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on December 10, 1999
...CDs are too cumbersome and skip prone for any active portability. MiniDisk is dead because of MP3's. MiniDisk's just don't have enough support and if you want a model that records it will cost you every bit as much as a MP3 player. As far as storage capacity, two hours of your favorite tunes in the order that you choose is plenty for any portable device. How many joggers or walkers carry more than two hours worth of CDs with them when they go out? Heck, radio stations start to repeat songs after two hours...if you need better than two hours worth of digitally recorded music when you go out then leave the 74-min. MDs and the CDs (usually no more than 80 mins. per disk) at home too. The Rio is a great portable music device for ripping songs from favorite CDs and taking them on the go. If you want 5 hours worth of CD-quality to listen to in one sitting then sit at home and listen to CDs. With the Rio, you can have different sets of playlists stored in your MP3 library and load two hours worth of songs that fit your mood or tasts in each playlist...It is my opinion that the Rio is better than any portable CD or MD player on the market. One last point...the two hours of memory is can put whatever songs or playlist you want to load on the Rio, then load something else later on that same memory without losing your songs or playlist. With a recordable CD or MD you have to record a separate disk for each set of songs. I'd rather have 3 saved "Love Songs" files to choose from and load on my Rio, than to have to buy 3 MDs labled "Love Songs Vol. 1,2 and 3". You can store as many songs as you like on your computer and use the Rio as opposed to having to buy a separate tape, CD or MD for each mix or special set you record. If MP3 isn't for you then stick with the old way of having to carry around tapes and disks when you jog. Otherwise, the Rio is a great buy for portable audio anyway you look at it.
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on November 6, 1999
I just got mine a few days ago and after hooking it up to my Real Jukebox (the diamond software sucks), I was set. Transferring tracks is simple and quick...even on a 56k modem. The player is so small and is perfect for city living...I throw it in my pocket and listen to all of my favorite tracks. The memory is little (about 45-60 minutes depending on the mp3 quality...maybe a flash card would be a good investment. We'll see.
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on April 30, 2000
I had first purchased a PMP300, but wasn't satisfied. The design of the PMP500 intigued me, and i couldn't resist. It was a very good buy. This is a review and comparison of both products.
Like the PMP300, the PMP500 can play mp3 tracks and cd tracks, but unlike the PMP300, the PMP500 can also play MPEG2.5, ADPCM, and content. The PMP500 plays Mp3s 16 to 320 Kbps and VBR. It includes a Basic equalizer with song adjustments such as treble, bass, etc. The PMP300's equalizer consisted of only four synthetic options: Normal, Rock, Classical, and Jazz.
The song transfere speed from your computer to your device for both products is relitively the same, with the PMP500 being a little faster. Connection from the PMP300 is made by parallel-port connection. It is hooked into your printer port and has another parallel port in the back for your printer so that way you can operate your printer and your player at the same time. The PMP500 has easy connection thru a USB socket. NOTICE: YOU MUST HAVE A USB SOCKET IN YOUR COMPUTER TO OPERATE THE PMP500. THE PMP500 DOES NOT WORK ON WINDOWS N/T OR WINDOWS 95.
The buttons on the PMP300 are far better than the buttons on the PMP500. The buttons on both products are easy to use and good, but the buttons on the PMP300 are bigger and cooler.
Memory on the PMP500 is better than the PMP300. But keep in mind. If you buy memory chips (They are like disks. There is a slot on both product for insertion. The chips can be easily ejected. They are called Flash Cards. You can buy them here.) You can store play lists on diferent disks, label them, and when you want to hear your pesonal mix, just pop in that certain disk.
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on November 9, 1999
Cons: In a nut shell, the RIO PMP 300 MP3 was great for the first few months. I purchased it a year ago and have had many problems. As others have commented, the battery lid broke and springs open often. The result is short piercing sound (not dangerous but extremely annoying) and the lcd display goes ape. Music Match software was a joke but has progressed a little (I still can not get it to download to the Rio device with this software).
Pros: The unit is great to have while working out. The sound is descent enough. The size is compact but then again I would rather have some thing a bit larger.
I hope that they make a larger one that holds at least four hours of music, fixes the battery lid problem, includes great software and has USB (as the 500 does) or FireWire support. Oh yeah, maybe a flip top lid like the cell phones (even when the unit is in the Hold postion the player responded to the buttons and started playing or skipped).
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on May 22, 2000
What most of these reviewers are forgetting is that the Diamond Rio 300 was the FIRST MP3 player to hit the market. And it was a great struggle in the courts to even get it released.

I had one of these pre-ordered for almost 3 months and finally got it 2 days after it was released. I have been pretty happy with the way it has held up. I did a 16 MB upgrade for it and it seems to hold enough music for me.

It is durable, but the button control now falls off unexpectadly. This is probably why they moved away from this design on the 500.

Personally, I would still consider this a very good MP3 player. When I bought it it was over $200 and I thought that was a bargin. I really just depends on what format your music collection is...mine is 99% MP3, so these little guys are awesome.

Update: 1 DEC 2012 - It finally broke. I also find 32mb slightly limiting in this era of 64gb ipods.
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on January 13, 2000
I reviewed the Rio pmp300 a couple of weeks ago, and I still love it! I am writting a second review to let people out there know that I found an extremely easy way to download mp3's for the Rio. You don't have to spend hours searching the internet for the music you want. It is called Napster, I can't give the url so just type it in Yahoo's search engine. Once you install the software, you will have access to more that 200,000 mp3s. I also found a way to download files from the Rio into your PC it is called Rioexplorer. I can't give the url for this either but you can download it from download safari. This program basicaly turns the Rio into a large portable hard drive. With the information I have given you here you don't have to contemplate buying a Rio, just go do it. After downloading these programs you won't ever have to buy cd's again, and your zip drive just became obsolete. Rio Rules!
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on February 29, 2000
i recently purchased a rio pmp300. it's great. i'd like it if it had a little bit more included memory but if it was that important to me i'd have bought the rio 500. i usually listen to mp3s made from my cd's or downloaded from or using napster. i was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the music on the sampler that came with my rio player. anyone buying a rio should take the time to listen to some of these songs. (on the minus side, they don't list the artists, only the song names). all in all a great player if you are willing to trade lower cost for lower less memory (actually, a rio 300 with a 99 dollar 32mb upgrade card would be cheaper (after 50 dollar rebate) than rio 500. additionally, the player is attractive, well-made and goes forever and a day on a single double A. great sound and small size are real pluses as well.
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VINE VOICEon December 1, 1999
Unlike many of the other Minidisc owners on here, I happen to like MP3. The minidisks are great....but for something small and light to tuck in my pocket, nothing beats the Rio! It's at least half the size and a third the weight of my minidisk player. And yes, the size DOES make a difference to many people.
I love getting free MP3's off the web, and while I *could* put them on minidisks, I like being able to every day or so put a completely different assortment of songs on the Rio to listen to. It's certainly not much harder than recording a disk and I'm one of those people that can listen to favorite songs over and over so a little repetition doesn't bother ME any.
Unfortunately, the Rio is not without faults. In fact, I have a hard time recommending it. 32 meg is definitely NOT enough. I got a Flash card, and have started having varying problems, first with my memory being unusable, and then having small chunks become corrupted. Am now having problems with the player intermittently stopping on its own and freezing up so I have to remove the battery. Oh, should mention that the first Rio I got had a broken battery compartment and was returned. Am still waiting on my rebates. HATE not being able to use it on Windows NT, and not having USB. And the headsets that come with it are worthless for many people. Personally, I'm not sure I even want to try the later Rio models, as I've had so much trouble with this one in only a few months of owning it.
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on December 2, 1999
I got this Rio PMP300 for my birthday, and I love it! It's lightweight, and has a belt clip so I can wear it and do whatever I want to (walk, run)...and it still won't skip. It has a very long battery life (about 12 hours with one AA battery), especially if you use Duracell Ultra, which is included with this. The sound quality is surprisingly good considering its portability. However, Diamond has decided to distribute earbud headphones with the Rio now (not the ones pictured here), and their quality is not very good. The music will sound better if you use another pair of headphones instead. There is a hold function that disables all buttons when it is turned on, which is extremely convenient for me, since I carry the Rio around in my backpack where other things sometimes accidentally press against the keys and could turn the player on. The Rio does not play wav files, but that problem can be solved since wav files can be converted to mp3. The PMP300's memory is less than what I would like -- only 32MB. Flash cards can be used to expand the memory, but they cost even more than the Rio itself (with rebate, it is a great deal)! The software included with this is easy to install and use, and will convert your CDs into mp3s for you. There is also a CD sampler with lots of mp3 files on it.
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on January 7, 2000
Had a Rio PMP300 player for about a week. It is tiny, battery life is excellent compared with other portable music solutions and there are no moving parts so it doesn't skip. The upload sofware is intuitive, I was up and running in a couple of minutes. I havn't looked at the packaged CD ripping/encoding software as I prefer to use my own software to do this. As to the quality/memory size issue: if you play a song recorded at 128kpbs and then play the same song at 64kbps you will notice the difference. However I couldn't really say that one is 'better' than the other, in terms of sound quality. The 128kpbs version is of course closer to the original CD if that is what is meant by 'better quality'. I'd say its nothing that can't be corrected with equilisation. If you played two dissimilar songs, one encoded at 64kbps and one at 128kpbs I'm not sure I could reliably tell you which was which. In short the difference isn't enough for me to care. At 128kbps, the play time is about 30 minutes, at 64kbps it is about 60 minutes. If you want 60 minutes play time, I'd try a 32Mb player first then if you care about the 128kbps issue buy a 32Mb Flash card upgrade. Simple as that.
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