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Pelican MP3
Developer: Pelican
Version: 1.0
Price: $14.99
Description: Pelican's MP3 DC allows you to enjoy high quality MP3 music from your MP3 CD collection. No messy set-up required, just load MP3 DC, put in your preloaded CD-R with your favorite music and your ready to rock. Get more out of your Dreamcast with MP3 DC.
Status:

*Easy to use.
* Use audio MP3 Cds on your Dreamcast.
* Create and manage your own playlist.

Screen Shots:
Click to enlarge
Full Review

With the Dreamcast put to sleep as a gaming system, devices like Pelican's MP3 DC Audio Player are never far behind. Well, I say that like it's always been so, but in fact this system could have some very interesting uses after it ceases to be viable as a gaming platform. It's a powerhouse for graphics, has a 56K modem, and Windows CE compatibility, so when everybody has played all the games they want to, they'll be wondering if their Dreamcast isn't just a doorstop. MP3 DC turns the Dreamcast into an MP3 jukebox, using the boot-disk technique where the DC starts up, you put in the MP3 DC like any other game CD, and then after some load time...voila! MP3 player! So, if you own a Dreamcast and like to play MP3s on your computer, here's your chance to bring them into the living room. Now, if you haven't really jumped into the MP3 world with both feet, here are some thoughts on what this might mean to you. Buying a Dreamcast to play MP3s is still probably the cheapest way you could have a good player. Portables are at least a couple hundred dollars, if not more, and PCs are more in the thousands. With the few MP3 'appliances' out there, be it household, office or in-dash car systems, the MP3 DC option ends up being an easily accessible and fairly cheap way to have a home audio system playing your MP3 disks.

Performance:

MP3 DC has a very basic interface. You see all the MP3s on the disk, listed in order. By moving through with the D-Pad, you can select certain songs to add to a playlist, or just play the whole disk in order. Whether you play the disk in order or use a custom playlist, pressing (A) or (B) serves to start and stop playback. And, that's it. Disks can be taken out and swapped without restarting the DC, and the loading time for MP3 DC is very short. Sound quality seemed good, and any difference in sound quality on my stereo system is probably due to higher compression of an MP3 versus the CD Audio we're mostly used to hearing.

Features:

  • Turns the Sega Dreamcast into an MP3 player
  • Lets you choose a play-list or just play an entire CD
  • Registers artist and song information on-screen if included with MP3
  • No special memory requirements or additional equipment needed.

Drawbacks & Problems:

One of the things that feels wrong about MP3 DC is the lack of control you have over playback options. Even the most simple PC desktop audio app will let you play in random order, but MP3 DC does no such thing. My idea of a 'playlist' is something that can be saved for later retrieval, and I really expected that MP3 DC would do something like this to let you pick even a few playlists from one disk that could be reused easily. Since so many MP3 files can fit on a standard disk, choosing a playlist can become overwhelming, and especially for a disk that has a mix of artists already, the way MP3 DC forces you into picking every single song on your playlist every time is tiresome. But, it lets you play MP3s, so how hard can you complain... There are really no options in the interface but play and stop, and while the easiest thing is just to accept that it won't replace some high-end DVD/MP3 5-disk changer, it also won't cost you 500+ dollars. The other item that might give you problems is that MP3 DC won't read CD-RW. Apparently, only CD-R is a readable format for DC, so be aware of that if you're considering this for purchase. The pricing on MP3 DC should end up at about where used DC games are now, so it's at least worth a shot if you already own the system. It's more than possible that devices and software like this will continue to show up for the DC, which really makes me happy as someone who bought the system not long before they canned it. I like the idea that my system has more going for it than games, but don't expect any frills on this bare-bones MP3 conversion kit.

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