In my opinion the Archos Jukebox Recorder is (almost) the last word in gadgets for the music-lover. One problem people have with MP3 players is the fact that, despite the size of regular MP3 players and their aesthetics, they held measly amounts of music (one or two albums per memory card). Thus you sacrifice practicality for cool. The original Archos Jukebox and its rival, the Creative DAP solved this problem. Both these MP3 players came with a 6GB Hard Drive, something that a medium range PC would have had as standard only 5 years ago. For those of you not technically-minded, what the 6GB offers you in space is the equivalent of 150 albums worth of music (there or thereabouts). Not quite your entire collection, but good enough to keep you going! Now, the future of music doesn?t seem to be in bad hands? The Archos Jukebox Recorder was an evolution of the original Jukebox and improved in every way, allowing you to create MP3s at the touch of a record button. You could record directly from a source such as a stereo or TV or connect a mic (or even use the built-in mic) to record, say your friends jamming on guitar in your front room. This is what made me pay ?400 in October 2001 for the Jukebox Recorder, as regularly use it like a Dictaphone to record songs that I?ve just written. Unless you really want a basic Hard Drive MP3 player, I recommend the Jukebox Recorder or something more expensive. Even if you don?t use it often, the record function is very useful to have. Like I?ve said, the hard drive gives the AJR a massive advantage over the tiny little MP3 players. One trade-off for this is the notable physical increase in size and decrease in aesthetic appeal. The AJR is basically the size of a relatively bulky personal cassette player with big rubber corners to protect it if dropped (more on that later). This means that the silver and blue combination is, to be honest, pretty ugly. But as most people will keep it in its little rub
ber case, this is less of a problem that you?d think. And like I?ve said, the trade-off is that you get to hold about 100 times the amount of songs you?d get on a regular player for less than twice the price. The 6GB AJR is now the entry level model; such is the speed at which the computer industry advances. The Creative DAP III and AJR and new Jukebox FM Recorder now have 20GB hard drives (over three times the space) and the Mac equivalent, the beautifully engineered Apple Ipod has a 10GB disk. A 20GB player should hold pretty much the entire record collection of all but the most avid music fans (My music collection stands at 30GB, so I await a player to meet my needs). But even the 6GB player should be enough for most users, because you can always swap your music about. The AJR itself is pretty easy to live with, and while those with very bad computer skills may find it a little hard to figure out, it?s pretty intuitive to use. My 8 year old cousin figured it after a quick tutorial and within minutes was dancing away to Travis. The facia offers simple controls such as On, Off/Stop, Play/Pause, Fwd, Rwd. The LCD screen may prove to be a little small for some, although I find it an improvement on the larger typeface on the older Archos Jukebox. As the AJR has its own hard drive, when connected to the computer (via USB 1.0), you can access it like a regular hard drive and organise your files into simple folders. There are various ways is which you might like to organise your files, I have alphabetical subfolders (A-C, D-F, G-I etc) followed by subfolders for each band. On the jukebox, you can just browse these folders to find the album or particular song you want (though there is no ?search? function). One advantage that the Creative DAP has over the AJR in this regard is that every album will be played in the correct order without any need to tamper with the folders, because it uses the MP3 ID3 tags to order album track lists. The AJR e
ither needs the MP3 files to be named with the track number first (i.e. 01, 02, 03, 04 etc) or for you to create an M3U playlist, otherwise the songs will be played in alphabetical order. The Menu function allows you to tamper with various features on the player, such as the sound (bass, treble, bass boost, level, panning etc), to record MP3s or to select a play mode (shuffle, repeat etc.). There is no doubt that the Creative DAP offers vastly superior Graphic Equalisation and sound themes, plus, 5.1 surround sound (if you have ANY albums that are recorded in surround sound). One downside is the player?s inability to shuffle through subfolders, unlike Winamp, for example. Another is the way it eats up its batteirs in about 8-9 hours (they do give you two sets of batteries and the charger though). The player also lacks support for the Windows Media Audio (wma) format, but frankly, I don?t care myself. Transfer of files to and from the player via USB is a little bit of a chore, though more recent versions come with the much faster USB 2.0 connection. It takes a good few minutes to transfer a full 6GB to and from your player (a tip would be to always use your AC adaptor while doing this). There is the slight nuisance of having to create a playlist for every album you transfer, but once it?s done, you?ve got plenty of music to put you back into a good mood. Living with the AJR has been a pretty good experience, despite file transfers every couple of months or so. The player can be buggy sometimes, something that happens less with the Creative DAP (when the DAP isn?t connected to the computer, when it is connected it can be a nightmare). More recent versions of the firmware on the player (free to download off www.archos.com) seem to have minimalised the number of times the player has crashed. It?s happened to me once in the last 8 months. I can also safely say that their customer support is pretty good too. Having dropped my
player on the floor after about 3 weeks of owning the thing (those rubber bits do their best, but aint good enough), the player was promptly fixed under warranty with free shipping back to France (from whence it came) and back again to me. Since then their have been no real failures and it has resolutely not been dropped! But their technical support was incredibly helpful and I was very pleased to get such service having ordered directly from the company rather than a retailer. The Archos Jukebox Recorder may now be old hat compared to the smaller, more aesthetically pleasing Multimedia player and Creative DAP III, but in 20GB form at around only ?400, offers real value to those who can do without a camera or an FM radio in their player. I can?t recommend the AJR enough to people and having lived with the original Archos Jukebox and the Creative DAP, I can only say that the AJR is the player to get (unless you want the top-of-the-range model. The Jury has decided, the Jukebox is guilty of being great. (I really apologise for that last line).
OK, I've had the Archos jukebox Recorder 20 for about 6 months so I think I'm fairly well positioned to give a review. Where possible I'll put emphasis on the practicalities Right, I was getting bored lugging 4 and 5 CDs at a time into to work so I could listen to 'em at my desktop so an alternative was needed. Listening to a friends Samsung 128 Mb player one day I was pleasantly surprised at the sound quality. MP3 - OK that's the way to go - what's out there? After reding various reviews (including some on dooyoo) I whittled it down to an Archos or a 'similar' offering from Creative. Went with the Archos 'cause I didn't like the size of the Creative. Could've gone for the 6Gb vesion but for the money I went for the Recorder 20 (20 Gb) one. (Here's, more info on the Archos website - http://www.archos.com/lang=en//products/prw_500279.html ). I bought it from DABS (www.dabs.com) - came to around £260 - I can't remember what the exact figure was. So what do you get? Manual, V6 of Musicmatch software (pay attention to version), headphones, a garish blue neoprene belt pouch, collapsable headphones, Windows drivers, a line-out cable (for connecting to an external HiFi) and a USB cable. The machine is USB 2 compatible (more info further down) NOTE, you have to charge the jukebox for a minimum of 6 hours in the first instance. It run's hot when you do this but nothing too major. I've even read the manual but I can't say it's up t much. PC Installation was easy - however the drivers I got aren't XP certified so you get the usual error message upon installation. BTW there are XP-compatible drivers available on the web-site. Didn't have to install the Music-match software as I've elready got it. I'm currently (16/1/03) using Musicmatch 7.5 - I believe it's free from their web site. (I'm running the Plus version - long story, maybe another time). Connected it up to my PC and it recognised it (Note run the jukebox off the mains whilst you're transferring music to conserve battery life). Transfer of music is easy (I'm doing all the MPC @ 128kbps) - have yourself connected to the internet; load the CD. Musicmatch downloads the track info and does the transfer (Very important - in one of the advanced settings there's an option as to how you want the naming done. I got this wrong in the first instance and couldn't understand why it was (transferring thus)playing the album tracks in alphabetical order. Doh! Finally worked it out. Set it to transfer as Artist/Album Name/Track # / Song Title / Artist). Transfer is fast especially if you have USB 2 ports on your PC (I've transferred CDs (approximately 45 minutes of music) using USB 1 under Windows 98SE - the difference is about 7-8 minutes using USB 1 versus 1-2 (Max.) minutes under USB 2). I've now got 50-70 albums on it and it hasn't really made a dent on the storage. Now you can shake it about and I've been, as yet, unable to make it skip. But there are downsides - there are very occasional 'jumps' whilst listening but they are few. I've also had 2 occurrences where the system just hung. Powered off/on and all was fine. This may be firmware related so I'll have to check the Archos website. It's kinda chunky so you'll need biggish pockets to cart it about. The headphones are a bit manky - so I'll have to splash out on some new ones but the Archos ones are adequate for now. I've also run it through my Hi-Fi at home with the supplied cable - looking forward to taking it on holiday. The buttons on the front panel for scrolling through can be sluggish in their response but it's no big thing. Overall I'm very pleased with it and I heartily recommend it
Forgive me if this opinion isn't of the best standard everyone!I've taken a break from Dooyoo lately and may be a little rusty, plus I've never written about a piece of electrical equipment before.Anyhow here goes nothing.... I was entirely sick of having a personal CD player which jumped all the time, damaged my CD's and was used up batteries really quickly. So with my most recent wage packet I decided to splash out on a pretty new MP3 player. I shopped around in several electrical shops and the Archos MP3 player caught my eye everytime. Being sensible I asked lots of advise from the salespeople but they honestly seemed more interested in selling me a Minidisc Player than an MP3 player.However I stuck to my guns and blew just under £250 on the Archos Player. The Player holds around 166 hours of music, thats 10GB for those of you who are techincally minded. The machine itself weighs 350g, and is 11.5 x 8.3 x 3.4 cm in size. It is silver and blue in colour and includes internal rechargable batteries which last for around 10 hours. Also included in pack is an AC/DC adapter, USB cable, Stereo Cord,Headphones,Carrying Pouch, Software and Manual. The first thing that the salesperson tried to use to put me off was the price but I rather think that was because I looked scruffy and they didn't think they'd make a sale on something so expensive. However when I perserved they were negative about the weight ,though I feel that for something which is a hard drive which can hold hours of music neither the weight nor the price are an issue. The machine is very easy to use and the manual included is very helpful. All you need to do is load the software and then you can get started on downloading your music. There are two main methods of putting music onto the Archos- one is to copy from your current CD collection which you do by inserting the CD into the computer and using the MusicMatch Software provided. T
his takes around 15minutes per album which is quick and a great way of always having your favourite music with you. You can also download music off the internet using websites such as Kazaa or Winmix which takes longer depending on your download rates. I suppose if you had broadband it would be really fast! I took about 2 hours to learn how to use the player without referring to the manual and had no real problems at all. I would defiently recommend the Archos if you have the money to spend as it is simple to use and great quality. The higher specification version is £300 and holds double the music- but in my opinion when are you going to ever need more that 166 hours of music?! The headphones supplied are also excellent giving high quality sound. If you want to have great music with you all the time-get this!
I have been writing on this site for ages and have never yet recieved any crowns where as other op's that are less informative let's say are getting them but hey that's just me moaning. I had an old MP3 player which was ok but limited in what I could record onto it and the music on it could only be taken off the net but then I discovered the Archos Jukebox recorder MP3 and have not looked back since. The MP3 Jukebox recorder is small enough to fit into your hand and can be used for digital and analogue technology and the best thing for me is it can be used to record or play from a normal hi-fi unlike it's ancestors and it is this that makes it so much more than most other MP3 players out there on the market. You can record onto it CD's,Mini Discs even old vinyl and it can store up to 150 CD's not that I have that much on it yet but if you want to you could almost put your whiole record collection onto it and have it available wherever you go and it really is like walking around with jukebox in your pocket. The Jukebox allows you to record straight from a hi-fi in MP3 format directly from any audio source,including microphone(great fun),stereo,radio or CD player etc etc. Up to 500 hours of voice recordings can be stored using the internal microphone great for those with asperations of being a DJ or MC. And this lot is not all the Jukebox recorder has the added ability to store photo's and stacks apon stacks of other information. It has a backlit display that provides you with song title,artists name and playing time. It has an easy to use direct access button to the volume control and a choice of recording control including analogue,digital or microphone as I think I have already said. To top it all off you can link it up to your in-car entertainment system and access all your music from your car without having a 20,000 CD collection and a boot full of equipment. This is
a bit steep at £300 but with Christmas just around the corner you never know what you may get if you ask nice enough and it really is worth every penny. Now for the Makers stats- ANALOGUE OR DIGITAL RECORDING REAL TIME MP3 ENCODING MP3 PLAYER BUILT IN MICROPHONE PICS HERE USB CABLE INTERFACE STEREO HEADPHONES MUSICMATCHA SOFTWARE AC-DC ADAPTER CARRYING POUCH TWO LINE IN TWO OUT JACKS 6GB HARD DRIVE PORTABLE STORAGE FOR DATA FILES 100 HOURS OF MP3 OR 500 HOURS OF VOICE RECORDING RECHARGEABLE NIMH BATTERIES THAT SUPPLY UP TO 10 HOURS OF PLAYBACK IN CAR ADAPTER. You can but the Jukebox at most electronic retailers but I went to Dixon's but I also know it is sold at buy.com on the net and PC World,all thats left now is for you to go out and enjoy.