As I was digging through the ABI forums, I ran across a good guide by zPoKE to replacing a broken clip on a Sansa Clip+ MP3 player. It’s nice to find a viable and cost effective solution to a very common problem like the clip breaking off of the Sansa Clip/Clip+, so I thought I would bring this easy tutorial back to the forefront to help anyone who has experienced this problem.
zP0KE recommends using ACCO KLIX Classic Metal paper fasteners as a replacement to the stock clip (you can use other types of clips as well provided they can withstand the strain). If you reside within the US, you can pick these up at a local Staples office supply store, or you can order them from Amazon directly. Continue reading…
If you’re anything like me, you like to have the best sound quality possible, whenever possible. This means doing simple things like tweaking the equalizer and getting better headphones to major undertakings like re-ripping your entire music library to Lossless encoding.
An often overlooked area in the pursuit for better sound quality is making sure all your player’s contacts and connectors are clean, especially since a pocket is sanctuary for dust, moisture, and other harmful debris. I have been asked why cleaning a headphone jack is important and I always give this example: if you have distortion (static, etc.) while playing music and have to either disconnect and then reconnect the headphones or turn the headphone jack to make it go away, then cleaning your headphone jack might help with this problem.
Luckily, cleaning a headphone jack is quick and easy. With a few simple steps you can be on your way to musical bliss. Continue reading…
We don’t see a lot of innovation in the MP3 player world these days, and I’m quite frankly not sure if this really is innovation or if “insanity” is a better word for it. Aisen Chacin from Parsons The New School for Design in New York made a mold of her own mouth, integrated a small MP3 player (a generic one from the looks of it), connected a small vibrating motor to the headphone port, and topped it off with a mouth jewelry piece called a “grill”. The resulting contraption is tongue-controlled, inserts into the mouth, and plays music through vibrations in the skull. The name of the contraption? Play-A-Grill.
Again, I’m not sure what to think of this. On the one hand, it’s certainly innovative, and you gotta love the DIY nature of it. On the other hand…it’s an MP3 player for your mouth. I know I’ve been into wireless headphones in the past, but somehow this idea never struck me. I’m certain that it would have its uses, and if ever made into a commercial product it could maybe even be shrunk down enough to where it’s less of a lump in your mouth, but I have to wonder about the sound quality coming out of this. Either way though, it’s cool, in its own quirky way.
Four months after version 3.10 Rockbox released a new stable one, 3.11.
Highlights of this version are USB support for the Sansa Clip+, Clip v2, and Fuze v2, as well as ‘stable’ status for the Sansa c200 v2 and MPIO HD300.
Many interface- and theme-related features made it into this release as well. Customization of the main menu list items, editable shortcuts in the main menu, 32 bit alpha transparency for icons and theme/WPS images. On the audio side of things, downmixing multichannel FLAC files to stereo is now supported.
As usual with Android devices, it was only a matter of time until someone gained root access to the Cowon Z2. This time however it happened before the Z2 actually hit the market outside of Korea.
iAudiophile forum member Gungr spent some hours figuring out how to open up the Z2, so you don’t have to. So far it’s a bit of a lengthy procedure, involving setting up the Java and Android SDKs, editing info files, and some more in-depth wizardry. I’m sure a neatly packed, easy to install, rooted ROM update will follow shortly.
I don’t think I have to count the advantages of having root access on an Android device: official Android market access, ad blocking, backing up or deleting superfluous system apps, over/underclocking the CPU, and so on.
So, if you’re the lucky owner of an imported Z2, run, don’t walk over to iAudiophile and check out the instructions on how to make the most of your Z2.
Forum member SteveS cooked up a custom kernel and ROM for the European version of the Galaxy S Wifi 4.0. Note that this won’t work on the American or Korean version of the Galaxy (yet), nor on the Galaxy S Wifi 5.0.
Besides gaining root/superuser access to the device and various interface tweaks, this ROM includes the Voodoo sound patch, effectively fixing Samsung’s botched audio output. Voodoo fixes the amplification gain for less background hiss and louder output, and – similar to Cowon players – adds a hardware parametric EQ and a hardware 3D spatialization effect for the Wolfson audio CODEC as well.
Based on Original XXKPQ Kernel
Added Voodoo sound patches
Can work with XXKPN and XXKPQ stock Samsung ROM.
To use Voodoo sound you need to install Voodoo Control or Voodoo Control Plus
Contains the latest STeVE’s Kernel 1.0: you don’t need to flash separately
Based on original XXKPQ Samsung stock ROM
Contains root and superuser permissions
Tweaked theme: Honeycomb status bar icons, transparent notification pane, ICS windows effects
CRT screen off animation
If you start from a XXKPN or XXKPQ you can skip wipe to keep your existing applications and settings
(Warning: If you’re not immune to ear-hemorrhage-inducing pop music, you better turn down the volume on your speakers/headphones before starting the video.)
The Cowon J3 is far from being abandoned by the user interface modding community (and the S9 and X7 benefit from being compatible). Well known Korean UCI designer Asurada presents a teaser video of his newest creation, ASUCI v2.
Using 45 degree tilted interface elements would usually be just a gimmick, but Asurada obviously put a lot of thought into the design and usability of his theme. Next to ergonomic left-handed usage I especially like the increased length of the slider bar, allowing for more precise scrolling in a track. It seems to hit a quite sweet middle ground between a portrait- and a landscape-oriented interface.
It’s a dilemma one encounters with many a portable player: manufacturers design nice hardware, but the accompanying firmwares lack in features and/or usability. The Samsung R0 is certainly not the player with the worst firmware out there, but Italian hacker Lorenz092 and his co-conspirators thought they could improve the user experience nevertheless.
Choosing the R0 as a modding target is certainly a smart move – the R0 is quite popular, has a nice aluminum housing with lots of tactile buttons, it is inexpensive – and it runs on Linux. Also, in the long run, modding its stock firmware might pave the way for a Rockbox port.
Currently, the modded firmware is at version 2.10 (based on official firmware 1.25). It features improved translations for several languages, removes the – for most people – annoying startup and shutdown sounds, changes the look of the battery status indicator, changes the key press time used for resetting the player, and – biggest of all – implements a Device Rescue Kit (DRK). This DRK feature basically means you can recover the player from being bricked, without having to sent it back to Samsung for fixing. Unbricking the player yourself sure beats paying money and waiting several weeks for it to return, methinks.
In future versions of his custom firmware Lorenz092 wants to implement a CPU downclocking feature, which might effectively double the R0′s battery life. Other planned features are integrating the player’s SD slot with its internal database, tweaking the sleep mode time, and several things more. This is getting very interesting.
The moment everyone – well, everyone who owns a D3 – waited for is here: Android Market is working on the Cowon D3. Forum member roebeet posted his full installation instructions over at the iAudiophile forums.
It’s not the easiest or most straightforward hack, but anyone should get it working without issues. The hack requires ADB (Android Debug Bridge, from the SDK) and root access (z4root, Superuser) as prerequisites, and some commandline actions. It should be manageable in both Linux and Windows. Since Cowon managed to lock the D3 down properly, this hack will have to be repeated/adjusted for each new firmware version the D3 might get in future.
While it is nice that Cowon employees started posting selected Android apps for download/sideload in our D3 software forum, it sure feels right to cut out the middle man and go for the full, unrestricted Market straight away.
However, there seems to be more to Cowon not supporting Market on the D3 than monetary licensing issues. Unfortunately the D3 runs on a somewhat exotic Telechips processor that isn’t properly supported by many apps available (the ever popular Angry Birds won’t work well on the D3, for example), and it seemingly doesn’t have enough RAM as well. It might have been a bad choice by Cowon to use this processor instead of a well supported, say, TI OMAP… but that’s how it is.
Cowon D3 users now have access to the Market – make the best of it, but don’t be surprised if things don’t work as well as on an Archos tablet or similar.
Those classic HDD players just won’t go away… Some time ago we already had Godbes’ 128GB SSD ZV:M and my Cowon X5 CompactFlash mod on the front page. Now forum member Razorblader tried a more modern approach to beefing up his venerable X5 – with a state of the art 64GB SDXC card.
One advantage of SDXC over CF would be that it is a more future-proof storage medium, and that it will get huge capacities in the foreseeable future. Can’t wait for the first half-terabyte X5, H300, or ZV:M.
While CompactFlash always was the medium of choice for professional DSLRs and as a cheaper SSD replacement in computers, due to ATA/IDE support, this seems to be changing at the moment – with SDXC cards promising more storage space, almost comparable speeds (for now), and a smaller form factor.
Razorblader used his 64GB SDXC card in an SD-to-CF adapter, then put this contraption in a CF-to-IDE adapter, which finally is connected to the X5′s IDE cable. This sums up to about $120 for 64GB of solid state storage. Not bad at all.
While most such mods are made to players running Rockbox, Razorblader took care to get the stock Cowon firmware working as well, by modifying the master boot record of the SDXC card. Sure is lovely having some BBE sound enhancements with your 64GB of tunes.
The Clip+ has a fantastic little form factor; somewhat cheap in build quality but very rugged. The interface is simple and relatively straightforward. The features on the Clip are more or less average, however it supports the alternative Rockbox firmware which provides tons of additional options (gapless playback, Replaygain, playlists, Last.fm scrobbling, etc). Read the full review or go ahead and buy it.
The J3 is a fantastic PMP with a very nice AMOLED screen and tons of features. It sports Cowon's trademark BBE sound enhancements, and offers a customizable user interface with strong support by our user community. You can usually find it at Amazon for the best price - and don't forget to check out our review.
Microsoft Zune HD
Sure, many of us are not big fans of the walled garden, but there are a lot of great things going on with the Zune: sturdy hardware, ultra easy to use user interface, and a media player that is worthy of Editor’s Choice. You can check out our Zune HD review or stop by our Zune forums for the latest info and gossip.
Phonak Audéo PFE
Phonak Audéo PFE offer outstanding clarity and precision; natural, dynamic mids and treble, and decent bass for a single armature in-ear phone. They handle dense, complex music very well. The PFE work well with most acoustic and some electronic music genres, but bassheads might have to look at other alternatives. They're great for sports as well, since they fit very securely. Check out our review.
The Hippo VB (Variable Bass) offers a serious subwoofer for on the go, right in your head. They don’t just deliver generous quantities of punchy, textured bass, but good audio quality over the whole frequency range with decent clarity and exceptional soundstage. Exchangeable bass ports let you customize their sound to your liking. Read our in-depth Hippo VB review.
Soundmagic E10 / E30
The Soundmagic E10 and E30 are basically right in the middle between the Phonak PFE and Hippo VB - not too analytical sounding, not too bass heavy. The E10 provide a bit more bass, the E30 a bit more clarity. Both come with a very fair price tag considering the sound quality they deliver - a great choice for the audio aficionado on a budget. Read our E10 and E30 reviews for more info.