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Archos 504 vs Apple iPod 60GB

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#1 Rambo

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Posted 01 March 2007 - 02:05 PM

Yeah it's long, tough. A (Posted Image means 8 points..Stupid smilies....

Apple iPod Video(Black)(Gen 5.5 60GB) vs. Archos 504 (160GB model)

All ratings are out of a 10 point scale.

Overall
7-------------------------------------------9.5

Ease of Use(Device)
9-------------------------------------------8

Ease of Use(Synchronization)
6-------------------------------------------10

Interface
7-------------------------------------------9

Interface (Ease of Customization)(With built in OS, no third party apps running)
3-------------------------------------------8.5

Playback(Audio mp3 @ 320kbps via headphones)
8.5-----------------------------------------9.5

Playback(Audio mp3 @ 320kbps via built in speaker)
N/A-----------------------------------------7

Playback(Audio mp3 @ 320kbps via external speakers(docked)
(iHome speaker system) 8.5-----------------(Archos Gen 04 speakers) 8.5

Playback(Video mp4 @ 2500kbps @ 320x240px (Audio AAC 160kpbs) via internal LCD)
8-------------------------------------------6.5

Playback(Video Mpeg2 @ 720x480px(Audio AC3 448kpbs) via internal LCD)
N/A-----------------------------------------10

Playback(Video Mpeg2 @ 720x480px(Audio AC3 448kpbs) via 42" external plasma TV via docking station)
N/A-----------------------------------------10

Battery Life(Audio)
8-------------------------------------------10

Battery Life(Video)
7-------------------------------------------10

Range of available accessories
9-------------------------------------------5

Quality of available accessories(Ones that I have used/seen in use)
8-------------------------------------------9.5

Audio Recording via built in microphone
N/A-----------------------------------------8.5

Range of file types played
7-------------------------------------------9

Size(of unit)
9-------------------------------------------7

Size in relation to processing power
8.5-----------------------------------------6.5

Size in relation to storage
7-------------------------------------------10

Size in relation to battery life
7-------------------------------------------10

Ease of Use(Device)
Apple iPod(9) - Navigation is very easy, but sometimes it's hard to use the touch wheel as effectively as you'd like.
Archos 504(Posted Image - Navigation is a bit difficult. Seperate buttons for navigating right/left and up and down make life a little but more difficult than it needs to be. One D-pad would have put more points on the board. You can cycle between multiple windows with 1 button.

Ease of Use(Synchronization)
Apple iPod(6) - One word - iTunes. Points gone just for that. I personally hate iTunes. It rearranges my libraries, uses excessive memory, etc. Even running Lame and Foobar simultaneously to rip and listen to music uses less memory. In my opinion, iTunes is the worst music ripper, jukebox, and store out there. It makes it difficult to synchronize between multiple computers too. For beginners, it may be fine, but the fact is, it is unnecessary.
Archos 504(10) - One word - Ease. When you fire up your 504 and plug it in, it asks you if you want to: (a)Run as a Portable Hard Drive, (b)Run as a Windows Media Device, or ©Just charge the device. Right here I give it a 10. That feature blew my mind. If you do (a) you can browse your 504 as it were your C drive. It's retard-proof - one folder for Music(sub folder per Artist of course), one folder for Video, one folder for Photos, one folder for Data, one for Playlists, and one for Info(comes with the User manual in PDF Ftw). If you don't like moving files from folder and prefer to use a jukebox, select (B) and it allows you to use Windows Media Player to synchronize your files. I hate WMP too, but it beats the hell out of iTunes. Even though you must synchronize your own Firmware, it is also retard-proof. You drop the Firmware download onto root. When you disconnect from your PC, it auto-installs. If that's too much for you, you can use ArchosLink to do it for you. ArchosLink also lets your automatically synchronize your favorite Podcasts.

Interface
Apple iPod(7)- The iPod is text based. Maybe that saves a little battery life, but I felt like bored looking at the iPod the same way(Black text on white background) every day on every screen. The scroll wheel is a pain too. Buttons are the way to go.
Archos 504(9)- The interface explodes with graphical logos and menus. View a preview of the video(5 seconds) before playing, rather than just seeing the title). Once you get used to the buttons on 504, it becomes aparent that it is easier to navigate through than the iPod.

Interface (Ease of Customization)(With built in OS, no third party apps running)
Apple iPod(3) - Tight ass. Period. All you get to change is what you see on your text-based root menu. No customization without installing third party apps like iPod Linux.
Archos 504(8.5) - Backgrounds, text colors, and more. You can freezeframe clips from movies on the Archos and save them as a photo or set them to your background. It comes with 2 dozen(or so) cool backgrounds. You also get to change the color of on screen icons(10 or so colors including, black, white, blue(2), orange, red, yellow), and the text color(white or black). About the only thing you don't get to change is the overlay menus. Overlay menus show for a few seconds after you first start a video, slideshow, or audio playback. They are semi-transparent, which you don't get to change, nor the icons on them.

Playback(Audio mp3 @ 320kbps via headphones)
Apple iPod(8.5)- The audio quality is nothing to complain about. I used to use the default iTunes 128kbps import option. Then I got more into tech stuff and found about bitrates. I started using 320kpbs. To be honest, I didn't notice much change on the iPod.
Archos 504(9.5)- I notice a change between the 320kbps of the iPod and the 504. It sounds crisper on here.

Playback(Audio mp3 @ 320kbps via built in speaker)
Apple iPod(N/A)- No built in speaker.
Archos 504(7) - The built in speaker on the 504 is a nice feature. While if you are playing at high volumes, it tends to not do too well with the bass, it is still a nice feature. The volume doesn't get that high, but if you are in bed watching a movie, it's fine. If you want to use it somewhere with a lot of background noise, you might not have much luck, unless you want to sacrifice quality.

Playback(Audio mp3 @ 320kbps via external speakers(docked)
Apple iPod via iHome speaker system(8.5)- The iHome speakers aren't as good as the Archos Gen 04, but that is another issue for another time. Playback is normal, as to be expected from speakers.
Archos 504 via Archos Gen 04 speakers(8.5)- Playback is slightly better than the iHome, but nothing to get excited over.

Playback(Video mp4 @ 2500kbps @ 320x240px (Audio AAC 160kpbs) via internal LCD)
Apple iPod(Posted Image- The LCD of the iPod isn't as good quality as the 504, but again, that's another issue. Playback is optimum at this resolution for the iPod I believe.
Archos 504(6.5)- The iPod actually plays video better at this resolution than the 504, merely because it is not optimized for the Archos's larger widescreen.

Playback(Video Mpeg2 @ 720x480px(Audio AC3 448kpbs) via internal LCD)
Apple iPod(N/A)- To the best of my knowledge, out of the box, the iPod cannot play this resolution or file type.
Archos 504(10)- Playback is incredible, for any type of player, not just a portable. It is crisp, and amazing.

Playback(Video Mpeg2 @ 720x480px(Audio AC3 448kpbs) via 42" external plasma TV via docking station)
Apple iPod(N/A)- The only iPods I've seen hooked up to a TV didn't look very good, so I never looked into hooking mine up. And again, I don't think it can play this type of file. It's mp4 is probably the reason it looks shitty on a big screen.
Archos 504(10)- Again, incredible. The docking station(More money, but worth it), not only allows you to output HD signals to a TV, but you can record TV through it(Not that that aspect went into the score).

Battery Life(Audio)
Apple iPod(Posted Image- For an mp3 player, the iPod has an impressive battery life, but it doesn't match the Archos 504.
Archos 504(10)- I haven't tested a full charge on solely audio playback, but I'm betting it's higher than the iPod. Even if it's not the fact that the battery is replaceable($29 for a stock battery $39 for a third party double life battery(thicker and won't fit in the dock, speakers, case, etc.)) makes the battery life better.

Battery Life(Video)
Apple iPod(7)- For an mp3 player, the iPod has an impressive battery life, but it doesn't match the Archos 504.
Archos 504(10)- I haven't tested a full charge, but, again, it appears longer, and the additional batteries...

Range of available accessories
Apple iPod(9)- This may be the one point that the iPod holds the upper hand. It is more popular, so naturally it has more companies that are making accessories for it.
Archos 504(5)- I have found accessories from Archos and one other company, but it does not match the volume that the iPod has.

Quality of available accessories(Ones that I have used/seen in use)
Apple iPod(Posted Image- I have not been impressed with really anything that Apple has made for the iPod accessory-wise. I have had good results with the iHome speaker system, and a few Altec Lansing speakers. However, I have had many Belkin and Apple accessories that blow ass.
Archos 504(9.5)- Accessories are great. I have not encountered any problems with them, except the connectors. Different accessories use different connectors that you have to switch out. They come with them, you just have to plug in different adapters to use them.

Audio Recording via built in microphone
Apple iPod(N/A)- No built in mic and the attachable ones I've experienced aren't that good quality wise.
Archos 504(8.5)- Built in mic picks up sound pretty well, but the quality is no better than any run of the mill digital recorder you can buy in stores, but it gets the job done.

Range of file types played(Audio)
Apple iPod(7)- AAC, Protected AAC, MP3, MP3 VBR, Audible 2, 3, 4, Apple Looseless, AIFF, WAV (10)
Archos 504(9)- MP3, MP3 VBR, WMA, Protected WMA, WAV, OGG Vorbis, AAC(with plug-in), AC3(With plug-in) (Posted Image

Take notice though that 4 are the same. That means Apple offers 6 others and Archos offers 4 others. The others are:
Protected AAC(Only if you use iTunes Music Store would this be needed)
Audible 2,3,4(Only for audiobooks, which there are, I believe, free converters to mp3 for)
Apple Loosless(? What is that?)
AIFF(Pretty obsolete)

WMA(Probably the second most common audio file type after mp3)
Protected WMA(Until the release of the 04 Archos Generation, this was pretty much limited to Windows devices, but is very common too.)
OGG Vorbis(May be unknown to many, but is a popular radio broadcasting type)
AC3(Audio used in Mpeg-2 video types) Pretty necessary if you want to run better quality videos

Range of file types played(Video)
Apple iPod(7)- m4v, mp4, mov (3)
Archos 504(9)- mp4, avi, mov & m4v(With plug-in), Mpeg-2(With plug-in), DivX (6)

Archos has all of the Apple offerings and more

Range of file types played(Photo)
Apple iPod(7)- JPEG, BMP, GIF, TIFF, PNG (5)
Archos 504(9)- JPEG, BMP, PNG (3)

Apple offers 2 more than Archos.
TIFF
GIF
Both are mostly used for computer creations. JPEG is the heavy-hitter for family photos, which is what most people carry. The only reason you would truly need GIF is if you wanted an animated computer creaton. TIFF, who knows?

Range of file types played(Other)
Apple iPod(N/A) - No others
Archos 504(10) - PDF files can be read.

Size(of unit) (H=Height W=Width D=Depth)
Apple iPod(9)- The iPod is 4.1H x 2.4W x 0.55D inches. It is 5.5oz.
Archos 504(7)- The 504 is 3H x 5.1W x .9D inches. It is 11.15oz.

Size in relation to:
processing power
Apple iPod(8.5)- The iPod has a very fast processor for how small it is. Files may load a tiny bit faster than the 504.
Archos 504(6.5)- The 504 is quick. Not as fast as the iPod, but it gets the job done in a reasnoble amount of time.

storage
Apple iPod(7)- At 60GB and only .35" less deep, 1" less wide, and .6" less tall, it's not that great.
Archos 504(10)- At 160GB, it's the smalles, and probably the one of the only 3 or so players on the market.

battery life
Apple iPod(7)- The iPod has a high battery life for a portable player, but it doesn't match the 504, even in relation to size.
Archos 504(10)- Supreme. Nothing beats the 504 in size to battery life.


While I may have been a little bit non-objective since I am in love with my new 504, I still feel, 100% objectively, that it is a greater player for the value. The 504 itself costs $340 for the 80GB model, $416 for the 80GB with the DVR station(playback to TV, charge, record TV). The 160GB model that I have is $526 alone, or $600 with the dock. The iPod model used for comparison is $330. I sincerely feel the 504 160GB is a better value of than the iPod 60GB.


All prices from Amazon.com. I feel that, in order to compare two items, price-wise, you have to be talking about the same retailer for both.


Don't respond if you're going to flame please, it's just my opinion.
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#2 Richomundo

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Posted 01 March 2007 - 03:55 PM

MP3 cd players are still king.
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#3 Rambo

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Posted 01 March 2007 - 04:03 PM

What?
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#4 Substance Abuse

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Posted 01 March 2007 - 05:10 PM

I just got the Ipod 60 GB Video and It has tons of space. I am not even going to use half of the space and therefor I would never waste 600 dollars for something that I won't use even a slight percentage of the space availible.

Not To flame just my input.
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#5 Rambo

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Posted 01 March 2007 - 07:33 PM

If you just got it, you probably don't even know how to put movies on it. Movies are normally 1.5-2GB if they're good quality. There are a lot of other features that the 504 has out of box that the iPod doesn't have either, though.

Also - if you are only going to use a small percentage, why even get a 60. They make 30s. Also - there is an 80 and 40 GB 504. It's simply a better product line than the iPod.
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#6 Carbon

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Posted 01 March 2007 - 10:11 PM

Corrections and explanations:

I personally hate iTunes. It rearranges my libraries...

Tell it not to. It's a preference you can set.

When you fire up your 504 and plug it in, it asks you if you want to: (a)Run as a Portable Hard Drive, (b)Run as a Windows Media Device, or ©Just charge the device.

Likewise, if you want te use an iPod as a portable hard disk, you can enable the feature in the prefs. You need different software to organize music via drag and drop to the device, but it's possible.

Apple Loosless(? What is that?)

http://en.wikipedia..../Apple_Lossless (Pro audio lossless recording format.)

AIFF(Pretty obsolete)

Not really. It's frequently used in recording when lossless formats are used. It's what Garageband (among many others) mixes down to.

OGG Vorbis(May be unknown to many, but is a popular radio broadcasting type)

Best known as the Open Source answer to MP3 compression.

TIFF, who knows?

Lossless LZW compression is useful.

Edited by Carbon, 01 March 2007 - 10:12 PM.

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#7 Rambo

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Posted 01 March 2007 - 10:14 PM

Well bottom line, iTunes is confusing, whenever I updated it seemed to reset all my prefs, therefore, again, rearrainging my libs. Last time I heard, to use an iPod as a disk, you had to hold Menu and select until you saw the Apple logo, then switch to select and Play. Big pain in the ass if you ask me.
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#8 Carbon

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Posted 01 March 2007 - 10:39 PM

Well bottom line, iTunes is confusing, whenever I updated it seemed to reset all my prefs, therefore, again, rearrainging my libs. Last time I heard, to use an iPod as a disk, you had to hold Menu and select until you saw the Apple logo, then switch to select and Play. Big pain in the ass if you ask me.


To use an ipod as a disk, you set the pref to enable disk use, and plug it in; it mounts as a disk. It's why I like my 1st gen shuffle, because I use it as a thumb drive as well. Anyway, when an iPod is plugged in, the buttons actually don't work, so I'm not sure what you were reading about.

As far as your prefs resetting...I've heard that the Windows version has its share of problems. I use it at work and it's definitely a resource hog. Anyway, as far as reorganizing music files, I used to manually organize my files, but I've found it to be much easier to let iTunes do it and then arrange music at the playlist level. *shrug* YMMV.
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#9 Rambo

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 11:12 AM

I'm talking about filenames. Version 7 CHANGED my file/folder names. Completley. At that point, I knew I wasn't going to have an iPod any longer than I had too.

Try this:
BEFORE connecting yoru iPod to your PC, hold Menu and Select until you see the Apple logo. Then hold Select and Play. It will boot to disk mode.

I believe the feature you are talking about didn't get integrated until Version 7.
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#10 Carbon

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 01:05 PM

I'm talking about filenames. Version 7 CHANGED my file/folder names. Completley. At that point, I knew I wasn't going to have an iPod any longer than I had too.

Yeah, it's the different way of dealing with music files; manage your files through an abstraction layer such as iTunes, or manage them directly. I could imagine that being a major pain if you like to manage your own files for other devices.

Try this:
BEFORE connecting yoru iPod to your PC, hold Menu and Select until you see the Apple logo. Then hold Select and Play. It will boot to disk mode.

I found what you're talking about:

http://docs.info.app...ml?artnum=93651

You don't have to do that by any stretch; this is a troubleshooting feature. The disk will automatically mount if you tell it to.

I believe the feature you are talking about didn't get integrated until Version 7.

I have a 1st gen iPod that I've used since iTunes version 4.0. It's always's behaved this way. I've found that iPods have this feature turned off by default unless you click "enable disk usage".
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#11 Richomundo

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 08:38 PM

Honestly, they're all the same.

The only difference is GUI.

And the GUI can be changed on any mp3 player. There are tons of open source alternative GUI solutions for media players from everywhere. Pick a button style and body style you like and then change the GUI as you see fit.

Any feature on any media player can be recreated. I remember having a 3rd gen ipod play videos with iPodlinux in 10th grade. Hardly watchable, but the functionality was there, it just needed unlocking.

Nothing is impossible with technology.
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#12 Rambo

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 10:19 PM

What are you talking about? You can't turn a 1.5" square screen into a 4" widescreen. You can't turn 80GB into 160GB. ARCHOS>APPLE PERIOD
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#13 Carbon

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Posted 03 March 2007 - 10:55 AM

What are you talking about? You can't turn a 1.5" square screen into a 4" widescreen. You can't turn 80GB into 160GB. ARCHOS>APPLE PERIOD

With $200 more dollars, apparently you can. :huh:

To pardon the expression, it's really an Apples to oranges comparison. If you're looking to play video, the Archos is definitely the better option, as it's got the space and the screen. It is, however, a brick; the thing is huge. The iPod is smaller and has a better interface for eyes-free use. I've always thought that the larger capacity iPods were good music players that happen to play video.
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#14 Rambo

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Posted 03 March 2007 - 12:42 PM

Whaddya mean eyes free? You can use it without looking? Maybe changing the volume or track, but I can do that on my Archos.

At one point I did have over 80GB of music too...:P
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#15 Carbon

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Posted 03 March 2007 - 03:20 PM

Whaddya mean eyes free? You can use it without looking? Maybe changing the volume or track, but I can do that on my Archos.

Yeah, that's what I meant. Anyway, I didn't say it was impossible, I said it was easier. A circular arrangement of controls (a large D-pad) allows for easier finger placement than a vertical line of similar buttons. It's a very good interface, especially for dealing with long lists. Rotary volume is an added plus.

At one point I did have over 80GB of music too...:P

Then it was a very good idea for you to buy an extra-large capacity player.
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#16 Substance Abuse

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Posted 04 March 2007 - 06:31 PM

I think rambo is starting to realize that he wasted 600 dollars... Stay Tuned Folks
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#17 Rambo

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Posted 04 March 2007 - 08:11 PM

Where the fuck do you get that? From what post could you possibly ascertain that?

From now on - intelligent posters only please.
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#18 Crankymonky

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Posted 04 March 2007 - 09:37 PM

Sorry, I don't see FLAC and Ogg Vorbis support from either of those. Personally, I've never used FLAC just do to the size, but the ipod's lack of Ogg is a bummer. Itunes is also a terrible application, as is Windows Media Player.

Amarok & Rhythmbox really are much better. Windows media player doesn't even detect all my music, while itunes is just as bad of a memory hog.

The ipod's lack of support for WMA is absolutely killer! I once built up my collection in WMA format because I was fond of it at the time. I liked the sound I was getting at lower bitrates. When I imported things to iTunes, I was afraid they would delete my WMA copies and only give me their AAC versions. It didn't, but if I hit "import---My Music Folder" it begins to make second copies of all my WMA files! It reconverts them to AAC, yielding 2 copies of each song. A major disappointment.

The ipod lacks not only WMA, but Ogg Vorbis also. No *easy* UMS way to transfer music brings the iPod down majorly in my opinion. Sure there are workarounds, but they are just that.

I'm not one to care too much about the interface's graphics, as long as it works. The ipod's interface has never bothered me.

Edited by Crankymonky, 04 March 2007 - 09:40 PM.

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#19 Rambo

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Posted 04 March 2007 - 11:41 PM

Yeah - I didn't see support for OGG, but I put it on by accident and it worked.

Why would you ever use FLAC? What can it possibly offer that something else doesn't?
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#20 Carbon

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Posted 05 March 2007 - 12:29 AM

Why would you ever use FLAC? What can it possibly offer that something else doesn't?

I was wondering too, so I looked it up. Generally speaking, it's a free, lossless compression scheme. The file sizes are bigger, but:

For most users, a small difference in filesize is usually far outweighed by FLAC's advantages: open patent free codec, portable open source (BSD) reference implementation, documented API, multi-platform support, hardware support, multi-channel support, etc. Improving FLAC to get a little more compression is not worth making it more complex and more compute-intensive to decode, and hence, less likely to be supported in hardware.


Bigger file size, but great audio quality in a file format which is free for anyone to use and implement. Seeing as how Microsoft just got sued over their use of MP3, I could see open source codecs being of greater and greater interest...and larger file sizes are becoming less and less of a problem.
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#21 taita cakes

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Posted 05 March 2007 - 06:50 AM

Do you honestly think FLAC, Ogg Vorbis and proprietary formats really mean shit to us plebs who just want to listen to music?
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#22 Rambo

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Posted 05 March 2007 - 09:30 AM

No - but to many in the tech commnunity they are must haves.

Do you see anywhere where it says what the bitrate can get to Carbon? Because Ogg can get up to 500 kbps.
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#23 Carbon

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Posted 05 March 2007 - 12:04 PM

Do you see anywhere where it says what the bitrate can get to Carbon? Because Ogg can get up to 500 kbps.

You don't directly deal with bitrate like in lossy formats. In lossy formats (like MP3 and Ogg), a bitrate is a maximum data stream that is allowed, and data that surpasses that maximum is lost. FLAC seems to be more like VBR MP3s, but not lossy; it encodes everything it receives in the original signal, and varies the bitrate based on the signal it gets.
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#24 Richomundo

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Posted 05 March 2007 - 07:46 PM

What are you talking about? You can't turn a 1.5" square screen into a 4" widescreen. You can't turn 80GB into 160GB.


you obviously missed my point. I said pick the hardware that you like. the software can always be changed. nothing is impossible software-wise. Don't make it sound like i was talking about hardware. I was specifically speaking about GUI.

All personal media players are the same. The only thing you need to do is pick the hardware that suits your needs, and any software or GUI (graphical user interface aka what you see on the screen) can be changed modified etc as you see fit to suit your personal needs.

You really are trying to compare bananas and walnuts. Who watches videos on the ipod anyways? I use it as a portable VCR. I actually saved an 8 hour tour bus ride when the VCR broke because i had some great movies on my ipod and the cables to connect it to the video system of the bus.
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#25 Rambo

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Posted 05 March 2007 - 08:55 PM

I'm comparing one PMP that is VERY popular to another that isn't so popular. EVERY PMP is different from the next, I'm just informing people in which ways the 504 is better, that's all.
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