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Portable noob needs MP3 player advice


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83 replies to this topic

#1 of 84 John Pine

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Posted September 13 2006 - 04:22 AM

I’ve always been about high resolution audio. SACD’s, DVD-A’s, vinyl etc… Listening to compressed audio (MP3’s) has never appealed to me. But, I need to buy something to use during exercising. I know next to nothing about portables. All I want to be able to do is rip tracks from my large CD collection and make play lists to transfer to a player via my Windows XP PC. I won’t be downloading any music as I still use dial-up. I would prefer to keep the sound quality as high as possible.

Also, I have to use my One Call card for the purchase and would prefer to keep it under $200. I’m considering this model:

http://www.onecall.c....ge=-1&id=32454

Will this model meet my needs? Any other suggestions or feedback?
"War Eagle!"

#2 of 84 Scott L

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Posted September 13 2006 - 05:04 AM

Rip your collection to Apple lossless and throw it on a 30g ipod.

If you want something nano-sized, do 224 - 320kbps and grab a nano.

Chances are you won't hear the difference when working out.

#3 of 84 Andrew Pratt

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Posted September 13 2006 - 05:50 AM

Buy one of the new Nano's and rip to lossless or high quality MP3. You'll be surprised at how good it'll sound

#4 of 84 ChrisHeflen

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Posted September 13 2006 - 07:12 AM

I think that player would be fine.
Although my pick from what they offer would be the Toshiba Gigabeat.
Check Cnet for reviews they are usually pretty informative when it comes to those.
Too bad they didn't carry Creative...
Don't forget with iFraud you have to have Itunes on your computer.

#5 of 84 BrianW

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Posted September 13 2006 - 07:33 AM

John, I just bought that model at Sam's for $160 (plus tax). I know you have to use your OneCall card, but even at $200, I think this player is a much better value than the Nano. The 4G Samsung was only $10 more than the 1G Nano.

I listen mostly to my own ripped CDs, as you plan to do, and this player is perfect for that kind of use. You get to use the highest bit rate (which, as pointed out, sounds surprisingly good), and this player is drag & drop (UMS) capable. It requires no special software installed on your computer, so it's great even for Linux users (like me). And since it has a much better battery life, a scratch-resistant metal case, and a bigger screen, I like it much better than the Nano.

I wouldn't use a hard drive-based player (like a 30G Nano) for working out, unless you have wireless headphones. I'd stick with the flash-based players. True, hd-based players have anti-skip buffers, but just because it doesn't skip doesn't mean the hard drive isn't being abused. And as we all know, hard drives work only until they don't.

You will need to update the firmware, however, to get the latest bells & whistles, but it's easy to do. All you have to do is download the firmware file from Samsung, drop it into the player's root directory, and restart the player. No "calling the mothership" or special software is required. It's truly the easiest device to upgrade I've ever seen.

There are three things you may not like about this player, though:

1. There is no customizeable equalizer. It has a wide variety of pre-configured equalizers to choose from, but none that you can fiddle with.

2. You must connect the player to the computer via the USB port to charge it. Most people don't find this to be an inconvenience, but YMMV. Dedicated chargers are finally beginning to ht the market, so issue this may be moot by now.

3. The USB cable connection is proprietary (probably to accommodate future accessories), so don't lose the USB cable.

If you can live with those three inconvenences, then the Samsung would be an excellent player for your purposes. Unless you subscribe to iTunes (which you don't) I'd definitely recommend it over the Nano.
-Brian
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#6 of 84 ThomasC

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Posted September 13 2006 - 07:43 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisHeflen
Don't forget with iFraud you have to have Itunes on your computer.
Posted Image

You do NOT need to use iTunes for the iPod. There are several alternatives including ephPod.

#7 of 84 BrianW

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Posted September 13 2006 - 07:48 AM

John, for a one-stop source for reviews and product info/discussion, go to www.anythingbutipod.com

The name makes it sound like they're anti-Apple, but they're not. They just provide information and support for Apple alternatives.

You'll find info there about the Toshiba Gigabeat and probably any other player you could buy with your OneCall card.
-Brian
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#8 of 84 BrianW

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Posted September 13 2006 - 08:06 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by ThomasC
You do NOT need to use iTunes for the iPod. There are several alternatives including ephPod.
Thomas is correct. The iPod can even be used with Linux using any of several non-Apple/non-Windows programs for just that purpose. If you really like the Nano (and, really, what's not to like?) but don't want to use iTunes, don't let that stop you from getting one.


Sorry, I'll stop now.
-Brian
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#9 of 84 Johnny Angell

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Posted September 13 2006 - 09:47 AM

An MP3 player that I really like is the Creative TX FM 1GB. It requires no cable, it plugs directly into a usb port. It looks like an external drive in windows explorer and you can just drag and drop music or data files onto it.

It uses one AAA battery, has FM, and random play mode which I enjoyed while jogging. Its a good shape to fit the hand while jogging and it came with an armband if you don't want to hold it.

Mine was just stolen from my garage and sadly, I've discovered its been discontinued. Aaaaargh!
Johnny
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#10 of 84 Kirk Gunn

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Posted September 13 2006 - 10:49 AM

When I was doing my research a few years back, sound quality was my priority. I've got an older Zen Micro and the sound quality at even 192k is superb. Highly recommend you check out Creative.

#11 of 84 Greg_R

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Posted September 13 2006 - 11:29 AM

John,
Are you absolutely locked in to using the OneCall gift cert? IMO iRiver and Apple have the best audio quality for small portables. Regardless of the unit you select, you'll want to get a decent set of headphones (included phones are garbage). Note that "decent" can be <$25 (this will drastically improve the sound). Check out head-fi.com... they have an excellent portables forum (as well as headphone suggestions). I use Koss phones + an iRiver player for working out. Hard drive players are nice but I'd be concerned about the rough treatment they'd get during a work out. I like iRiver because I can just drag and drop my files (no fancy required software for loading up files).

#12 of 84 ChrisHeflen

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Posted September 13 2006 - 11:43 AM

My bad, about not having to use Itunes.
I had just heard from several people when shopping for mp3 players, a while back that you had too, so, sorry about that.
Anyway good luck with your purchase...

#13 of 84 BrianW

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Posted September 13 2006 - 11:45 AM

Quote:
An MP3 player that I really like is the Creative TX FM 1GB.
Okay, this is pathetic, but I have this player, too. I, like many others, have had to get the "tape backup" accessory to replace the incredibly fragile and long-broken battery door. And Kirk is right: Creative players are the best-sounding players I've ever heard. But both the Samsung and Apple players sound really great, too. Even with its cellophane-tape battery door, my Creative is a great player, and probably more suited to sweaty workouts than the Samsung player in its coat and tails.

Johnny, I'm sorry you lost yours. I didn't know they were discontinued.
-Brian
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#14 of 84 MarkHastings

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Posted September 13 2006 - 12:01 PM

John, just an FYI: What are you going to use to listen to these songs? Small headphone? How much noise is going on while you exercise? If you have a noisy treadmil and small headphones, high sound quality might not be an issue. At 128-192, MP3's do sound good over headphones.

#15 of 84 Jason Kirkpatri

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Posted September 13 2006 - 03:02 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianW
Okay, this is pathetic, but I have this player, too. I, like many others, have had to get the "tape backup" accessory to replace the incredibly fragile and long-broken battery door. And Kirk is right: Creative players are the best-sounding players I've ever heard. But both the Samsung and Apple players sound really great, too. Even with its cellophane-tape battery door, my Creative is a great player, and probably more suited to sweaty workouts than the Samsung player in its coat and tails.

Johnny, I'm sorry you lost yours. I didn't know they were discontinued.

Mark me down as the third owner of the NX 1 gig model. Love it. No problems with the battery cover, though. I'm considering the new Zen models as a replacement.

Having said that, the new Shuffle just looks to damn convienent to pass up, unless the sound quality is the same as the older shuffle model.

#16 of 84 Christ Reynolds

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Posted September 13 2006 - 05:23 PM

Quote:
the new Shuffle just looks to damn convienent to pass up, unless the sound quality is the same as the older shuffle model
? the shuffle's sound quality was excellent.

CJ
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#17 of 84 John Pine

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Posted September 13 2006 - 11:11 PM

Thanks guys for the great feedback!

Brian W: Good feedback on the player I’m looking at. A customizable EQ with the ability to save one or two presets would have been nice, but the other two points don’t bother me. Good point regarding going with a flash memory unit over a HDD unit. Checked out the link, good user feedback below the review! Question! Can you load data files onto this unit?

Greg R: Yep, gotta’ go with the One Call card. They don’t sell Creative or iPods.

Mark Hastings: I will be used mostly while running/jogging in a residential neighborhood. About the only noise I’ll encounter will be the occasion car and barking dog.

For now, I plan on using the Sennheiser MX400’s that I already own. These sound decent for $20 earbuds. Later I may upgrade to the Sennheiser CX300’s.
"War Eagle!"

#18 of 84 BrianW

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Posted September 14 2006 - 01:08 AM

Yes, John, you can use the Samsung model for data storage with drag & drop ease.

You sound a lot like me before I got my first MP3 player. I didn't understand the appeal of listening to less-than-CD-quality music under any crcumstances. I also listen to mostly classical music, which didn't seem to be compatible with the "MP3 scene". So as a "true music lover", I was not at all drawn to the MP3 format.

But when I finally got my Creative player (on a whim, since it was cheap), I was an instant convert. The sound quality -- though not CD quality -- was very impressive. I expected portable players to sound like my computer's sound card with its $4 speakers. As a music lover, once I tried it, instead of shunning the technology, I saw a world of listening opportunities open up to me.

If you're buying a player to jog with, then I think the Samsung is overkill. For jogging, a small, "USB Flash Thumb-Drive" player would be quite sufficient, more convenient (at least while actually jogging), and a lot more durable (with no large display to scratch if it falls in the gravel).

But I'm afraid to suggest that you get a player more suited to just jogging, because if you're like me, you'll discover yourself looking for new ways and excuses to use your MP3 player, and you may be sorry you didn't go with a more capable unit.

Borrow a player from a friend, if you can. Rip one of your CDs to it, and listen to it for a day to hear how it sounds. If you like what you hear and if you start contemplating how you'd smuggle a player in to work so you can sneak a symphony during lunch, then get the Samsung (or similarly-capable unit). If not, then, really, any good-sounding flash thumb-drive unit will do.

I guess what I'm saying is to try to be aware of the extent to which your attitude toward digital audio players will ultimately change before you buy your first player. No small task, I know.

This is a monumental decision, John. The world is counting on you. Posted Image
-Brian
Come, Rubidia. Let's blow this epoch.

#19 of 84 Johnny Angell

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Posted September 14 2006 - 02:01 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Kirkpatri
Mark me down as the third owner of the NX 1 gig model. Love it. No problems with the battery cover, though. I'm considering the new Zen models as a replacement.

Having said that, the new Shuffle just looks to damn convienent to pass up, unless the sound quality is the same as the older shuffle model.
Anyone have any opionions on what would be the best replacement for my TX FM? I'd like to have drag and drop capability.
Johnny
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But a family cat is not replaceable like a wornout coat or a set of tires. Each new kitten becomes its own cat, and none is repeated. I am four cats old, measuring out my life in friends that have succeeded but not replaced one another.--Irving Townsend


#20 of 84 John Pine

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Posted September 14 2006 - 02:01 AM

LOL! Hey...no pressure though, right?

Yeah' I listen to classical, jazz, blues, light opera and rock of course. I agree...the Samsung is overkill and "overdressed" (coat and tails) for jogging, but I'd likely also be taking it to work when I have to work OT on the weekends. And like you said, I'd probably find other uses for it as well. Being able to use it a 4GB data stick comes to mind. I'm still leaning towards this unit.

BrianW: I was reading some of the user comments on the link you provided. Have you had any problems with battery life? Do you really get near 35 hours of play time?
"War Eagle!"


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