MP3/CD Players: Experiences/recommendations?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by NickSo, Aug 20, 2002.

  1. NickSo

    NickSo Producer

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    All right, after much thought considering MiniDisc, HD Mp3 players, MP3CD players, a new CD burner, or Flash-based MP3 CD playeres, i think im going for an MP3CD Player.
    BUT, there are so many to choose from, price is a HUGE factor in my decision.
    Im gonna use this mainly at school, in my bag usually walking from/to class or during my study block, or in the car (A remote is a huge necessity for this function, as I put the player inside the armrest, and let the remote dangle out for easy reach)
    I've narrowed it down to four:
    iRiverSlimX
    iRiverChromeX
    Philips eXpanium 103 (Car kit)
    Rio Volt SP90
    The obvious choice would be the SlimX, but the price is just out of my range. I originally had this player in mind when i was thinking of MP3CD player, but I thought about it and I just wouldn't be able to plunk down over $200 on an MP3 CD Player (unless i had like ALOT, and $230CAD seemed like $100CAD), no matter how good.
    I'm favouring the iRiver ChromeX from its design, its remote, upgradeable firmware, and its rep of its older brother.
    The Philips eXpanium got pretty good reviews when it came out, but the size/look of it is too bulky, and fugly. The car kit is nice, so i dont have to use batteries. The price is right too.
    The Rio Volt SP90 is pretty good overall, but the major issues of quality (flimys build, and easily damaged if dropped) have steered me away. I had also thought about the SP100, but i didnt know if it was much different than the SP90 except for the ability to upgrade the firmware without hacking it.
    Here's a chart i made (the prices in the parentheses are in Canadian dollars, and the multiplier on the far left is how important the feature is to me ie. 5 is very important, 1 is not):
    iRiver SlimX:
    5x Price: 0 ($235)
    3x Features: 5
    3x Battery: 5 (23hrs)
    1x Cool: 5
    4x Quality: 5
    2x Skip: 5 (8 mins)
    3x Portability: 5
    Total: 80
    iRiver ChromeX:
    5x Price: 4 ($140)
    3x Features: 4.5
    3x Battery: 4 (16hrs)
    1x Cool: 4
    4x Quality: 3
    2x Skip: 4 (120Secs)
    3x Portability: 4
    Total: 81.5
    Philips eXpanium 103:
    5x Price: 5 ($109)
    3x Features: 3
    3x Battery: 3 (10 hours)
    1x Cool: 2
    4x Quality: 3
    2x Skip: 4 (100secs)
    3x Portability: 3
    Total: 74
    Rio Volt SP90:
    5x Price: 4.5 ($133)
    3x Features: 4
    3x Battery: 4 (15 hrs)
    4x Cool: 3
    4x Quality: 2
    2x Skip: 4 (120 secs)
    3x Portability: 2 (Due to its fragility, and issues with skip protection)
    Total: 80.5
    Anybody have any experiences with these? Also recommendations for other MP3 CD players priced around $100-$130USD would be nice [​IMG]
     
  2. Zen Butler

    Zen Butler Producer

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    If you can go with the iRiver SlimX Imp-350 this player sounds awesome, then I would wait. That is extemely high ($235) for that player. The only thing I would do if you get it, is eventually upgrade to the Sennheiser MX-500 earbuds, the ones that come with the SlimX player are not very good.
    When I am at home, I use my HD-580's or HD535's.
    This player sounds better than any of the other you mentioned and the SP90 being the worse.
    The ni-hm rechargable batteries in the SlimX are worth the price of admission alone. The FM tuner is solid and clear, the remote is small but highly functional. If you have the SlimX in a shoulder-harness bag, which it fits nicely. All the information is displayed on the remote. Mine has never skipped, during work-outs, mountain biking, and jogging. I have yet to make it skip.
    This was my favorite purchase of the year! This gets the most use of all my gadgets, portable dvd, laptop etc. Their tech-support is awesome too! You actually get a live person. They gladly explain all the upgrades and care for your business. You will see alot on the other side of your purchase, you will not be sorry.
     
  3. NickSo

    NickSo Producer

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    Thanks for the reply Zen... The prices i listed are in canadian.

    I currently have a pair of lower-end Sony MDR-V150's. They're better than the standard earbuds, so im okay with them. I might chck out the sennheiser earbuds though.

    I know the SlimX got VERY good reviews, but like i said, i dunno if i can hold out that long for a player to save enough to feel comfortable in spending $200+ for a 'toy'.
     
  4. Chris PC

    Chris PC Producer

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    Hey Nick [​IMG]
    I'm planning to get the iMP-350 SlimX from:
    http://www.canadacomputers.com/
    Too far for you to travel [​IMG]
    I've heard nothing but good things about it for a few months now. Only problem? Don't loose the remote!
    I need a player for public transit. On public transit, I always bring something to read or some music. Sometimes when on the subway/train or bus, or when its night and dark, I'm too tired to read anything anyways, so I like having tunes with me. Also, I need one for the GYM. When I'm cycling or working out, especially in the winter, when I'm not outdoors as much. I like music when I'm on the crosstrainer, treadmill or exercise bike.
    I think for the price it is awesome. I don't need one right this second, but I'm visiting the store above to pick up a power supply for a friends PC so I'm just gonna get the thing. I've been shopping almost 2 years, well, really just waiting, for a player thats good. I think the iRiver is going to meet my needs.
    Let me know what you do [​IMG]
     
  5. NickSo

    NickSo Producer

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    Yeah, i've seen that site before. Too bad its in ontario [​IMG] I'd have to pay shipping charges.
    I really wanna see the player upclose, both the ChromeX and SlimX, coz i wanna make sure the ChromeX's build quality is good enough for me, and i wanna play around witht he SlimX to see if its owrth it.
     
  6. David*RT

    David*RT Stunt Coordinator

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    If you jog or exercise, etc (i.e ski/skateboard) a lot with music, avoid the CD players--ALL of them. They advertise memory protection, but that's all bull. They all skip and will drive you mad. Get an mp3 player instead.

    If this is a non-issue, then the cdp will be a good choice as you can listen to not only an mp3 disk, but more importantly a higher resolution cdr (unless of course your mp3's are encoded at really high levels). Look at models that also have an FM radio--a good feature to have when you tire of the current music in your player.
     
  7. NickSo

    NickSo Producer

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    David: Im aware of the skip protection etc, though i have a sony player that has G-Protection, it literally is skip free, i've been mountain biking with it without a skip.
    But MP3 player media (Memory cards) are expensive, and i dont do very vigorous exercise.
    Just wish the SlimX would come down in price [​IMG] Its just too expenisve for me
     
  8. David*RT

    David*RT Stunt Coordinator

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    Yes, in your case, your cdp shouldn't really skip as biking (even mountain biking) is as smooth an exercise as you van possibly get--unless you're a rock jumper like me!

    Stick with the cdp since mp3 memory cards are about $40 for a 128 mb card.
     
  9. Zen Butler

    Zen Butler Producer

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    Nick just to let you know, the construction of the SlimX is as solid as it looks. It's metal! The ChromeX has that toilet-seat lid look and feel similar to their (iRiver), RioVolt Sp90, it's very cheaply designed although the sound was good. The ChromeX, if I recall correctly, doesn't have an FM tuner (don't know if that's important to you.)
    As for there are no skip-free players , I took a 45 degree digger while I was mountain biking. I tumbled about 3 or 4 times. Now mind you I am screaming oh sh@*! but I swear that the iRiver never skipped a beat.
    I paid $189.95 , American dollars, close to its release. Now I can one for $149.99! Which is probably a little more realistic to its worth. Has it not come down at all in Canada?
     
  10. NickSo

    NickSo Producer

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    Its about the same as the US price after exchange rate, $235-$240 or so.

    You say the ChromeX has a 'Toilet Seat lid". But thats just the look right? Do you know if its built solidly? Any wiggle room in the buttons or the lid? Coz thats the only thing thats got me worried about the ChromeX.
     
  11. Zen Butler

    Zen Butler Producer

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    Some say the ChromeX and Rio Volt SP250 resemble a toilet seat lid. Both of these clam-shell type covers were loose on the lids when I examined them. I don't like the design for durability. You did say quality was important.
    ChromeX hasn't an FM tuner, and no read out on the remote.
    If your gonna lie in bed, walk to the store etc, the
    ChromeX will be fine, it does sound good. Just buy a case
     
  12. NickSo

    NickSo Producer

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    Yeah, this is probably just for walking around the street, at home, in the car.
     
  13. Todd Schnell

    Todd Schnell Second Unit

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    Just wanted to chime in with a big [​IMG] for the SlimX.
    Been using it for several months now & I love it.
    Sound is great!
    Sound quality for mp3s blows away the Archos mp3 jukebox player & recorder (tried both) I returned to get the SlimX.
    Also cds sound much better than the Panasonic cd portable I was using.
    I use Grado SR60 & Etymotic ER-6 phones.
    I have not even tried the phones that came with the unit.
    Don't they always suck anyhow?
    I also have never heard it skip (including dropping it off the night stand) with either normal cds or cd/r/rws of mp3s.
    It's cool looking, has nice build quality, & is upgradable as well.
    I love the LCD remote too.
    Battery life is good.
    The few complaints I may have could be considered nit-picky.
    I'm very happy with this unit.
    Todd
     
  14. Chris PC

    Chris PC Producer

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    I can't actually justify paying less than $239.00 for a CD/MP3 player. I mean, I know its more expensive than the Chrome-x, but its far from being prohibitively expensive. If I buy it, I will keep it for quite some time and likely get lots of use out of it. Just think of the car adapter and the batteries and the price makes perfect sense.
    BTW I never made it to Canada Computers. My friends PC probably needs a new power supply because his is wimpy, but even after swapping out his and trying a couple of mine, I can't get his PC to recognize his DVD drive!!! Its really pissing me off. Sometimes it works and sometimes not.
    Anyways, when I find the time, I'm picking up the Slim-x [​IMG]
     
  15. NickSo

    NickSo Producer

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    Cool... Yeah, i want something really solid that'll last me a long time. It sucks how alot of the MP3CD players out there are so bulky and plasticky and big. I hate the hollow 'click' of plasticky buttons on cheaper players.

    The only other nice one is the Sony MP3/CD player (with the clear lid), but thats expenisve.

    Yeah, even just the power adaptor for the car goes for $40CAD. but does the $239 come iwht the car/casset adaptor and the power adaptor?
     
  16. Chris PC

    Chris PC Producer

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    Funny, thats exactly what I was about to ask. I won't use it in a car very much, but if I do, my car has a cassette, so I'd like to know if it comes with the cassette adapter or not. Anybody? I guess I'll know whenever I pick it up [​IMG] But if I pick it up and it doesn't have the cassette adapter, thats another $30.00 at radio shack or whatever if I want to play it in my car. I think the cassette one is better, right? Rather than the FM tuner one? Or is it the other way around?
     
  17. NickSo

    NickSo Producer

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    Well if you bought it from iRiver, it doesnt come with a car adaptor.

    I'd say the cassette adaptor would sound better than the FM tuner one.
     
  18. JohnnyG

    JohnnyG Screenwriter

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    I'm curious to know how these models compare with something more 'mainstream' like the Panasonic SL-MP36?
     
  19. NickSo

    NickSo Producer

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    johnny: What do you mean by more 'mainstream'? Like a more recognizable brand name? Because these players (Excluding the ChromeX) are very well known to the MP3 fans out there. However, most are not the average joe, rather more tech-influenced.

    If you wanted something with a more public brand name,check out the Sony MP3/CD player. Its got reviews saying it has a good build quality, good battery life, and a nice design. I would like that except it costs $300CAD.

    I've seen the panasonic MP3/CD player. IMHO its THICK, and bulky. Its about 2CM thick and it looks like a block. I really dont like the look of it.

    Thats what peeves me about these MP3/CD players. They all look so bad. It doesnt look like it costs $250, rather it looks like its a $60 'Venturer' CD player you get at Walmart. I mean CD players in around the $150 range look good, very slim. But an MP3 player at $100 more looks like a $60 CD player.
     
  20. NickSo

    NickSo Producer

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    Okay i just went to futureshop and saw the Sp90. The wiggle factor was NOT a problem, i found it built quite solidly, much better than my Sony D-EJ615 CD discman at least.

    If the SP90 build is similar to the ChromeX, ill probably go for the ChromeX.

    After reading some user reviews on Amazon, and epinions, i've pretty much decided on the ChromeX. Though the listed size seems a little thick (about 4mm thicker than the SP90), it shouldn't be too bad. now all i gotta do is wait to get paid
     

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