A cheap MP3 player that works with a Mac?
January 13, 2010 8:51 AM   Subscribe

Looking for a low-priced, simple, non-shuffle MP3 player that will work with a Mac. I'm in the UK if that makes a difference to buying options.

I was all set to buy the SanDisk Sansa Clip, but when I googled to check Mac compatibility there seems to be an awful lot of faff involved in getting the thing to work with a Mac.

Is there a similar, faff-free player in that price range? I'm replacing an old Zen Stone, but I really want something with a display and more control over playlists (I know the Zen Stone Plus is an option, but it's that wee bit more expensive).

Oh, and if it ends up as a choice between extra cost and extra faff, I'll go with the faff - I'm just hoping my 'ideal' player exists!
posted by Coobeastie to Shopping (13 answers total)
Best answer: I'm a mac user and I have absolutely no problems with my Sansa Clip.**
You plug it into a USB port, it recognizes it as a drive, you click and drag MP3's to the folder you want them in (music, audiobook, etc.)

My only beef is that your IDE-3 tags have got to be spotless before you click and drag.

Good luck with your quest! Just wanted you to know that there are some of us who are using it relatively faff-free :)

**I'm still running Tiger and using the 2GB Clip that I got during a Woot Off for $20. I did have to update the Sansa's firmware as your link described, and do not use it with iTunes. One thing that might have helped me avoid all the faff is that I had a Windows laptop also at my disposal and I updated the firmware using that rather than the mac.
posted by willmize at 9:02 AM on January 13, 2010

just doing the math in my head, but isn't 44 pounds-ish pretty close to 100 USD-ish? why not get a refurbed ipod from apple?
posted by toodleydoodley at 9:03 AM on January 13, 2010

ok, not that close. but it turns out there are a couple refurbed 'pods in the 79-99 usd range.
posted by toodleydoodley at 9:04 AM on January 13, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks for the idea toodleydoodley, but it appears that they refurbish them differently in the UK and they're a helluva lot more expensive. Like $50 more expensive. Grrr.
posted by Coobeastie at 9:10 AM on January 13, 2010

Response by poster: Ta muchly willmize - hopefully if I have to go for a compromise it will work out better than expected.
posted by Coobeastie at 9:14 AM on January 13, 2010

Best answer: I use a Sansa Fuze on my Mac (Leopard) with no trouble at all. I had read about some issues with playlists not working, but I don't use playlists much, so it has not been a problem. I was recently pleasantly surprised to find that it supports audiobook playback intelligently. (I had figured I would have to keep track of my place in the file if I listened to something else interstitially.)
posted by OmieWise at 9:29 AM on January 13, 2010

my bad, failed to think of difference between US & UK shopping experience ;-(
posted by toodleydoodley at 9:32 AM on January 13, 2010

Best answer: The Sansa clip is a great little player. Superb sound quality and supports FLAC (if you're into that). Works fine with ANY OS, just plug it in and it shows up as a removable disk, if you have a microSD inserted it will show up as a 2nd disk. Just drag your music over.

That article is way too long. If you read the section on how to get music onto it, it's only 2 steps.
posted by wongcorgi at 10:12 AM on January 13, 2010

Re: your "faff" link and the responses you are getting, you might want to clarify in your question if you are looking for "works with a Mac" or "works with iTunes."

It's the iTunes part you'll have the hard time with.

Any player that uses file-based music management like the Clip should be usable on a Mac, but only via drag and drop in the Finder. But not so with iTunes.
posted by quarterframer at 10:13 AM on January 13, 2010

Yes, good point. My Fuse does not work with iTunes.
posted by OmieWise at 10:30 AM on January 13, 2010

Best answer: I owned a Sansa Clip for a short time (I lost it :( ) (Specifically, one that looked like this.) I had no problems updating firmware using my Mac. (I did it twice, once for a friend, once for myself. Both times it went flawlessly.)

As far as ID3 tags, yeah, they do need to be pretty clean. I use Tritag.

As far as iTunes integration, I have an AppleScript application which will copy over all playlists in a playlist folder called "Clip." It duplicates the the way the playlists are arranged in iTunes. Memail me if you're interested.
posted by 47triple2 at 11:19 AM on January 13, 2010

Best answer: I've got Sansa Clip Plus (don't know how much different it is from non-Plus) and I use it with Linux. It works great. Unlike iPod you need no special software to put music on it. Just put the files on there and they play. I'll never buy another iPod. If it works with Linux, it will do Mac no problem.
posted by massysett at 11:51 AM on January 13, 2010

Response by poster: Thank you everyone for reassuring me over compatibility issues - I will indeed be going for the Sansa.
posted by Coobeastie at 2:11 PM on January 13, 2010

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