I have been waiting so long for a player with HD radio that is under $100.
I have been following this issue from a devices standpoint so far. An HD receiver chip that sports low enough power consumption is critical for a Sansa to offer HD radio first. Current consumption has dropped from about 200mA to around 100, much better, but still a bit high.
The devices I have seen offer a digital output, giving us the option of processing the signal (EQ!), but until power consumption drops a bit further, it’s still a power hog. Then there are a few irritating issues with signal levels, and reversion between the analog carrier versus pulling the digital, a problem I’ve seen with local terrestrial broadcasts. The sound is quite different in terms of overall balance, a real pain when using headphones, especially as the device switches over.
On the more amusing side, sometimes the broadcaster makes mistakes in the audio feed. I’ve had audio mysteriously drop completely, the cause having been later pinpointed to a gain control left at zero on the broadcast console. The HD receiver dutifully switched over to dead air.
HD offers a potential greater selection of music choices and quality, working together with the analog component. I’d like to see it in a device as compact as the Sansa. Silicon Labs doesn’t offer an HD device as yet… The latest SL chip with RDS is used in the Sansa.
I also want a higher power output and a line out. My old portable CD player had a line out and much higher power output than the Clip+ or Fuze.
Not surprising to me that a much larger CD player would have a higher power output. But technology marches on.
It is not about the size, it is about the power output. I have an old Sony SRF-S83 AM/FM radio which is not that much larger than the Clip+, yet it puts out so much more power. Some have said that the Clip+ puts out around half a volt maximum. Some portable headphone amps can’t even put out enough power to drive demanding headphones unless they have at least one volt of input.
Perhaps Sandisk needs to put out premium editions of their players with more power output, longer battery life, and a metal case.