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Old 09-22-2009, 10:32 PM   #1
Im_me
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Audio quality - MP3 player?

I'm thinking of buying the PRS-600, but I haven't read much about the audio quality. I've managed to resist buying either an MP3 player or an Ebook reader until now, but I think I'm likely to succumb soon.

I haven't read much about whether the PRS-600 works well as an MP3 player. I generally listen to classical music, so overall sound quality is important to me, and so are other factors such as continuity between tracks. For example, sometimes on CDs single movements are split into multiple tracks, and on early Ipods there was a very annoying gap when you moved from one track to the next. Also, do you ever get breaks in the sound if you read at the same time - for example if you turn to a page with a big picture on it? How about battery life during playback?

I'd be interested to know whether other people on the list consider that the PRS-600 rates as a good MP3 player as well as an Ereader?

Thanks in advance for your views.
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Old 09-22-2009, 11:02 PM   #2
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i haven't used it much to play mp3s, but just from fiddling around with it, i wouldn't want to use it as an mp3 player--and you sound more demanding than i am.
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Old 09-23-2009, 01:43 AM   #3
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I don't have a 600, but have a 505 and imagine the mp3 player would have about the same functionality (I could be wrong though.).

Like quillaja, I wouldn't recommend the readers for use as mp3 players. Using the mp3 player will drain the battery quickly and it's easy to leave the player on after you are through listening, which will cause the battery to drain.

I recommend buying a dedicated mp3 player for listening to music. You'll have much better luck than trying to use the reader!

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Old 09-23-2009, 02:31 AM   #4
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Being quite deaf, I like the audio quality of my 505. I can't hear highs or lows without large and powerful hearing aids, so the 505 is the perfect mp3 player for me.

Perfect except for the inability to cycle songs, make play lists, automatically repeat songs, turn off the music without turning off the entire device, leaving the music playing a draining the battery overnight instead of every two weeks with just books.

Come to think of it, maybe the 505 isn't the very best MP3 player....

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Old 09-23-2009, 02:40 PM   #5
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Thanks for your helpful replies. Sounds like I can't perhaps justify it quite yet...

It's a shame as if you can put a 16 gigabyte flash card in it, it could hold a lot of music. And I'm sure some of the issues you've mentioned could easily be fixed with a firmware upgrade... Perhaps they'll get round to it sooner or later. I'll keep my eyes pealed.
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Old 09-23-2009, 02:55 PM   #6
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The sound hooked to my car audio via an iPod cable is magnificent. However, play options are very limited. It's perfect for an audiobook.
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Old 09-23-2009, 06:31 PM   #7
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If i had all my CDs mp3ified, each in a separate folder, would it play the tracks in order for a given CD?

I actually think I'm probably less demanding in some ways than a lot of pop music fans. For example, I will choose to listen to a symphony then listen to the whole thing, then choose another piece of music to listen to. i don't want or need features like a random play mode.
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Old 09-23-2009, 10:20 PM   #8
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Honestly, when dealing with MP3s, the sound "quality" is mostly determined by two things: The encoding of the MP3 itself, and the headphones that you're using.

I haven't even tried using my 600 for MP3s (since I have an iPhone), but the play options are probably pretty minimal. However, if you don't care about fancy features and just want it to sound good, you'll probably be fine as long as you get decent headphones. Might I recommend some high-end noise isolating (NOT cancelling, that's unnecessary) earbuds from Shure?
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Old 09-24-2009, 05:25 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Im_me View Post
If i had all my CDs mp3ified, each in a separate folder, would it play the tracks in order for a given CD?

I actually think I'm probably less demanding in some ways than a lot of pop music fans. For example, I will choose to listen to a symphony then listen to the whole thing, then choose another piece of music to listen to. i don't want or need features like a random play mode.
Hi Im_Me,

Unfortunately the Sony ebook-Readers don't accept any folders when it comes to audio-files. You don't have a possibility to create audio-folders.

The Sony-Readers simply play all the files, stored on it, in alphabetical order. That's annoying!

And - i.m.o. even worst - there is no "stop"-button. You can't stop the audio-playing anymore, you can only use the "pause"-modus, but this doesn't really stop the function and drains the battery. If you have once started to play any audio-file you will have to shut-down the device completely (not only use the power-switch) to let it stop again.

For me this is not acceptable and I immediately erased all the audio-files from my ebook-reader and won't use it for audio anymore.

The devices are really great - for reading ebooks. But they are everything else than good when it comes to the audio-playing-questions. I'm really angry that they offer the function at all, as it is not really useable, due to the software-restrictions and the problems, caused by that.

Regards,
Momo
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Old 09-24-2009, 06:11 AM   #10
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I think I'm going to buy the 300. I don't need mp3 at all.
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Old 09-24-2009, 09:14 AM   #11
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Thanks momo_germany - looks like this is simply not an option for me then... I can see that programming for epaper may be more difficult than programming for an lcd screen in terms of interactivity, but frankly that's appalling.

With respect to ephewe, I agree that headphones are crucially important in terms of sound quality, but it is very possible to get other things wrong in terms of the output electronics, and if that's messed up then there's nothing the best headphones in the world will do to rectify things (and I don't count myself as a hi-fi fanatic).

A real shame as it could have been a winner. I'm sure someone will get round to it sooner or later.
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Old 09-26-2009, 10:19 AM   #12
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My view of sound is such that the PRS600 offers convenience. It has adequate sound quality if one just wants some background music while reading. If your preference is high end audio quality with the ability to conveniently select songs or albums, the PRS600 will disappoint.

Personally I love to listen to classical music while reading. For example, when I am on an airplane, the PRS600 works fine. I put a couple of my favorite albums on an SD card and all is well. When I'm reading at home, I generally opt for a higher quality listening experience, which I consider a reference standard for portable MP3 players.

For those who are interested, there are four key components that I use to obtain a high quality, portable, listening experience:
  1. iPod Classic (30GB)
  2. high quality cable that connects the iPod to an output amp
  3. Ray Samuels portable amplifier
  4. Shure E500 sound isolating earphones; or Eymotic ER4P sound isolating earphones
This setup bypasses the iPod amplifier by feeding an unamplified signal to an external amplifier via a high quality, low impedance, cable. The D/A converter on the iPod is very good, but the iPod's output amp makes compromises due to space considerations. The sound isolating earphones are important in the sense that they have the capability to reproduce a high quality signal. It would be pointless to use earbuds with this set up.

If one compares the two options there is a considerable difference from an audio quality point of view. To be honest, however, the high quality option has a tendency to distract me at times from the reading experience, which brings me back to my original premise. If you want adequate quality background music the PRS600 does a good job.
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Old 09-29-2009, 04:26 AM   #13
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Once in a blue moon I listen to music on my readers. I have a few albums worth of "reading music." It can be convenient, but what's even more convenient is my Sansa Clip+ that I wear on my collar with the short wire earbuds. When I was using my reader to listen to music I noticed a drastic difference in battery life, especially on my 700 when I had the reading light on as well. Now I keep my clip on for music and use my readers just for reading. I like knowing that I can plug in earbuds if I want to, but only do when one of my clips aren't around. Even if you got a $20 mp3 player I think it would be worth it just so you don't wear the battery out on the reader.
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Old 09-29-2009, 06:03 AM   #14
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capnttom are you using a LOD cable or using a cable via ipod headphone jack?
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Old 09-29-2009, 06:36 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Im_me View Post
I haven't read much about whether the PRS-600 works well as an MP3 player. I generally listen to classical music, so overall sound quality is important to me, and so are other factors such as continuity between tracks. For example, sometimes on CDs single movements are split into multiple tracks, and on early Ipods there was a very annoying gap when you moved from one track to the next. Also, do you ever get breaks in the sound if you read at the same time - for example if you turn to a page with a big picture on it? How about battery life during playback?

I'd be interested to know whether other people on the list consider that the PRS-600 rates as a good MP3 player as well as an Ereader?
The 600 is primarily an ereader. It has an audio player bolted on for convenience. I have found it perfectly adequate. I'd like if it played a little louder though, but I could get round this if i applied normalise to the ripping process. I actually looked for audio playback in the reader in order to play audiobooks (after all, these are books too), although sometimes it's nice to play a little music. The quality is fine. If I want mega quality, I'll rip to AAC and play on my hi-fi. If I want to organise my music, I'll use some other application on the computer. The reader is really a single-purpose device for books of different types, and I like it that way.

I have been reading on the device while it plays music and turning the page does not interrupt it. Bear in mind that reading consumes almost no juice but playing does, and relative to reading, it is a huge amount.

Regarding movements being split across multiple tracks, the stop/start didn't bother me when I was listening to multiple mp3s - it was what I'd expect just listening to the cd. If you wish, you could rip/encode an entire cd as one track which would eliminate any possibility of what you describe from happening, but this is a function of how you rip the original in the first place rather than the reader.
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