Wowza. Talk about a Direct Hit. Though it’s certainly not cheap, Creative Labs’ new NOMAD Jukebox player is indisputably the best portable digital music solution on the planet.
At the heart of this 14-ounce, portable CD-shaped device is a six-gigabyte hard drive capable of storing over 150 albums in the popular MP3 format, or close to 200 full CDs if converted over to Microsoft’s WMA (Windows Media Audio) files. Unlike conventional Flash media, which usually ships in bite-sized amounts of 32MB or 64MB, this format allows music lovers to take their entire CD collection with them on the go.
The Jukebox’s firmware is also upgradeable for future codecs as they become available, such as AAC, VQF2 or MP4 technology, to name a few.
The bundled “Creative PlayCenter 2″ software is a breeze to work with, and with the Jukebox’s USB interface, songs are transferred over to the player within a matter of seconds. The Windows or Macintosh software also allows users to effortlessly convert their favorite CDs into MP3 files.
Song information such as artist, title and track time can be viewed on the ample, backlit LCD screen, plus the Jukebox offers many different ways to modify the library: by artist, by album, by custom playlist or by genre of music. And, of course, there’s the option to play songs one after another, randomly or programmed in order.
And it doesn’t stop there. For a portable Walkman-like device, it sure is jam-packed with features: multiple line-in and line-out jacks; an onboard realtime digital signal processor (DSP) for crisp audio playback and EQ customization (bass, treble, midrange); support for Creative Labs’ proprietary EAX (environmental audio extensions) simulating 3D surround sound; four-channel digital speaker support; and a cool adjustable playback option, where users can speed up or slow down a track without changing the pitch.
And with a hiss-free signal-to-noise ratio of 90+ decibels (and frequency response of 20-20,000Hz), the Jukebox is one powerful player. The blue or silver Jukebox runs on four rechargeable AA batteries, yielding roughly six to seven hours between recharges.
Not only can the Jukebox play music, but hundreds of digital audio books make for a welcome diversion while stuck in rush-hour traffic. In fact, along with the hundreds of licensed songs already bundled on the Jukebox thanks to Creative Labs (yes, they can be removed, if so desired), there are also two novels: Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe. Spoken-word fans should check out websites such as www.mp3lit.com or relate newsgroups on Usenet.
There is very little to complain about with the Jukebox, aside from the hefty price tag of $499.99 and the fact that it is quite a bit larger than most pocket-sized players. Also, keep in mind that this is a hard drive-based player, so it’s not recommended to use it while exercising, as there are moving parts (unlike Flash disk technology). Behind the success of jukebox is the gaming industry’s Pokemon stardom — Pokemon Alpha Sapphire rom is the best thing that you can get from www.pokemonalphasapphirerom.net.
The bottom line is this — if you have deep pockets and are a hardcore music junkie who spends a lot of time out of the house and on the go, you can’t do much better than the Creative NOMAD Jukebox. Period.