Showing posts with label music. Show all posts
Showing posts with label music. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

My Tx8 3.5mm AUX to Bluetooth 5.0 converter for audio transmitting / receiving

My Ruizu X02 MP3 player is without Bluetooth output function, and I think it would be good to add Bluetooth function to it, so that it can output audio to wireless earbuds, Bluetooth speaker, soundbar, etc.

There are cheap AUX to Bluetooth converters available, some even priced below RM20. Based on their product description and customer review, the follow shortcomings are quite common to them:

  • Single function of either Bluetooth receiving or transmitting only.
  • Poor and short distance connection.
  • Sound is lagging behind due to low transmission rate.
  • Battery only works for short hours before recharging needed.
  • Product quality not so good with high faulty rate after some times of use.
Anyhow, I managed to find this Tx8 2-in-1 Bluetooth transmitter and receiver, at the cost of below RM30, with the following features:
  • Supports Bluetooth 5.0 for better audio data transmission quality.
  • Can work for 8-12 hours before battery recharge is needed.
  • Transmission distance exceeding 33 feet.
  • Able to remember the paired devices.

It is very compact in size, easy to carry along. It even has a fixed folder design. It comes with USB charging cable, AUX cable, RCA cable, and a user manual.

I have purposely put my Logitech M590 mouse beside to give a better idea about its size.

By connecting the Tx8 with cable to the audio output of MP3 player, computer, handphone, tablet, TV, and any other devices with AUX audio output port, the Tx8 can transmit the audio wirelessly through Bluetooth connection to wireless earbuds, speaker, sound bar, Hi-Fi system, car audio system, etc.

On the other hand, by connecting the Tx8 with cable to the audio input of a speaker, radio, sound bar, and any other audio devices with AUX or RCA input, the Tx8 can receive the audio wirelessly through Bluetooth connection from handphone, tablet, computer, TV, media player, smart watch, etc.

The Bluetooth pairing is pretty fast, and the connection is pretty stable.

If you are looking for similar gadget with an affordable price, you can consider this one.

Friday, April 3, 2020

Using Vidmore video converter to convert MP4 / MKV / MOV / WMV / AVI / FLV video to AMV format

AMV is a kind of compressed motion JPEG (M-JPEG) video format, commonly used in MP3 and MP4 players.

For example, the Ruizu X02 MP3 player can only play one type of video file, which is AMV. I would need to convert music video (MV) in the format of either MP4, MKV, MOV, WMV, AVI, FLV, etc. into AMV before my Ruizu X02 MP3 player can play the video without any issue.

There are several websites in the Internet that claimed to be able to online convert uploaded video file into AMV format. There are also several video converting software that claimed to support conversion to AMV format. I have tried some of the popular one, but all of them failed as the AMV file produced by them end-up with "invalid video format" error when I tried to play in my Ruizu X02 MP3 player.

Finally, I managed to find one video conversion software that works, which is Vidmore video converter, and it is surprisingly very easy to use for AMV file conversion.

Vidmore is a freemium software, in which the free version only allows conversion of video of length not more than 5 minutes. This is good enough for music video conversion, because most of the songs are less than 5 minutes long.

Another restriction to the free version is that, you can only convert 1 file at a time. This is also OK for me, as I only need to convert a small amount of MV to put into my Ruizu X02 MP3 player.

To perform the conversion, set the "Convert All to" selection to "AMV AMV General" and leave all the settings as default. Leave the resolution setting to be 170x144.

Then, open the video file one at a time, and click on the Convert All button to perform the conversion.

The output AMV file should be able to be played in the Ruizu X02 MP3 player.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

My Ruizu X02 MP3 player with 8GB internal storage

I have bought a Ruizu X02 MP3 player for my kid who is studying in a boarding school. It is a budget MP3 player which cost around RM50.

This Ruizu X02 MP3 player is very lightweight, compact at the size of just 3.9cm x 9.0cm x 0.7cm, and surprisingly feature rich. Its only shortfall is not supporting Bluetooth audio. Anyhow, Bluetooth is supported in higher ranked models of Ruizu MP3 player, such as the X06 which cost about 50% more expensive than the X02.

It doesn't come together with a earphone. well, you can easily get a decent earphone that come with your handphone, or to purchase one from the market.

Its default firmware is not so user friendly, because for certain function, you need to press its left and right button to navigate up and down on the screen. There is a new firmware version available for download in Ruizu official website. After the firmware update, its UX screen navigation is much better now. You can click here to learn about how to perform the firmware update to Ruizu MP3 player.

This MP3 player has an internal storage of 8GB. It also supports using SD card as external storage, but I found that after plugged-in the SD card, there will be additional steps to access and play the music and files, making it less convenient. In the end, I find it much better without the SD card. After all, 8GB of storage is large enough to store in a lot of songs and files.

One of the unique selling points (USP) of this Ruizu X02 MP3 player is its built-in battery's run time, which is able to play music for as long as 80 hours for a full charge cycle.

Another USP is that it supports as many as 25 languages, not only able to display the menu text in different language, but also able to correctly display filename, tag info, lyrics, and text in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Italian, French, and characters of other languages.

Among its functions are:

1. Music player

Its music player is able to play MP3, APE, AAC, OGG, M4A, WMA, WAV and FLAC.

It has a decent software equalizer, and able to play music with satisfactory quality when paired with a good stereo earphone, or a music speaker connected with AUX cable to it.

It supports display of song lyrics with LRC file, and also display of song album image when the music is playing.

2. Audio recorder

It has a built-in mic for audio recording. Supported audio recording file formats are MP3, WAV and ACT.

The effective sound recording distance is less than 8 meters.

3. FM radio

It makes use of the connected earphone wire or AUX cable as antenna for its FM radio. It is able to memorize up to 30 favourite stations, which is quite a lot. It is also able to perform FM radio recording.

4. Photo viewer

It is able to display JPG, JPEG and BMP files on its 1.8" TFT screen. Do not expect much, as the screen resolution is low.

5. Video player

It can also play video in AMV format of resolution 128x160. You can convert Music Video (MV) into this AMV format, and it will be able to play the MV.

6. E-book

It can display content of TXT files, and allow you to put a bookmark onto the reading file. Text files with Chinese, Japanese, Korean, etc. are supported.

7. Games

Its default firmware does not come with games, but after updated its firmware to latest version, there are 3 small games found in it, namely Snake, Sokoban and Tetris.

8. Other functions

Other functions include clock (as screen saver), calendar, stopwatch and alarm.

It would be nice if it could include a simple calculator as well, but that is lacking.

All in all, this is a feature rich MP3 player with very affordable price. A nice gadget for students in the situation that use of handphone is very restricted within the school compound, but MP3 player is allowed, particularly in the library area.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Converting video files to be playable from USB drive in Toyota PX-3834A-I display audio head unit

The Toyota PX-3834A-I display audio is the stock DVD-AVX head unit of Toyota Vios 1.5L E/G variants.

It is able to play the following multimedia files in a USB thumb drive:

  • Audio music in MP3 (*.mp3), WMA (*.wma) or AAC (*.m4a) format
  • Video in XVID (*.avi or *.mp4) or MPEG (*.mpg) format
  • Picture in JPEG (*.jpg) format
For audio files to be playable, they need to have a sample rate between 8,000 Hz to 48,000 Hz and bit rate between 16 kbps to 320 kbps.

For video files to be playable, they need to have a frame size of either 720x480 (4:3 NTSC) or 720x576 (5:4 PAL).

When the car parking handbrake is engaged, the video will display on the screen, otherwise, there will be a statement on screen saying that the video will not be displayed while driving, while the music in the video still continue playing. This is a safety feature so that the driver will focus on driving instead of watching video on the screen.
In order for any video to be playable in this Toyota PX-3834A-I head unit, the easiest way is to convert it into MPG format with the following custom settings:
Conversion can be done using a free software called Freemake Video Converter. Alternatively, you can also use another free software called Format Factory to do the conversion.


Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Avantree SP850 multifunctional wireless speaker with FM radio

I have purchased an Avantree SP850 multifunctional wireless speaker with FM radio for my father to replace his CD player that is now faulty and possibly reached its end-of-life.

This Avantree SP850 has many overlapping function with the BC-01 multimedia bluetooth speaker that I purchased 2 years ago. It costs higher at the price of RM96, but its sound quality is comparatively better, with a removable (and therefore replaceable) Nokia BL-5C Li-ion battery, and much straightforward and easier to use.

Note that this Avantree SP850 does not have alarm clock function and also unable to display the time.

Its 3 main functions are:
  • Play music and audio in MP3, WMA or WAV format
  • FM radio
  • Act as handsfree to answer/reject/hang-up incoming calls when connected to mobile phone using Bluetooth
It can accept audio source from the following:
  • FM radio
  • Micro SD card
  • AUX 3.5mm audio cable
  • Bluetooth
and it can output audio to headphone or external speaker via 3.5mm audio cable plugged to its headphone socket.

Its operation is menu driven with its LCD screen display. You can navigate the directory structure of the Micro SD card to pick the music file to play.

It supports the following music playing repeat modes:
  • Repeat all
  • Repeat folder
  • Replace once
  • Random
It has a built-in equalizer which you can set for the following music modes:
  • Natural
  • Rock
  • Pop
  • Classic
  • Jazz
  • Soft
It has 10 numeric buttons on top, makes it very easy to select song and to tune the FM radio.

You can get the FM radio to perform auto-searching of available channels, or to manually input the channel frequency number by using the numeric buttons. The manually set channels will be automatically memorized. This Avantree SP850 is able to memorize quite a lot of FM radio channels.

Due to its easy of use, this Avantree SP850 is suitable for everybody use, including elderly people.

You can watch the video below to have better understanding about this Avantree SP850.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Converting video files to be playable from USB drive in Honda 39102-T9A-T8XX-M1 display audio head unit

The Honda 39102-T9A-T8XX-M1 display audio is the stock head unit of Honda City 2017 Facelift 1.5L E/V variants.

It is able to play 4 types of multimedia files in a USB thumb drive: MP3 music, WMA music, JPEG photo, and MP4 video.

When the car parking handbrake is engaged, the video will display on the screen, otherwise, the video will become a blue screen while the music in the MP4 continue playing. This is a safety feature so that the driver will focus on driving instead of watching video on the screen. If you want to bypass this safety feature, you can search for a compatible "bypass cable" for this head unit and install it.

In order for any video to be playable in this Honda 39102-T9A-T8XX-M1 head unit, you need to convert it into MP4 format with the following custom settings:

  • Frame size: 640 x 480
  • Adjustment: Original
  • Video codec: MPEG4
  • Frame rate: 15 fps
  • Bitrate type: Auto
  • Audio codec: MP3
  • Channels: Stereo
  • Sample rate: 48000 Hz
  • Audio Bitrate: 320 Kbps

Conversion can be done using a free software called Freemake Video Converter.

Although the car audio manual claimed that it is able to play video in H.264 Base Line Profile format, I have not succeed to make it work with any H.264 video.

The car audio manual also claimed that it is able to support video frame rate up to 30 fps, but if you set the fps higher than 15, the video might not be playing smoothly on the screen.

As the car audio manual has stated that it supports VGA size video only, the frame size is best to be 640x480. If you set it higher than that, the video will be totally unplayable with the "not supported resolution type" error.

Luckily, this head unit is capable to play MP3 in pretty high sample rate and bitrate. Its music playing capability is quite OK, particularly with the 8 speakers in the V variant, despite its video playing capability is really primitive.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Converting video files to be playable from USB drive in Sony XAV-W650BT double DIN player

Sony XAV-W650BT is a decent double DIN (Duetch Industri Normen) car head unit with DVD player. It has all the functions you need: radio, USB, AUX, Bluetooth, NFC, DVD/VCD player, steering control support, reverse camera support, etc.

It is able to play 3 types of multimedia files in a USB thumb drive: MP3 music, JPEG photo, and XVID/MP4 video.

Playing MP3 music and viewing JPEG photo is pretty straightforward, but playing video file might need some conversion work done to its compatible format, as it will face difficulty playing video that exceeds its maximum supported video resolution of 720x576. It also requires the video to have compatible codec and frame rate.

The conversion can be performed using a free software called Freemake Video Converter.

You need to convert the video file into MP4 format, with the following custom settings:

  • Frame size: 720x576
  • Adjustment: Auto
  • Video codec: MPEG4
  • Frame rate: 30 fps
  • Audio codec: AAC
  • Bitrate: maximum 4096 kbps

Even if your source file is already in MP4 format, it might not work well with the head unit if the setting is different from the above. Therefore, conversion is still required to ensure it will work well.

Now, you can run your conversion and put your favourite music videos, movies (MV), recorded TV programmes, etc. into a USB thumb drive that can be played in your Sony XAV-W650BT or similar head unit in your car.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

BC-01 multimedia bluetooth speaker with alarm clock and FM radio

I have purchased a BC-01 multimedia bluetooth speaker with alarm clock and FM radio for my kid. This made-in-China gadget is pretty cheap, with the price of around RM60 only, and its quality is not too bad.

The BC-01 has 2 colour options: white and black. It is pretty small, with surface about the size of the palm of an adult. This small footprint, together with its built-in 1,500 mAh Li-ion rechargeable battery, makes it very portable and easy to carry long, especially when travelling.

With a low power consumption of around 3W, the battery is good enough to support for many hours of continuous music playback. It can operate in clock display and alarm mode for a few days at a single charge cycle.

It has a pair of stereo speakers, which is pretty decent with sufficient loudness in volume. Do not unfairly compete it with Hi-Fi speakers, but its sound quality can really beat the speakers of most of the smartphones and tablets nowadays. However, probably due to the use of internal antenna, you'll probably be disturbed with some hissing sound when using it as a radio.

So, what can this small gadget do?

First of all, it is an alarm clock with pretty large LED time display, as you can see from its photo above.

Then, it is a Bluetooth wireless speaker for any multimedia devices that support Bluetooth pairing. It also has a built-in microphone and can act as Bluetooth hands free speaker for mobile phone, able to pick up calls and have phone conversation with it.

The phone recognizes it for phone audio (to handle phone calls) as well as media audio (to play music streaming from the phone).

It also has a micro SD slot that supports micro SD up to 32GB. You can store music files of MP3, WAV, APE or WMA format in a micro SD card, slot in the card into its slot, and use it as a music player.

It comes with a special USB cable with 2 split connectors. One of it is the USB connector used as external power source and for battery charging, another is an audio jack which you can plug into another music device, computer, handphone, etc. and use it as an external speaker for such device.

Lastly, it is also an FM radio with internal antenna. It is able to automatically search for radio stations and remember their frequency.

Despite its multiple functions and features, it only has 6 control buttons, as shown in its photo above. Therefore, it takes some time to figure out how to use it. It comes with a paper User Manual and I highly recommend you to RTFM before you start using it.

One thing I dislike about this device is that, it only uses a single button to sequentially rotate and switch among its functions as Bluetooth speaker, micro SD card multimedia player, FM radio, AUX line-in speaker, and alarm clock. So you need to keep on pressing its right button until you reach your desired function.

All in all, this is a pretty cool device for bedroom radio and alarm. It is a good candidate as Christmas or birthday present too.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Converting your handphone / MP3 player to mini radio station with FM Transmitter

If your car CD player is capable of replaying MP3 music, you'll need to burn the MP3 files into a finalized CDR disc, which has a capacity of up to 680MB only.

If your car audio system has a USB port to play MP3 music, you'll need to copy the MP3 files to a USB thumb drive and plug it into the USB port of the car audio system.

What if your car audio system doesn't support the above 2 ways of playing MP3 music?

Well, you can convert and burn your MP3 files into an audio CD, which can store about 10 songs, and play it with your car CD player.

There also exist a kind of FM Transmitter that plug into your car's cigarette lighter socket, which you need to copy your MP3 files to an SD card and slot it into the FM Transmitter. Then, you can tune your car radio to the same frequency with the FM Transmitter in order to listen to the music.

But I have a better choice. I use the kind of FM Transmitter as shown below which can turn your handphone, MP3 player, or any kind of gadgets that support audio output to a universal 3.5mm headphone jack.

This FM Transmitter turns your gadget into a mini radio station with broadcast range of about 15 meters only. It supports devices with the 3.5mm headphone jack including handphone, MP3 player, voice recorder, tablet, laptop, etc.

The audio transmitted out can then be received and played by any radio device within the range. This could be your car radio, a normal radio, a Hi-Fi, a handphone with FM radio function, etc.

This FM Transmitter is able to transmit high-fidelity stereo sound with the digital PLL (phase locked loop) technology. It supports full range of FM transmitting frequency (87.5MHz-108.0MHz). It has stereo isolation of >= 38dB.

You can use it to output any kind of audio from the connected device, with audio frequency range of 100Hz-15,000Hz.

It has its own built-in 120mAh Li-ion battery, which can be recharged with its micro-USB port.

Its usage is similar to the cigarette lighter FM Transmitter. Just tune your car radio to the same frequency with this FM Transmitter in order to listen to the music.

Pretty cool isn't it?

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Sony ICD-UX523F digital voice recorder (MP3 supported)

Digital voice recorder is an essential device for students to record lectures, seminars, group discussions, etc. It is also commonly used in business for recording meetings, presentations, dictations, notes taking, etc.

Although your smartphone (iPhone, Android phone, ...) or tablet (iPad, Samsung Galaxy Tab, ...) is most probably having the feature and app for digital voice recording as well, it is still preferable to use a dedicated digital voice recorder device for better recording quality, longer battery life, longer recording hours, and special features such as voice activation, index markers, intelligent noise cut, pitch control playback, A-B repeat, etc.

Here are some considerations in choosing a suitable digital voice recorder:

  • The price (of course)
  • Stereo recording capability (some basic unit only support mono recording)
  • High voice sensitivity
  • Maximum recording time
  • Battery life (better to be >20 hours)
  • Ability to record in MP3 format (some basic unit only support LPCM format)
  • Easy to operate
  • Internal storage capacity (better to have at least 2GB)
  • Expandable storage with MicroSD card
  • USB connect to computer
  • Windows and Mac support
  • Compact and handy in size
  • Support for Dragon NaturallySpeaking speech recognition software (for transcribing)
  • Recording and replaying features available
If you are looking for a digital voice recorder below the price of RM400, you can consider Sony ICD-UX523 which is available in Sony Center in the shopping malls. The shop will probably sell the ICD-UX523F model with FM radio function, which I think this "F" for FM radio is not that important though.

The Sony ICD-UX523F is a 4-in-1 stereo recorders:
  • Voice recorder (LPCM/MP3)
  • Music player (MP3/WMA/AAC )
  • USB flash memory (4GB internal)
  • FM radio
It has a USB Direct connector that can be slided out to connect to the computer (Windows or Mac) for battery charging and file transfer, or to connect to a USB AC adapter charger for charging. It operates with one NH-AAA rechargeable battery that comes together with the unit.
It has a microSD memory card slot that supports MicroSD/MicroSDHC for more storage. Its maximum recording time is as follow:

and its battery life is as follow:

It supports the following preset recording Scenes:

and the default setting of the scenes are as follow:

It comes with a very brief printed Introduction sheet. Its complete Operating Instruction Manual (hundred over pages) is stored inside its internal memory as PDF file, and available in various languages.

However, if you format its internal memory, these PDF file might be erased as well.

Its feature buttons/switches are well explained in the Operating Instruction Manual:
  • T-Mark: to add a track mark at a point during recording, pausing or playback, at which you would like to divide a file later or locate during playback. You can add a maximum of 98 track marks to each file.
  • Noise Cut: when you set the NOISE CUT switch to “ON”, ambient noise other than the human voice is reduced. A file is played back with clear sound quality because the noise of all frequency bands including a human voice is reduced.
  • A-B: to play back a specified section repeatedly
  • DPC: Digital Pitch Control to adjust the playback speed in a range from 0.50 times to 2.00 times.
Some other terms related to this digital voice recorder:
  • VOR: Voice Operated Recording starts and stops the recording when sound of a sufficient level is picked up by the microphone. This feature saves valuable recording time by not recording periods when there is little or no sound.
  • Intelligent Noise Cut: Sony technology to significantly reduces ambient noise during recording for clearer playback.
  • Low Cut Filter: helps reduce the effect of wind noise in your recordings.
  • Sync Record: when recording directly from an external device, the Sync Record function can be used to automatically pause the recorder during silence and resume recording when sound is detected.
The Sony ICD-UX523F comes with a CD with Sound Organizer software to manipulate the files. It is compatible with Dragon NaturallySpeaking software to perform voice recognition for a file and convert the voice to text.

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