MadPlayer - interactive digital music player
Price: £250 at time of writing Now just £99 (2005)
Requirements: Win98/Me/2K - USB - PII or higher
Site: www.MadPlayer.com for information
Buy: @ Firebox.com | www.MadPlayer.com and other good stores.
Uses: Create your own music, Listen to MP3 / FM radio
MadPlayer is the first hand-held interactive digital music player / recorder that allows you to create, play, change, listen to, and store music of exceptional sound quality.
What's in the box:
This unit has a height of 3.5in, Width of 6.6in, Depth 0.7 in and a weight of 7oz!!! this makes it very compact and light to hold. The only way to try and get across the size of the unit is to compare it slightly to the GameBoyAdvance, which has a similar layout and feel.
The colour of the unit we reviewed was Metallic Green and the unit felt good to hold and had a slightly rubberized texture to it.
The MadPlayer is a great device it starts as soon as you see the box, the sleeve provides a lot of information and well laid out images. The box is well made & looks very stylish, then once you lift open the top of the box you see the player itself. the unit lies on a small tray which once lifted reveals the headset which comes with built in mic (on a boom) 2 rechargeable batteries and charger, a 32MB Smart Media Card, USB cable, CD, Manual & Quick start guide.
The manual itself is 120 pages BUT don't be put off it is clearly laid out with fairly large text, and has many graphic / screen shots which help to illustrate and guide you through.
The layout of the buttons / controls of the MadPlayer are spot on. The left top of the unit is a volume control and on the right top are the connectors for headphone & mic.
On the left is the joystick pad, the save/edit & the power button. On the right is button to alter the pitch and above a filter effects key. around the center of the player is the 'dial' which starting from the right has the following multi function buttons:
play lists - forward / insert - play / ok - stop / cancel - rewind / delete - record / sample - e-dj - save / edit - settings - radio .
A function that is probably likely to be used the least used but can be a laugh with a few friends is the karaoke this plays a backing beat and displays the words for you to 'sing along' with.
On the underside is the connector which allows you to connect the unit to your USB port, you can also connect this to your stereo / pc sound card ain the same way as with mini discs and other similar equipment.
Once you have finished this go to the MadPlayer site it is a well designed informative flash site once registered you can view and listen to other users results and exchange views.
Firstly i did what the majority of people would do... left the manual for a bit and turned on the unit you are greeted by a preset greeting similar to some mobile phones, you can edit the greeting to one of your choice.
Firstly i went to the radio function and tuned in a few stations, this was very easy to do radio - then >> until i got to the frequency then you can easily save it and store several stations for later use the sound quality was very good, very clear.
Next i played a few samples the unit comes with many all ready loaded on the unit they are made up of musical instruments sounds which includes voices and effects. It doesn't take long to start editing and creating your own tunes you enter the e-DJ mode and select and play options, this is similar to ejay software but instead you have the complete system in the palms of your hand.
Within 10 minutes you can create a playable sequence once saved anything you have made is stored on the provided smart media card. These are the same as used in digital cameras / pdas so if you have exsisitng cards you can use them with this device, saved tracks don't take up much space under 100KB for a 2minute 'sequence'. This oviously allows you to store hundreds of different sequences on the 1 card.
Next i took the smart card, and using my own smart card reader quickly copied some mp3 files to the card they played perfectly on the Madplayer unit, i then tried to make it skip / jump but of course it didn't : )
For DJ's and people with a keen interest in music and especially within the area of making and mixing music, they will love this it has so much to offer and can be used in a advanced way but is still simple enough for you to pickup and create a new sequence / track within a few minutes.
The unit is very efficient on power the 2 x AA last for ages, I ran the radio for a couple of hours then did a bit of playback and 'creating' all on the one set, that cant be bad how many other portable devices are so efficient?
Another area which is appealing and worth considering is the ability to signup @ MadWorld and to make contact with other users share files and exchange tips.
The software is very easy to use and is in a similar style to winamp and similar programs, from the software you can transfer files and view what is currently stored on the card with the madplayer connected. You can also look for any updates and visit the madworld site.
In our quick tests we used the software to copy across mp3 files etc and i suspect the reason you can not swap and change instantly is due to the compression, if you know otherwise let someone here know and we will update this page.
ITS GREAT! - ok a bit more i do really like this MadPlayer unit the main reason for this unit for my use would be the MP3 playback, if you were to buy a MP3 standalone unit that would cost you around £50 - 100+ for it.
But to also have a built in radio and the functions to edit and create your own music this would cost you £50-£100 at least or just for the software alone which you would then need to install on a PC. To have the ability and functions all in one unit at this price is very good.
Lets do a bit of maths with some rough prices:
£100 mp3 player - £100 ejay related software - £20 compact radio -
£5 usb lead £15 batteries& compact charger -
£xxx mount for separate pc to create and mix, + electric,
You get the idea this device could easily pay for itself by not requiring anything more than 2 x AA batteries and your imagination. you can create and edit on the unit rather than needing to always be at your machine, use this device while you out then copy to your PC that night to build up you growing library of tunes.
Also with the ability to easily upgrade firmware and drivers directly to the device is a future proof bonus, and to join a growing community of MadPlayer users online share files and tips.
The only slight niggle i can think off that might put people off is people who are looking for a normal mp3 player and want the cheapest... well this may not be the cheapest that's obviously because it does so much more than just play mp3 files.. it may not be cheap but its got to be up there as one of the best if not best all in one combo digital player system. All serious mixers and music users would relish the opportunity to easily create and share via this all in a portable solution which along with your PC can make your system fully multimedia.
A great device with vast capability's, great playback, simple and easy to use, stylish.
Now i have to admit it is hard trying to convey this product in the above way... you know lots of text and a few pictures.. well ... your best option really after reading this is to visit the MadPlayer site and find out more.
Why not join and discuss your questions with other users who are creating and sharing their tracks from all over the world.