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Player Blog Category Archives: Rio

Rio Says "Me Too!" to 6GB

In the wake of every other device, Rio has announced that it too will upgrade its mini-sized audio player, the Carbon, to 6GB. It is supposed to be available June 1st and will retail for $229 [Via Engadget].

Editorial note: does Rio even care about this market anymore? They haven't released a new product in forever and the long-rumored Karma 2 is nowhere to be seen. Apple, iRiver, Creative, Archos and everyone else are actively moving their product lines forward with nary a peep out of Rio. What's gives?

Posted April 28, 2005 in Rio by Lindsey Smith | Link | Comments [10]

End of the Line for the Rio Karma?

According to the Rio community forum Riovolution and DAPReview, Rio has stopped selling its longtime mainstay, the 20GB Rio Karma. The product pages are still up on the Rio website, but you can no longer buy it.

Apparently this is the end of the line for the Karma, which circa 2003, was a very competitive and compelling choice. In fact even today it is one of the only devices that supports less-common audio formats such as lossless FLAC.

The hopeful are saying that this is a sign that the Karma's loooooong awaited successor, the Chroma, is nearing release. We say don't hold your breath.

Related Links:
More on the Rio Chroma?
New Chroma from Rio?
Rio Chroma Details: Color!
Rio Chroma Appears?

Posted March 18, 2005 in Rio by Lindsey Smith | Link | Comments [2]

Rio Carbon Review

The Saskatoon Sun (via has a brief review of the 5GB Rio Carbon. Like all reviews of mini-sized audio players, the Carbon is reviewed in terms of how it compares with the Apple iPod Min. Often the non-Apple device comes up short, but this time around the Carbon wins over the iPod Mini [Via DAPReview]:

The Carbon is a 5GB player that's been designed to compete against the 4GB iPod Mini. Having looked at both devices quite closely, the one for me would definitely be the Rio Carbon.

Posted February 14, 2005 in Rio by Lindsey Smith | Link | Comments [0]

Rio Carbon Pearl and Rio cd2100 Update

Rio has updated their website to include their two new models, the color-changed, 5GB Rio Carbon Pearl (shown above) and the size-downgraded, 2.5GB Rio ce2100 (shown below).

If you check out the ce2100 page, you may notice a funny cut-and-paste error. Apparently the text on the ce2100 page was copied from the Carbon Pearl's page, but kept the bit about the 2.5GB ce2100 having "25 percent more memory than iPod® mini". We dropped a note to Rio, so hopefully they'll fix it before someone sues them for false advertising.

Also, previous reports indicated that the ce2100 was "noticeably smaller" than the Carbon. However, the ce2100 page lists the same dimensions as the Carbon, so maybe those numbers are in error as well.

Related Links:
Rio ce2100 First Look
Rio Carbon Pearl and Rio ce2100 Announced

Posted January 12, 2005 in Rio by Lindsey Smith | Link | Comments [0]

Rio ce2100 First Look

CNet has posted a brief article and video review of the upcoming Rio ce2100 at the ongoing Consumer Electronics Show (CES). Best of all they got a real, live photo of the 2.5GB device.

As you can see, it looks pretty much like the Rio Carbon with a black shell. However, CNet reports that it is actually "noticeably smaller" than the Carbon.

Related Links:
Rio Carbon Pearl and Rio ce2100 Announced

Posted January 7, 2005 in Rio by Lindsey Smith | Link | Comments [0]

Rio Carbon Pearl and Rio ce2100 Announced

Rio announced one-and-a-half new models today at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). The half model is the Rio Carbon Pearl which adds a second color choice to the chromey Rio Carbon.

Also announced was an entirely new product, the Rio ce2100. No photos are available yet, but the ce2100 is said to resemble the Rio Carbon, but with a 2.5GB capacity (instead of the Carbon's 5GB). Battery life is given at 20hrs and will retail at $199. Also, the Rio press release doesn't explicitly state it, but we presume that the ce2100 uses a standard mini harddrive and is not flash based.

Both the Rio Carbon Pearl and Rio ce2100 are supposed to be available by the end of Q1 2005.

Posted January 5, 2005 in Rio by Lindsey Smith | Link | Comments [2]

Rio Carbon Headphone Static Problem Fixed

DAPReview wins a gold star for community service with the news that Rio has fixed a static noise problem that they were first to identify. If you use headphones with the Carbon that have a metal edge on the plug, the flaw in the Carbon can cause static noise.

Rio has announced that they've fixed the problem and that Carbons shipped after 11/16 should be free of the issue. If you're having static problems with an older Carbon, call Rio and they will send you a headphone extender that will isolate the headphone plug from the body of the Carbon.

Related Links:
Rio Carbon Static Problem Discovered

Posted December 9, 2004 in Rio by Lindsey Smith | Link | Comments [9]

Rio Carbon Review

Jason over at TopicPoint has written a Rio Carbon review. We have a winner:

The Rio Carbon is a nearly perfect MP3 player. The great user interface, excellent feature set, outstanding battery life, and compact size make for a fantastic package. If you don't use voice recording and don't mind the lack of an FM radio and recorder, this unit will make you very happy.

Related Links:
Rio Carbon Review
Rio Carbon Review

Posted December 8, 2004 in Rio by Lindsey Smith | Link | Comments [0]

More on the Rio Chroma?

Engadget has a two scoops on what is rumored to be the new Rio Chroma. Mostly the specs agree with what was previously rumored: a 20GB capacity, color LCD screen and a SD flash memory card reader.

What's new this time around with the Chroma is that it is supposed to have not just a SD card reader slot, but a SDIO slot. SDIO would let you use a WiFi SD card to wirelessly stream music from the device or sync with a computer. However, syncing 20GB over WiFi will take a looong time. But if you just wanted to grab a few extra tunes, it wouldn't be so bad.

Also, according to Engadget's sources the Chroma is still not ready for prime time and may not hit the market anytime soon. At the rate Rio is going, there will be a Rio Carbon 2 by the time version 1 of the Chroma makes its debut.

Related Links:
New Chroma from Rio?
Rio Chroma Details: Color!
Rio Chroma Appears?

Posted November 24, 2004 in Rio by Lindsey Smith | Link | Comments [0]

Leather Cases for iRiver, Dell, Creative and Rio Devices

Although, we've mentioned them recently, we'd like to note that Vaja Cases has leather cases for just about every popular audio player on the market. iRiver H1s and H3s, 1G Dells, Creative Zen Touch and older Nomads and Rio Karma, Carbons and Nitrus' (Nitri?). Beware of the price, though. Cases run about $50 or $60 depending on the model they fit.

Related Links:
Rio Carbon Cases

Posted November 9, 2004 in Accessories, Creative, Other, Rio, iRiver by Lindsey Smith | Link | Comments [0]

Rio Carbon Dissected

It's a disassemble-a-brand-new-something-you-paid-a-lot-of-money-for twofer today. After iPoding and their iPod Photo, DAPReview has put the screwdriver and digital camera to the new Rio Carbon.

Posted October 29, 2004 in Rio by Lindsey Smith | Link | Comments [0]

Rio Carbon Cases

The Apple iPod is the undisputed king of audio player accessories with hundreds of third-party products available, but Vaja give Rio some love with their snappy leather Rio Carbon case.

The case that comes with the Carbon covers the display, but the Vaja case lets you see the display and access all the controls. Available in blue and brown, they are kind of spendy at around $55, but you can even get them embossed with a message. Kind of like engraving your iPod, but in leather. [Via Gear Live]

Posted October 28, 2004 in Rio by Lindsey Smith | Link | Comments [7]

Rio Chroma Appears?

Web retailer Electronic Express has what they say is the new Rio Chroma. Of course it's listed as "out of stock" and is nowhere to be seen on Rio's webpage, but Electronic Express will happily take $320 for it.

The page lists specs for the device and two pop out as really significant, if true. First it is supposed to be "1/3 Smaller Than Previous Models" which seems highly unlikely given the already very compact previous Rio devices. Second is the new addition of an inline remote control, which is always a nice touch.

We however are taking this with a grain of salt. The photo on the EE website looks suspiciously like a Photoshopped picture on the Rio Carbon and it would be pretty difficulty to cut 30% off the size of the Rio Karma. Time will, as they wisely say, tell.

Posted September 24, 2004 in Rio by Lindsey Smith | Link | Comments [0]

Rio Carbon Firmware Updated

Rio has updated the firmware for the new Carbon player to version 1.16. Download it here. New in this version:

  • Fixed issue where Time Remaining wasn't displayed properly
  • Fixed Voice Recorder issue where that created duplicate ghost recordings
  • Fixed issue where unit may hang when advancing to next chapter in Audible file.
  • Fixed issue where Audible tracks advanced to next chapter after selecting Voice Record.
  • Fixed language that wasn't properly localized or formatted in French, Italian, Portuguese, and Japanese
  • Slowed down text scroll rate to improve readability.
  • General Improvements to Bookmark performance.
  • General Improvements to User Inteface
  • General Improvements to User Interface responsiveness including when drive is spinning up/down or caching
  • General Improvements to Playlist performance.
  • Fixed issue where Playlist would properly advance if it contained a spoken word track.
  • General Improvements to Voice Recorder performance
  • Fixed issue where FF didn't cycle through recordings in Voice Recorder Mode
  • Fixed issue where voice recordings didn't have appropriate time code
  • Fixed issue where voice recording format was displayed incorrectly
  • Improved accuracy of recording level indicator
  • Fixed issue where voice recordings were clipped.
  • The Carbon can no longer be turned off when connected to your computers USB port. This allows the player to charge while it's connected.

Also available is an updated version of the Rio Music Manager.

Posted September 22, 2004 in Rio by Lindsey Smith | Link | Comments [3]

Rio Carbon Review

Austin over at DAP Review has given their usual thorough coverage to the new Rio Carbon. Like most who've reviewed it, it got high marks:

I have enough stuff jamming up my pockets so I'm happy to have a DAP this size that has most of the features I want. It's a 5gb mp3 player, portable hard drive, and voice recorder wrapped up into one tiny gadget. With MSC functionality, the self-databasing feature, and charge-over-USB all I need is one USB cable to keep it running. With 20 hours of battery life and the custom EQ, iPod Mini looks weak in comparison. The only thing keeping Carbon from getting a top score is that static-noise issue, since I'll have to live with tape on the jack. Other than that, it's a great little player. Recommended.

Related Links:
Rio Carbon Review
Rio Carbon Hacking
Rio Carbon Static Problem Discovered

Posted September 22, 2004 in Rio by Lindsey Smith | Link | Comments [0]

Rio Carbon Review

CNet has a new review of the Rio Carbon. Like most reviews thus far it is very positive, even though it notes the static problem the Carbon has with some headphones. CNet gave it an 8.3/10:

The Carbon largely lives up to the hype. This minihard drive player has a great design, an excellent interface, and Energizer-like battery life.

Related Links:
Rio Carbon Hacking
Rio Carbon Static Problem Discovered

Posted September 16, 2004 in Rio by Lindsey Smith | Link | Comments [3]

Rio Carbon Hacking

Not to be outdone by Creative MuVo2 owners, Greg Hughes successfully hacked his new Rio Carbon for the 5GB CompactFlash harddrive, a Seagate ST1. If you need more space for your greedy 6 megapixel digital camera, he has plenty of instructions and photos. [Via Slashdot]

Related Links:
Creative MuVo2 FM Hacking

Posted September 15, 2004 in Rio by Lindsey Smith | Link | Comments [8]

Rio Carbon Static Problem Discovered

Rio has confirmed that audible static may appear when using certain kinds of headphones with the new Rio Carbon. Apparently the static is produced by a headphones with a metal base coming into contact with the metal surrounding the headphone jack. Pertinent Riovolution forums threads are here and here. Rio's official statement is here:

Q:I hear Static in the headphones I use with the Rio Carbon

A: A small number of users have reported that when they use their own headhpones, not the ones included with the Carbon, the sometimes hear static during playback.

[Via DAP Review]

Posted September 7, 2004 in Rio by Lindsey Smith | Link | Comments [0]

Rio Carbon Review

Hector at Gear Live managed to get his hands on one of the few Rio Carbons in the wild and has his thoughts on the new 5GB device in their Rio Carbon review. We think they're right to call the Carbon hot since the 500 Limited Edition Carbons have already sold out. Gear Live gives the Carbon 9 out of 10:

This is a solid number from Rio that they can be proud of. Both the desktop software and the Carbon menu systems are so intuitive that you won't bother reading the manual. You get rich, clear and long lasting sound, in such a small package it's really a marvel of technology. For those of you with a decent (but not enormous, as in, hundreds of CD's) collection of songs this player is a great little product. Heck, even the headphones are decent. At a price point that is the same as the iPod mini, and yet with almost double the amount of battery life (20 Hours!), plus an additional gig of storage, you have an all around excellent package, and a wonderful investment to keep you entertained on those long commutes. The AC adapter charges the unit at an even faster rate than the USB connection, and the playback options are plenty. Highly recommended.

Rio Carbon Limited Edition and more Carbon Photos
SigmaTel Inside
Rio Carbon Officially Official

Posted September 4, 2004 in Rio by Lindsey Smith | Link | Comments [0]

Rio Carbon Limited Edition and more Carbon Photos

Rio has announced a Carbon Limited Edition that will be available to the first 500 buyers from their online store. The Carbon LE is supposed to ship on Sept. 3rd with expedited shipping for the same $249.99 price as the standard Carbon. While the LE has no functional differences, it is engraved with its number on the back, has a fancier box and includes special offers for the Napster online music store.

Also, AV Watch of Japan has more hi-res photos on the Carbon.

Posted September 1, 2004 in Rio by Lindsey Smith | Link | Comments [3]

SigmaTel Inside

Forgive the audio player geekery, but SigmaTel has announced an upated version of its D-Major MP3 player chipset. SigmaTel also announced that D-Major provides the core of the new Rio Carbon and Forge players.

We make mention of new chipsets because of their importance to the audio player market. A handful of chipmakers such as SigmaTel and Player Portal power virtually every audio player on the market. Thus, the features they choose to add (or not add) have an amplified effect on the market.

On the surface the new D-Major chipset seems to be fairly feature-rich, except for USB Host capability. USB Host (sometimes known as USB On the Go) lets you connect a digital camera directly to the player to transfer photos off of the camera's smaller memory card. We're really suprised to see this missing because USB Host and color LCDs are just about the only two major features missing from the market-leading iPod.

Related Links:
Apple Video iPod Demystified
iPod Can Supprt WMA?!?

Posted August 27, 2004 in Other, Rio by Lindsey Smith | Link | Comments [1]

Rio Chroma Details: Color!

Some interesting details on the upcoming Rio Chroma on web retailer Digitally Unique's website. The important bits are that it will have a color screen, a 20GB capacity, a SD flash memory slot and retail for $399. It will be interesting to see what street prices on the Chroma are. Digitally Unique has it for $320, which in more in line with the $299 4G iPod benchmark. The full details:


More bits at Gizmodo and Engadget.

Posted August 12, 2004 in Rio by Lindsey Smith | Link | Comments [2]

First Looks at the Rio Carbon, Karma 2 a No-Show

Early reviews of the Rio Carbon are already starting to pop up. CNet has a web review and a brief hands-on video. They liked what they saw:
Rio is one of the first places to go if you're not an iPod fan. The Carbon's innovative and stylish design, intuitive interface, and extra gigabyte of memory give it a competitive edge over the iPod Mini--especially for those who prefer to purchase WMA files. Check back for our full review to find out if the Rio Carbon will be a force to reckon with.

Gear, which has been pretty quiet on the audio player front lately (see reason below), also has a brief on the Carbon:

Thankfully, Rio didn't screw around with the outstanding menu system. This scheme is basically the same it's been since the ill-fated Rio Riot. It might not be as intuitive as Apple's menu system, but it's damn close. With plenty of options and extremely easy navigation, the Rio menu system is one of the company's most powerful weapons.

To my eyes the Carbon is one of the best looking portables on the market. The stripped down, quasi-industrial aesthetic is getting a little long in the tooth, but the Rio designers apply it perfectly. A few small physical changes help the looks while adding functionality. Gone is the familiar red stick. In its stead is a silver button with a D-pad surrounding it. The red stick might have been a distinguishing mark, but the button makes for a lower profile, which makes the Carbon more pocket friendly. Rio also scrapped the dumb volume buttons. (The Nitrus ones were extremely small and worked poorly, which made volume control a pain in the ass.) The scroll wheel now controls volume.

You will be happy to learn that the Carbon will hit shelves in two to three weeks for a very reasonable $249.95. Apple users should note that the Carbon will support both Windows and Mac OS.

The Gear article also notes the present whereabouts on the long-awaited Rio Karma 2, specifically that it is being redesigned and won't appear until early 2005.

Finally, we also hear the Mike Wiley, author of countless articles and reviews, is no longer with the site. He says that he'll contribute occasionally and we wish him the best in his next venture.

Posted August 5, 2004 in Rio by Lindsey Smith | Link | Comments [0]

Rio Carbon First Look

Pocket Lint has managed to get one of the new Rio Carbons. Here's their brief first take on a Carbon review:

It seems Rio has listened to the criticism that reviewers and the public made with the Nitrus and this is the result. Gone are the complains, and rightly so. This is a player that offers 20 per cent more memory that the iPod Mini in a smaller shell all for the same price. File transfer is fast, while the introduction of a pink for the GizmoGirl’s and blue will certainly appease the fashion set that aren’t happy with the Carbon (get it) colouring. Any criticisms? Only that it hasn’t been available sooner.

Posted August 3, 2004 in Rio by Lindsey Smith | Link | Comments [1]

New Rio Carbon Comparision Photos

A Riovolution member (lucky enough to be a Carbon beta tester, we think) has taken some comparison photos between the 5GB Carbon and the 1.5GB Nitrus. From what we can see, they look pretty close in size. If so, Rio could have a big winner on its hands. The Carbon has a cool look without being an iPod clone and the runaway success of the iPod Mini demonstrates that 5GB of space is enough for a lot of people.

Related Links:
Rio Carbon Officially Official New Chroma from Rio?

Posted August 3, 2004 in Rio by Lindsey Smith | Link | Comments [0]

Rio Carbon Officially Official

The rumor mill got it right. Today Rio introduced the Carbon, a 5GB successor to the 1.5GB Nitrus. Reportedly it will retail at $249 (same as the iPod Mini) and weigh only 3.2oz (the iPod Mini weighs 3.6oz). No size specs have been published, but if it's at all like the Nitrus it will be pretty tiny.

The Carbon is supposed to be available sometime this month.

Related Links:
New Chroma from Rio?

Posted August 2, 2004 in Rio by Lindsey Smith | Link | Comments [0]

New Chroma from Rio?

An on-the-ball Rio fan noticed on the official Rio product page that new, unknown devices were listed along with the existing Rio Karama and Nitrus. Unfortunately for us, Rio seems to have removed the references and even the Google cache didn't catch it.

In any case, three future device names were mentioned: Chroma, Carbon and Forge. The text associated the Chroma with the 20GB Karma, but said that the Chroma had "digital coax" outputs and likely a 20GB capacity as well.

The Forge was described as another flash player in 128MB, 256MB and 512MB configurations.

Nothing specific was said about the Carbon, but it might be a 5GB replacement for the 1.5GB Nitrus.

More bits at DAP Review, Gizmodo and Engadget.

Posted August 1, 2004 in Rio by Lindsey Smith | Link | Comments [3]

Trusted Reviews on the Rio Karma

​ ​​​​For the last several weeks Apple, iRiver and Sony have been capturing many of the headlines here with new product releases. Rio, on the other had, is a name we haven't heard much from lately. We expect them to make some noise with new devices in the not to distant future, but in the meantime the 20GB Rio Karma is still a popular choice. Trusted Reviews has a new review:

The Rio Karma is a very strong alternative to the iPod. If you're not obsessed with the undoubtedly stunning styling of the iPod, you'll find that the Karma has some great features that make it an overall better product.

Posted July 28, 2004 in Rio by Lindsey Smith | Link | Comments [0]

Hacking an Extra 20GB into the Rio Karma

A user at the Riovolution forums has successfully hacked his way through installing a 40GB hardrive into his Rio Karma. Photos of the hack are here. However, the operation wasn't simple. It involved quite a bit of Dremeling to get the slightly larger 40GB drive into the space occupied by the original 20GB. Fortunately though once you've got the drive in, you only need to format it and it's ready to rock.

At least one other Karma has decided to take the plunge, but maybe this hack isn't for everyone:

Well i have decided to tempt my fate by doing the 40gb upgrade...Ive broken my scroll wheel, snapped off the headphone jack, broken the lead for the battery, broken the socket for the lcd display, and finally broken the plastic clip thingy that holds the lcd in place, so it cant be much worse than that...

[Via DAP Review]

Posted June 21, 2004 in Rio by Lindsey Smith | Link | Comments [4]

Updated Rio Karma and Nitrus in Q4 (Maybe)

The DAP Review gang stumbled upon on a PowerPoint slide (in Japanese) on Rio's product roadmap and it looks as if a new versions of the Rio Karma and the Nitrus are planned for Q4 of this year. The Karma 2 was previously mentioned here:

I can tell you that the Karma 2 is very small. If it keeps the form factor it had at the show it will be the most compact on the market. It will also have a color LCD and an SD expansion slot. You don't need an expansion slot for content, but it will allow swapping files on the drive. You can assume it will have a USB 2.0 interface, at least a 20GB drive, and the excellent Rio menu system, which rivals the iPod's for ease of use and clean design.

Posted June 16, 2004 in Rio by Lindsey Smith | Link | Comments [0]

More Rio Hacking in Pictures

To go along with our previous entry on cracking the case on your Rio Karma, DAP Review informs us that another Karma owner has taken the plunge and posted high-res photos of his adventure. More info in the original Riovolution forum post.

Posted June 10, 2004 in Rio by Lindsey Smith | Link | Comments [0]

Extreme MHz Reviews the Rio Karma

The gang at Extereme MHz have done a brief review of the 20GB Rio Karma.

There is nothing to dislike about the Rio Karma. It offers you much more out of the box than the Apple IPOD does and is the absolute best alternative currently on the market. It's the most feature-rich hard drive MP3 player we have had the pleasure of reviewing. Its superb playback features overwhelmingly surpass those of the Creative Nomad Jukebox Zen. The player, as well as the docking station, are superbly designed and allow you to not only connect it to an audio component, but also offers some advanced networking capabilities not found on any other digital audio player. Its design, display and interface is top notch. Based on my research, the only thing in question is the overall build quality of the device itself. I've read quite a few horror stories regarding this player. From hard drive failures to broken riosticks and wheels. I cannot comment on these as I have not used it long enough. Sure, all devices with moving parts are capable of malfunctioning, but if purchased with some kind of service plan or warranty, you'll at least have some peace of mind. Most users, including myself, strongly recommend you opt for a service plan when buying these types of devices.

That's some pretty high praise, but one big negative in our book against the Karma is that it is not a USB Mass Storage Device (MSD). This means you can't plug it into your computer and dump files on it. First you have to download and install the Rio software and use it to transfer files to the device. An unecessary PITA that iRiver and Apple models don't suffer from.

Posted May 27, 2004 in Rio by Lindsey Smith | Link | Comments [0]

New Rio Nitrus, Karma and Eigen Software

Speaking of Rio players, the support software for the Rio Nitrus, Karma and Eigen players was updated recently. You can download it here or see what's new in this version. Notably, the new version 2.61 has a fix for transferring Napster 2.0 songs onto the device.

Posted May 25, 2004 in Rio by Lindsey Smith | Link | Comments [0]

Cracking the Case on Your Karma

Schenk took the plunge and cracked open the case on his Rio Nitrus and pulled out the hard drive. Not stopping there, he bravely connected it to his computer and even editted that web page the device displays when it is conneted via ethernet! Pictures galore, check it out. [Via DAP Review]

Posted May 25, 2004 in Rio by Lindsey Smith | Link | Comments [0]

Rio Software Updated

The software behind the Rio Nitrus, Cali, Chiba and Fuse players has been updated. You can download it here or see what's new in this version here.

Posted March 1, 2004 in Rio by Lindsey Smith | Link | Comments [0]