Thursday, October 15, 2009


Amazing, tiny music players

Samsung YP-T9 MP3 playerOn the right is a Samsung YP-T9 MP3 player. I got one a couple of years ago, to go with a programming project I was working on. It’s got 2 gigabytes of memory in it (newer models have up to 8 GB), and it’s tiny: it’s about 84 mm high, 42 mm wide, and only 11 mm thick. To put that in perspective, it’s a little smaller than a business card (90 mm x 50 mm), and about as tall as a stack of six U.S. quarters.

After using it to hold podcasts of This American Life for some time, I decided to put the podcasts onto my BlackBerry (in which I now have an 8 GB microSD card), and to fill the YP-T9 with music. It has about 500 songs on it. The latest model will hold around 2000 songs.

I find that completely amazing. It’s amazing that we can now fit a high-quality music player with 2000 songs, an FM radio, a voice recorder, and a decent-sized screen and buttons for accessing all of this... in a package that’s smaller than a business card and about as tall as a stack of six quarters.

Turn on shuffle mode, and that little thing will give you around 150 hours of music before you have to listen to the same song a second time. You get to pick the songs. And we don’t degrade the quality when we put stuff on there, the way we did when we made cassette tapes from our record albums, years ago.

Man, you have to love technology!

Here’s one feature I wish these players had:

Most of them have some sort of “shuffle mode”, where they’ll play songs in a random order. That works great for most popular music, but isn’t good at all for classical. I want to be able to group “tracks” together, so that they’s always played as a block when the player is shuffling. That way, I could shuffle my classical music, but still hear all four movements of Mozart’s 40th symphony together.

Do classical-music fans not use MP3 players? Or do they just turn off shuffle mode?

1 comment:

The Ridger, FCD said...

In a Christopher Brookmyre novel (One Fine Day In the Middle of the Night) the protagonist muses about the random feature - he know musicians who agonize for weeks over the order of the tracks, and now everybody just screws that up without thinking.

I wouldn't use shuffle with classical, but then again I don't put classical on my mp3 player, really...