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MP3 Players: Recommendations?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Michael:M, May 25, 2009.

  1. Michael:M

    Michael:M Supporting Actor

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    I'd like to get an MP3 player - for working out, cycling, hiking, etc. I strongly prefer NOT to get an iPod; I really dislike that when I buy music, I don't actually have the file and I have to be saddled with proprietary formats and interfaces.

    So I'm looking for another player, and hoping folks here can make recommendations. I'd like a player with the following features:
    • Drag and drop capabilities, for easy file transferrence
    • Playlist capabilities
    • Shuffle
    • Easy to learn/use
    • Durability

    After reading some reviews on Amazon, I'm looking at the Sony 8 GB player, but the reviews also say you have to download some freeware for good playlist management.

    If you can't recommend a certain player, pointers to other sites for recommendations would be appreciated.

    Thanks in advance for any feedback or ideas.
     
  2. sestamuch

    sestamuch Stunt Coordinator

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    I think some of the Creative models should be able to do that? And about the Sony, getting some freeware for the playlist management isn't necessarily a bad thing. Good luck with that. There's also the Zune from Microsoft, I'd probably get a Sony or a Creative though.
     
  3. ChristopherG

    ChristopherG Screenwriter

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    Sansa makes nice devices which do all you are asking, although the playlist capability is somewhat limited.

    Also - nothing wrong with freeware, especially if it is RockBox.

    It really opens up the capability of and MP3 player well past the OEM S/W and is extremely easy to load and use. ESPECIALLY the playlist capability.
     
  4. BrianW

    BrianW Screenwriter

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    Every Sony MP3 player I've ever seen has been a pain to use, requiring proprietary software on your computer (which I can't run because I'm a Linux user) just to access the player's features. I don't know if they're all like this, but after seeing this on three players (owned by friends -- who hated having to use the software, by the way), I've sworn off Sony.

    Samsung makes a few solidly-built, great-sounding players with drag-&-drop and playlist capability.

    Sansa makes a nice player too, and most of the e-series (and possibly others) will run RockBox.

    Creative players sound really great, but I'm not impressed with their build quality. Every Creative player I've seen that's more than a year old has the "tape backup" (adhesive tape) holding the battery door in place.
     
  5. Henry Gale

    Henry Gale Producer

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    I have a Zune 120GB.
    Saw a faceoff of several players recently, evaluated by experienced users, the Zune won.
    I doubt than I'm a typical user, the 14,500 tunes on mine are ALL from my CD collection. Maybe half of my collection.
    I love being able to glance at the sceen and see the album cover and what's playing, because often I really don't know with a collection that big.
    I am bugged by tunes that show up too often.
    There are several catagories of shuffle, artist, song, album, genre...do other players offer that?
     
  6. Fredster

    Fredster Stunt Coordinator

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    It's hard to beat the combination of ipod with itunes - so many models and very easy to use software to maintain content. You don't need to buy music from Apple, just add your mp3 files into itunes, sync, and you're good to go.
     
  7. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    You have some misconceptions about the iPod and iTunes.
    iTunes is a purchase system, not a rental. When you buy and download a song, you have the file on your computer (forever and ever).

    You don't have to be saddled with proprietary formats -- no more than any other player. The iPod and iTunes will play MP3, so you can buy from any vendor that sells MP3 files, such as Amazon. (I've been buying my Christmas music from Amazon the past couple years.)

    You can also rip your CDs as MP3 if you prefer that over AAC.

    You can also rip your CDs instead of buying music from any vendor, so you are never locked into a vendor.

    The above were facts. The following is just my opinion [​IMG]

    I think the iPod is deservedly the most popular music player as it's the easiest to use. You want drag-and-drop for easy music transfer? I think it's even easier to plug in the iPod to charge and music sync happens automatically. Ripped CDs and new purchases are are automatically sync'd.

    I've used both iPods and Sansa players: give me iTunes and and an iPod any day. I find them easier to use than the Sansa players. And I've watched my dad, and tried to help, use the Rhapsody / Yahoo rental system. It's amazingly horrible; truly user hostile.

    For my money, the iPod nano is the best choice for portability and versatility. I use it for podcasts in the car, music at the gym and lawnmowing, and watching TV shows when traveling. I own music bought from iTunes in AAC and Amazon in MP3 format. And they work with Audible, if you like audio books.

    Happy shopping! [​IMG]
     
  8. Scott Merryfield

    Supporter

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    Another happy iPod owner here. I am currently using a Nano, and my wife has a Nano with video capabilities. Dave pointed out the inaccuracy of most of your perceptions of the iPod, so I will not repeat them. I may be an atypical user, though, since I do not download hardly any music -- just some of the weekly "free" iTunes songs, plus a handful of MP3's from Amazon. Virtually all my 50GB+ of music is ripped from my own CD and SD-DVD collection. I do not use iTunes to rip/encode my music -- instead I use Exact Audio Copy with an external LAME MP3 encoder to create high variable bit rate MP3's.
     
  9. nolesrule

    nolesrule Producer

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    There are some excellent 3rd-party music management applications that will work with more than just the iPod, so you don't need to be stuck with iTunes or even the software that comes with a non-Apple mp3 player.
     
  10. John Gido

    John Gido Second Unit

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    I love my iPod. That being said, I do have some issues with it.

    I do not use the "sync" feature as I do not have all of my mp3s loaded on my PC (95% ripped from my own CDs). My gripe is that you cannot move your music from your iPod back to your PC, either individual tracks or the entire playlist. This means if you run out of space (like I did with my 30G), you must delete tracks from the iPod in order to add new ones.

    I believe that there are third-party softwares that will allow you to do this, but I really haven't researched it (if anyone has any suggstions, I'm wide open to them [​IMG]).
     
  11. Todd Erwin

    Todd Erwin Screenwriter
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    After being a die-hard Creative user for many years (Zen Nano & Zen V Plus), I made the switch to the iPod Nano (8gb) earlier this year, after a very disappointing experience with a new Creative Zen X-Fi player. I found the button design to be too confusing for it's own good, and that many of the features weren't exactly 100% accurate (all video has to be transcoded prior to loading, etc.).

    I liked the screen size of the new ZEN line, but when I tried to load some movies from the Digital Copy discs that came with them, the player refused to load them. So, I promptly returned and exchanged it for the 8 GB iPod Nano, and I haven't been disappointed with it at all. It recently got a good workout on my plane trip to and from Hawaii, and was surprisingly able to watch about 3 hours of video and over 90 minutes of music (encoded at 256 kbps) before the battery needed recharged. Tranferring movies and music is a breeze (using iTunes), and you can get an AC adapter/charger for much less than the proprietary adapter required for any of Creative's players. Plus, you can pick up a refurbished iPod Nano on Apple's website for much less than a newly manufactured one, and Apple provides the same warranty period as if it were new.
     
  12. Ken Chan

    Ken Chan Producer

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    The idea is that your PC always has a copy of everything, and if that won't fit on an individual iPod, you create playlists, and then just sync those playlists that fit, which you can change whenever. So there's never any reason to move music "from" the iPod; and if you run out of space, things do get deleted to make room for others, but your computer always has a copy. All that gets handled automatically during the sync. You choose which songs go on which playlists, and then which playlists go on which iPods. If you get a new iPod, you can reuse those playlists, perhaps in new combinations. Make sure to check out Smart Playlists.
     
  13. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Aside from the iPhone / iTouch, how do you get songs on your iPod that aren't on your computer to start? (I've not used them either, but I've heard there are ways to get music from iPod->computer.)
     
  14. John Gido

    John Gido Second Unit

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    Sorry for the confusion. I ripped my CD collection on my PC to move to the iPod. Really no need to keep copies on my PC as I never listen to mp3s ON my PC. Plus, I still have the CDs.

    Maybe I'm just too cheap to either upgrade my iPod from a 30G or add additional hard drive space to my PC. [​IMG]
     
  15. Paul_Scott

    Paul_Scott Lead Actor

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    Google Senuti (itunes spelled backwards). There is a small fee to fully unlock it for open ended use, otherwise you'll be limited to transfering up to 1000 songs from the ipod back to the computer (or at least the mac...not sure about PCs).
     
  16. drobbins

    drobbins Screenwriter

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    We have had ipods for years and have been satisfied with them for the most part. I have not liked the fact that they are married to one computer and the other DRM features in the past that made it a hassle to share songs with in my household.

    Yesterday My wife bought a Sony 4G player. It basically uses Windows Media Player for the interface. It was very simple to set up, rip a CD, and putting music on it was just drag & drop. Taking in account the difference in pricing, I don't know why I would buy another ipod.
     
  17. Michael:M

    Michael:M Supporting Actor

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    This is another issue with the iTunesfor me. The level of proprietary gewgaws is prohibitive for me.

    Some posters above corrected some misconceptions I have about the iPod, for which I'm grateful. However, I did know that I don't have to buy anything from iTunes to hear already owned MP3s on my iPod - but you are forced to use it to load the player. I dislike that level of forced control, and prefer a true drag-and-drop player.
     
  18. Scott Merryfield

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    So, what happens if you either lose or break your iPod? You then need to re-rip all your songs. Considering how cheap external hard drives are these days, keeping a copy of your MP3's on your PC is not very costly or difficult.

    Personally, I have two copies of my CD-ripped MP3's -- one on the PC's hard drive, and a backup on an external hard drive. It took me many hours to rip my 600+ CD's and concert SD-DVD's, and I do not want to do it again.
     
  19. Dave Poehlman

    Dave Poehlman Producer

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    I was hesitant to get an iPod at first because my impression of Apple at the time was they were very restrictive about what and where your mp3's are getting copied to and from and you had to use their proprietary software... plus they like to commandeer your media with Quicktime any chance they get. But, I broke down and got a 3rd generation 8 gig Nano and found it's not that bad. I'm a one-song-at-a-time guy.. I don't dump entire CD's so, 8 gig is plenty for me. It's all flash based, so it's durable and I don't need to worry about a drive crapping out on me and frankly, the construction is rock-solid. I use it all the time when biking or mowing the lawn.

    I tried using it with MediaMonkey rather than iTunes to avoid the whole memory-hog, file association bullsh*t but found that iTunes is slightly more intuitive and more reliable. As long as you're somewhat computer-saavy about file associations and what and when you're syncing, you can keep iTunes at bay. [​IMG]

    It can do all the things you ask, except drag-and-drop. There really aren't any of the big players that'll let you do that I don't think. Copying the files from an iPod to a PC isn't impossible. It's tedious, because iTunes likes to rename files, but it's not impossible... as long as they aren't protected (m4a's). In fact, I thought I read that Apple was doing away with m4a protection in iTunes so, this might be a moot point down the road.

    If you really want drag and drop.. and size doesn't matter.. I had a shuffle I got free with a checking account that, with a small script hack can be used essentially as a flash drive and you can drag and drop to it and avoid iTunes altogether. But, it's a shuffle.. so, no screen or playlists... just random music. The clip-on was nice for jogging, biking whatever.

    So, if you asked me Apple is good at making devices that look cool and are easy to use.. it's just their software that needs to be kept in check.
     
  20. BrianW

    BrianW Screenwriter

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    I'm with Scott. I have a huge number of classical CDs from many years back, and I'm not undertaking the task of ripping them again if I don't have to. My Sansa e280 is just a Drag&Drop USB drive to my computer, so I have full control of where my music is. And it has a user-replaceable battery!

    Off Topic: I once asked someone who insisted on having an 80GB MP3 player why 8GB wasn't enough. He said that he couldn't fit his entire music collection in 8GB and required ten times that amount.

    Now I'm never one to argue with the notion that bigger is better, but to me, insisting on having an MP3 player that holds one's entier music collection is like insisting on having a lunch box that holds a lifetime's worth of food. Can someone explain to me why that is necessary?
     

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