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7 November, 2005
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Lexar LDP-200 Digital Music Player and SD Card Reader for Linux, Mac, and Windows

Good Sound, Easy Listening, and Good Value

The Lexar Digital Music Player is very nice and it is compact -- about the size of half a Hershey bar. It's small enough that you can close your hand around it or slip it into a shirt pocket. And most importantly, it sounds good.

Mike Angelo -- 7 November 2005 (C) -- Page 1

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Article Index

Executive Summary

Lexar's LDP-200 Digital Music Player is a nice product -- good sound and easy listening. We like it. And considering it doubles as a cross-platform SD card reader too, it is a good value.

The Lexar Digital Music Player is very nice and it is compact -- about the size of half a Hershey bar. It's small enough that you can close your hand around it or slip it into a shirt pocket. It plays MP3, WMA, and WMA DRM music files. And most importantly, it sounds good.

The LDP-200 does what Lexar says it will do and it does so well. The ability to create custom super-albums provided by the removable SD memory card feature is handy and somewhat unique among digital music players.

The Lexar Digital Music Player (LDP-200) uses SD memory cards to store the music files, thus providing almost unlimited memory. Another nice plus for the Lexar Digital Music Player is that you can use it with most all popular operating systems -- BSD, desktop Linux, Mac OS, Unix, and Windows.

The LDP-200 is more than a music player. It's an SD card reader too. Use it to carry computer files around from computer to computer as you travel through your day. And because it is compatible with the BSD, GNU-Linux, Mac, Unix and MS Windows platforms, you can use it to move files from one operating system to another.

You can connect the LDP-200 to a USB port on your PC and use your favorite computer music-player software to pipe the music through your PCs speakers. The Lexar Digital Music Player also is a stand-alone music box. Plug your earbuds or headphones into the LDP-200 and off you go with music all the way, all day.

You can feed self-powered computer speakers directly from the LDP-200. Or, you can feed the LDP-200 directly into a regular stereo system too.

Use Audacity to convert several audio file types to the MP3 format, one of the Lexar Digital Music Player formats. Audacity is free and open source software.

To test the LDP-200, we connected it to a USB port on our Pogo Linux Altura64 Workstation booted into Mandriva Linux. The KDE Konqueror File Manager was used to download Al Hirt, Benny Goodman, Gerry Mulligan, Harry James. and Peter Nero albums to the LDP-200. Audacity had been used to digitally record the LP albums and save them as MP3 files.

The XMMS music player on the Pogo Altura64 machine was used to play the music files stored on the LDP-200. That worked great.

We did not use any audio test equipment to check out frequency responses of the Lexar Digital Music Player. However, to the human ear the music does sound good and seems to have a full range and depth of sound.

If you are looking for a digital music player for yourself or for a gift, consider the Lexar LDP-200 Digital Music Player.

Flash Memory Drive Note:

The Lexar Digital Music Player is not a hard drive or a disk drive of any sort. It has no mechanical parts to break. Rather it is electronic memory -- flash memory. However, over time flash memory can wear out, electro-chemically.

Unlike DRAM (as used in RAM memory), flash memory does not get lost when the electricity to it is turned off -- thus flash memory is non-volatile. It is that non-volatile aspect of flash memory that lets it mimic a hard drive.

The electronics built into the Lexar Digital Music Player make it appear as a removable hard drive to the computer operating system. It's pretty slick. You get the reliability, speed, and compactness of electronic memory and the non-volatile aspect of electro-mechanical hard drives.

Digital music players are very popular these days and are available from many manufacturers. One nice feature of the Lexar Digital Music Player (LDP-200) is that it uses SD memory cards to store the music files, thus providing it with almost unlimited memory. Another nice plus for the Lexar Digital Music Player is that you can use it with most all popular, desktop operating systems -- the GNU-Linux, Mac, and Microsoft Windows platforms.

The Lexar Digital Music Player is very nice and it is compact -- about the size of half a Hershey bar. It's small enough that you can close your hand around it or slip it into a shirt pocket. And most importantly, it sounds good.

The LDP-200 is lots more than merely a music player. It's an SD card reader too. It can be used to carry your computer files around with you from computer to computer as you travel through your day. And because it is compatible with the GNU-Linux, Mac, Microsoft Windows NT, and MS Windows 2000 platforms, you can use it to move files from one operating system to another.

If you already have plenty of SD memory cards, you can purchase the LDP-200 for only $50 MSRP, without memory. Or, you can purchase it with 256-MB, 512-MB, or 1-GB of Lexar SD card memory for $90, $120, or $170 (MSRP) respectively. If your music collection is bigger than 1-GB, just buy additional SD cards so that you can play your entire music collection on the Lexar Digital Music Player.

SD Card Memory Makes The Lexar Music Player Cross-Platform

Because the Lexar Digital Music player uses SD memory cards and connects to PCs via the USB, you also can use it as an SD card reader. Moreover, the USB connection is why the LDP-200 is compatible with the GNU-Linux, Mac, and MS Windows platforms. And although we have not tried it, that USB connection likely makes the Lexar Digital Music player a device that you can use with BSD and the various UNIX platforms too.

Please keep in mind throughout today's discussion that officially Lexar lists its LDP-200 Digital Music Players only for use with the Microsoft Windows Me/2000/XP and the Apple Mac OS 9.0 and above operating systems (OSs). However, we have successfully tested the Lexar Digital Music Player with the Mandriva LE 2005 Linux distribution. On that basis we believe the LDP-200 also is compatible with many other Linux distributions plus BSD and UNIX, and various variants thereof too.

The Linux, Mac, and Microsoft Windows operating systems (OSs) see an SD memory card connected to the USB as a removable hard drive. In essence that makes an USB-connected SD card appear to be a natively interfaced device. Thus you can access your Lexar Digital Music Player by merely opening it in your GNU-Linux, Apple Mac, or MS Windows file manager.

Tip: The Linux operating system is smart enough to read files using both the Linux file systems and the Microsoft Windows file systems. However, MS Windows is not smart enough to read the Linux file systems. The Lexar Digital Music Player SD card comes pre-formatted in the MS Windows FAT 32 file system. Leave it that way. By so doing, the SD card on the LDP-200 can be used to transport your files from Linux to Windows computers and from Windows to Linux computers -- because both Linux and Windows can read the Windows FAT32 files.

Also, the operating system embedded in the Lexar Digital Music Player likely only can deal with the FAT32 file system. So, if you reformat any SD card you use with the LDP-200 to a Linux or Windows NT (NTFS) file system it is likely the LDP-200 would not be able to play any music files on those cards.

Please keep in mind in reading today's article that the Lexar Digital Music Player is made to play music files. It is made to work with the Windows Me/2000/XP and the Mac OS 9.0 and above operating systems. Lexar also advertises its Digital Music Player as an SD card reader. And that is all that Lexar promises.

We have found the LDP-200 to be quite capable of doing other things such as transporting files from one PC to another, piping music directly into PC speakers or a regular stereo system, and so forth. And we have found the LDP-200 to be compatible with GNU-Linux. But there is no promise those sorts of things will work all the time for all users. That said, those things work for us.

SD Cards Give Lexar Music Player Unlimited Memory

If you are beginning to think Lexar's using SD cards for the LDP-200 memory impressed us, you are correct. It did and it does.

The SD card Flash Memory for the Lexar Digital Music Player provides what amounts to unlimited memory in two ways. First, you can have a collection of SD cards to which you have copied your music files. Thus the only limitation to how many songs or albums you can store for your LDP-200 depends only on how many songs or albums you have and how many SD cards you have.

The other factor is the capacity of the SD cards you use. We put seven and one-half LP albums on the 256-MB Lexar SD card that came with our test LDP-200. That's about four hours of music without repeating.

If you use a 1-GB SD card, you likely can put around 28 to 30 LP albums on it. That's about 16 hours of music without repeating.

Use SD Cards to Build Custom Super Albums

Another handy thing about the SD cards is that you can, in essence, create your own customized super-albums. For example, right now some great Al Hirt music is trumpeting through the PC speakers.

This writer has eight Al Hirt albums that have been digitally recorded and backed up as MP3 files -- 242-MB altogether. Putting all eight Al Hirt albums on a single 256-MB SD card creates an AL Hirt super album. That's a 4 playing-hours, without repeating, collection of red, hot, and smooth Al Hirt trumpet jazz. (Guess who likes jazz, trumpets, and Al Hirt?)

Likewise for example, seven LP albums worth of George Shearing albums backed up as MP3 files comes to 224-MB. Perfect for another 256-MB SD card super album.

If you prefer collections with music from a variety of artists, just backup your MP3 files to SD cards in the manner of play lists.

Then simply slip one of your SD MP3 collections into your Lexar Digital Music Player. You can let them play in order, set the play list to repeat, or continually play your SD card collection in random (shuffled) order.

  • See Flash Memory and SD Card Capacity Growth on Page 2 ----->

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