RCA Lyra 1020

My sister got a new iPod for Christmas, so she didn’t need her old MP3 player anymore. She gave it to me. She was having trouble getting music to work on it anyway. She couldn’t tell me why, but I can usually figure these things out.

[The RCA Lyra RD1020] It was an RCA Lyra 1020, vintage 2002 or so. The nice thing about it is, even though it’s only got 128MB of flash storage, it takes SD cards, and SD cards are dirt cheap. I’ve got a 2GB one lying around the house I’m not doing much with. I have no problem picking up more.

It’s a mass storage device too. I just have to plug it into a computer and drag files onto it. Supposedly it came with an old version of MusicMatch Jukebox, (now known as Yahoo! Music Jukebox), but I didn’t care about that. For one thing, I’m running Linux. For another, I’m not downloading anybody’s POS music management software just because they tell me to. Ever. I’ve tolerated iTunes with the iPod because it works rather well for podcasts. That doesn’t mean I ever liked it.

Anyway, as I said, this thing looked like it would be really great to use in lieu of my lost iPod, since I could plug it into Linux with a standard MP3 cable, or copy MP3 files directly onto an SD card and play them on this little device. Handy!

Except, of course, it wasn’t that easy.

You see, this is an MP3 player that doesn’t actually play MP3 files. It plays “.mpy” files. I don’t even know what an .mpy file is. The MusicMatch software it originally came with had a conversion plug-in so you could transcode MP3 files before uploading them. Apparently this was some lame-ass attempt to keep people from transferring MP3s between computers with this device. You know, because apparently it’s hardware manufacturers’ responsibility to make piracy difficult by making their hardware as inexplicably crippled as possible.

And I’m guessing that’s why my sister had a hard time getting this thing to play music. She got a new computer last year, and I guess she never thought to dust off the old CD she got with the Lyra and use it to copy music over. Which makes sense to me, since it’s so much easier to just drag and drop.

If this little bit of technological garbage has any saving grace at all, it is that it plays WMA files unmolested. However, I have no use for WMA files and I’d rather not have to go to the hassle of coming up with some way of converting podcasts before copying them over. So this little piece of crap is probably going to collect dust in a box somewhere until I get around to throwing it out.

5 thoughts on “RCA Lyra 1020”

  1. Hm. Well, your local youth hockey association probably holds a garage sale for fundraising, you can just donate it :)

  2. I don’t know if I’d want to inflict this piece of junk on unsuspecting scavengers, especially if they had to pay money for it. This device is criminally asinine.

  3. I have one of these and it works great – yes you do have to convert your MP3’s to wma’s but thats easy enough with the right program, then sync them to the player using Windows Media player and your done. Remember its a very basic player with 64 MB of internal memory and from what I can tell will only take a 128 MB card which at 64 kps wma will hold about 80 – 90 songs 4 hrs of music. I have 4 cards and know what music is on them – they are small and you just change them to what you want to listen to. Works great – is nice and small – was hand me down from my daughter and I am happy with it for my use which is at the gym – out for walks and bicycle rides and even on motorcycle trips or plugged into my car player.

  4. Fortunately, in the two years since I posed this, I have acquired several MP3 players that actually play MP3s (and Ogg/Vorbis too, which is nice).

    I have no use for WMA files.

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