iRiver H340

I’ve not mentioned what I got for my birthday last week. It was only an iRiver. An iRiver H340 to be precise.

For those who don’t know, an iRiver is (apparently) a kind of spoddy iPod. Well it’s an MP3 player anyway. It’s supposed to be better than an iPod. It certainly sounds worse though doesn’t it? I wish Apple would have just trademarked having the letter ‘i’ at the start of product names just to stop all these embarassing companies trying to hop onto Apple’s kudos bandwagon.

Anyway, back to the player itself. I’m amazed at how great MP3s sound these days. I have totally missed this. Five years ago listening to an MP3 was like listening to music down the phone — now I can’t tell the difference! That partly put me off buying an MP3 player, but the long journeys made this too tempting for me to put it off any longer.

I did buy a portable CD player, but I had to head out with a selection of CDs with no way of knowing what I would be in the mood to listen to in eight hours’ time. And I had to carry them about, aswell as the CD player itself. I couldn’t take my bag off if I had to stand up in the train, and if I was sitting it had to go on the floor reducing that much-needed leg room.

My brother got an iRiver for Christmas and I’ve been salivating over it ever since. Imagine being able to carry my whole music collection about with me! Enough was enough and now I’ve got an MP3 player, just in time for university to end! Genius thinking there, but there’s always next year and whatever summer exploits I may get up to…

I can finally join the podcasting lot. Perhaps I can finally listen to those episodes of Blue Jam that I downloaded last summer. It would be perfect for those hazy early mornings. That’s not really podcasting is it? Well, it is, except with ten-year-old radio programmes…

Music collection

For the past week I’ve been ripping my music collection. As you can possibly tell from the picture above, my music collection is large (possibly about 400 records at the moment, but I’ve given up ever counting) — I’m still on ‘J’ (yes, my music collection is arranged alphabetically — what of it?).

It’s been very interesting going through it all. I’ve rediscovered BabyBird — I was shocked at how much I could remember of it actually. I’ve had to ask myself, “Do I really need to rip Now 32 (one of my very first CDs, bought on the same day as my first CD player)?”, and “Will I ever listen to the Lightning Seeds again?” And I have to come to terms with the fact that my CD collection is now basically redundant. I love those fancy boxes! I’m still using them to play on my CD player though, so it doesn’t feel like one great big waste just yet.

As for the MP3 player itself, I’m impressed. Watch out, I’ve never used an iPod extensively (when I did, all I did was play the games on it) so I can’t compare the two. A major problem with the iRiver for me, though, is the gap between tracks. That can ruin a good album, and sometimes the gap can be three or four seconds long. My brother says there’s an option on his one to get rid of the gap, but I have no such option — perhaps I can get that in a firmware upgrade. Let’s hope so.

The FM radio is a nice bonus. It would be great if you could actually get any reception around here. I specifically got a portable CD player with a radio in it so that I could listen to the Today programme on the train. BBC FM radio reception isn’t too good in this house, but I thought surely reception would be okay for the train journey. But the reception is practically non-existant for just about the entire journey, even in Edinburgh. The only good spot I got was around Haymarket station. I’m always taking the piss out of Dundee for its complete lack of radio / television / mobile phone reception and even internet, but Fife isn’t much better. Pah. The FM radio is a nice addition if you can use it though.

You can also view pictures and text files. I don’t have a clue how I could ever use these though. The pictures look very good on it, but I can’t for the life of me imagine why I’d want to look at a picture on my MP3 player. Answers in the comments please.

The same goes for the text function. I would understand if I could view, say, PDF or Word files, but I can only view .txt files. The only useful .txt files I’ve ever seen are really boring pieces of code which I can’t exactly do much with on the train. Ho hum.

It’s also got recording features, and comes with a microphone aswell as all sorts of confusing leads to hook it up to your PC.

As for the controls, the first time I tried it (without reading the instructions), it seemed intuitive. Now I’m always getting it wrong. Maybe I’ll get used to it though.


  1. Err.. iRiver was called iRiver long before iPod’s were called iPod’s mate. And the H340 is a much better peice of audio equipment. iPod audio sounds like it’s sifted through mud.

  2. […] rrison’s iPod reads his mind. Lucky him! I don’t have an iPod (I’ve got my lovely iRiver instead!), but I do have iTunes. And the random mode is rubbish. Why does it […]

  3. your a twat, iriver has been out for MANY years. they produce the best mp3 players available. the h340 now plays videos aswell (full length movies to watch) … hmm why would you want that you will probably say. full colour screen is brilliant and the updates are excellent. and you dont even deserve to know why it has picture and text capabilities, READ YOUR MANUAL!

  4. […] My iRiver can play music (obviously), but you can also view images and text files on it. Have I used either of the latter two functions? Of course not. The images do look quite nice, but why would I need to look at images when I’m on the move? The text function, meanwhile, is really fiddly, and I don’t know what on earth I could use it for. As one entertaining iRiver fanboy told me in the comments once: the [iRiver] h340 now plays videos aswell (full length movies to watch) … hmm why would you want that you will probably say… and you dont even deserve to know why it has picture and text capabilities, READ YOUR MANUAL! […]

  5. Fethiye, Turkey

    Hi DocVee

    I am pre – digital in technical (in)competence and frantically scooting around the web right now – which is how I came across your site – to find out how to download music via Windows Media Player onto my H340 version 1.08E. I am told somewhere that I should update my firmware to 1.28. Is yours that? Anyway, I accidentally managed to download one CD onto the system but cannot replicate how I achieved it and in the course of attempting to do so I deleted that CD anyway. Now I am defenceless in Turkish internet cafes with nothing to fend off the megadecibel thump – thump – thump of TurkoEuroDisco when attempting to read the Guardian online and the rest of what one must do to keep up with one’s take on the outside world while living in this otherwise most pleasant place where it takes an eternity unless you have residence to get a telephone line into your gaff. . . A portable CD player does not have sufficient volume to quell the hellish din herein.

    If you have the time and patience and inclination I would be grateful if you could give me a succinct and simple idıots guide to getting a counter – barrage into my lugs via the H340 against all the unbidden racket we have to put up with in the modern world.

    I would be only too glad to reciprocate in some fashion such as transferring you some sounds you might dig down the cyberwires when I’m next in the UK: I have a couple of tame techies there who could help me achieve that. Fancy some electric Miles Davis, for example? . . .

    Incidentally, have you found the control buttons on the infernal device to be pretty if not totally unresponsive at times?


    Louie Orpheus

  6. I have tried this to no avail . . .

    iGiveup . . .

    In fact I’ve taken the beast to a local digidoctor today and he promises to neuter it and make it compliant within the next 48 hours sometime.

    I approve of your politics by the way.

    Have fun and thanks.


    Louie O

  7. well… i hate posting this…
    but U SUCK!! this review is the worst ever. iRiver was here long before iPod.
    Plus, we don’t even know how to work a pc… i am sure you call Dell or something when he monitor is not plugged…. loser… ” OMG, iAnything is mimicing iPod… the best out there ”


  8. Christ almighty, there are lots of complete back passages in this world. This was a positive review of the iRiver, and you are criticising me because I was not effusive enough! Some of the people posting in this thread are abusive fanboys with attitude problems.

    I know that iRiver existed before iPod. Where did I say that it didn’t? You are all pointing at the iPod as though it’s the only Apple product in history beginning with “i”. It’s not. We all know of the iMac — it existed in 1998, so there can be no dispute that Apple popularised the ‘i’ prefix before iRiver came along in 1999. That was the point I was making. I never even mentioned the iPod in the context of iRiver’s name. Stop moaning at me because I had the audacity not to give iRiver a million out of ten.

  9. I bought an iRiver HD player about three years ago. I wanted an MP3 player but I didn’t want an iPod for the same reasons I don’t want to drive a Ford Mondeo because millions of people do. Anyway…I bought the iRiver and was delighted with it. Sure, it’s builkier than the iPod, and some would say not as aesthetically pleasing to the eye, but it sounded great, had a built-in voice recorder and FM radio, needed no special software to get it going and worked like a dream until about three months ago, when it stopped. For good. Nothing I could do could make it work again and I wasn’t prepared to get it fixed because of the cost, so I decided (unwisely) to buy a different HD player. The 20GB iTronics (or iBusbi as it is also know, confusingly) is a similar size to both the iRiver and iPod and actually sounds very good. But the operating system is odd, it’s not as intuitive and it keeps freezing on me. So much so that I have had to send it back to the supplier to be fixed. At a mere £89 for a 20GB player, what would you expect? I hear you say. Well, all I can say is that I wish I could have bought a like-for-like replacement for my iRiver, but I couldn’t. and I wasn’t about to join the other iPod lemmings around the world. So, I’m stuck in this situation because of my own obstinacy. I loved my iRiver and the iTronic/iBusbi is a pale shadow of it. But, despite all the problems, I’m not gonna get an iPod!

  10. I read that someone who had a faulty iRiver sent it back to Germany and had it repaired under warranty. Seems it was HDD failure, like mine. When mine failed I was told by the guys at the very reputable hi-fi shop where I originally bought it that it would cost at least £100 + P&P to repair so I didn’t bother. If I had known I could have got it repaired free I probably would have. But my unit is a bit bashed up, so I’ll probably do nothing and press on with my (now replaced) itronics unit. By the way, I didn’t say I would never get an ipod, just that I’m not likely to get one as I’m an awkward sod when it comes to having what everyone else has. Talk about cutting off your nose etc etc

  11. Yeay! A fellow Blue Jam fan! It’s amazing isnt it?!?!?!

    It was re-imagined into a TV series called Jam in 2000 and heavily influenced alot of my creative writing.

    Check it out at, you can rate it if it makes you chuckle. I’d appreciate a link too, if that’s not too much trouble……….?

    I strongly recommend you check out a short film by Chris Morris for which he won a BAFTA. It’s called My Wrongs #8245-8249 & 117 – available from Amazon.

    Cheers mate!

    Leyton Jay aka Filthish.