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A couple of years ago, the problem of organizing music for me did not exist. On the family computer, my entire assortment of MP3 files was clearly arranged in folders with the name of the artist, also the album name (ID3-tags didn’t particularly interest me). The audio CDs that we listened to on our MP3 / CD player on the road were arranged in perfect order. Sometimes we cut MP3s, it’s impossible to get lost in the assortment, because the folder structure when transferring music from a hard disk to a CD was preserved.

It was a golden time. I would also live more calmly, if there was no progress, the interest in the newly minted pieces of iron also dodging to drag company disks with me. The perfect variation is the hard disk player. If the assortment grows at a speed of 5-10 discs per week, a large memory capacity on a portable device is converted into an urgent need. Even in the 20-gigabyte model fits a decent amount of music. Next is better: at what time in the player is the hard drive of 40 gigabytes, it is allowed to say goodbye to the computer for a long time.

When the assortment of digital music achieves certain dimensions, maintaining the routine in it (it doesn’t matter on the computer or in the pocket player) begins to exact more and more effort.

Suppose that the musical assortment is digitized, but in all the tracks the complete composition data is indicated. In this case, the portable player requires only one thing: the ability to quickly find the right album or song. Most of the players provide the search for the desired song or album through the name of the artist or the name of the album. Iriver is almost the only manufacturer of players offering a couple of different types of sorting tracks. C it also begin.


IRiver players, both on the basis of a hard disk, and also on the basis of flash memory, are very easy to use. First, it is also allowed to do without the program for organizing also copying music on a computer. Just connect the player and copy the data. On the player itself, the desired track is simply searched in its directory.

Advantages of this approach - taking care of tags in music files is not necessary in general. Simply expand the music into folders and transfer them to the player. This is almost the only possible means of normal listening to collections of songs like "with the universe on a string." I have such a collection (the folder "Miscellaneous") occupies about one and a half gigabytes and also, if you feed it to a program or device sorted by artist or album, it will simply spread out according to the playlist - you can’t collect it back.

The disadvantage of this approach is also: the inability to search for data from ID3-tags. Without this, it is allowed to do completely, if you have a stuffed mess in the tags, there is also no time to bring the economy in order. But if all or approximately all of the music is digitized from disks, tagged also with other information, then it’s much faster to find the artist also an album than to dig in hundreds, but also thousands of folders with music.

Iriver players can also use a different method, but using their own software. Such a remedy would not be extremely convenient for me. First, I would like to do without extra programs. Secondly, at least the software from iRiver is well made, but even Winamp is inferior in functionality, let alone monsters like iTunes.

It would be logical to expect compatibility with Windows Media Player, but the practice illustrates that even officially compatible with this program does not guarantee the absence of problems. Players often work with the brainchild of Microsoft ... so-so. Often, the speed of transferring data from the computer to the player leaves a wish of your favorites.

In any case, the undoubted plus of iRiver players is that the manufacturer advises a couple of ways to organize music. Other companies such freedom of election does not alienate. In addition, iRiver operates its players user-friendly, but not for record companies: you can copy music not only from the computer to the player, but also from the player to the computer. This is an undoubted advantage.

In practice, the “comfort” of the iRiver player interface was tested on the H-10 and H-340 models. In the main case, we own a compact player with a hard disk of five gigabytes. Search is allowed to conduct or in folders with music, or on information about the artist is also other. In both cases, the search for the desired track is quite convenient.

The tough sensor strip makes the impression worse. Unlike the pressure sensitive wheel on the iPod, the iRiver touch strip seems extremely stiff. It doesn’t come to the player at once that you need to hastily scroll through a large list of files.

The lack of a standard set of control panel does not seem to facilitate the process of navigation "on the go." With the speed of updating the menu, however, everything is in order. The player thinks a little when entering the main menus, but in the submenu also the built-in file browser does everything without delay.

Model H-340 was pleased with the button to quickly move to the file browser as well as the ability to instantly switch playback modes. The overall sentence for these pair of players: due to a couple of options for sorting the musical assortment, iRiver generally wins two points from competitors. If we consider the players only from the point of view of usability, then iRiver is in no way inferior to its competitors, although it also lacks some useful features, such as searching for files as well as tracks or clearer management. In any case, the first problem is solved - the desired track is hastily also without problems. Of course, if you have not forgotten in which directory it is located.


Creative also contracted "sensory" ailment. The Zen Touch model uses a touch strip, but working with it is much more convenient than with a similar control element in iRiver players or with a mechanical rocker key in the Zen Xtra.

The advantage of Creative players on the hard disk: the ability to search by artist, album name or song. True, only in English. The obvious flaw: with impressive volumes of musical assortment, the player starts to brake terribly when one tries to draw a list of all the performers or, even worse, of all the albums.

Creative's “thoughtfulness” also manifests itself in a friend: they are turned on instantly, but 15 seconds react to the shutdown command in 15 seconds. A very annoying moment, even though in general, Creative has very high-quality players with excellent sound. And, the essence is very competitive in price.

For the rest, no miracles. Search by data from tags to files. Naturally, collections are allowed to be found only by the name of the album - in the list of performers they crawl away from numerous creators. This is not exactly what you need. For objectivity, one must say that the ability to group collections only from software players, hardware devices have not learned this yet. Management is also quite clear and simple, if not to slow down.

The general verdict: fat plus for the ability to search also fat minus for the "brakes". Which of these reasons is more important is for you to elect. I note a separate button in Zen Touch, including the Shuffle mode.

The first is also the main "chip" of this player was a mechanical, but then the touch scroll wheel, which also gives an answer for navigation. We can say that Apple this functional element was a success. The wheel exactly follows your instructions, stopping there, in which place you also hastily scrolling through the long lists of performers.

On the other hand, besides watching music by artist, album or style, nothing is. The search is in the absence, but the switching of the playback modes for some reason was stuck in the settings section (in new versions of the firmware, this omission was corrected).

Despite this, the available funds are enough. Find the right track is easy enough. Even an impressive range of music does not cause any difficulties - the player does not hesitate to display thousands of lists of songs.

Very upset that the player does not know how to group collections in a separate folder. As already mentioned, the hardware players do not have this function at all, but in iTunes there is such a function.

Another plus is the ability to create smart playlists in iTunes and transfer them to the iPod. Thus it is allowed to make a dynamically updated playlist of music with a rating of 4 or 5 stars. If you get tired of any song from this list, it is allowed to "throw out" from the playlist by pressing two buttons.

There are no functions for creating playlists directly on the player - there is only the possibility of adding tracks to entire On-The-Go playlist as well as adding tracks to tracks. In general, if iRiver is not calculated in any way, the organization system in the Apple iPod seemed to be the most convenient, although the search would still not hurt.

Players from other manufacturers in some way copy the presented music organization schemes. Alas, none of the players can not be called ideal from the point of view of ease of use, if the word moves about work with an assortment of five also more than thousands of tracks. The main disadvantages: music collections in no way stand out in any way, they are difficult to find in the digital library; information from tags often have to be corrected (even if it is correct), for example, to group similar albums under one artist.

Especially difficult with the classics - here in the presence, as a position, there is information about the composer, performer or conductor, the title of the creation as well as information about the specific elements of this work. In freedb-type databases, data is pushed out like a god’s soul. Sometimes the track information is recorded in the artist field, as a result of which the disc is almost impossible to find in the database. You understand how much pores you have to spend in order to bring the assortment in order. Sometimes, the only way out that it seems to be the true way is to stuff music into folders according to your own preferences - it’s just possible to find at least something. The real solution is to release players (or update existing ones) with full support for one of the most popular programs for working with music. Let it be a real iPod, but with full support for iTunes functions. Or a different player with support for Windows Media Player. Alas, so far up to this "perfection" in the distance. Although Creative has also created a fairly successful MediaSource software package, with it that blah grief, which is also with iTunes - it is compatible only with “its own” players. With a clear need for a universal solution. So now it’s time to create your own musical assortment to listen to the building, also in the route on a portable device - these are solid compromises.