Rio Forge

The Rio Forge is a digital audio player produced by Rio Audio, Inc. While it competed in the same market as Apple Computer’s iPod mini, it is considerably different as it plays from internal memory, SD card, or FM broadcast and runs on a single AAA battery. There are three main models with either 128, 256, or 512 MB of internal flash memory, which can be supplemented with a single MMC or SD (non-SDHC) flash memory card to add up to 4GB of storage. Available colors included blue (512mb), silver (256mb), and red (128mb). The player is one of the few which is light enough to wear with an armband. A Rio Forge can play MP3, WMA, and Audible audio files, and can receive FM broadcast signals. All except the 128mb model can record from the FM tuner to memory. It is Microsoft Windows, Linux, and Macintosh compatible since it is usable as a USB mass storage device. The included management software runs on Windows and Mac. The Rio se510 is a 512MB Forge variant without an MMC/SD memory slot nor an FM tuner, with a light blue case. D&M Holdings, Inc., which owns the Rio brand, announced its exit from the portable MP3 market on August 26, 2005. The players are still supported and the most recent official firmware is still available on the corporate website. Replacement parts, accessories, and factory renewed units are also offered for sale via the Rio website.

The firmware on any Rio Forge can be easily upgraded with the Rio firmware upgrade utility. To complete the firmware upgrade, plug the unit into the USB port of your computer, then run the utility to upgrade the Rio Forge. This 2-minute procedure will fix any software related reliability issues that were present in older firmware. Firmware revisions:

Rio Forge units suffer from a design flaw where the case-mounted controls operate switches which are surface-mounted on the internal PCB. If the player becomes damaged, taking either out of tolerance, the control (usually the volume) will not operate. It is recommended to replace such a player, which are still available online. Another option for players with volume control failure is to use headphones with an in-line volume control.

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