Friday, January 26, 2007

Review on Sandisk's Sansa e280 MP3 Player

I got my player a few weeks ago after going through rigorous reviews posted by other users on the Internet. My decision to buy this one instead of iPod was mainly because Sansa is more open system than Apple's iPod. Also, I recalled that MaximumPC sometime ago had reviewed and made comparison between some audio formats and Real's Rhapsody audio format (*.rax) is superior than others, including Apple's AAC (*.m4p or *.m4a).

Another reason is that Rhapsody has monthly rental service plan, which allows you to listen to their files (yes, all of them which is millions of music files) on the go (on Sansa players) or through its Rhapsody software running on PC. They even allow us to indirectly transcode the files to non-DRM MP3 or WMA format. How, you may ask? It is by burning your purchased music files and then re-rip them to unprotected MP3 or WMA. The quality of this *.rax files are really good and the size is not bigger than average high quality MP3 encoded in VBR.

One thing I don't like from Sansa is the buttons on the front. The four buttons surrounding the rotating wheel are placed sunken (shallow) than the wheel hence make them harder to reach/to push.

Quality of the sound is average. Sometimes I hear some distortion, but not sure whether this is caused by the device itself or because the music was undersampled/bad encoder.

Will continue in more detail if time permits.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Comparing some Headsets

I was looking for a good and affordable headsets for to-be-mine Sandisk Sansa e280 (darn, 2 more days have to wait till it is delivered) MP3 player (will put a review on it later).

Upon searching on google, I landed on a site that compares the 'really' technical comparisons (not just a sounds-like-a-geek-but-a-stupid reviews). The web gives a frequency response graphs, harmonic distortion graphs, isolation and impendances for the tested headsets (unfortunately, they did not test on Bose headsets).

Here I try to compare between Sennheiser's PX100, Sony CD3000, Apple's Ipod earbuds and KOSS KSC55:

Frequency Response

Harmonic Distortion Products



So How to pickup the best headset? The rules of thumb are:
  1. Pick the headset with the flattest and widest frequency response
  2. With the lowest and flatest spikes in harmonic distortions
  3. Isolation; This is a measure of a headphone’s ability to isolate the listener from outside noise. The deepest notch for the noise frequency usually good ones.