I get really sick of MP3 players pretending they have the capacity to play two hours of music, when they have only 16MB of storage. The only way you could get that much music would be if you compressed it so much that it sounded like Thomas Edison reciting ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb’. At last, somebody, namely Archos, has come up with a proper, useable, high-capacity MP3 player.
The 6GB Jukebox recorder is actually much more than a player, as it includes all kinds of extras to basic MP3 playback.
The first thing you need to do is load your MP3 collection. If you’re like me, you’ll already have a fair few tracks in your iTunes folder. If so, I wouldn’t want to fiddle with the included software – though Music Match compares well with iTunes. It allows you to select tunes in a playlist, but you can do this from the player itself.
It would be nice if iTunes had the capability to connect directly to the Jukebox, but you can easily copy the files across manually. When you load the software, you plug the Jukebox into the Mac using USB. It then appears on the desktop as a volume. You simply copy a whole folder with sub-folders for albums and artists across to the player. Unless you’re particularly enthusiastic about music, the 6GB capacity will be plenty. It should fit around 100 whole albums, or around 6,000 minutes of good-quality MP3s. Even if you filled the whole disk with music, it would take you the best part of a week to listen to it. It really puts other MP3 players to shame.
If that isn’t enough, you can also use the Jukebox to record audio. While I wouldn’t recommend the internal mike for recording bootleg concerts, it works fine for recording interviews or lectures that you may fall asleep during. Quality can be greatly improved by adding a microphone.
If you want to get your vinyl into MP3 format, you can even plug in an analogue audio input. Unfortunately, we don’t have such arcane equipment around the office, so we can’t vouch for the quality – but the ability is there.
Playing the tracks you have loaded is a breeze. Each folder you copy across is listed by name. You navigate the folders or tracks from the arrow keys. Click up and down to scroll through them, or right to open them. If iTunes was used to rip the MP3s from the CD, it puts the albums in neatly named folders. This means you may be able to copy the whole of your MP3 collection across without any special configuration.
Power is supplied by rechargeable batteries, charged by plugging in an adaptor.
I really can’t think of any reason to buy a different MP3 player. All the others I have seen are flawed in some way, while this one simply works. It has enough capacity for all my CDs, and if there were more I don’t think I would necessarily need more than 100 hours installed anyway.
The price may appear high, but if you add up the cost of additional media needed to get just an hour or two of storage in other players, it suddenly turns into a bargain.