Rio MP3 Player - Rio MP3 Player Review

Rio MP3 players hold a special place in the history of portable entertainment devices. It was the Diamond Rio model that spurred the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) to file a lawsuit attempting to outlaw MP3 players. The RIAA lost their case which paved the way for the growth of the MP3 industry.

The company that made that original Rio folded soon after winning the case and the Rio trademark was taken over by a Taiwanese company called S3 (later Sonicblue) which lasted until 2003 before declaring bankruptcy. Rio was then acquired by the Japanese firm D and M Holdings, who recently announced they would be discontinuing the Rio line.

Despite this rocky corporate history, Rio MP3 players are well-respected and have a loyal user base. Even though they are no longer being produced, they are still available on the retail market and are sure to have re-sale value once the current stock has been depleted. D and M has announced they will honor all warranties on future sales.

Several Rio models have been produced over the years, but the versions that are still available include -

  • Rio Carbon
  • Rio Forge
  • Rio Karma.

Rio Carbon MP3 Player

This is a palm-sized MP3 player with either a 5 GB or 6 GB hard drive. It can play MP3, WAV and audio books, and supports Windows, Macintosh and Linux operating systems.

When attached to the USB port of a computer the Rio Carbon is recognized as a removable drive allowing audio files to be transferred by dragging and dropping. The USB port is also used for charging the battery, which can operate the Carbon for up to 20 hours before needing to be recharged.

Other features of the Rio Carbon include a built in microphone and a 5 band equalizer.

Rio Forge MP3 Player

The Rio Forge is a flash-memory MP3 player that is clearly aimed at the sporting crowd. It is available in 128MB, 256MB or 512MB sizes and includes a USB 2.0 port for transferring songs between player and computer.

Among the sports features are a stop watch and a lap timer, and the Forge can be worn strapped to your arm by using the included arm strap. It supports MP3 and WMA formats and has a FM tuner.

Rio Karma MP3 Player

The Rio Karma has a 20 GB hard drive and has a number of distinctive features. It supports the regular MP3 and WMA formats, and is one of the few portable audio devices to handle Ogg Vorbis and FLAC files. These two formats are popular with audiophiles as Ogg Vorbis is an open source format that offers better sound than MP3 and FLAC is a lossless compression scheme where none of the audio data is removed.

The Rio Karma can also play MP3 files without any gaps between them. This feature allows you to listen to albums exactly as they were intended which is especially important for live albums and classical music.

The Rio Karma has a 5 band equalizer, animated menus and playlists can be created on the fly. It supports USB 2.0 as well as Ethernet for data transfers and can be used with a wide variety of music and data organizers. Even with all the innovative features, however, the supremacy of the iPod in the MP3 industry meant that the Karma as well as the other Rio models received a small portion of the overall market share which was not enough to keep the Rio name alive.

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