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CD/Solid-State Combo Eliminates PC-Based Ripping

A fledgling effort to divorce compressed-audio portables from the PC continues with the introduction of Panasonic’s SV-SR100, a headphone portable that combines a CD player with a flash-memory player.

Due in April, the SR100 rips music from an internal CD player, encodes the songs, and transfers them to a removable SD memory card for playback. It could be the first product of its kind.

The product, targeted to retail for a suggested $399, is designed to simplify the recording process by eliminating the need to use a PC to rip and encode music. The SR100 thus makes it unnecessary to transfer ripped songs to a PC’s hard drive before transferring them again to a flash-memory portable.

Panasonic’s product isn’t the first headphone portable that makes it unnecessary to use a PC to rip and encode music. The other portables, however, must be connected to an outboard source such as a home CD player. They include a Coby flash-memory portable announced last year. Earlier this year, Archos, Creative Labs and Fullplay Media announced hard-drive headphone portables that rip and encode from connected sources.

With Panasonic’s model, music can be encoded and played in the AAC, MP3 and Windows Media Audio (WMA) formats.

Two AA alkaline batteries deliver up to 30 hours of SD audio playback or 25 hours of CD playback. It weighs 10.6 ounces without battery and is 5.13×1.13x 5.3 inches.

The device accepts SD cards with capacities up to 512MB. The company plans a spring launch of a 512MB card at a suggested $549 and a 256MGB card at a suggested $279.