If you like to take digital music with you when you travel, you’ll have considered buying an MP3 player. Small and neat they may be, but virtually all come with cables to connect the headphones to the player and possibly to a miniature remote control too. Not the MPmaster, though, which you wear around your head.
The idea is a clever one; to build an MP3 player into a pair of audio headphones. These are not the regular fit-in-the-ear phones, but the larger, cushioned ones which sit over the ears. Rather than having a headband, though, the MPmaster has a neckband, actually a sprung band which fits round the back of the head.
It fits quite well, though the phones don’t make perfect contact as the band obstructs them slightly at the top. Sound quality is generally good, though missing some bass unless you press the headphone pads into your ears.
Around the edges of each headphone are the controls, with play/stop, fast forward and volume controls for the MP3 player in the left one and search, volume and reset on the right. There are also controls for the FM radio that’s built into the headphones. This is an excellent addition, though in the two samples we tested, the tuner wasn’t particularly sensitive – it’s probably best in a strong reception area.
Both ‘phones come with replaceable plastic covers in blue or pink or, for the really daring, one of each. They cover the Lithium button battery for the radio and a single AAA cell for the MP3 player. Also under the left ‘phone cover is a slot for the Multimedia card. A 32MB card is provided, so you’re limited to about half an hour’s music, unless you buy more.
Getting MP3 tracks onto the card is made simple by the supplied card reader, which draws all its power from one of your PC’s USB sockets. The package includes MMC Toaster, a software utility for transferring MP3 files to and from the card, but no ripping software for converting your audio tracks to MP3 in the first place. Although there are plenty of shareware RIPs available, it would have been good to have something in the box.
Given its price, which is considerably less than, for example, a Rio 600, these shortcomings shouldn’t be enough to put you off. This is certainly a very easy MP3 player to use.
Company: I&C Europe
Contact: 01635 278587