Inexpensive CD or DVD player that plays MP3-encoded CDs?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by KeithH, Aug 9, 2001.

  1. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    I just got a new Dell desktop computer last week (the old Dell was fried in a lightning storm) and got a new internal CD burner and new software pre-loaded. Just last night, I used the Adaptec Easy CD Creator program for the first time to burn a CD-R mix using .wav files. The program is incredibly easy to use. I noticed that this program, like many others, can extract songs from CDs to MP3 files, so I started thinking (I hate when I do that [​IMG]) that maybe I should play around with making some MP3-encoded CDs. I've never done it before and it could be fun. So, I am looking for an inexpensive (around $200) CD or DVD player that will play MP3-encoded CDs. I don't want anything too expensive because I don't expect all-world fidelity from MP3-encoded CDs. I just want something inexpensive to have fun with. Here are my questions:
    1) Does anyone make an inexpensive single-disc CD player that plays MP3-encoded CDs? I know Harman/Kardon makes at least one carousel changer that plays these discs, but I don't want a changer. A single-disc player would be fine. The Sony CDP-XE370 at $140 would be perfect, but it is not MP3-compatible. [​IMG]
    2) How about inexpensive single-disc DVD players that are MP3-compatible? I know they exist. I believe Toshiba makes them, and there are probably others (Apex and the like). I have no first-hand experience with Toshiba DVD players. Maybe I am wrong about this, but I have this stigma in my mind about DVD players with MP3 capability being cheap s%it when you start talking about Apex and some of those $120 DVD players. Feel free to try to help me break the stigma. It seems that few of the better brands (Toshiba, Pioneer, Sony, etc.) incorporate MP3 technology into their DVD players. Anyway, I would rather deal with these brands than Apex. The Pioneer DV-343 looks nice at $160-180, but alas, it isn't MP3-compatible. [​IMG] I am not really anxious to get another DVD player since I have a Sony DVP-C670D changer for movies and a Technics DVD-A10 for DVD-Audio, but if there is no other option, I will go that way.
    Finally, I could get a Creative Labs Nomad Jukebox for $300 (more than I want to spend), which is a portable player with a 10-GB hard drive. These can be connected to a home stereo. Certainly, I could download MP3s from my computer to one of these. However, I don't think I would like the interface when using a portable player in a home stereo system. For this reason, I would rather not consider a portable CD player that can play MP3-encoded CDs either.
    Any thoughts you might have on this subject would be appreciated. In the meantime, I have a Harman/Kardon CDR 30 dual-tray CD recorder in my second system, which plays MP3-encoded CDs. I didn't buy it for this feature (I bought it for dubbing CDs), but I certainly could use it. Nevertheless, I am looking or an inexpensive component to allow me to play MP3-encoded CDs in my home theater. Thanks for reading.
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  2. Phil Tomaskovic

    Phil Tomaskovic Supporting Actor

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    Panasonic RV31 (and most Panny's with the X1 model number).
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  3. Eugene Hsieh

    Eugene Hsieh Supporting Actor

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    Consider a Rio Volt portable player (aka iRiver, aka AVC Soul). No wireless remote, but it handles MP3 BETTER than most name brand DVD players with MP3.
    I have one and it's great. Reads ID3 tags and allows full navigation of the disc, even slightly better than my Apex for a couple of features. My Panny RP 91 also does MP3, but there's absolutely no way to navigate the disc. Ie. with the Panny, it's track 1-110 - you have to skip through all of them to find the track you want.
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  4. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Thanks for the info. Eugene, I hadn't thought of the Rio Volt, etc. I did not realize that selecting tracks of an MP3-encoded CD is problematic. Is this generally the case for CD or DVD players or is it unique to Panasonic? Since I have never made an MP3 CD, I don't know how my Harman/Kardon CDR 30 handles them.
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  5. Eugene Hsieh

    Eugene Hsieh Supporting Actor

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    There are a couple of issues.
    A) Does the player access subdirectories? Well most do, but how they do is important. Some will let you navigate the directory tree on the LCD screen or else on your TV (if it's a MP3 DVD player). However, my understanding is that most DVD players do NOT allow that type of navigation. They'll play the files fine, but you won't know if a particular track is track 21 or track 123 until you play it.
    My Panasonic RP91 does not allow such navigation, but my Apex AD-600A and AVC Soul (aka Rio Volt) do.
    B) Does the player play variable bit rate files? Most do, but not all.
    C) Does the player read ID3 tags? Most do NOT. My AVC Soul does, and displays on the LCD screen the artist and song info.
    D) Does the player read high bit rate files (256 or 320)? Many do, but some do not. I consider the ability to read and playback 320 a key feature.
    E) Does the player read LOW bit rate files? Well many will choke once one gets below about 64. Who cares? Well, if you use variable bit rate files, in periods of silence the bit rate will drop to even below 32. That causes some machines to choke. Also, many books on MP3 are encoded at very low bit rates.
    F) Will the player read CD-RW? Some do and some don't.
    G) Will the player read CD-R? Almost all do, but a very few don't, which is very odd. It essentially makes the player completely useless for MP3.
    By the way, the audio quality out of my Apex and Panasonic digital outputs are superior to the AVC Soul's analogue output, which isn't surprising. However, I use the AVC Soul elsewhere, like in the car or at work, etc. Depends on what you want and need.
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  6. Phuong

    Phuong Stunt Coordinator

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    Your best bet is the Panasonic DVD-RV31, in either black or silver. You'll find it for $200 at all the megstores. It has a few feature quirks, like no coaxial digital output, but its picture quality is better than my Pioneer 525, which was a best buy when it came out. It plays MP3s without a hitch, judging by the CDs I made using Roxio Toast Titanium 5.0 on my iMac.
    Costco sells the same model under a different name.
    Panasonic DVD-R21 for about $170
    The only negative about the panasonics is the warranty. 1 year for parts, 90 days for labor. It'd be nice to have a full one year warranty, but the odds are you won't need it.
     
  7. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Eugene,
    Thanks for the excellent summary of key considerations in playing MP3 CDs. There is some excellent information there.
    Phuong,
    Thanks for the information on the Panasonic DVD-RV31. I'll check it out.
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  8. JohnnyG

    JohnnyG Screenwriter

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    You can probably find a Malata MP-2000 for $200 or so. This is a portable CD player that also plays back MP3 files.
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  9. Elbert Lee

    Elbert Lee Supporting Actor

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    FRY's Electronics carries a China-made DVD player based on a Toshiba transport and user interface that plays EVERYTHING!
    The brand is "HAIER" and the unit is very solid. There's firmware available that can allow it to be region-free. It plays MP3s, CDRs, CDRws, and performs PAL/NTSC conversion.
    On sale, it should be available for $99.
    I'm very impressed with the build of this player. It uses Toshiba's remote and even the display on the unit is Toshiba. The unit is heavier than a Pioneer 525 and the transport is much quieter than the Pana RP31, Pioneer 525, and one of earlier dual tray toshiba players (I had all of these to compare back to back).
    SAMPO is another good DVD player that plays everthing with firmware available to make it region free. Costs a bit more than the HAIER, though, but the new SAMPOS (621model) will have a PC Card slot on the front panel so that you can play MP3's off your pc card. ( I believe it's a flash memory card slot or something of this nature)
    Elbert
     
  10. Thomas_Berg

    Thomas_Berg Screenwriter

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    the Panasonic '31 is a great choice.
    but just to throw another one out, the Panny DVDRP56 is progressive scan (for future upgrades [​IMG]) and plays mp3 cds. it's around $225, which is a little over, but it's worth the extra $$.
    just giving you another option.
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  11. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Elbert,
    Thanks, but the $100 or so Apex, Oritron, Raite, Sampo, etc. DVD players are not for me. I've heard too many reliability problems with many of them. Furthermore, even though I am looking for just an MP3 CD player, I feel the $100 players are lacking sonically.
    Thomas,
    I saw the Panasonic DVD-RP56 at a local Circuit City last weekend for $225. It looks like a very nice player, but I have no need currently and do not anticipate the need for progressive scan output. So in this case, I would probably opt to save $25 or so to get the 'RP31 unless build quality or other features made the 'RP56 stand out.
    I'll tell you, I think the player that makes most sense for me is the Kenwood DPC-MP922 portable CD player. Crutchfield has it for $180. Here is the link:
    http://www.crutchfield.com/cgi-bin/S...PCM922&o=M&a=0
    If you read "The Nitty-Gritty" page for the player on Crutchfield's web site, it seems to offer most of the key MP3 playback features that Eugene said to look for above. It plays CD-Rs and CD-RWs and can also play CDs encoded with WMA files. A portable player is not ideal for home use, as I said earlier in this thread, but this player does what I want as far as MP3s are concerned.
    I looked on Kenwood's web site, and unfortunately, they do not currently offer a home CD player that plays MP3-encoded discs. They do offer a single-disc DVD player (DV-503) and carousel changer (DV-505) that play MP3 CDs, but I could not get information on Kenwood's web site regarding MP3 playback features. So, I'll consider the portable for now.
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  12. Eugene Hsieh

    Eugene Hsieh Supporting Actor

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    I saw the Kenwood in the store and it looks nicer than my AVC Soul, and it's better built. However, the website really has little info about it, and they're so uncommon that few people have reviewed it on MP3.com. Thus I can't tell you much about it.
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  13. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Eugene, I am going on a few things I read on Crutchfield's web site about the Kenwood portable. It looks like a winner. In addition, Crutchfield just got in a lesser expensive Kenwood portable that plays MP3 CDs. It sells for $160, however, it is so new, that Crutchfield has no information about its MP3 features. They don't have a picture of it up yet. The key difference I can see between the two off the bat is that the more expensive model comes with a car kit, which I can't use since my car stereo has no tape deck or line input.
    I am going to research my MP3 options more before I make a decision. The $180 Kenwood portable looks nice, but I really had my heart set on a home player. It's too bad the Panasonic DVD-RV31 is lacking in MP3 features. Still, I would rather not buy another DVD player. I am surprised that there aren't more CD players available that play MP3 CDs. Compatible DVD players are lacking too. Hmmm....
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  14. Eugene Hsieh

    Eugene Hsieh Supporting Actor

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    Hmmm...
    I actually stopped recommending CD players to friends almost completely. Most of them would never spend over $200 US anyway, and IMHO to get a CD-only player in that price range one will not get really significant improvements over a DVD player for sound quality in the same price range + 20 bux. The only benefit of that price point for CD players is if you want a CD-changer.
    Anyways, I don't want to come down too hard on the Panasonic MP3/DVD players. That lack of navigation is something that bothers me, but other people have no problem with it. They just stick the disk in and let it play, either sequentially or randomly.
     
  15. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Eugene, many people and magazine reviewers believe that straight CD players sound better than DVD players at a given price point, and I have found that to be the case. However, I agree with you that at $200 or so, there should be no meaningful difference if any at all. The fact is that $200 doesn't get a really good audio component. For MP3s, I wouldn't need really good. Anyway, I thought a CD player would be nice to keep things simple, as I wouldn't use a DVD player for video since I have a Sony DVP-C670D changer for movies and a Technics DVD-A10 for DVD-Audio.
    According to Crutchfield's web site, the Panasonic DVD-RP31 does not allow random play with MP3-encoded CDs. This is the main reason I am not looking to buy it at this point. The aforementioned Kenwood portable CD player allows random play according to Crutchfield, however.
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    [Edited last by KeithH on August 10, 2001 at 09:53 AM]
     

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