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IFA 2008: Samsung Reveals Lossless MP3 Player

Gordon Kelly


IFA 2008: Samsung Reveals Lossless MP3 Player

Samsung may have already played its major hand at IFA when it unveiled its MacBook Air/Lenovo X300 rival the X360 but it does one have more trick up its sleeve.

The ‘YP-Q1’ – referred to as the ‘Diamond’ for its well, diamond-shaped four way rocker controls is the Korean monolith’s latest addition to an MP3/PMP player portfolio which has never truly won over critics or consumers. To be brutally honest, I am unsure whether the Q1 will be the player to break new ground for Samsung either since it smacks of competency rather than daring or panache.

Specs wise of course the vast majority is well and good: DNSe 3.0 Sound is inside to boost audio quality, there’s a particularly vibrant 2.4in LCD, FM tuner, voice recording, a text viewer and landscape widescreen video playback. The Q1 also shows some rebellion from the established order by backing up its support of the established MP3 and WMA codecs with Indie favourite OGG and purist’s wet dream, FLAC.

On the other hand while Samsung quotes an impressive 30 hours of battery life for continuous audio playback, video suffers at a measly four meaning this is no substitute PMP for regular travellers. Still with 4GB, 8GB and 16GB capacities available there will be a wide range of choices.

In sum then, there’s nothing really wrong about the Q1 – even its interface is nice and responsive, but at the end of the day it simply feels like another player to bulk out an already overcrowded market. OGG and FLAC support may win it a fair share of fans, but I think we’ll need something with a little more fire and brimstone if Samsung is to finally make a mark in the one IT sector it appears unable to crack.

Mikko Lahti

August 30, 2008, 2:33 am

This seems like a cool player, if the sound quality can surpass my old RockBOXed iRiver H320's, this is the long-awaited player I'm going to upgrade to.

Jawad Mateen

August 30, 2008, 3:51 am

this seems a pretty well specified player to me apart from the storage capacity wich tops at 16 gb. and samsung hasn't yet captured the what?

since its gordon writing this piece it is understandable why he's just labelling it as another run of the mill product. he likes iphone and sort of recommends it as a merged product for listening to music and as a phone. yeah... right!

as anyone who can tell good sound quality, will testify that the whole ipod line is rubbish when it comes to sheer punch and spectrum in music. yeah yeah... replace the good for nothing phones and give it a try with a quality set of in-ear phones and stuff...

i did try that and countless other people as well who are there testifying that the likes of cowon, trekster, previous lines of creative zen, ms zune (a resounding yes) and samsung (yes samsung) wipe the floor with ipods and the iphone regarding sound. and people still want the standout feature in their mp3 player to be the sound quality not web surfing or world times and super monkey ball.

so, untill you're a chronic idrone, what's there in this player not to like.


August 30, 2008, 4:21 am

@Jawad - errrr, this has nothing to do with the iPhone, after all THAT'S A PHONE (tricky differentiator I know). It's the ho-hum design, UI, video battery life, iffy nav pad and old adage that codec support not does a device make...

But as I said, lossless fans - of which you seem to be a fully signed up member - should dig it so conflict is exactly, where?


August 30, 2008, 4:32 am

@Jawad, also given that 90%+ of MP3/music phone owners use the headphones that come out the box and 128Kbps music remains the most downloaded standard I'd suggest you haven't a clue when you say: "people still want the standout feature in their mp3 player to be the sound quality"

This is compounded by the fact you spend an entire paragraph kicking into iPods but fail to realise they dominate the market.

Personally, I wish more consumers DID place a higher value on audio quality but they don't. In fact it has DECREASED as a user priority ever since digital audio began eating away at CDs...

That said, it is easy to get too obsessed about this. After all we are talking about portable devices here. You know, you use them when you're OUT AND ABOUT and - even with a quality pair of isolation earphones the world still gets in. So for me lossless music is something for the home, I don't really see the point of it while sitting on public transport or walking down a high street...

Mikko Lahti

August 30, 2008, 5:26 am

Yeah I totally get all that Gordon is saying, and he's speaking the truth about it all.

I'm a fan of sound quality, lossless and audio battery life, those are my main criteria for a portable audio source. So far, the market-leading iPods haven't surpassed my iRiver H320 on those grounds, so I've been happily using it for over four years now.

I do understand fully why the majority of people prefer the iPod, and I don't see any reason to flame them. The majority of people just aren't me, and their portable players aren't for me, but I do hope that this YP-Q1 will be, so I don't have to go around looking for a new battery for my iRiver.

Just my explanation of "how I learned not to hate the iPod but love something else instead."

PS. For me, lossless music is something for the home, but I like to sit outside too, smoking a cigar. So I do it with my portable lossless audio system keeping me comfy (iRiver+portable headphone amp+high impedance headphones; Sennheiser HD 650).


August 30, 2008, 11:09 am

for me, lossless/uncompressed music is for everywhere. i use it on my creative zen, because i get gapless playback that way, and good quality audio. i haven't put an mp3 file on my player in a very long time, and am willing to sacrifice drive space for audio quality... believe me, if i had my way i'd be roaming the streets with a portable vinyl player rolling in my backpack, hooked up to a mair of headphones, but i can't ave everything my way.

Mikko Lahti

August 30, 2008, 3:02 pm

Well sure, lossless should be used everywhere.

I mean the main reason why I use it isn't the kpbs rate, but the guarantee that it was extracted by a HiFi-hobbyist using EAC on proper settings and from a record that was in good condition. This way I can be sure that the things I hear are all supposed to be there, and there are no errors on the tracks caused by poor extraction or poor encoding.

Today's players have a lot of space for even lossless audio, into 8GB you can fit over 10 albums (I could do with 3), and that's enough for me, I don't need to carry my whole

collection with me, and it feels refreshing to change around the 10-or-so albums to new ones. 80GB HDD players are for lazy people who have forgotten what changing the record means, and I mean this both literally and philosophically :)


August 30, 2008, 3:12 pm

Lossless is a good idea, but 16Gb isn't enough space. I don't use Apple Lossless on my iPhone for that exact reason. Well, that and because the output circuits don't really warrant using it.

Tony Walker

August 30, 2008, 3:44 pm

The audio quality on the iPhone 3G has improved quite a bit with subsequent firmware updates. 2.0 was awful, 2.0.1 was much better and 2.0.2 I think has tweaked it for the better again and now approaches if not matches the excellent quality of my iPod Touch running 1.1.13. For the record I have the music at 320kbps Apple format on these. I also have an 80gb Rockboxed 5G iPod for FLAC purposes with my Triple Fi 10's.

@ Gordon

May I remind you that for a long time, tracks encoded at 128kbps were more or less all yuo could buy hence their ubiquity. How things will fall though now that higher quality encodes are available is anyones guess - you may well be proved right in the long run.

@ the H320 owners

Yup I still miss my iHP-120 (H120 but as it was called when I bought it). To the guy who will be getting rid of his H320 - I'll have it.

Hamish Campbell

August 31, 2008, 12:17 pm

heheh, seems a few people are getting on the bandwagon with these 'Slaves to Apple/the ipod/the iphone/(anything I don't personally like)' attacks on TR.

I'd tell you guys to ignore it all, but I figure you don't need the advice.

Cheers for the info, reviews, turtorials and fun. The TR website is a several times a day check for me. Or maybe they are paying me and I'm biased....guess we'll never know :)

Technology changes, and so sho

September 1, 2008, 10:07 am

Oh dear.

The moment geeks start talking about sound quality from a portable music player is the moment that a company has a losing product.

If you're that worried about your music sound quality, why don't you spend &#16314k on 3 metres of speaker cable?


For the rest of us, lossless music codecs are a waste of time. Stephen Allred had it right when he mentioned capacity. I won't buy a portable music player because, even with USB 2.0, it takes too long to synchronise my music for 8GB or 16GB capacity.

Now, if I could store all of it on a device (at least 64GB and preferrably more) then you'd be talking. Oh yes, I know the iPod Classic has an 80GB hard drive, but it's treated as a second-class product by Apple, and I have a lot of music in .wma format because I don't want to sign my wallet away to Apple (Windows Media Player rips my CDs to .wma and organises them without me having to bother finding another player and ripper - EASE OF USE).

Since Samsung are a key manufacturer of SSDs, why can't they make an iTouch clone with vastly more storage and much better codec support? I can't think of a better way of competing with Apple's iPod and Microsoft's crappy Zune.

Mikko Lahti

September 1, 2008, 2:59 pm

Oh dear,

"Mr. Technology changes and so should you", why the hostility towards HiFi-hobbyists? Are you calling me a geek because of that? I don't even understand why your comment got through the moderators. Instantly you start nagging that since some of us care so much about sound quality, why don't we buy $$$ monster-cables, that is just wrong mate.

But since you said you'd like to store all your music on a portable device, I'm going to assume you're the kind of person who doesn't have a single inkling of diligence, you probably don't even make your bed in the morning, because you wake up at 12 AM, because you're unemployed. There, how does it feel, to be cussed at for no apparent reason?

I think you should be more polite towards hobbyists of any kind, there's no need to bash anybody, I'm sorry for talking about my hobby.


September 1, 2008, 9:01 pm

@Technology changes - every time I hear someone refer to the 'iTouch' a little part of me dies inside.

@haim, everyone seems to forget we're actually quite Apple hostile!


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