How can I access my music my way?
October 17, 2011 2:52 AM   Subscribe

What is a non-itunes brand of mp3 player that allows me to transfer my music folders to it and access them exactly how I access them on my computer?

I have all my music folders nicely set up on my computer, in custom-made categories. Last time I bought an mp3 player, it jumbled everything up, forcing my music into its own genres. I'm not looking for anything fancy, don't need to see album art, don't need much of a visual display, just looking for a small inexpensive player. Happy to buy an older one off ebay.
posted by lazy robot to Technology (16 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I have a Sansa Fuze, and it does pretty much exactly what you're talking about. I think the new version is the Fuze+, which I'd imagine is fairly similar. They're expandable via memory card, nicely built and pleasant to use. The only (small) negative aspect is that when you plug them (well, the Fuze, anyway) into a PC, the internal memory and the memory card (if you have one) will appear a separate drives. On the device, the contents of the two memories is combined, however. Not really a problem if, as I did, you just buy the lowest-price model, put in a big memory card and just use the card for storage.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 3:21 AM on October 17, 2011

I had an iriver H340 which did exactly that. It was a good little player until I dropped it one too many times.
posted by Carravanquelo at 3:21 AM on October 17, 2011

Sony's Walkman range lets you browse the music folder on the device. It shows up as a USB drive on a Windows desktop. Apart from an annoying proprietary USB cable they're very straightforward to use, are very robust and sound great. Older models are very affordable on eBay.
posted by jonathanbell at 3:32 AM on October 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

Check out the Cowon mp3 players, I currently use a Cowon D2+, and previously had a smaller led display cowon. Great audio quality.
posted by TrinsicWS at 4:07 AM on October 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

Creative Zen is pretty awesome - but now I use my HTC Android phone, which is more awesomer
posted by the noob at 4:13 AM on October 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

If you have an Android phone, you can transfer your directories exactly as they are on your computer. And Mortplayer is a great player that organizes by folder instead of by tags.
posted by Tehhund at 4:23 AM on October 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

Nthing Sansa plus. (after trying others and having problems)
posted by Obscure Reference at 5:13 AM on October 17, 2011

I've had several Sansa products (e200 series, Fuze, and Clip), and they all support this. The trick is to go into the settings and change it to "MSC mode", which causes the device to behave exactly like a USB disk.

The Clip perfectly fits your criteria: "don't need much of a visual display, just looking for a small inexpensive". (I bought all of mine on; they regularly feature deeply discounted refurbished Sansas)
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 6:37 AM on October 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

Another vote for Sansa. I love my Clip+. It's small, cheap, easy to use, and pretty durable. I'm terrible and tend to drop it (or drop things on it) fairly regularly, but it doesn't seem to care. Before getting the Clip I had a Fuze. It was also pretty nice until I cracked the screen.
posted by Akhu at 6:42 AM on October 17, 2011

I had the Cowon D2+ as well for several years, and really liked it. The interface is a little.... nonstandard, but is easy to use after you use it once or twice. They have been succeeded by the Cowon C2 (which I have and is pretty good), but if you could find a D2+ used I would recommend that. It also has phenomenal battery life (~30 hours).
posted by Adamsmasher at 6:51 AM on October 17, 2011

The IRiver series is pretty robust and easy.
posted by 2legit2quit at 7:38 AM on October 17, 2011

3rding Cowon.
posted by WeekendJen at 8:09 AM on October 17, 2011

nth suggestion for Sansa Clip+. Tiny, relatively inexpensive, no-frills player with excellent sound qualty. It does sort the music by ID3 tags (of course) but there's also an option to browse the filesystem directly.

Also, any player with Rockbox will browse the filesystem directly no problem.
posted by neckro23 at 8:51 AM on October 17, 2011

I love my Clip and Clip+ but I think they only organize by tags. You can use MSC mode to get the data on and off the clip in the folder layout you like, but it uses tags and playlists for music.
posted by jclarkin at 4:09 PM on October 17, 2011

Nthing Cowon. There is a trick to making many devices work without grief in MSC (mass storage device class) on a Mac in case that's what you have:

1) Plug it in.

2) Go to System Preferences/Spotlight/Privacy and add the drive to the "Privacy" list.

For each drive you want to behave nicely:

3) In Terminal, delete the entire Spotlight directory and everything in it:

rm -rf .Spo*

4) Create a file that tells Spotlight never to index this drive:

touch .metadata_never_index

5) Enter the .fseventsd directory:

cd .fseventsd

6) Delete everything in there except the . and .. directories

rm .

7) Create a file that tells the file system events daemon not to log here

touch no_log

My Cowon D2+ (still kicking after several years, 30+ hr battery life) gives me no backtalk or malicious compliance with these few mods.
posted by jet_silver at 7:48 PM on October 17, 2011

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