Rating: Excellent!


What is the Tavarua Mp3/CD player?

Taking on the form of the standard portable CD player we’re generally familiar with, the Tavarua comes with a built-in MP3 decoder that allows MP3’s to be read off of CD’s and played just like any normal CD. The player supports both commercial CD’s and home recorded CD-R’s (CD-RW’s are not supported at this time).

What the Tavarua offers:

Besides a name that I can’t pronounce, the Tavarua offers the ability to take your massive collection of MP3 laying around on CD’s and play them on the go. The player manufacturer boasts a possible total of 170 or more songs on one CD and all you need to get going is an MP3 collection and your own CD burner. The player supports directories and simply ignores any files it cannot read. This makes for easy categorizing of music and still having a lot of music on one CD.

The player uses a simple LCD display and easily accessible buttons for navigation. The manual is fairly well written and the controls easily become second nature after a day or so. 50 second shock protection, DBBS (Dynamic Bass Boost System), and 5 preset equalization settings help make listening on the move that much better. The built in NiCad recharger keeps your batteries charged while you have the player plugged in via AC power.

The Skinny:

Right in time for the holidays, I think this is the toy you can get for just about anyone. For $89.95 (11/10/00 @, you get the player, stereo headset, earphones (yes, both) and an AC adapter. At the time, they offered, for $17.95 more, a travel pack that included a CD carrying case, 10 blank CD-R’s, car ac adapter, tape deck adapter and a history book of Mp3’s.

If you’re tired of swapping CD’s or if you spend any time travelling each day (I commute an hour day), the player lends itself to being a virtual jukebox. Toss in a CD-R, hit RANDOM play and start cruising. Variety and no commercials.

The sound quality of the player is very good. I’ve ran any MP3 that I’ve thought sounded a bit off at home in the computer and usually the culprit turns out to be a recording with a poor (low) bit rate.

The player is a great addition to have around. I’ve been using it at home and on the road. In the house, I’ve hooked into the home theater system on it’s own channel and the sound is great. On the road, the 50 second shock is valuable. Two nights ago I travelled back via one of Maine’s worst trade route roads (Rt 7 from Belfast, west bound), full of cracks, potholes, and laced with railroad tracks. I expected the usual skipping and cracking. To my surprise, it happened not once.

The player controls take a day or two to adjust to. You have the ability to traverse directories, which takes a bit of getting used to. After the break in period, it simply becomes easy.

As mentioned, the manufacturer boasts 170+ songs on a CD-R. The CD-R does not read anything above the 650MB limit (so cramming a 700MB CD-R full of music won’t get you any further) and you can work the math any way you want to figure out how many songs you can get on one CD-R. The truth is, I’ve have five or six CD’s now with an average of 140 songs on each. Anyone see a problem with not enough variety on one CD-R? I really didn’t think so….

There are a few rules to follow on what format to make the CD-R’s in. Read the manual and you’ll do fine.

I have noticed that the player does not take kindly to cold weather, and this could be a problem living in Maine. I left the player overnight in the car and jumped in the next morning ready to make the commute. The player first had trouble reading the CD-R and acknowledging its existence. After five minutes (and a cranking Saab heater), it started reading the disc and sporadically clipped during play. Stuttering is the best way to describe it. I let the underside of the player warm up in my lap and ten minutes later we were in business. I make sure to bring it inside at night now.

The Verdict:

This is a great toy to have. Be aware that it’s a first generation product and that holding out for the next wave to hit may be a good idea. The second generation may support CD-RW’s and will have a name readouts in the LCD (this one simply gives you track #’s). But for right here, right now, this MP3/CD player is worth it.

Submitted by: Rabbi Bob

Leave a Comment: