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Author Topic: iriver Taper's FAQ  (Read 8475 times)

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Offline whatboutbob

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iriver Taper's FAQ
« on: October 06, 2006, 01:50:00 PM »
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*  iriver Tapers FAQ                                                                                                         *
*  2007 June 9 - v0.9 (beta)                                                                                                   *
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[/pre]I have flagrantly copied the format and vast swathes of content from Brian Skalinder’s NJB3 FAQ (thanks Brian!). I gathered other data from rockbox.org, misticriver.net, taperssection.com and iriver.com.

Please note that this is very much a beta version of the FAQ. Rockbox have not yet officially released their firmware to iriver, so it, along with this FAQ, will remain a work in progress.  Please feel free to PM me with suggestions for additions to the FAQ - feel free to include a typed-out answer to the proposed FAQ if you're feeling helpful. ;)

Please do not PM me questions about the irivers.  If you have read this FAQ thoroughly, and performed a search, and still can't find an answer to your question, then I suggest posting it to the Team iriver thread (currently here: http://taperssection.com/index.php/board,35.0.html - though about to move to chapter 4).  If I see a question there, I will attempt to answer it, however there are now many TSers who are just as knowledgable about the irivers as I am, so I'd appreciate their help spreading the support load.

For legal purposes, I, nor taperssection.com, can be held responsible for any damage caused to your player by following the information/instructions included in this thread. I will make an effort to keep all the information up to date, but it may become outdated at times. Additionally, particularly during beta, it may contain errors. </legal mumbo jumbo>

BTW, in my opinion, if you get a single decent recording out of the iriver, you owe it largely to the developers behind Rockbox.  They do it for the fun of it, but why not throw them some beer money as a thank-you?  I've put my money where my mouth is.  Will you?: http://www.rockbox.org/twiki/bin/view/Main/DonatedMoney
/guilt-trip

TOC

[000] Intro / Firmware…
[010] I'm a little confused about how all this stuff works, generally, much less specifics about the iriver H1xx.  Where should I start?
[020] I've heard the iriver isn't very useful for taping. Is this true?
[021] So which iriver models are useful for live audience recordings?
[022] So where can I buy one?
[030] So what is this alternative Rockbox firmware?
[040] What are the recording pros and cons of the rockboxed iriver H1xx v. DAT or MD?
[050] What are the non-recording pros and cons of the Rockbox firmware?
[060] Will installing Rockbox void the iriver warranty?
[070] How do I install / uninstall Rockbox?
[080] So now Rockbox is installed, what are all these settings?!
[081] Recording Settings
[082] Peak Meter Settings
[083] Other useful settings for tapers
[084] So now that everything is configured, how do I record with this thing?

[100] Hardware…
[110] With what size hard drive does the H1xx come?
[120] How many hours of recordings will fit on the iriver drives?
[130] Is there a difference between the iHP-1xx and the H1xx?
[140] Can I use any battery charger with my player, because my nokia charger fits?!
[150] For how long does the internal battery record?
[160] Does it supply plug-in power?
[170] Does using the remote introduce interference?

[200] Optical Recording…
[210] Does optical recording work with Rockbox?
[220] I heard the iriver supports 24-bit recording, is this true?
[230] Does it support up to 96 kHz sample rates?
[240] What kind of cables/adapters do I need to run digital-in from an outboard ADC?
[250] My stereo mini or optical mini connector doesn't quite fit properly in the female mini jack, what can I do?

[300] In the field…
[310] Do I have to use an outboard ADC?
[320] Can I run my mics or the soundboard directly into my iriver?
[330] What kind of cables do I need to run analog-in from mics or soundboard?
[340] Since I'm running analog-in to my iriver, how do I set my recording levels?
[350] What’s this about a clipping light?
[360] Is there a time or file size limit when recording?
[370] Can I lock the buttons when I'm recording so I don't flub and press one accidentally?
[380] Can I still use the backlight when the buttons are locked?
[390] If I run out of power will the iriver shut down gracefully, saving my recording?

[400] Mods…
[410] Is it possible to change / upgrade the internal battery?
[420] Where can I buy another internal battery?
[430] What about external power?
[440] Is it possible to upgrade or replace the H1xx hard drive?
[450] So how do I replace / upgrade the HDD?
[460] Can I use an Apple hdd in my iriver?

[500] Misc…
[510] Do I need to do any regular maintenance?
[520] How often should I do regular maintenance (i.e. format the drive)?
[530] Why is Rockbox saying my drive is full when it really isn't?
[540] How do I connect my iriver to my computer for transferring recordings?
[550] My recorded file is xxx MB, but my audio software says it is 0:00 minutes long.  How do I fix this?
[560] I'm used to having or like to have physical backups of my recordings, but I can't do this with the iriver - what are my options?
[570] What other resources are there about the iriver?



[000] Intro…

[010] I'm a little confused about how all this stuff works, generally, much less specifics about the iriver H1xx.  Where should I start?

In the Where To Begin forum, of course! (http://taperssection.com/index.php?board=46.0)


[020] I've heard the H1xx isn't very useful for taping. Is this true?

Yes and no.  Taping with the original iriver firmware (think of it as an operating system for your computer, like Windows) is a frustrating affair; it drops samples, doesn't have peak meters, and one can't change gain on the fly.  However there is an alternative firmware called Rockbox, which has addressed all of these issues, making the iriver an extremely handy recorder.  As such, the majority of information in this FAQ regarding taping will assume installation of Rockbox.  Please see [070] below for a guide on installing Rockbox.


[021] So which iriver models are useful for live audience recordings?


If you're looking to record optical in/out or analog in/out: H1xx
If you're looking only to record analog in/out: H1xx or H3xx

The main point of difference between the two models is that the H1xx has an optical in/out, allowing optical recording. This feature was phased out in the newer H3xx, presumably to make it cheaper to produce to compete with the by then rampant Apple ipod.  If you're only looking to run analog-in, then the H3xx is definitely an option to consider.

The H3xx has a colour LCD, and thus shorter battery life, as it consumes more power.

The units' dimensions are very similar, though the H1xx is marginally longer and deeper than the H3xx, though a little narrower.

The H3xx also has an internal clock, so it can timestamp recordings, or name them accordingly.  The H1xx simply names recordings recording001.wav etc.

NB: Please do not confuse these models with the similarly named iriver H20 or H10 - those models do not have a line-in or digital-in.


[022] So where can I buy one?


Unfortunately both the H1xx and H3xx have been discontinued.  So if you have your heart set on one, your only option is second-hand; ebay or the TS Yard Sale are your best bets.  Buyer beware: please note that many 'refurbished' units on ebay have been reported by TS members as having dodgy hard drives.



[030] So what is this alternative Rockbox firmware?


Some rather clever and dedicated chaps over at rockbox.org have spent years developing an open-source alternative firmware for digital audio players.  They originally wrote the Rockbox firmware for Archos Recorders, but have since begun porting it to other hardware, including, thankfully, the iriver H1xx and H3xx.  The Rockbox firmware for the H1xx is still in beta, but "...is in an advanced state of development, has been extensively tested, and is fairly stable".  The first official rockbox fw release for iriver H1xx (aka Rockbox 3.0) is due *very* shortly.


[040] What are the recording pros and cons of the rockboxed iriver v. DAT or MD?

Pros

    * long run-time on internal batteries (up to 8 hrs with the standard battery, up to 16 hours with a higher capacity battery installed)
    * small size: The H120 dimensions are 105×60×19mm, the H320 dimensions are 103×62.1×22.5mm
    * discrete wired remote control (handy for stealthing, however it can cause interference - see [170])
    * pre-recording: just wait for the band to come out and press record; the recording will include x seconds (configurable up to 30 seconds) of pre-recorded buffered data
    * configurable clip light:  backlight triggered when clipping is detected
    * configurable accurate peakmeter:
    * 2GB file size limit (3 hour 23 minute 44.1kHz WAV)
    * seamless file-split after 2GB (so you don't miss a moment of the gig)
    * no media!
    * low cost (average price on ebay for a Hx20 is currently between $100 and $200)
    * easy and fast transfers to PC via USB < 10 min for a 3 hr recording via USB 2.0 v. real-time transfers for DAT or analog transfers for most MDs
    * supports analog uncompressed WAV recording (16-bit, 44.1)
    * supports optical spdif recording (H1xx only: 16-bit, up to 96kHz)
    * no ATRAC compression a la MD
    * exact same ADC as the NJB3 with comparable quality to portable DATs (depends on how discerning your ears are, of course - also easily resolved by using an external ADC)
    * similar line-in performance compared to portable DATs (again, depends on how discerning your ears are)
    * holds theoretical max of 30+ hrs of recordings (great for festivals)
    * automatic gain control (agc): safety option automatically lowers recording levels - can be very handy for unmonitored *cough* recording - see [081]

Cons

    * Some effort and risk required to install rockbox to take full advantage of the iriver's recording abilities (though I am yet to see anyone who has broken their iriver by installing rockbox)
    * Rockbox firmware not yet officially released (due for official release shortly)
    * doesn't run on standard rechargable batteries (i.e. AA), requires specific LiON battery
    * No lossy (ie mp3) recording (shouldn’t really be an issue for tapers)
    * peakmeter and clip light do not function during disk writes (~10 seconds every minute)


[050] What are the non-recording pros and cons of the Rockbox firmware?


There is a far more comprehensive list available here (http://www.rockbox.org/twiki/bin/view/Main/FeatureComparison), however the highlights as I see them are:

Pros:

    * Plays many more filetypes, including flac, shn and wavpack
    * Longer battery life
    * Customiseable 'While Playing Screen', fonts & themes
    * True gapless playback
    * Dual boot allows you to boot into iriver firmware if you so desire (why you'd want to do this, I wouldn't know)
    * 5 Band Parametric Equalizer
    * Faster boot time
    * On the fly playlists
    * More likely to be able to salvage a faulty hdd (see [060])

Cons:

    * No wma playback (although this may be in the works)
    * Will void warranty (See [060])


[060] Will installing Rockbox void the iriver warranty?

Answer taken from the rockbox FAQ (http://www.rockbox.org/twiki/bin/view/Main/IriverFAQ#Does_it_void_my_warranty_if_I_us ):

“Yes.
However, like many large companies, iriver tends to be lenient with warranty claims. So even if using Rockbox will technically void your warranty, quite probably the aftersale service won't cause any trouble. Of course, they can, but it is not really in their "commercial interest" to do so, and there is plenty of testimony from users who got their iriver replaced even if the issue was caused by misuse (example: hard drive dead due to a fall, or even LCD screen broken).
Quoting the mail user "Prooty" received from iriver, as posted in the Rockbox forum: "Due to the fact that you have taken on a “non-original” iriver Firmware, in this case the modified “rockbox” Firmware, the repair of the player is not covered by warranty."


Interestingly, with the Rockbox bootloader installed, you are more likely to be able to salvage a unit with a faulty hdd than without it. This is because the Rockbox bootloader will allow you to USB boot a unit with a corrupt or faulty hdd, whereas the iriver firmware will not.  Rockbox has been working on the iriver for more than a year now.  This author has been running Rockbox for 11 months now on a H120 and H140 without a major issue.  The choice is yours.


[070] How do I install / uninstall Rockbox?


There are detailed instructions here: http://www.rockbox.org/twiki/bin/view/Main/ManualRockboxInstall#iriver_jukeboxes
It does take a few steps, but it is not rocket science.

Attn Mac owners: Installing the rockbox bootloader (a one-off task) will require a Windows machine or compiling some code on your own.


[080] So now Rockbox is installed, what are all these settings?!

Before you jump right in to recording, you'll need to get everything configured the way you want it.  There are a few settings scattered around the different menus that are useful for tapers:


[081] Recording Settings

Navigate to this by clicking 'A-B' button > Recording > Recording settings.

In there you've currently got 13 options (FYI, at the bottom of each option I've listed the options I use, but YMMV):

1) Format:
  • Wav: the most commonly used option
  • AIFF
  • Wavpack: compressed lossless option - perhaps an option if you're running short on drive space
  • MPEG Layer 3 (aka MP3)

Wav

2) Encoder Settings: Only used to set bitrate if you're recording in mp3 - no use if recording to other lossless formats (eg Wav or Wavpack)

3) Frequency: (when running from an analog-in source)
  • 44.1
  • 22.05
  • 11.025

When 'Source' is set to digital the frequency is set automatically to 'same as source'.

44.1

4) Source:
  • Internal Mic: The iriver's internal mic.  Handy for recording lectures, but don't make the mistake of selecting this as your source for recording live music.
  • Line In: For analog input.
  • Digital: For...you guessed it...digital input
  • FM Radio

5) Channels: Stereo or mono

Stereo

6) File Split Options: Choose to auto-split a file after a selected period.  Options vary between five minutes (00:05) and twenty-four hours (24:00).  This option should not be confused with the 2GB auto-split, which happens by default and is not configurable.

N/A

7) Prerecord Time: Prerecord a selected period of time, up to 30 seconds, prior to when you press the record button.  A very handy taping feature.  Just set it to 30 seconds, go to the recording screen, wait for the band to make their way to stage and press record.  No more missing the beginning of sets...unless of course you're at the bar. :-)

30s

8 ) Directory: Choose to have all your recordings saved to the /recordings directory or 'current' directory (presumably the dir you're in when you click the 'A-B button).

/recordings

9) Show Recording Screen on Startup: If set to on, the iriver will boot direct to the Recording Screen.  Handy for faster boot-up.

10) Clipping Light:  When clipping is detected, this setting triggers a selectable combination of main unit / remote backlight. Extremely useful. Detection is very accurate and sensitive, however this will not operate while data is being written to the hdd (when the little red light next to the joystick is on...about 10 - 13 seconds every ~3 mins).  There are more options for this in the Peak Meter settings (see [082] below).

Main Unit only

11) Trigger: One could theoretically use these settings to automatically start recording when levels hit a predefined dB level, but I'd prefer to hit record. Could be a good option if you're off at the bar though. ;)

N/A

12) Automatic Gain Control: A much maligned feature, largely due to ignorance of those that are used to AGC's that both lower and raise levels.  I've personally found the Rockbox AGC extremely useful in certain 'stealthy' situations (YMMV).  When set to 'Safety (clip)', this will drop levels on your recording when it detects clipping (sensitivity determined by option 13 below).  It will never raise levels.  So, for example, if one has set levels too aggressively, and is not in a position to carefully monitor levels, this feature will almost impercebtably lower levels incrementally, until the recording is no longer clipping.  Please be aware that this can backfire if, for example, someone is clapping into one of your mics - you may end up with an unbalanced or low volume recording. Having said that, this feature has saved my bacon many more times than it has backfired.  Please note that all other AGC settings, apart from the 'Safety (clip)' option will also raise levels - you don't ever want to use these - you'll end up with a recording all over the place.

Safety Clip (when running line-in)

13) AGC clip time: Essentially an AGC 'sensitivity' option.  It determines how long a recording must clip before the AGC lowers levels - 200ms through 1sec. In those situations where I use AGC (Safety!), I've found I prefer less sensitivity (1s), so an errant cymbal crash doesn't lower levels.

1s


[082] Peak Meter Settings

Now, you need to configure your Peak Meter. (click the 'A-B' Button > General Settings > Display > Peak Meter)

Your options are (please note I've also listed my preferences below each option. YMMV):

1) Clip Hold Time: Controls how long a thick black line displays at the end of the peakmeter when clipping is detected.  This also controls how long the clip light backlight displays (if enabled in recording settings). Options are between 1 second and eternal, or off.  It is worth noting that the backlight does diminish battery life.

60s

2) Peak Release: This determines how fast the bar shrinks when the music becomes softer. Lower values make the peak meter look smoother. Value range is 1 to 126..

5 units per read

3) Scale: Choose from Logarithmic (dB) or Linear (%).

Logarithmic

4 & 5) Range: Set the range of your clip meter displays.

-30dB & 0dB - then I set levels for an 'average' volume song to hit about halfway  on the meter (-15dB), which means my recordings usually peak at ~-5dB

NB: The Peak Meter does not operate while the hard drive is being written to (~10-15 seconds every ~3 mins).

 
[083] Other useful settings for tapers...

There really are a lot of settings, so its worthwhile checking the manual ( http://www.rockbox.org/twiki/bin/view/Main/WikiManual ), but here's a couple more that you may find useful as a taper.

1) Idle Poweroff: Prevent your unit from powering off while you're waiting to press record by extending this.  (Main > General Settings > System > Idle Poweroff)

2) LCD Display: Dampen your backlight and make the peakmeters stand out in a dark environment by inversing your display (Main > General Settings > Display > LCD (or Remote LCD) > LCD Mode > Inverse)


[084] So now that everything is configured, how do I record with this thing?

To record, you must navigate to the recording screen (click 'A-B' button > Recording > Recordinging Screen) & press the Rec button on the main unit, or the Play button on the remote.

Depending on which source you've selected you'll see different options.  All sources will display the following information (from top to bottom...and there's a screenshot of the main unit line-in recording screen at the bottom of this post for reference):

Time: The time the recording has been running.
Size: The size of the recording
Peakmeter: Self explanatory, but you won't see any activity on this unless you've got a source plugged in.
Volume: Adjustable monitor volume (ie what you hear through your headphones).  Not to be confused with gain.  Adjustable between -84dB & 0dB.
Frequency: Automatically detected by rockbox

In addition to this, when line-in source is selected, you will see two additional lines below volume: Gain Left and Gain Right.  These are adjustable in .5 dB steps, and both channels can be altered together, or indepently, depending on whether both lines are highlighted, or just one.

Two forms of gain are available; analog gain and digital decimation.  Analog gain is available from 0dB to 24dB.  Digital decimation is available from -64dB to 0dB and from 24dB to 48dB.  The type of gain is clearly labeled with a (A) or (D) after the gain level.

To my untrained ears, digital decimation equates roughly to boosting in post production, so I'd avoid using it wherever possible.  I've not made a thorough analysis of it however.  Would anyone care to prove this belief?

Main unit Controls:
Scroll: Joystick up/down
Alter values: Joystick left/right
Record: Rec button

Remote Controls:
Scroll: Navi/Main scroll wheel left/right
Alter values: Rec scroll wheel left/right
Record: Play button

In addition to these controls, you may like to make use of the hold buttons on both the remote and main unit to prevent accidental button presses during recording.  To further decrease this risk, you may like to enable the 'First Keypress enables backlight' option (this should be pretty self explanatory), You can find this in A-B - General Settings -> Display -> LCD (and/or Remote LCD).

I've found flicking the hold switches off then on is the safest method of deliberately triggering the backlight.


[100] Hardware…

[110] What size hard drives do irivers have?

The ‘xx’ in the H1xx and H3xx signifies the size of the drive.  For example the H120 has a 20GB hdd.

H1xx:
10, 15, 20 & 40 GB.    Most people use H120's because they offer plenty of disk capacity, are much less expensive than the H140, and slightly thinner.  The H110 and H115 were the initial models released and are not very common.  Note: HD manufacturers do not label hard drive size properly.  Most HD manufacturer labelling uses an incorrect definition of a megabyte:  1 MB = 1,000,000 bytes, instead of the correct 1 MB = 1,048,576 bytes.


H3xx:
20 & 40 GB.

The stock hard drives can be replaced with larger capacity drives. See [440] for more info.


[120] How many hours of recordings will fit on the iriver drives?

The iriver supports 16-bit recording at either 44.1 kHz or 48 kHz sample rates.  We know from the archives the bit-depth and sample-rates take up the following amount of HD space:

Bit-Depth      Sample Rate (kHz)    MB Per stereo-track-minute
16                            44.1                        10
16                            48.0                        11

Just do the math.  For example, at CD quality (16-bit, 44.1kHz) using the H120 and recording in stereo (two tracks, left and right):

20GB = 20,000 MB *
20,000 MB / 10 MB/stereo-track-minute = 2,000 minutes
2,000 minutes / 60 minutes = 33.33 hours

* HD manufacturers do not label hard drive size properly.  Most HD manufacturer labelling uses an incorrect definition of a megabyte:  1 MB = 1,000,000 bytes, instead of the correct 1 MB = 1,048,576 bytes.

You likely won't get 100% efficiency out of your hard drive, and the 20GB also stores some system files, so...you won't quite be able to utilize the full 34.13 hrs or hard drive space, but you get the idea:  LOTS of space!  (FWIW, 16-bit/48kHz gets you a theoretical max of 31.03 hrs.)


[130] Is there a difference between the iHP-1xx and the H1xx?

Nope.  Hewlett Packard forced iriver to change the name of the product.  There’s no physical difference.


[140] Can I use any battery charger with my player, because my Nokia charger fits?


Warning: By far the most common method of killing irivers is by people using the wrong charger.  This fries the circuitry, rendering the irivers useless.  Nokia chargers in particular are the scourge of iriver owners everywhere.  All it takes is a minute of absent-mindedness, and your toy is dead.  My recommendation is to clearly label your iriver charger and to use only that charger, and checking it every single time you go to plug in the charger.

If you truly must use another charger, ensure it converts line voltage to 5VDC at 2 Amps, tip (+), ring (-) (there’s an image demonstrating this on the back of the iriver).


[150] For how long does the internal battery record?

A single new internal battery runs ~8 hrs recording time.  Lithium batteries do degrade, so depending on use, you will see this decrease over an extended period of time (months rather than days).

It is also possible to replace the internal battery with a higher-capacity battery initially produced for the 1st and 2nd generation iPods.  These batteries are available up to 2200mAh, almost doubling the recording time. See below for installation instructions.


[160] Does it provide plug-in power to power electret condenser mics?

Yes. The iriver provides 2.5v of plug-in power (1v more than most mini-discs I believe), which allows it to power electret condenser mics such as dpa-4061s or at853s (terminating in a stereo mini-plug of course) without the need of a battery box.  However, providing external power such as that provided by a battery box will likely improve dynamic range and spl handling of such mics.


[170] Does using the remote introduce interference?

If recording analog-in, yes.  It seems on most units that having the remote plugged in during recording does introduce a ticking noise, which is only really noticeable when amplified.  For example, with no gain the extra noise is about 3dB. So if you're using an external pre the issue is moot.  However if using the iriver's pre at quiet gigs for a lot of gain (eg about 30dB), you may notice the extra noise.


[200] Optical Recording…

[210] Does optical recording work with Rockbox?


On the H1xx, yes!  As of May 12, 2006, code enabling optical recording has been committed to cvs, so henceforth it will be available for download in the standard rockbox daily builds: http://www.rockbox.org/daily.shtml

NB: The H3xx does not have an optical in/out, so obviously it doesn't support optical recording.


[220] I heard the iriver supports 24-bit recording, is this true?

No.  The iriver is currently only a 16-bit recording and playback device.  If fed a 24-bit digital signal, the iriver will still only record and playback a 16-bit signal by simply truncating the last 8 bits.  Theoretically the rockbox developers have confirmed that it may be possible for the hardware to record 20-bits, but it would require a major refactor of the rockbox recording (and possibly playback) code, so its highly doubtful it will happen any time soon, if at all.


[230] Does it support up to 96 kHz sample rates?


It should, but AFAIK noone has yet confirmed bit accuracy at 96kHz.  However, bit perfection has been confirmed at 88.2kHz.  Volunteer testers welcomed.


[240] What kind of cables/adapters do I need to run digital-in from an outboard ADC?

Remember - while most digital format converters or optical output devices use a standard toslink optical connector, the iriver takes a mini optical connector so you may need a toslink/mini adapter.  Some commonly used optical cables and adapters:

    * Sound Pros SP-TMOC-RA toslink right-angle to mini right-angle cable (http://www.soundprofessionals.com)
    * MCM 1M Toslink to 3.5mm mini optical cable right angle: http://www.mcminone.com/
    * SonicWave DTOSGOC01 1m glass optical cable (available at http://www.cablesamerica.com)
    * Phoenix Gold DTX-910 optical cable (available at http://www.partsexpress.com)
    * Acoustic Research Pro II optical cable (available at http://www.partsexpress.com)
    * Dayton Audio optical cable (available at http://www.partsexpress.com)
    * Velocity DTOS35RA toslink - mini right-angle adapter (available at http://www.cablesamerica.com)
    * Velocity DTOSRAA toslink - toslink right-angle adapter (available at http://www.cablesamerica.com)


[250] My stereo mini or optical mini connector doesn't quite fit properly in the female mini jack, what can I do?

Some users report poor results from stereo mini or optical mini connectors that don't quite fit properly in the female mini jack, usually because the remote connector is preventing the optical mini connector from clicking in properly, due to its close proximity.  Low levels, mono signal, drop-outs, etc., may all be symptoms of this problem.  To ensure you don't have this problem, make sure your mini connector clicks firmly into the female mini jack.  Unless the mini connector clicks firmly into the female mini jack, you may encounter this problem in the field.  This is often because the remote plugs in sits very close to the optical in.  There are at least three solutions:

    * Buy a different stereo or optical mini plug and see if it fits better
    * Remove (unplug) the remote
    * If your optical mini connector is made of rubber (such as the MCM cable above), it is possible to shave off one side of the connector


[300] In the field…


[310] Do I have to use an outboard ADC?


You don't have to, but you'll generally achieve signicantly better results if you do.  While the iriver isn't terrible, it's not all that great, either (depending on how discerning your ears are).  There's a reason it's such an inexpensive device: they had to cut corners somewhere.  Two popular outboard pre/ADCs for the iriver are the Denecke AD-20 / Zefiro Inbox and the Edirol UA-5.  Inexpensive (relatively speaking), easily powered in the field, and significant sound quality improvements over the iriver’s analog inputs and ADC.  There are plenty of other options as well, but the AD-20/Inbox and UA-5 are two great lower cost starter pre/ADCs which will improve sound quality significantly.


[320] Can I run my mics or the soundboard directly into my iriver?

Sure.  Just need to make sure you [1] have a hot enough signal to run line-in, and [2] have the proper connectors to get the analog signal into your iriver’s stereo mini connector.


[330] What kind of cables do I need to run analog-in from mics or soundboard?

Mics may have any number of analog outputs - the key is converting the mics' (or battery box's, or preamp's) output connectors to a 3.5mm stereo jack.  There are inexpensive adapters to convert to the iriver’s 3.5mm stereo jack from just about any connector type.  See below for some examples.

Soundboards may have any number of analog outputs:  usually XLR, RCA, or 1/4" mono, and occasionally 1/4" stereo headphone outputs.  The adapters or cables you need will depend on the input connector for your ADC/recording device.

For example, many folks will run the soundboard patch directly into a device with a 3.5mm female stereo connector (e.g. Sony portables, NJB3).  So, you need to [1] take XLR, RCA, and 1/4" feeds and convert them to a 3.5mm stereo male connector, and [2] provide some length of cable run to get your gear out of the way of the sound engineer.  Two ways to do this:

Option 1 - adapters + cable run

[2] RCA male | RCA male 6' cable run
[2] RCA female | RCA female barrel
[2] XLR female | RCA female adapter
[2] 1/4" female | RCA male adapter
2 x RCA female | 3.5mm stereo adapter

Option 2 - input-specific adapters

2 x RCA female | 3.5mm stereo adapter
2 x XLR female | 3.5mm stereo adapter
2 x 1/4" female | 3.5mm stereo adapter

The problem with option 2 is if you want a cable run to support all three input-specific adapters, you'll have to carry around a separate cable run for RCA, XLR and 1/4" connectors - that's a lot of cable runs to schlep around, IMO.


[340] Since I'm running analog-in to my iriver, how do I set my recording levels?

Use either your preamp or the iriver itself to adjust and your iriver to monitor the recording levels.  The iriver level meters are very accurate and the range is user-configurable, however the meters do not operate during buffer writes (about 10 seconds every minute). 


[350] What’s this about a clipping light?

The iriver has a user-configurable clipping light which can be triggered when clipping is detected.  It is very sensitive, however it does not function during buffer-writes (when the red lcd next to the joystick is on).  It can be configured to light up the remote, the main unit, or both.


[360] Is there a time or file size limit when recording?


The file size limit is 2GB.  If this limit is reached, the file is saved and another file starts recording seamlessly, with no action required from user.


[370] Can I lock the buttons when I'm recording so I don't flub and press one accidentally?


There’s a slide switch on both the main unit and remote that you can switch to lock the separate units.


[380] Can I still use the backlight when the buttons are locked?

Unfortunately not.  The safest way the author has found to view the backlight is to flick the hold switch off then on.  A request for this function has been made to the rockbox developers, however it is understandably not seen as a high priority.


[390] If I run out of power while recording, will the iriver shut down gracefully, saving the recording?

If the battery runs out of power, the iriver may or may not shut down gracefully, saving your recording.  Users have reported mixed results with auto-saving the recording when the internal battery dies.  If the iriver does not shut down gracefully, it is usually possible to salvage the recording up until the last buffer write, with a combination of chkdsk /f and Kuba’s handy wav header repair utility: http://www.fi.muni.cz/~xvanek4/repair/repair.zip

After running chkdsk /f on your iriver, unzip Kuba’s app to the same dir as your file then from the command prompt run: Repair <filename> <filesize>


[400] Mods…


[410] Is it possible to change / upgrade the internal battery?

Yes.  This requires opening the case.  The original Li-ion battery that ships with the iriver is 1300mAh.  You can choose to replace it with a similar capacity battery, or upgrade up to 2200mAh.  All you’ll need is a torx T5 wrench and some time..

There are handy pictorial walkthroughs here  and here.

Important: Please note that ipods have reversed polarity from irivers, so if you use an “ipod battery” you’ll need to reverse the battery wires at the molex connector.

Warning: Before you swap your battery, I must insist you watch these two videos:

Video 1

Video 2

I'm not trying to scare you, but you must be made aware of the risks of a damaged/incorrectly installed battery.  At least one person over at misticriver.net has reported that his battery swelled and destroyed his iriver.  Having said that, many people have done this mod with no issues (myself included, several times over).

In addition to the info in the walkthroughs, here are a couple of tips I've found handy replacing my iriver batteries:

Once again (its worth repeating), if you're using an ipod battery, do not forget to reverse the wires.  With the molex flaps on top, the red wire should go in the left side of the connector, the black in the right.

The most difficult part of this process is pulling the original battery's molex connector out of the board because the dc connector sits right behind it, which doesn't leave you with much wiggle room.  I suggest, use a tiny flat-headed screwedriver to pull the connector out as far as you can, then use the same screwdriver to gently apply upward pressure to one of the bottom corners of the connector.  Just be careful not to touch the board with the screwdriver - you shouldn't need to touch the board at all with it.
 
To make it easier to get the new battery molex connector into the board, you may like to carefully shave off the bottom 'lip' of the molex connector with a razor to make it easier to slide in.

I didn't notice, but hyperplane mentioned the molex connector on the original battery has a smaller lip so it might be easier to transfer that onto the new battery.

Once you're done transferring the batteries, you might like to wipe down the inside of the iriver screen with a soft cloth (i use the cloth that i use to clean my prescription glasses). Dust inside the screen is really irritating.

When you're putting everything back together, ensure the hold switch nestles into its notch, otherwise it won't work.  You'll see what I mean when you're there.



[420] Where can I buy another internal battery?


Most folks seem to pick them up from EBay for ~$20.  The specific model I’ve installed in multiple units with no hitches is the UP325385A4H. These are typically advertised as 1st and 2ns gen ipod 2200mAh batteries.

Interestingly, this exact battery model is now selling at my local Radioshack equivalent in Australia...so you may like to try Radioshack before hitting up ebay.


[430] What about external power?


Lots of options for external DC power.  The iriver runs on 5v external power, tip (+), ring (-).  Only catch is there aren't really any batteries out there that natively provide 5v of power.  Soooo...best bets are to take a battery which provides more than 5v of power and [1] regulate its output to 5v, or [2] build a battery pack which outputs ~5v.

[1] Regulate output to 5v

Popular options which output more than 5v are sealed lead acid (SLA) and RC batteries.  SLAs are readily available in both 12v and 6v output.  RC batteries are typically 7.2v or 9.6v.  For the 6v SLAs, it may be possible to wire two diodes in-line on the hot wire to drop it down to 5v.  For the 12v SLA and 7.2v/9.6 RC batteries, two main ways to drop the voltage: [1] with a 7805 voltage regulator and heat sink, and [2] with a iriver/third-party car adapter which supports 5v output.

[2] Build 5v battery pack

A couple people have had success building ~5v battery packs out of 4 x 1.2v NiMH cells.  Fully charged NiMH cells will put out ~1.4v each, so this pack will deliver around 5.6v fully charged - which is a bit too high for the iriver, outside it's operating voltage specs.  If you run it with a slightly too high voltage, you may lock up the iriver which will require resetting it by pressing the reset button on the bottom with a paper clip or toothpick.  If the voltage is a little high, run the batts for a few minutes on another device (e.g. small light bulb) to drain the battery which will reduce the output voltage enough to fall within the iriver's voltage specs.  There’s a thread about it here: http://www.misticriver.net/showthread.php?t=4937


[440] Is it possible to upgrade or replace the hard drive?

Much of the following hdd replacement info has been lifted from NPSwimDude500’s FAQ over at misticriver (http://www.misticriver.net/showthread.php?p=330700#post330700)

Yes.

Hx20: uses a single platter 1.8" 20 gigabyte hard drive manufactured by Toshiba. The model name on these drives may read MK2004GAL or MK2006GAL (the 4 and 6 designate model years, and there is no known difference other than the number). Toshiba currently manufactures two other single-platter drives with the same dimensions, the 30 gigabyte MK3006GAL drive and the 40 gigabyte MK4007GAL drive which uses new PMR technology (note: it has not been officially released yet). Hx20s can both be fitted with these drives without modification.

Hx40: uses Toshiba's 1.8" double platter 40 gigabyte MK4004GAH/MK4006GAH hard drive (once again, the 4 and 6 only designate model years). It can be replaced by the double platter MK6006GAH or Toshiba's new dual platter 1.8" 80GB drive, the MK8007GAH, which also uses PMR technology. The Hx40 can only be upgraded to these drives without modification. You can also, of course, replace an MK4004GAH/MK4006GAH with another MK4004GAH/MK4006GAH.


[450] So how do I replace / upgrade the HDD?

Replacing an iriver hdd mimics the first few steps of battery replacement, so you might like to have a look at this pictorial guide: http://www.pdainternalbattery.com/iriverinstall.html

Should you replace the hard drive of your player, you will first need to open it. The H1xx series is held together by 10 screws, 4 on each end, and one on each side. A T5 Torx wrench (or a tiny flathead screwdriver) is required to open the player. T5 wrenches can usually be found at Radioshack-type electronics stores. If you can’t find one, they are available at MisticAudio.com.

BEFORE YOU OPEN THE PLAYER, MAKE SURE IT IS TURNED OFF, the remote is disconnected and the hold switch is locked (you don't want to accidentally turn on the player in the middle of this operation, should you decide to try it). Then slowly and carefully lift the back plate.  Once the backplate is off, you’ll see the hard drive, under a loose piece of rubber padding. Remove the padding and gently lift the ‘top end’ hdd enabling you to then slide it out. Slide your new drive in and replace the padding. Then, replace the screws, USB connect, copy your rockbox files to the new drive, and you're done.


[460] Can I use an Apple hdd in my iriver?

There is a great deal of controversy surrounding Apple branded hard drives. Apple uses the same brand/model of hard drives as iriver has in it's 1xx/3xx lines. Thus, they come up on ebay. It's been rumored that Apple drives are partitioned/altered in a certain way that makes them compatible only with ipods. Mind, this isn't fact, but it is supported by the fact that apple drives have an apple logo on the bottom left corner of the labeled side of the drive. This is a way to tell that the drive is an apple drive.

Some users have been able to partition apple branded drives so that they work. On the other hand, others have been unsuccessful. So far the procedure seems to be to use the Swissknife Utility to repartition the drive.
Ultimately, it's best to stay away from Apple drives, as it's not guaranteed to work one way or another.


[500] Misc…

[510] Do I need to do any regular maintenance?

It's probably a good idea to Format your drive regularly to ensure you don't run into problems like excessive fragmentation.  Instructions:

1. Connect the iriver to a PC via USB
2. Ensure you have a back-up of the necessary rockbox files and any other files you wish to keep. Formatting will delete everything on the drive.
3. Once the iriver is recognized, open Explorer and right click on the iriver drive.
4. Click ‘Format’.
5. Leave the file system as FAT32 and the capacity as 18.6GB and click ‘Start’
6. The format process will take >10 minutes. Once it is done, you will need to reload the rockbox files.
7. Disconnect the drive.

Occasionally rockbox can misreport the amount of free space on the iriver.  You can force a rescan by going into the main menu->Info->Debug->View disk info->Free-> then click the joystick.


[520] How often should I do regular maintenance (i.e. format the drive)?

I don't think anyone really knows at this point.  A little regular maintenance shouldn't hurt - every month or so to be safe (or even every week if you're an avid taper!).  When deleting files, make sure to read the next question:


[530] Why is Rockbox saying my drive is full when it really isn't?
This has happened to a bunch of people.  You delete a bunch of files in windows, but you're getting this damn message in Rockbox saying your disk is full.  The reason for this was best described by Petur in another thread:

'The problem you're seeing is that when deleting files through the usb connection (windows/linux/mac/...), rockbox doesn't know about the freed space.
For speed reasons the disk isn't scanned on bootup, and rockbox thinks the clusters are still occupied. We're still looking for a way to get round this, maybe do a scan in the background or set a flag somewhere when we suspect a scan is needed.

To make rockbox rescan the drive:

go to Menu -> Info ->Rockbox Info and tap the play button (or click the joystick).
You should see a Scanning disk message.'

To play it safe you should probably do this every time you delete a bunch of files via windows.  This problem does not occur if you delete via Rockbox. To delete via Rockbox, via the file browse just select the file or directory you wish to delete, then click and hold the joystick.  A menu will appear.  Select delete, and click the joystick another couple of times to confirm.   This can come in very handy when you're on the road and realise you don't have enough disk space to record the gig you've just set up for. :)


[540] How do I connect my iriver to my computer for transferring recordings?


Plug the USB cable into your computer and into the iriver and in Windows the iriver will automagically be detected as a drive in Windows Explorer.


[550] My recorded file is xxx MB, but my audio software says it is 0:00 minutes long.  How do I fix this?


Your wav header is buggered (the little bit at the start of a wav file that stores some information about the file, including how long it is).  This can happen from a variety of causes where recording hasn't stopped gracefully (eg your battery dies mid-recording or you pause mid-recording then connect to your computer).

Use Kuba's nifty little wav header repair utility to generate a new header: http://www.fi.muni.cz/~xvanek4/repair/repair.zip

Once downloaded:

1) unzip the app to the same dir as your file
2) It runs from a command-line, so you'll need to get to a command prompt in windows by clicking on 'start' then 'run'.  Type 'cmd'. Click 'ok'
3) In the black window that opens, navigate to the directory your file is in.  (You change directories by typing 'cd <directory name>'). 
4) Once you're in the correct directory get the exact file size and name by typing 'dir'.
4) Now type 'Repair <filename> <filesize>'


[560] I'm used to having or like to have physical backups of my recordings, but I can't do this with the iriver - what are my options?

Some people are hesitant to switch to the iriver because they like to have physical backups of their recordings, i.e. DAT or MD masters.  There are several good options for backing up master iriver recordings:

    * Archive the master WAV as data (not audio) onto a CD or DVD.
    * Archive the compressed (FLAC or SHN) master recording onto a data CD or DVD.
    * Keep at least two copies at all times: audio and archived
    * Share copies with your friends.
    * Share copies with the greater live music trading community.
    * For bands that allow open taping and have agreed to allow Archive.org to host their live recordings, host the mastered recording on http://www.archive.org


[570] What other resources are there about the iriver?


Rockbox: http://www.rockbox.org
MisticRiver: http://www.misticriver.net
Team iriver thread on TS: http://taperssection.com/index.php/board,35.0.html
« Last Edit: June 09, 2007, 01:33:30 AM by whatboutbob »
Mics: Audix m1290's, AT943's (w/ AT853 C/O/H caps), AT853's
Power: PS-2, Homebrew 3wbb, SPSB-6
Pre/AD: UA-5 (BM2p+), CA-9100, AD-20
Recorder: iriver H120, H160

Offline whatboutbob

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Re: iriver Taper's FAQ
« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2007, 01:35:02 AM »
updated: largely to include more info about AGC and H3xx
Mics: Audix m1290's, AT943's (w/ AT853 C/O/H caps), AT853's
Power: PS-2, Homebrew 3wbb, SPSB-6
Pre/AD: UA-5 (BM2p+), CA-9100, AD-20
Recorder: iriver H120, H160

 

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