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The device has support for up to two playlists. Adding tracks is pretty easy although it would be nice to see support for M3U files.
Bass and treble is fully adjustable, including a 22 band graphical equalizer should you want to tweak even more. There are 11 presets should you wish to deviate from the sound engineers suggested levels.
One feature of the player is its Karaoke facility, which ties in nicely with the Microphone support. It comes with a piece of software that is used for attaching lyrics to your MP3 tracks. It works really well. It doesn’t stop there though, as the player has the ability to adjust the pitch and speed of the track, which is nothing if not great fun. Pitch shifting causes a fair amount of distortion but for Karaoke that isn’t a huge problem. Changing the speed works fairly well and the pitch is maintained too. If you’re working out in the gym, this is actually a really good feature as you can speed up or slow down the beat of your music to match your body’s rhythm.
As well as being able to display Karaoke text, it can also read e-books in text file format and if that’s not enough, it even has an inbuilt Tetris game!
With all these features, it’s no wonder that the interface is a little tricky to get used to. The manual is comprehensive though with no pigeon English in sight. However, it’s certainly not one for someone who wants to just plug and play.
The headphones provided are white to match the player, so be on mugger alert in case anyone thinks you’ve got an iPod. The ‘phones actually don’t sound too bad considering the price. With a little bass boost from the interface they were passable but not particularly comfortable after a few hours. Replacement with a decent pair is recommended.
Testing with our previously reviewed Shure e4c headphones, I found the playback to be pretty good. There was an improvement noticed when changing to a Sony NW-E507 MP3 player mind you, but you had to be listening for it.
One aspect of this player that really impressed was that of amplification – it can get really loud! Generally, I kept playback at around the 50 per cent mark – much higher and it became uncomfortable with more white noise audible. This can be useful for older and quite quiet recordings.
The Sapphire Ivory is an excellent player and with a £63.45 price tag, I would find it very hard not to recommend this to anyone. It’s light weight, fully featured and has an excellent battery life. The only downside are its looks and slight interface complexity.