"Even more to it than that"4.5 starson by rubennyc
Pros: On board feature set; Rio Karma heritage; EQ; Gapless; Crossfade
Cons: Capacity; I'm not a fan of microdrives.
Summary: Nice balanced review. For anyone wanting to understand even better what this player can, take a look at it's predecessor the Rio Karma. Though the power of the Vibez pales in comparison to the Karma's 55 mW per channel, so does everything else on the market.
The Vibez derives most of its features, including the menu system, from the Rio Karma and improves upon most. The heavily customizable 5-band parametric EQ is there, the RioDJ is there re-dubbed "DJ Mode". The very powerful on-the-fly running playlist is there. The gapless playback and crossfade are there.
The playlisting I think deserves some extra attention here. What most players describe as an On-The-Go Playlist can't touch what the Vibez can do. Most OTG playlists let you add songs/albums/artists/etc. to the list of songs your currently listening to. The Vibez also lets you remove songs/albums/artists/etc., reorder tracks, save the list as a new playlist using whatever name you choose. When adding music, you can "Append" it to the end of the list or "Insert" it anywhere you want within the list. It also has an "Enqueue" option that allows you to insert music immediately after the last thing you added to the list. This is key for when you want to insert multiple selections in succession.
The Vibez also has a powerful "Sessions" feature that essentially saves the current list and your current position in the list so you can return to it later. I'm not sure but I think it also saves the current EQ selection.
In addition to support for the "Composer" tag, it also supports an "Original Artist" tag. If you have music that has this tag populated, the Vibez adds another browse option: "Covers". Just in case you're in the mood for listening to cover versions of your favorite songs.
The on board DJ Mode is something I use on my Karma very very frequently. Though it's not customizable like the Smart Playlists you build in iTunes, the Vibez DJ Mode dynamically builds each list on the fly, meaning it is always up-to-date.
Price: While the price may look very attractive compared to the iPod nano, the comparison is really not fair to the nano. The Vibez uses a new generation of Cornice 1" microdrive, not flash. This allows Trekstor to keep the price lower than flash players, but I'm not sure how much of an appetite there is for low-capacity hard drive players.
Because the platform I have fallen in love with over time and the stellar reviews on sound quality, I plan to order the Vibez as soon as the 15 GB version becomes available.
Is this player right for you? That's highly subjective. But, IMHO, what this little player can do on its own is unparalleled in the DAP industry.
PS. From what I understand, they made the FM card an add-on option to keep taxes down. Apparently in Europe, you have to pay an additional tax on FM radio devices. by keeping the FM card separate, consumers only have to pay the tax on the $15 for the card instead of the $200 for the entire Vibez.
A little annoying for us Americans, but makes sense for Europeans.
Rating it an 9 out of 10 docking it 1 point for volume compared to Karma and storage capacity relative to 1.8" hard drive players.Updated
Based on some screen shots posted on another board by a current Vibez owner, it appears the Vibez is missing the ability to create or edit saved playlists while you're listening to something else. The Vibez allows you to save your current Now Playling list as a playlist, and you can rename or delete saved playlists, but that's it.
Personally, I think it was a mistake not to include this function. It's something I use on the Karma routinely. If I could, I feel I'd have to drop my overall rating to 8.
Still a fantastic player, but I seriously hope Trekstor rethinks this and restores this key function.Updated
About three weeks ago my beloved Rio Karma finally bit the dust. Within days I hopped on the PATH train to J&R to pick up the 12 GB Vibez. So far I can honestly say I'm enjoying it more than I expected. My biggest complaints are:
- Menu animation lags when playing Ogg Vorbis tracks.
- No ability to edit/create playlists independent of what's Now Playing.
- When you add music to the Now Playling playing list (Insert/Append/Enqueue) there's no quick way to get back to where you left of in your music library. (This was added to the Rio Karma in its final firmware version 1.68 but didn't make it into the Vibez.)
- Albums and Tracks that start with "The" appear under T. (Artists appear under the correct letter.)
- You have to use both hands to enable/disable the lock.
On the plus side:
- The sound to my ears is among the best of any player available today. The SQ blows the pants off the iPod and iPod nano.
- Power is very respectable. The Vibez is optimized for earphones with 32-Ohm impedance. It has no problem driving my Grado SR-60 headphones.
- The wheel is incredibly efficient, on par with the iPod clickwheel.
- Dedicated volume buttons
- Gapless playback is more reliabel with Ogg Vorbis thanks to a faster processor.
Current and former Rio Karma & Carbon owners, I think, will fall in love with this baby very quickly. People who have never owned a Rio Karma or Carbon will have a harder time learning the interface and adapting to the nature of the Now Playling list. Personally, I think it's completely worth it.