Welcome to the future of personal audio. The tiny Diamond Rio player plays MP3-encoded digital music, the open Internet standard that’s shaking up the industry. It stores your music files in 32 MB of RAM instead of on CD or tape, so it has no moving parts and it can’t skip.
About the size of a deck of cards, the Diamond Rio player weighs under three ounces and can store up to an hour’s worth of music files encoded at 64 Kbps or half an hour’s worth of files at 128 Kbps. The supplied Windows software and PC connector cable let you upload new selections, delete old ones, change the playback order, and even create new MP3 files from your own CDs.
What about sound quality? MP3 is a compression technique that discards a lot of the information captured by normal CD encoding. True audiophiles will hear the difference. But the overall effect is surprisingly clean, and the Diamond Rio’s extreme portability more than makes up for the subtle degradation.
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