight under the neck for a larger person. The single AAA battery lasted 17 hours, which is within Rave-MPs estimated range.
The FM function comes with autoscan and 20 presets, both of which are always useful. The FM recorder, on the other hand, turned out flat sounding music in comparison to players tested in the past. The voice recording function, meanwhile, turned out recordings which are good enough for basic self notes and the like.
- While the player offers an integrated MMC/SD memory card slot for holding more music, it lacks the simple function of having its internal software automatically flip from the main memory once those songs are over to what is stored on the card. This must be accessed instead via a dedicated menu choice, which is an inconvenience.
- The players memory can be used to carry non music files such as Word documents. It cannot actually use these files, but it serves nicely as temporary storage when needed.
- The included belt clip makes the player feel secure, holding it snugly. The armband, while a nice addition, is not as secure and could send the attached AMP512 flying if the player is bumped.
- The AMP512, through Windows Media Player, can be used to play DRM WMA files, which are essentially copyrighted music that you download from the Internet for a fee.
- The player has a quick start up time after an initial one time indexing of the music it is carrying.
- The player's included quick start guide is very adequate at helping new owners to quickly get up to speed. A more indepth manual is on the included CD.
- Though only tested in a Windows environment, the AMP series also works on Macs.