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A couple of years ago, the problems of organizing music for me did not exist. On a family computer, my entire assortment of MP3 files was clearly arranged in folders with the artist name and album name (ID3 tags didn’t really interest me). The audio discs that we listened to on the go on our MP3 / CD player were put on the shelves in perfect order. Sometimes we cut MP3 discs, it is impossible to get confused in the assortment of them, besides, the folder structure was preserved when transferring music from the hard drive to a CD.

It was a golden time. I would also live quietly further, if there was no progress at all, my interest in newly-made pieces of iron is also an evasion of carrying branded discs with me. The ideal variation is a player with a hard drive. If the assortment grows at a speed of 5-10 disks per week, the large memory capacity on the portable device is converted into an urgent need. Even a 20-gigabyte model fits a decent amount of music. Then it’s better: at what time the player has a 40 gigabyte hard drive, it’s allowed to say goodbye to a computer for a long time.

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

Suppose that the musical assortment is digitized, but all the tracks contain complete data about the composition. In this case, the portable player requires only one thing: the ability to quickly find the right album or song. Most players provide the search for the desired song or album through the artist name or album name. Almost the only player who offers a couple of different types of sorting compositions remains Iriver. We will also begin with him.

iRiver

IRiver players, both hard drive-based and flash-based, are extremely easy to use. Firstly, it is also allowed to do without a program for organizing also copying music to a computer. It is enough to connect the player and also copy the data. On the player itself, the desired track is simply searched in its directory.

The advantages of this approach is that it’s not necessary to take care of tags in music files. It is enough to arrange the music into folders and transfer them to the player. This is almost the only feasible means of normal listening to collections of songs such as "with the universe on a thread." I have such a collection (the "Miscellaneous" folder) takes about one and a half gigabytes and also, if you feed it to a program or device sorted by artist or album, then it just creeps into the playlist - you won’t get it back.

This approach also has a drawback: the inability to search for data from ID3 tags. It’s allowed to do without it, if you have a mess in the tags, there’s also no time to put the house in order. But if all or nearly all of the music is digitized from the disks, tagged with other information as well, then it is much more hasty to find an artist as an album than to dig into hundreds, but also thousands of music folders.

In Iriver players, another way is also possible, but using proprietary software. Such a tool would not be extremely convenient for me. Firstly, I would like to do without unnecessary programs. Secondly, although the software from iRiver is not bad, it’s inferior in functionality even to Winamp, not to mention monsters like iTunes.

It would be logical to expect compatibility with Windows Media Player, but practice illustrates that even officially compatibility 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 a computer to a player leaves you want to be your favorites.

In any case, the undoubted advantage of iRiver players is that the manufacturer advises a couple of ways to organize music. Other companies do not alienate such freedom of election. In addition, iRiver operates its players convenient for the user, but not for record companies in any way: music can be copied not only from computer to player, but also from player to computer. This is a definite advantage.

In practice, the “comfort” of the iRiver player interface has been tested on the H-10 models as well as the H-340. In the main case, we own a compact player with a five gigabyte hard drive. Search is allowed to conduct or folders with music, or information about the artist, among other things. In both cases, the search for the desired track is quite convenient.

A tougher touch strip worsens the impression. Unlike the wheel-sensitive iPod, the iRiver’s touch bar seems extremely tough. It never comes to the player that you need to quickly scroll through a large list of files.

The lack of a standard set of remote controls 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 menu, but everything works without delay in the submenu of the built-in file browser.

The H-340 model pleased the button with a hasty transition to the file browser and the ability to instantly switch playback modes. The universal sentence for these pairs of players: due to a couple of options for sorting the musical assortment, iRiver as a whole wins two points from competitors. If we consider players only from the point of view of ease of use, then iRiver is in no way inferior to competitors, although it is also deprived of some useful features, such as searching for files as well as compositions or clearer controls. In any case, the first task is solved - the desired track is in a hurry also without problems. Of course, if you have not forgotten in what directory it is located.

Creative

Creative also became infected with 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 rocking key in Zen Xtra.

The advantage of Creative players on your hard drive: the ability to search by artist name, album or song name. True, only in English. An obvious flaw: with an impressive amount of musical assortment, the player starts to terribly slow down when crawling to get a list of all the artists or, worse, all the albums.

The “thoughtfulness” of Creative players also manifests itself in a friend: they turn on instantly, but they react to the shutdown command after 15 seconds. It’s a very annoying moment, although in general Creative has very high-quality players with excellent sound. And, in essence, very competitive in price.

Otherwise, no miracles. Search by data from file tags. Naturally, the collections are allowed to be found only by the name of the album - in the list of artists they are spread by numerous creators. This is not exactly what you need. For objectivity, I must say that the ability to group collections of food to eat only from software players, hardware devices have not yet learned this. Management is quite clear and simple, if not for the brakes.

Universal verdict: bold plus for searchability also bold minus for "brakes". Which of these arguments is more important - you choose. I note it looks like a separate button in Zen Touch, which includes the Shuffle mode.

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

On the other hand, in addition to watching music by artist, album or style, nothing isn. The search is in the absence, however, switching the playback modes for some reason has been thrust into the settings section (this omission has been fixed in new firmware versions).

Despite this, there are enough available funds. Finding the right track is easy enough. Even an impressive assortment of music does not cause any difficulties at all - the player does not hesitate to display thousands of song lists.

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

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

There is no function to create playlists directly on the player - you can only eat the ability to also add tracks and entire albums to the On-The-Go playlist. In general, if iRiver could not be calculated in any way, the organization system in the Apple iPod seemed the most convenient, although the search would still not hurt.

Players from other manufacturers in one way or another copy the presented music organization schemes. Alas, none of the players can be called ideal in terms of ease of use, if the word moves about work with an assortment of five and more than thousand tracks. The main disadvantages: music collections in no way stand out, they are difficult to find in the digital library; information from tags often has to be corrected (even if it is correct), for example, to group similar albums under one artist.

It is especially difficult with the classics - here, as a provision, there is information about the composer, performer or conductor, the name of the creation and information about specific elements of this work. In freedb-type CD-ROM databases, the data is crammed as God willingly puts it. Sometimes the track information is recorded in the artist field, as a result of which the disc is made almost impossible to find in the database. You yourself understand how much pore you have to spend in order to put the product in order. Sometimes the only way out really seems to be pushing music into folders according to one’s own preferences - it’s definitely possible to find at least something. The real solution to the problem is the release of players (or updating existing ones) with full support for one of the popular programs for working with music. Let it be a real iPod, but with full support for iTunes. Or another player that supports Windows Media Player. Alas, so far down to this "perfection". Although Creative has also created a fairly successful MediaSource software package, it was not so bad that it was also with iTunes - it is compatible only with "your" players. With a clear need for a one-stop solution. So now it’s time to create your own musical assortment for listening to the building also on the route on a portable device - these are sheer compromises.