06. 27. 2005
Amplified mp3 player
I don't want to alarm any Apple cultists, erm enthusiasts, but I think even the biggest iPod devotee would agree that the volume is a little lacking when you hitch your player to a real stereo system or some serious headphones. Once you crank it up to a level where you can hear your music over the roar of a plane engine, you get clipping and distortion. There iPod amplifiers, but they add some bulk which can be annoying if you're toting the iPod around, which sort of defeats the purpose of having such a portable player.
Kenwood's new HD20GA7 mp3 player is intended as a component for their ES-A5MD micro-stereo system. It has a built-in digital amplifier to boost the sound so you get more power at lower volume levels and avoid distortion. The iPod-esque (but of course) player comes in white and black, with a 20GB hard drive. Plays mp3s, WMAs, and WAV files. Color screen.
Available this month in Japan, but hopefully will be released further as it could be the first mp3 player suitable for a true audiophile.