Alright, so we have MP3 playback, but what does
it sound like, and what are the restrictions? Well MSI don't say very much when
it comes to 128-bit, 196-bit, or VBR MP3's, but all of the files we dropped
onto the unit played back just fine.
To freshen up the sound of stale MP3's, a
rudimentary equalizer is included, with pre-set configurations such as normal,
rock, jazz, pop and classical. And if you have difficulty pumping up the
"pop" in the wee hours of the night, a built-in electroluminescent backlight
does come in handy.
Hitting the function key allows you to sample
specific segments of a song, for when the MegaStick1 is in music mode this key
acts as a A-B repeat key. The Jogdial takes on the task of fast forward, and
reverse, so you can key through the seconds of the song for specific times.
Switching over to radio provides good sound if you
are in the city, but as this is a digital receiver, it doesn't seem to handle
weaker signals as well. The the audio quality of the radio is pretty sharp, but without much bass.
Voice recording is one of the little features of
the Megastick1 where there are more options than you would have expected.
Recordings are made in ADPCM format, and you can select from the following
sample rates; 8000Hz, 11025Hz, 16000Hz, 22025Hz, 32000Hz, 44100Hz, or 48000Hz.
The difference in voice recording quality between
8000Hz and 48000Hz is pretty substantial, and while there was a slight ting of
spectral aberration leaking in at the higher setting, it was not overly
significant for a device of this class.
In fact, recording little voice clips at 48000Hz
(which will require more memory) is about as good as you would expect from a
dedicated digital voice recorder. To find out how much space you have left on
the Megastick1, whether for a voice recording, or for transferring some files from
a notebook, hitting the menu key > about will yield the firmware version
number, total memory size, and remaining memory amounts.
Once you're done listening to some tracks on your
MegaStick1, turning it off is a little more interesting. After navigating through
the menu for a minute or so we found the setting that allows you to disable the
MegaStick1 from shutting down, or set it to turn off after 10, 5, or 1 minute of
inactivity. The default setting of disabled meant we kept having to rip out the
battery from the back of the unit - not a very professional way to manage
The MegaStick1 defaults back to MP3 playback each
and every time it shuts down - so if you're in the middle of digital voice
recording session, no matter, once the Megastick1 is powered back up it will
return to music playback.