Back to that software for a second. I already had a full version of MusicMatch Plus installed on my machine. However, I uninstalled it before I hooked up the Lyra 2. Why? Well, sometimes devices are happiest with a certain version of software. This was exactly the case with the Lyra 2.
Even though I had a superior version of the same software, I could not upload my songs and get them to play. I could export them to the CF (CompactFlash) card, but they sounded like gibberish when played back. I installed and reinstalled everything several times and tried saving the playlist in different ways, but could only listen to the songs if they were transferred using the RCA version of MusicMatch. And forget about drag-and-drop transfers onto the card.
I did some poking around and this is intentional. The idea is to protect copyright infringement. Of course, the software still retrieves MP3 files from anywhere on your hard drive, so its really only symbolic. It has no idea that your file is from a burned MP3 CD of Metallica songs downloaded from Napster. (R.I.P.)
Nevertheless, this is seriously annoying. I mean, I don't like the version of the software bundled with the player. For one thing, it has a little picture of Nipper, the RCA pooch. And it is just silly for RCA to force users to use specific transfer software. You can still use a different ripper, but you are then left with two MP3 programs when one would have done the trick and used less resources.
Even after tracks are uploaded to the player, there is a bit of a delay before they actually play. The unit loads the playback software after you select the first song. This means that every listening session is prefaced by a five or six second gap. This might not sound like much, but it's irritating if you stop and start the player or reload the CF card. You also run into this problem if the player is left idle for a few seconds because the automatic power down function engages much too quickly.