GETTING IN TUNE WITH COMPUTER-BASED MUSIC

GETTING IN TUNE WITH COMPUTER-BASED MUSIC

I want my MP3s. Also my WMAs, WAVs and MIDs! I'm a music addict. In fact, if it makes a noise on a computer, I've gotta have it! And the folks at Sensory Science and Genica have done their best to feed off that addiction.

Sensory Science has just released the rave:mp2300 ($299.95), and Computergeeks.com sent me the Genica Tavarura Portable MP3/CD Player ($99). And I'm sated, for now!Both are unique (there's that word again) in what they do and how. The mp2300 uses 40-megabyte Iomega Click! disks to store music and data, while the Genica can play recordable or standard compact disks. Both make my A list.

The mp2300 is actually a small, portable Click! disk drive and can be used to play music or store data. It has a built-in calendar and can record up to 2.5 hours of voice through its microphone, essentially replacing several functions of your personal digital assistant.

Here's the rub: The company's previous MP3 player, the rave:mp2200, had internal memory of 64 megabytes, which could hold about an hour's worth of stereo music and took 32- and 64-megabyte smart memory cards, which could hold an additional half hour to an hour. Plus it boasted all of the features of the 2300. Its offspring - the Click! unit - only stores music on 40-megabyte Click! disks, giving you about a half hour of stereo music. So, why would anyone switch?

The answer is simple. Click! disks only cost about $10; 32 megabytes of smart memory will cost you about $100. It's simple mathematics. You can store 400 megabytes on Click! disks for that same $100.

The mp2300 comes with two Click! disks, a rechargeable lithium ion battery, an AC/DC charger, Sennheiser earphones, MusicMatch Jukebox 5.0 (to play and record, or ''rip'') music from CDs, and a USB cable so you can download music and data from your computer. The computer sees the unit an Iomega Click! drive, so its a lot easier to transfer files to it than it was with the older units.

The only thing I'd change is the battery. I'd rather have a choice between using standard AA or AAA batteries or rechargeables, especially when I'm on the road. Also on the downside, I discovered that the Sensory Science units have a problem communicating with a PC if you're connecting it through a multiport USB hub. To avoid aggravation and migraines, attach the players directly to the USB ports on the back of your computer.

Now, the Genica player is a completely different animal.

I was able to store about 150 MP3 files on one CD. That's about nine hours of music. In fact, if my math is correct, with recordable CDs (CD-Rs and CD-RWs) holding about 640 megabytes of data (newer ones hold 800 megabytes), you can actually store 10-times more music on a CD than you can download to the 64 megabytes of memory in the older Sensory Science units or those from other companies. That's 10 hours of stereo music! And, if you're into ''ripping'' CDs, you can store about 10 of your favorites on on CD-R or CD-RW.

Of course, being a compact disk player, it will also play standard audio CDs.

It comes with a set of earbuds - which I hate - and you can purchase an accessory pack that consists of 10 blank CDs, a car adapter and a case.

I've been known to hook this baby up to my stereo system and just let it play - for 10 hours. That's just long enough to drive my family - and neighbors - crazy.