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Aerodrome AeroPlayer 2

The popular MP3 player for OS 5 gets even better

by Shawn Barnett

Posted May 23, 2003

Some of the best software in Palm OS history starts out just like the AeroPlayer, with users suggesting improvements to an intelligent and responsive programmer who just loves his device and wants to make it better.

When I first downloaded AeroPlayer, I was disappointed to find that I couldn't play MP3 files, only Vorbis .OGG files, an open audio compression standard. Further searching around the site found the MP3 plug-in, a small download that can be sampled for a short time. After that, you need to register the program for the plug-in to work. It's only US$12 for a license, and upgrades are free for a year. US$19.95 gets you lifetime upgrades.

It's refreshing to see a program like AeroPlayer, because so many people contribute to the fun. A number of skins have appeared to customize the look, even skins that make the player look like Windows Media Player or Mac OS X's iTunes, or a StarTrek TNG console. Chris Chan's website describes how users can make their own skins as well.

New to version 2 is the DSP mode, which uses the Tungsten T's built-in Digital Signal Processor (part of the TI OMAP processor) to enable a five band equalizer. Aerodrome up to this point has wisely left the DSP out of the picture to ensure compatibility with future Palm devices, which, like the Zire 71, do not have a DSP. The result of employing the DSP for equalizations, however, is significantly improved sound, from both headphones and the onboard speaker. Also new is the Volume Overdrive feature, offering up to 12db louder sound. The results here make the Tungsten T into a credible, room-filling audio source. Anything over +6db seems to distort with speaker or headphones, but someone can likely use it. It's an impressive and satisfying product that makes the T into a US$200 MP3 player.

-Shawn Barnett

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