Of the XMP3ís various features, its top-notch recording capabilities are perhaps the most impressive. Aside from being able to capture songs on the spot, you can also schedule recordings for future shows. The player can also record up to five channels simultaneously, but it has a built-in DVR-like function that allows you to pause a live radio program and replay up to 30 minutes of it later. As long as the player has been powered up for the entirety of a song and you press the record button before the last five seconds, the entire tune will be filed away in your recorded content folder. If you press Record in the final five seconds, you'll likely end up recording the next song.
One of the biggest oversights of Pioneerís new XMP3 player is the fact that you canít transfer recorded content from your player to your computer, though you can manage your recorded content on your device by downloading XM2go Music Manager from XM Radioís website. The player holds up to 100 hours of recorded contentóthis number, of course, decreases as users add more of their own files to its 2 GB of space.
The breakdown works like this: the device is capable of scoring up to ten hours of individual songs, up to 75 hours of channel recordings -- either scheduled or manually recorded -- and 15-30 hours of ďautomatic recordings,Ē which are made by selecting an option in the Settings menu. The player "learns" the stations the user likes the most and records them automatically. If a user has less than 75 hours of scheduled recordings, they are able to get the full 30 hours of auto recordings. For the player to capture scheduled recordings, it needs to be docked, which is obviously pretty inconvenient. Individual song recording, however, can be achieved on the go, provided there is a strong enough signal.
The XMP3 playerís dock is another interesting feature to keep in mind. Truthfully, the reception on Pioneerís new device is less than stellar, and the point of the dock is to provide a better indoor signal by utilizing an antenna with an extremely long cable. For even better reception, it comes highly recommended that the antenna be placed near a window and preferably, as high up as possible.
The dock doesnít have speakers, but you get a line-out cable that terminates in RCA stereo connectors. If you have your own stereo component system, this obviously isnítí a problem, but if your boom box or PC speakers only have 3.5 mm aux inputs, itís necessary that you get a female RCA-to-3.5mm male jack cable. When XM's signal drops, you'll hear either silence or digital stuttering instead of static, but otherwise, terrestrial radio and satellite radio sound pretty similar.
Loading the player is incredibly easy with trusted music software like Windows Media Player. Since the XMP3 only plays MP3s and WMAs, WMP makes perfect sense. At first glance it seems like a hugely unfortunate disadvantage that an MP3 player has such limited file support, but itís important to remember that the XMP3 player isnít a regular MP3 device. The fact that itís even capable of storing and playing files is a huge feature given the fact that satellite radio is the major star of the show.
Another interesting feature is the remote, which is included. It mimics the controls on the playeróminus a wheelóand adds in a tactile keypad for entering station numbers.
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