Thursday, December 22, 2005

The Rave MP3 Player Sucks!!! 
It's said among marketers that a happy customer will tell 3 people, while an unhappy customer will tell 23 people.

Well, I'm telling about a thousand people:

I broke down and got my first MP3 player last week. I got a Rave, just on a whim and it seemed to be more price efficient for a given amount of memory than an IPod and some of the other players out there.

Bottom line: It's crap.

Don't get me wrong: I love it when it works. And the onboard 5-band EQ means I can engineer it to sound good on my piece of crap car speakers. It's a quantum leap forward over a cd player. And it caused me to listen to and reappreciate tunes I hadn't heard in years - maybe because they were on records I had bought years ago and my ears were just not advanced enough to appreciate what was on them. But thanks to the shuffle feature, I got reacquainted with some gems I had missed before.

But the player conked out on me last night for no reason. It had been out of the box for less than a week. Just froze up mid-tune. Couldn't even turn it off to reboot it. All I could think of was letting it run out of battery power which would take 10 hours according to the sales literature (actually, it takes about 3, but I'm usually powering a cassette adapter rather than ear buds.)

Well, I got home and plugged the USB cable in to see if I could still view the files, and that woke it back up. So I brought it back to work and plugged in the earphones here in the office. It worked fine. For about a minute.

Then shut down again.

Reading the (mostly negative) reviews on Amazon, it's clear my experience isn't unique.

I also notice the random shuffle isn't random at all, but clearly favors about a dozen tracks.

I might have been more charitable in reviewing it, but there was another problem:

I bought the player in part for its voice recorder functionality - it seemed like a convenient way to pick up tunes from other musicians. But there was nothing in the instructions that covered how to use it. So I emailed customer service last friday.

Since then, I figured out how to use the voice recorder (the mic sucks, but it works for its intended purpose), but it's been nearly a week and I have not heard a peep of a response from them.

Soooo tonight, I'm going to see if I can salvage the tracks I've got on the player, then return it for a product that works. I know I want an on board 5 band EQ! The microphone is nice but not a must have. I already have a small Fostex 4 track I'm too lazy to use anyway.

I'm just glad I hadn't bought it for anyone else already.

Sorry, Rave! But next time, don't f***ing ignore your customers!

Meanwhile, any suggestions for a replacement player?


Creative Labs products tend to be the solid choice. Go to the website, browse the different models, and pick the one that meets your storage needs and functions the best, then just shop around for the best price.
My girlfriend swears by the SanDisk 1GB flash memory model I got for her birthday. Seven months, and not a single problem.

I own a Rio Forge Sport 256 MB - and it has a slot for an additional 1 GB SD card. They don't make it anymore, but you can find refurbished ones on Amazon for under 40 bucks.

Whatever you buy, check out dealnews.com first. It's a free online bargain tracker site - they don't sell anything, they just point you to online coupons and promotions we'd otherwise miss.

Also recommend reading reviews on CNet.com beforehand, too.

Good luck!
I have one too, buried somewhere in my glove box. Rather then letting the battery run down, I've found that removing the battery for a couple of seconds and replacing it fixes the lock up.

Of course returning it will fix the problem permanently.
Here's another vote for the SanDisk 1GB player. I purchased one for my mother, who is no rocket scientist when it come to electronics and has several destroyed gadgets to her credit. She seems to be unable to break the SanDisk (at the time of this writing!).
iRiver u10...comes in 1gig and 512 meg capcities.

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