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Rave-MP AMP512 MP3 Player Review

Introduction:

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Rave-MP AMP512

Rave-MP AMP512

It seems flash-based MP3 players are everywhere these days. They are inexpensive to make, buy and can hold just the right amount of music for those who don’t have or need a large grouping of MP3s. The Rave-MP AMP (owned by Go Video) series is no different. Players range in memory size from 128MB to 1GB, which means between 4 and 32 hours of tunes to accompany you wherever you go. What features does the AMP series offer and does it stand out enough to be noticed? Read on to find out.

Pros:

  • Backlit LCD
  • USB 2.0 high-speed file transfers
  • Attractive design

Cons:

  • Short cord between left and right earbuds
  • Doesn’t 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.

General testing of the physical features revealed few difficulties. The backlit LCD, while small, is extremely easy to read and provides enough information to know what you are listening to. The buttons were generally easy to use, though the lock button, designed to prevent your player from accidentally changing settings while in use, was a little stiff. Also, the four way play/navigation button might prove a touch difficult to use for large fingers. The dedicated menu button, designed to gain you access to the AMP512’s settings, was a nice touch, as was the five second power button hold down function to shut the player off.

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.
Audio:

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-MP’s 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.

Other:
  • 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 player’s 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.
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