I still want all of my music in my pocket
August 11, 2014 9:34 PM   Subscribe

My nearly-full 120GB iPod classic just bit the dust. What are my best options for replacing it, given that an equal or greater storage capacity is required?

I was hoping there would be some new options for high capacity mp3 players in the 5+ years since I bought this iPod, but it looks like the field has actually dwindled, if anything. Apparently I'm a freak for wanting my full music library in portable form, but I don't really care.

So, are there options other than the 160gb ipod? The only other thing on amazon is the Fiio, which sounded initially like a good idea but has terrible reviews and apparently managed to miss support for playlists. I'm hoping that the hivemind will know if there's some amazing not-sold-in-the-US gizmo or an under-the-radar crowdfunded solution. Bonus points for flac support and a decent equalizer.
posted by polymath to Technology (20 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Samsung Galaxy S5 with a 128GB MicroSDXC card.
posted by notpeter at 9:50 PM on August 11, 2014 [3 favorites]

Have you considered an Android phone? Most of them have support for microSD (which now, though expensive, comes in 128GB size) plus built-in storage...fancier phones up to 64GB...solid-state is probably a better long-term solution than anything (like the ipod classic) with an actual hard drive, what with the no moving parts and all...
posted by sexyrobot at 9:52 PM on August 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: The PONOPlayer has 128gb storage. It plays FLAC, ALAC, WAV, AIFF, AAC (unprotected), and MP3s. The musics resolution is lossless up to 192kHz/24-bit.

It was created by Neil Young via a Kickstarter campaign to create a high storage portable music player that is capable of playing uncompressed music. However, it can play mp3s, which seems to be what you're looking for.

It also comes in black, just in case you're not a fan of the default yellow model.
posted by Shouraku at 9:58 PM on August 11, 2014 [2 favorites]

Do the mobile phones suggested above actually have a good dac? The dac on my nexus 4 is not very good when compared to my Cowon dap.

I was going to suggest the Filio X5 (does that have the playlist issue?) - else I would suggest looking at the Cowon series of daps (listening to a D2+ atm), I don't think all off them support flac though, so do check carefully.
posted by TrinsicWS at 10:00 PM on August 11, 2014

(The galaxy note 3 has 64gb on board vs the s5 with 32...the official specs say it only handles 64gb microsd, but the rest of the internet says it will take the 128: total, 192gb) (I have the note2 and it is damn nifty...the music player has a ton of features (I never use :p) and there are many other players in the market)
posted by sexyrobot at 10:03 PM on August 11, 2014

Mophie will get you an extra 64GB of storage for an iPhone, on top of a 64GB iPhone that's 128G.
posted by amaire at 10:37 PM on August 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

Here's a wildcard: Rockbox open-source firmware will replace what many manufacturers provide and will do audiophile stuff too (like play FLAC). Check their supported players on that page, many of the SanDisk devices support external SDHC cards which would get you up to where you need in terms of storage.
posted by devnull at 12:02 AM on August 12, 2014 [2 favorites]

Apple products including the iPod 160GB can be Rockboxed too -- that'll be the solution that produces the storage you need, FLAC playback, and the best DAC [audio quality] and physical usability.
posted by kalapierson at 12:41 AM on August 12, 2014

If you want to continue to use iTunes (the software) to manage your playlists and such, or if you need to sync data back to iTunes (e.g. play-count, on-the-fly playlists), the iPod 160GB should make the most sense.
posted by applesurf at 12:43 AM on August 12, 2014

Apple products including the iPod 160GB can be Rockboxed too

Not according to the Rockbox home page - they say the 6th generation iPod isn't supported.
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 1:25 AM on August 12, 2014

Do the mobile phones suggested above actually have a good dac?

Many do. Most top end Samsung and Sony models, for example, do. But it's definitely worth checking.
posted by smoke at 3:37 AM on August 12, 2014

Best answer: I think the suggestions to get some sort of phone are really silly, especially since you probably already have a smartphone. You want a dedicated music player. This is also ignoring the fact that a lot of newer smartphones, including the ones mentioned some of which i've tried do a pretty meh job at driving headphones.(i've noticed this on EVERYTHING lately, it's a pet peeve of mine. even the newer macbooks do a crappier job than the older ones. Wtf?)

The PONOplayer has basically been the only big thing. It seems to be this time periods rio karma. The fiio is indeed fairly shitty. My only real complaint is that the price is pushing it, and it was really a better deal during the kickstarter. I'd wait and see if it pops up again at a lower price, because like the ouya and other cheap-while-on-kickstarter things i bet it wont take all that long.

Speaking of kickstarter type stuff and weird models, have you looked through here? There seems to be several weird models people really really like, but i have no idea how big of a grain of salt to take that with anymore since some pretty silly things like nokia phones have 4.2 star reviews or whatever.

On ipods specifically though, The apex of ipods was the 5.5g, which topped out around 80gb. People know this, and they aren't a particularly great deal used.

A lot of the aforementioned devices + a halfway decent portable headphone amp will also take you pretty far. I've been impressed with what an amp can do with my iphone 5, and i've tried it with a lot of other devices and been generally impressed. I just have one of the cheap fiios. If you don't end up going with the PONO(or like using power hungry headphones) or that one magic ipod, that's probably worth looking into.
posted by emptythought at 4:55 AM on August 12, 2014

You can get iPod classics modded with a variety of solid-state storage and a Rockbox installation. You'd probably spend more on storage than it would cost to find an old iPod with a dead hard drive.
posted by Metafilter Username at 5:28 AM on August 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: If you're used to and happy with the itunes ecosytem, then either get the player you have repaired, or upgrade to a newer model.

I believe the Pono is taking pre-orders for delivery "Q1 (Jan-Mar), 2015." You would, however, get a hand-signed certificate from Neil Young by Christmas.

The Fiio X5 has pros and cons. It can play anything you throw at it. It has a good DAC and better amplification than most phones. So if you're listening with something nicer than standard buds, that's a plus. It can handle dual 128gig micro-SD cards (sold separately!). The interface does leaves something to be desired, but it was less annoying to me than itunes stuff. The build quality is pretty good. The price is fairly high.

The Fiio X3 is cheaper and it shows: much more lag, cheaper build, less appealing interface.

There is a strange dearth of good dedicated portable music players (which is odd, considering it's 2014). I guess most people just use their phones. I have a growing music collection of 150gigs and a variety of headphones and the Fiio X5 was what I ended up buying. I've been pretty happy. But I'm Apple-phobic.
posted by kevinsp8 at 8:43 AM on August 12, 2014

My older Archos 5 Android has a 500 GB hard drive. You should be able to find them on eBay or the like. It runs Android 1.6. There are a few bugs, the only ones that affect me are related to BlueTooth, but the Archos music player does FLAC, mp3 and I think unprotected AAC (I don't have many of those). The limiting factor for me is the maximum number of songs, which is just under 65000. Battery life is about 4 hours. They had solid state storage models with less storage and longer battery life. I moved up from an Ipod Classic 160 GB and the A5A is a big improvement. It can also play videos and many other things, but I mainly use it as an mp3 player. It has many peripherals so that it can do things like record video, be a USB master as well as slave, add an extra battery. The native hard drive format is ext3, but if you reformat it as FAT32 you won't need any special drivers to mount it as a drive under Windows or Apple stuff. Not needing iTunes is a really big advantage too.
posted by rfs at 9:25 AM on August 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

When you say it bit the dust, what do you mean exactly - is is possibly repairable? Wondering if any of the places that mod iPods can do an upgrade/fix for yours, which could end up saving you some money.
posted by caution live frogs at 12:00 PM on August 12, 2014

Best answer: Get a Sansa Clip and the high capacity storage card mentioned upthread. The DAC on the Clip really is surprisingly high quality. Has FLAC support, and a not-too-shabby EQ.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 4:06 PM on August 12, 2014

Do you have iTunes reduce your MP3s to 128kb files during sync? That would give you more capacity on the iPod.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 7:41 PM on August 12, 2014

Response by poster: Can anyone confirm that the Sansa Clip actually supports 128GB SDHC? That sounds like a pretty good quick solution, but the official specs I found says it will support up to 32GB, so I'd want to be sure before buying the card. The Pono looks great, but I'd rather not wait until next year... if the Clip can actually hold everything I have right now, I might be able to get a Pono once they go into production.

For those of you mentioning itunes, I haven't used it for years. I manage my iPod through jRiver Media Center... I think I ought to be able to continue to do so with pretty much any player.

I'm not all that into the idea of a phone - I couldn't just upgrade my phone to fill the music player functionality, because there are times when my husband takes the music player but I still need to have my phone, so it would still be an extra device. The SD slot on my current phone is broken, but everything else works and we're looking at changing providers when our contract is up at the end of the year, so I'm waiting to replace it.

I looked briefly into troubleshooting the ipod, but after reading the ifixit instructions to open the newest models, I don't know that I feel up to it. Especially since it's not abundantly clear which part would need replacement... one day, the fully charged ipod played 3/4 of an album and shut down, and couldn't be turned back on. After a night on the charger I gave it another shot and it played 3 songs and shut down, and hasn't responded to anything since.
posted by polymath at 8:27 PM on August 12, 2014

Hey i know this is an old post, but yes, someone tried a 128gb TF card on a sansa clip and it worked.

One of the devs also posits that since they use their own storage driver on rockbox(which you need to do this, i'd assume) that 256gb and larger cards should also work in the future. Which... awesome.
posted by emptythought at 4:38 PM on September 14, 2014

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