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list($129.99)
1. Rio 600 64 MB Digital Audio Player
list($199.99)
2. Rio EX1000 Executive Microsystem
list($1,499.99)
3. Rio Central Advanced Digital Audio
4. Rio HT2030 Progressive-Scan DVD-VCR

1. Rio 600 64 MB Digital Audio Player (MP3/WMA)
list price: $129.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00005AW1E
Catlog: CE
Manufacturer: Rio
Sales Rank: 7829
Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Amazon.com Review

SONICblue's Rio line of MP3 players has always been top-notch--and the latest iteration, the Rio 600, proves no exception. The nifty-looking Rio 600 also offers detachable faceplates, allowing users to customize its appearance (although they are a bit pricey).

But it's not the aesthetics of the Rio that we liked so much (although the über-trendy, over-the-ear headphones make another nice touch). What really makes the Rio unique is just how simple it is to use. From installation to manipulation of the player interface or the Rio Audio Manager software, it's as easy as MP1-2-3. Intuitive on all counts, the Rio rarely forced us to consult the manual--whether we were in the middle of setup, switching songs on the road, or transferring MP3s.

In addition to the nearly ubiquitous MP3 format, the Rio 600 also handles the new Windows Media Audio (WMA) format, and SONICblue says it will be software upgradable for upcoming formats.

This version of the Rio 600 ships with 64 MB flash memory, which can handle over two hours of WMA-formatted material and about an hour of MP3 playback. One knock on the 600 is the fact that it is only expandable using Rio's proprietary memory backpacks (which literally snap on the back of the player). This system, unfortunately, takes away the ability to use cheap flash memory cards (such as SmartMedia and MultiMediaCard) to expand the possibilities of the player.

The USB-only interface proves to be another double-edged sword. On the one side, you need to be running Windows 98 or later to hook up the Rio to your PC. (For the Mac, you'll need a USB port and Mac OS 8.51 or later.) On the other, the transfer rate is like a hare compared to older tortoise players using parallel ports. It took only around 10 seconds to move a 4-minute MP3 song from our PC to the Rio.

The Rio 600 is not a perfect player--64 MB just doesn't seem big enough anymore and it lacks a belt clip--but the other players on the market aren't earning perfect marks either. But it is nicely light and highly portable--perfect for working out or taking on trips. --J. Curtis

Pros:

  • Well priced
  • Easy interface
  • Changeable faceplate
Cons:
  • Only 64 MB memory and not expandable with flash memory cards
  • No belt clip
... Read more

Features

  • 64 MB of built-in flash memory
  • Large, easy-to-read LCD screen
  • Uses ultrafast USB port to connect to your PC or Mac
  • Comes with stylish carrying case
  • Can accept additional Memory Backpacks to expand memory up to 340 MB

Reviews (82)

2-0 out of 5 stars Read this before you buy the Rio 600!
I am a 15 year old audiophile and I got this mp3 player for christmas last year. I was really excited, because of all the good things that had been said about mp3 players (this one in paticular). I hooked it up into my mac and downloaded a very small playlist; most people could fit about 30 min, but with lower quality of music (around 96 kbps), I got about 45 minutes on it. The mp3 player is cool because it is completly skip free, and it is also very durable (I dropped it from waist hight onto asphalt, and it worked fine afterwards, save a few scratches).
But after about a month or two of using it, I started experiencing glitches. The battery level would fluctuate from 100% to 50% and back again and about 3 hours after replacing the batteries, they quit on me. This thing EATS batteries like no other! Also, every once in a while, the mp3 player would automatically delete all the songs that I had downloaded onto it.
I emailed SONICblue, and after about the 5th or 6th email, they responded saying that they would replace the player. I got my second, and it had the exact same problems as the first one did! I emailed again for another or a refund, but they never replied. I went to [local store] (where we bought it), and they gave us a 3rd one. This one didn't even turn on! I couldn't do anything with it. So, about a month before the warrenty ended, I got store credit for it and bought a PlayStation 2 : ) (no complaints there).
My friends with this player have had the same problems with the player and costomer service as i have had, and so have the people on amazon. Please reconsider buying this defective product.

3-0 out of 5 stars My Rio 600
The Rio is a pretty good MP3 player. For the most part it has great sound quality. Unfortunatally, it doesn't hold very many songs. In the instructions it said I could buy memory cards. I can't find them any where, not even on line. If you push one wrong button all of your songs are deleted. This is why the "lock" feature is awesome. You can choose some of your own settings, which is cool. It's easy to opperate, but downloading can be challenging.

1-0 out of 5 stars If you like shoddy craftsmanship, then purchase this player
I bought my Rio 600 online at Tigerdirect (I've had great experiences with them) and I have regretted it since the end of the first 3 months of ownership.

I bought the 32MB version with the extra 32MB backpack upgrade... it worked for about three months, and then it simply stopped working. It would not turn on, or display anything on the screen. After several e-mails to rio's customer support, I finally convinced them that my player really was broken, and that it was not a firmware problem. They finally sent me a replacement, which lasted about three months and is now broken again, exact same problem. I will not buy an mp3 player or anything else from Rio or its affiliates. I got this as a deal for about $70; at least that's all I paid. You get what you pay for, so save up for an iPod.

4-0 out of 5 stars it's pretty good
for the reviewer who wrote "This is an excellent player! (if your one of the lucky 10% who actually gets one that works). Even if your one of the lucky 10%, I'll give you three months before it dies on you..That's what mine did." - I wouldn't trust this grammatically incorrect review. I've had my mp3 player for over a year and it works perfectly fine. And if I, along with all the others who have reviewed the product, got it to work for much longer than 3 months, obviously it was the user's use of the product that caused its downfall.

The only complaint I have about the product is that the battery indicator is inaccurate. It will be at 60% and then a second later, will just be dead. So be sure to have an extra battery with you when you get under 75%.

I am not sure about the validity of the mp3 draining the battery even when it's off, but I find my battery lasts pretty long even if it's been off for awhile

1-0 out of 5 stars Looks are deceiving...
Performance was very poor, battery life indicator was useless and not very good quality all around. My power on/off button broke and no one stepped up to fix or replace...I would go another direction. ... Read more


2. Rio EX1000 Executive Microsystem
list price: $199.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00005YU7O
Catlog: CE
Manufacturer: SONICblue
Sales Rank: 19666
Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Features

  • Plays MP3 files on CD-R and CD-RW, standard music CDs, and cassette tapes
  • Digital AM/FM tuner with 30 memory presets; large backlit LCD
  • Stereo RCA auxiliary input
  • 120-watt, bi-amplified, stereo system with two integrated subwoofers
  • Includes: Rio EX1000 executive shelf system, satellite speakers with cables, remote control, 2 power cables

Reviews (20)

4-0 out of 5 stars The Best So Far
Out of all shelf systems that play MP3's, this is the best thus far!!!
Unlike any and all Philips products, The Rio EX 1000 reads mp3's at a fast pace and quickly displays titles.
I originally bought the FWR55 from Philips(not worth the paper the ad is printed on) and had nothing but slow reads and horrible quality not to mention poor customer service. Those factors prompted me to return it to Amazon.com for a refund. Philips needs to go to MP3 school!!!!
Then I heard about the RIO EX 1000.....and have not been disappointed..
This system has only a couple of minor drawbacks:
1.Could use a little bit more power as well as true surround.

2.Did not like the speaker connections; esp to the sub-woofer..

All in all, The Sonic Blue team is the BEST when it comes to MP3's as they make their product with firmware updates(Philips has no such thing and probably is not capable of thinking outside the box).
A major recommended system if you want to play mp3's... You will not be disappointed!!!!!!!!

4-0 out of 5 stars Great item!
I actually went to J&R to listen to this system. It sounded great. For the price, I definitely couldn't pass it up.

You get a LOT of quality and options for an amazing price when compared to the other systems. It has a lot of power, clock/timer/alarm, high watts, powerful speakers, plays all CDs, surrround sound, etc. The sound quality is excellent; very clear and crisp, although the bass is a little muddy sometimes.

The unit is very sleek and modern looking--very attractive. The wood is a light birch/beech, with silvery/light blue speaker netting covers. The display has many different colors to choose from--I keep mine on violet.

I am very pleased with this purchase--especially with the price and quality.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great System
This is a wonderful system to buy. It is cheap compared to many of the mp3 capable music systems. It also generates a nice crisp sound which can fill your whole room. The backlit display is also a great feature.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Microsystem!
This stereo is very awesome. The highs are crisp and the built in subs can't be beat. The changing lights on the LCD are spiffy too! Overall great sound and awesome looking too. I love it!

4-0 out of 5 stars Good for the Money, but a little Chunky
If I hadn't already purchased this system, I'd be a little confused after reading the reviews. Unfortunately, it seems like there may be some quality control issues with this unit and there's a chance you might get a defective unit. When this does happen, and for most of us it hasn't (at least not yet to me), it seems to occur right away. So, if you do buy it, be sure it's from a place you can return it right away if you have problems. It seems like trying to get warranty support is a nightmare.

One issue that has not been brought up is the size of the unit. Although the main unit is not as high as most shelf systems, I was disappointed that it's fairly deep. It won't fit on a 12-in shelf for example. Check the depth if that may be an issue for you.

The stuff about the different colors on the LCD seemed to really upset some people. Unless you seem to have a bad unit, it's pretty easy to set the LCD color on one of about 5 - although someone said they get a choice of 10. Whatever. I have a soft blue color I like, a girl reviewer liked the changes, someone liked red... Just pick a setting you like. Everytime the unit is unplugged or the electric to it goes off, however, the colors will loose their setting and will switch to rotating colors again.

I've had my system for several months for a bedroom in a ski rental condo that's a little tight on space. I don't have room for the boom box and the sound is still pretty good. For the money, it's not a bad deal. My major issue is that I'd like it better if it was a little more compact. Also, you would think that it shouldn't be long before Sony and some others are making some shelf systems with MP3 playback. So, if you don't need this right away, you may want to wait. ... Read more


3. Rio Central Advanced Digital Audio Center
list price: $1,499.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000067JZA
Catlog: CE
Manufacturer: Diamond
Sales Rank: 28202
Average Customer Review: 3 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com Product Description

Rio's Advanced Digital Audio Center lets you instantly store, organize, and access a large personal CD and digital music collection. The unit's powerful 40 GB hard drive stores more than 650 CDs or 6,500 songs and enables you to find specific tracks instantly, create unlimited playlists, write custom CDs, and transfer music to Rio portables or a Rio receiver somewhere else in the home (using its convenient front and back USB ports). It features a large display, intuitive interface, and advanced search features that make it simple to locate any musical selection almost instantly.

Using the Advanced Digital Audio Center is easy: just load a disc and it does the rest. CDs are automatically cataloged as they are recorded, with artist, album, song title, and other relevant information instantly assigned to each file to make later searches easier. The unit encodes at a bit rate of up to 320 kbps MP3 for high-performance digital sound quality, and provides an optional, lower bit rate encoding option for downloading to portables. It also has a built-in 10 mbps home PNA connection for streaming music to one or more Rio receivers, and a built-in 56 kbps modem that can be used to dial out to retrieve information from the Internet. It comes with a full-function remote control, two AA batteries (for the remote), a software CD for PC, phone, USB, stereo RCA, and AC power cables. The unit supports common audio formats, such as MP3 and WMA, and can be upgraded to emerging digital standards. ... Read more

Features

  • 40 GB hard drive stores more than 650 CDs or 6,500 individual songs
  • Easily transfers music to a Rio portable unit via convenient USB ports in front and back
  • Uses integrated CD-RW drive to write standard audio CDs and MP3 data CDs
  • Large display, intuitive interface, and advanced search features
  • Supports common audio formats like MP3 and WMA, can be upgraded to emerging digital standards

Reviews (2)

1-0 out of 5 stars Just Buy A Computer And Save Money
Nice simple device, but $1.5K for this? You can buy two or three nice, small-format computers, *with* the little LCD, that have much more advanced features like a DVD burner, not a CD burner, and gigabit or wireless ethernet, not a 56K modem, USB 2.0, firewire, more format compatibility, more control over output formats, the ability to output to a TV for games, movies, etc., the list goes on.

Rio is lucky I'm feeling generous. The one star is for being able to give it to me in one package. The pricing is atrocious though.

5-0 out of 5 stars What the heck is that?!
That's what everyone says when they see the box with the big blue screen in it. That's my music library I tell them and then I demonstrate by scrolling through the hundreds of albums it ripped the first day I got it. After about this point I'm uncertain as to whether I lose the person to the Oscilloscope visual that dances to the music or the magnitude of potential this device can have in their own home hi-fi.

It has a warehouse-size 40G computer hard-drive that will store right around 6K good quality tunes (160-192khz). You think 6K isn't allot? How many tracks are on the CD you're playing right now? Now do the math. If you still don't think thats allot, there are several documented procedures for upgrading to 120G.

Networking to your home computer is a bit tricky but can be done by anyone with a little know-how. Now you can get all those MP3s off your silly little Altec Lansings and onto your Pioneers for some real listening. If you can't network, the RADAC will take data CD-Rs as well.

The sound quality coming out of this device is better than most audio equipment these days. Which means they had the high-level audio connoisseur (tube amp, electrostatics, belt-drive turntable, etc.) in mind.

Not THAT into music? The convenience factor is super-high with this device. I've put all my CDs into the closet (for safe keeping -- I don't know) and just run the first thing that comes into my head. Graceland by Paul Simon? Sure... and it's playing.
Mixed the perfect driving music by mistake last night? The RADAC can burn you an audio CD for the commute before the coffee pot finishes.
What was that tune the wife was playing the other day? Search by tracks recently played. Forgot you had that album, didn't you?
Parties are a cakewalk. Create a custom play list where you pick all the tracks to be played or select several albums and randomize the tracks or whatever and just let it run. You're out of wine. Never out of music. ... Read more


4. Rio HT2030 Progressive-Scan DVD-VCR Home Theater System

Asin: B00008DHZP
Catlog: CE
Manufacturer: SONICblue
Sales Rank: 30771
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Features

  • Combines a VCR with Progressive Scan DVD/CD player, Cable Ready TV Tuner and AM/FM Stereo Digital Tuner with 30 preset
  • 350 Watt 5.1 channel amplifier, 5 2-way Satellite Speakers and a passive subwoofer
  • Audio decoders include Dolby Digital, Dolby ProLogic and Dolby ProLogic II
  • Provides progressive component outputs, A/V composite and S-video outputs as well as numerous inputs
  • Remote Control

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Rio HT2030 Sonic Blue Home Theater - AWSOME!!!
THis is one of the best electronic devices that I have ever purchased. Increadible ease of setup, Fabulous 5.1 surround sound. I just can't believe how well matched this system is. I have sat in $1,000 systems and not heard as good as sound dynamics and clarity. This is a BEST buy and I highly recommend it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Value-Priced Integrated System Hits Almost All Marks
This is my first venture into home theatre and I am very pleased. Having purchased a Rio portable music player a few years ago, and being impressed with the quality of that unit, I was hopeful that this system would reflect the same quality of design and construction. So far I have found this to be absolutely true!

I bought this system to replace my own system I had cobbled together over the years. So I was able to replace my stereo receiver, cd player, vhs player, dvd player, and two sets of speakers, all in one suprisingly compact unit.

Setup was easy and fast. I appreciated the l-o-n-g cables provided by the manufacturer. Some units I have seen only came with 10 foot cables. The manual is very well written and easy to follow. Within an hour I had made all of the connections, placed the speakers, and programmed all of my cable stations (auto- search)and fm radio stations.

So far the unit has performed without a hitch. I like the variety of sound setups, including prologic, which is something not found on many lower-priced (and some high-priced) units. It even has a feature to program delays on the speakers to customize it to your exact room configuration (incredible!).

The remote control is not overly cluttered, and is well laid out. It does not however, control the power on/off for my tv set. So I have to keep that remote handy. It doesn't light up either, which would be useful at night. I replaced an Apex dvd player which had horrible search and control features. This dvd player control is much more intuitive and straightforward.

The only shortcoming for some might be the passive subwoofer. It is fine for me, but if you want really booming bass, better to get a powered subwoofer.

Overall, this is a quality unit that was well thought out by the mfgr. It has the most features and power I have seen on a unit in this price range. ... Read more


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