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D Link DMP-100 Portable MP3 Player Review

D Link DMP-100 Portable MP3 Player Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: MP3 - the new standard for music distribution, or a technology doomed at the hands of the RIAA? While nobody knows for certain, one thing is clear: this technology has changed how many of us listen to music both at, and away from, our computers.
 80% Rating:   
Filed under: MP3 Players Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: D-Link May 08 2000   D. Deveaux  
Home > Reviews > MP3 Players > D-Link DMP-100

Audio Quality

Despite these limitations, the player did install rather smoothly on my test system (which, by the way, does not have a printer directly attached). Upon connecting the cable and powering up the computer, Windows 98 detected the device immediately, and prompted me for the driver. Following this, I installed the D-Link MP3 Manager software, which came on the supplied CD.

The D-Link MP3 software is very easy to use. On the top half of the screen, you will find the files on your computer, and on the bottom half you'll find the songs already stored in the player. Placing songs into the player is as simple as dragging and dropping; a status indicator shows how much memory is available on both the player's internal memory and a memory card (if installed).

Performance and Audio Quality

Being a parallel port based device, I was expecting extremely slow transfer speeds. After telling the software to download 31.4MB of songs, I had to wait approximately 15 minutes for it to complete. While 15 minutes may not seem like much time, it can sure add up if you frequently decide to download new songs into the device. One major limitation I found with the software was that there was no way to change the order of songs on the player, without erasing everything and downloading again. Once you select songs to download, they appear in the same order as they appear in the file selection dialog. For instance, if you have three songs titled by their artist name first, this is how they will appear in the player. The only work around is to download songs one at a time into the device, which is a very time-consuming process.

When using the player itself, I noticed a small bug. I have found that when using files encoded with Variable Bit-Rate (VBR), the time indicator increases very quickly (i.e., the player reads 10 seconds when only 5 have passed). The song plays at normal speed, but the indicator displays otherwise. Unlike CD's, which have a table of contents that defines track lengths and such, MP3 files have no such information. As such, some other form of calculating the total time must be used. Whether a flaw with MP3's encoded in VBR in general, or a special quirk with this player, I cannot say for certain.


As with several other MP3 players, the bundled headphones with the D-Link were definitely below par. After listening to the output from the headphones for a few minutes, I thought the player deserved better. Therefore, I chose to plug in my Sony Street-Style headphones to see what would happen. Sure enough, they made a big difference. Whereas the bundled ear buds sounded flat and muddled, the Sony's produced a very dynamic and crisp sound.

The player itself offers several preset equalization settings (No EQ, Pop, Classical, Jazz, and Ex-Bass), which allows you to tailor the EQ settings appropriate to the type of music. For example, the Pop setting increases the mid-range frequencies, Jazz increases the high-end, and Ex-Bass increases the bass. Overall, I preferred using the Jazz setting for most of the songs I listen to (Classical did work best with classical music however).

For the ultimate audio quality test, I compared the D-Link to my Discman. For this test, I used 5 tracks encoded from various audio CD's. I used 128Kbps quality (Constant Bit-Rate). For the Discman, I burned the compilation to an audio CD from the MP3s. The Discman did sound better overall, but the MP3 player brought a few surprises to my ears. Using the Jazz equalizer setting, songs sounded crisper on the player due to the enhanced treble settings that this EQ setting provided. In terms of bass response, this is where the Discman clearly won. Setting the MP3 player to Ex-Bass mode made the sound more muffled, and tended to distort the bass at high volumes, whereas the Discman handled it far better. In terms of overall loudness, it was a virtual tie between both units. Overall though, I was impressed with the audio quality of the D-Link. While a bit more bass would have been nice, I appreciate the boost to the treble frequencies just as well.

Final Thoughts & Conclusion

The DMP-100 makes a strong entry into this ever-popular market. Although the standard 32MB of storage and parallel-port connection work against the player, its overall sound quality manages to overcome these deficiencies. Unless I'm going on a fairly lengthy trip, you can expect the DMP-100 to be nestled in my pocket wherever I go despite its shortcomings.

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Contents of Article: D-Link DMP-100
 Pg 1.  D Link DMP-100 Portable MP3 Player Review
 Pg 2.  — Audio Quality

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