MPFit MP3 player

This was originally written early in 2001 (I think). Technology has moved on, and today I'd be looking at an Apple iPod or something like that. Today (5 April 2002), the MPFit sits gathering dust due to the minor misfeatures (volume isn't remembered, menus could be better, etc).

Okay, I've had my MPFit for a few days now.

The Service

EasyBuy 2000 sent me a receipt via email, and their phone service people were nice (but a bit curt) about answering my questions. No email was sent when the unit shipped though, which was why I called them at all. It took 3 days to ship, and 3 days to arrive. The unit is shipped from Canada via US Priority Mail to destinations in the US (when you use the "mail" option, instead of UPS).

In the box

There's no paper manual. You just get a box of parts. The battery compartment is underneath where the CD sits when playing, so it took me a while to figure out how to even power the darned thing up.

In the box you get: player; AC-adapter; ear-buds; remote (which daisy-chains the headphone jack); and a belt-clip. Personally, if they'd left out the ear-buds and dropped the price $5, I'd have been happier, but they're surprisingly adequate quality.

The backlight function is kinda nice, but you have to hit the button TWICE to make it go. Maybe they're helping me save the batteries?

Parts of the LCD are nearly impossible to read. The LCD on the remote is much better, but doesn't offer all the same information. I think the majority of the problem with the main LCD is that the bezel is misaligned slightly, which interferes with seeing into the corners.

The other controls which exists on the player and not the remote are the recording functions and the "SuperBass" control.

There is a "hold" switch on both the player and the remote to prevent accidental pushing of buttons. Setting the hold switch on one does not disable the buttons on the other. When hold is enabled, attempting to push buttons makes a loud, high-pitched sound in your left ear. Annoying as hell.

Playing normal CDs.

It works ok. Not great.

On power-on, it always goes to a volume of 4 on the 0-7 scale. If you're using the remote, the volume control on the remote is just an inline pot, so the master volume on the player still may need to be turned up if you want it really loud. You can make it go to dead-quiet using the pot in the remote.

Playing a CD full of MP3s

My first attempt to burn a CD came out a coaster as far as the machine was concerned. Make sure to check the board at to get the how-to on doing this right. The short version is:

Using Adaptec Toast for Mac:

  1. Click on the DATA button
  2. Click the Settings tab
  3. FORMAT should be CD-ROM (NOT CD-ROM XA)
  4. Naming should be ISO-9660 Level 1
  5. Check Append Version Numbers (;1)
  6. UNCHECK Use Apple Extensions
  7. Click the Files tab
  8. Drag the MP3 files onto the Toast window. If you would rather have your files in folders, drag the folders onto the Toast window instead.
  9. Click DONE and burn the CD

Anything else will fail.

Also, VBR will not play well. The player does not support VBR. It will think the song is encoded at the next lowest "standard" bitrate, and will attempt to play it at that rate. VBR files will not display the correct running time, either.

Okay, that's the second coaster.

Finally, I followed all the directions and ripped a bunch of MP3s at 128kBit, Joint Stereo, no VBR. Burned 'em onto a CD using the recipe above. The CD plays fine. Woo. The display works right. I can't figure out how to switch from one folder to another (I've got 'em one artist per folder), but I'm sure it's in the manual somewhere.

Sound quality

Good enough for use on the airplane, which is what I was after. It's not great, but MP3 at 128k is good enough for computer speakers or the included ear-buds.

Battery life

If you fill a CD full, two AA batteries (even NiMH or Lithium) will not finish a full 10 hour CD (MP3 ripped as listed above is about a meg per minute, 640M -> 10 hours). You'll need a four-pack of batteries to play a CD full of MP3s. Or a 4.5 VDC power adapter (included, but only for 120VAC).

So, for $100, you get a somewhat finicky player. If you burn CDs per the directions, you get about 10 hours of music per CD. You get about half that per set of 2 AA Lithium batteries. A set of alkaline AAs gave me 1 audio CD (which use less battery), plus about 90 minutes of MP3 playing. I'm going to try a set of NiMH batteries next. The built-in battery charger only charges NiCd batteries, but since you have to press multiple buttons to make it go, there's not too much danger of accidentally charging your alkalines.

You can set it to play all songs on the CD, play just one song, or play all songs in random order. It also has a program mode so you can select which songs you'd like to hear, and in which order.

Random mode seems to burn batteries faster, which makes sense, since the head has to seek back and forth more.

It's supposed to let you navigate folder structures, but I haven't figured out how to make that work yet.

According to the unofficial FAQ, putting files other than MP3s on the CD can cause problems, as can using filenames in other than 8.3 format. I've only tried 8.3 format, and haven't had any problems that way.

I think that's about it. I feel okay having dropped $100 on it. It'll get extensive use next time I'm on an airplane, since I can carry less than a half-dozen CD-Rs for a round-trip just about anywhere in the world. Batteries may be a problem, but I'm going to check into an adapter that will plug into the outlets they're putting into the international planes. NiMH batteries look to be long enough to get me anywhere in the continental US, as long as I don't get delayed too long on either end.

Copyright 2009, Dave Polaschek. Last updated on Mon, 15 Feb 2010 14:08:45.