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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

Audacity is a great audio and recording tool that let's you convert many audio file types to the MP3 format, which is one of the Lexar Digital Music Player formats. Audacity is open source software and you can download it a no charge.

Mike Angelo -- 7 November 2005 (C) -- Page 2

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Article Index

From PhotoPlus Expo 2005

The Lexar Digital Music Player is an item we came across at the recent PhotoPlus Expo 2005 in New York City. We liked it and we thought you might like it too. So, we published this article about the Lexar LDP-200.

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Earphones Note: The mini-speaker earphones that come with the Lexar Digital Music Player do not have any sort of clip or anything to affix them to ears. They just hang in the ears.

The problem for me is they do not stay in my ears. They keep falling off when I move around.

The ear-speakers on the Digital Music Player sound great when they are making the right sort of contact with the ear -- really nice bass response. But without some sort of hanger or clip they do not stay nicely coupled with the outer auditory meatus -- at least for me they do not.

I have to put some sort of headband on that goes over my ears to keep the mini-speakers in place and well-coupled to each outer auditory meatus. With the headband holding the mini-speaker earphones in place, the earphones do not fall off and there is good acoustic coupling between the earphone speakers and the ears.

-- M.A.

Flash Memory and SD Card Capacity Growth

At this time, it appears that Flash Memory devices (SD cards are Flash Memory devices) are on their way to having 8-MB capacities. That would let you put about 228 LP albums worth of music on a single, 8-MB SD card -- about 128 hours or 5.3 days of music without repeating. Of course 8-MB SD cards are not here yet -- although 4-GB SD cards appear to be available now.

Eight-gigabytes is not an upper limit to Flash Memory. The way electronics technology moves along so rapidly these days, don't be surprised to see 100-GB Flash Memory in the not too distant future -- and then much like hard disk drive capacities, the sky is the limit after that.

Speaking of hard drives, as Flash Memory capacity goes up and its price comes down, watch for Flash Memory to start taking the mass storage device job away from hard disk drives.

File Portability

USB JumpDrives such as the Lexar 64-MB or 128-MB JumpDrive are better suited to transporting computer files from PC to PC than is the Lexar Digital Music Player. One reason is JumpDrives are physically smaller than are the music players.

Another reason the Lexar JumpDrives are better suited to transporting files is that they likely are sturdier than are the music players with an SD card stuck in them. We have not run any endurance tests -- this is just speculation.

Another reason is that music files take lots of memory. So, if you are going to mix music and data files on the same music player, you are going to cut into the number of songs and playing time for the music-files side or your digital music player. That is especially so for the lower capacity, 256-MB SD card-equipped, Lexar Digital Music Player.

That said, the capability of using your Lexar Digital Media Player to transport computer data files along with your music is a nice option to have available. That is particularly so if you have a large capacity SD card for your LDP-200, such as a 1-GB SD card.

Back to Playing Music on the LDP-200

You have several choices when it comes to listening to music on your LDP-200. One choice is to connect it to a USB port on your PC. Then you can use your favorite computer music-player software to pipe the music through your PCs speakers.

When you are on the move or away from your computer, the Lexar Digital Music Player is a stand-alone music box. Simply plug your earbud or other headphone device into the DLP-200, turn it on, and off you go with music all the way.

You can feed self-powered computer speakers directly from the LDP-200. Just plug the signal cable from your self-powered speakers directly into the Lexar Digital Music Player. Or, you can feed the LDP directly into a regular stereo system too.

When you are playing the music from your LDP-200 through your computer you have the full panoply of features that you have with whatever software music-player you use. Or, if you are piping it into a regular stereo system, you have a combination of the Lexar Digital Music Player's feature set plus whatever controls and options your stereo system provides such as volume, equalizer and balance settings.

However, when you are using the LDP-200 as a stand alone music player you have a somewhat limited feature-set:

* User selectable Play mode (10 Second Intro, Normal, Shuffle)

* User selectable Repeat mode (Repeat Once, Repeat All, Normal)

* User selectable Equalizer (Normal, Rock, Jazz, Classical, Pop)

* Volume Control

* Advance or move back in the play list

If you are directly feeding self-powered speakers, you have the above-listed Lexar Digital Music Player features plus the volume and balance controls on the speakers.

According to the Lexar people, the reason for the somewhat limited feature set is they want Lexar Digital Music Player users "to be able to quickly and easily find the songs they want to listen to and play them." With the limited feature set, users don't get lost in a complicated menuing system. Lexar is shooting "to excel in the navigation and ease of use."

When you are using the LDP-200 as a stand-alone music player you can play MP3, WMA, and WMA DRM files. However, when you have your LDP-200 plugged into your computer, you can play any format music files that the music playing software on your computer handles. But you are better to stick with using the Lexar Digital Music Player for only MP3, WMA, and WMA DRM files. That way you can always play all the music files you have stored on the LDP-200 whether you are using it as a stand-alone music player or have it connected to a PC.

Incidentally, Audacity is a great audio and recording tool that let's you convert several audio file types to the MP3 format, which is one of the Lexar Digital Music Player formats. Audacity is open source software and you can download it a no charge. There are BSD, Linux, Mac OS, and MS Windows versions of audacity. Links in Resources section at the end of this article.


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