what mp3 player should I get?
September 21, 2006 6:13 PM   Subscribe

what mp3 player should I get?

so i've had a 2nd generation ipod for the last few years and it finally died on me (music is now accompanied by a high pitch squeek... very annoying). i've been thinking about getting a new 80 gig ipod they just released, but i'm not sure if i should get one vs. some of the other competitive products. what would you recommend i pick up? a couple of thoughts and points on my interests/habits:

1. i'm a diehard music nut. i have more than 1,000 CDs and currently have ripped about 50 gigs of them to mp3. although i've had an ipod for years now, i have little to no iTunes purchased music (so converting to another player is no big deal)

2. i'm not dead set on carrying my entire music library around with me, but i have to admit it's an enticing idea. so i'm think about a 60+ gig player.

3. I travel a lot for work, so a good batter life is important.

4. video on the player is cool, but not a make it or break it feature. i have a sony psp, so i can already bring encoded video with me if i want to.

5. i'm a sirius satellite subscriber, but i'm not yet convinced their porables are ready for prime time.

6. i'm also a subscriber to Rhapsody (which i love), but i could take or leave the PlaysforSure capabilities. I basically use the service as a big jukebox and buy whatever albums i like on CD so I can rip them to MP3 or add the CD to my collection.

7. I'm willing to spend up to $400 or so on a nice player, as this is something I will use on a daily basis.

i'd love any thoughts or recommendations. thanks!
posted by tundro to Technology (20 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
$400 is way more than you need to spend. There's only one good non-ipod hard drive player brand, and it's overpriced, too. I personally think the Samsung YEPP has the features you want. It's sensibly priced around $100,and takes memory cards, so you don't have to worry about hard drive crashes. You can buy extra flash cards with the $2-300 extra you were going to spend, put your music on those, and it will be smaller as well It supports MP3, wma, and ogg, and takes AA batteries, so there's no adapter to carry around and the batteries are designed to be replaced.
posted by Mr. Gunn at 6:41 PM on September 21, 2006


You might find some additional advice here or here.

Me, I'm partial to Creative products. I find them to be less restrictive, a better value for the money, and my Zen Photo's built-in mic just came in handy for recording about 20 hours of client interviews.
posted by CMichaelCook at 7:06 PM on September 21, 2006


The Creative Vision:M will be getting an upgrade to 60Gb shortly. It's the top rated player over at dapreview.net.
posted by GeekAnimator at 8:13 PM on September 21, 2006


Just get the iPod -- there's a reason it's so popular. Yeah, it's cool to go against the flow, but the iPod's so much better than anything else on the market that it just doesn't make sense to get anything else.

FWIW, I've got about 100gb of music, and I actually find my new 4GB nano to be *perfect*. I load new music on it about every other day, and so I always have something different on it. I actually like it much more than my previous 30gb one because I never really know what I'm going to find.
posted by jacobian at 8:25 PM on September 21, 2006


sandisk's ipod killer. 4gb flash with expandable SD slot. Its not 60gb at once but you can swamp out your collections.

Or why not try a Zune?

Either would probably last longer than an Apple product (not to mention be more widely compatible with other music stores, formats, and devices).
posted by jak68 at 9:04 PM on September 21, 2006


er, swamp -> swap.
posted by jak68 at 9:07 PM on September 21, 2006


I don't know why they don't get more attention, but the iAudio products by Cowon are phenomenal. They've got everything from the Shuffle-esque F1 that I have to the better-than-iPod Video that I covet, all with zero DRM bullshit and a largely non-sucky interface. Plus most of them do recording. Seriously, they're pretty sweet.
posted by idontlikewords at 9:57 PM on September 21, 2006


oop, that should read "better-than-iPod Video, A2"
posted by idontlikewords at 9:57 PM on September 21, 2006


I find that most people who say that not buying an iPod is a statement and not a legitimate purchasing choice, or that there aren't any comparable mp3 players on the market are either woefully uninformed, or totally full of it. I bought a Creative Zen many years ago, and it's still truckin' to this day. What I like about Creative HD mp3 players is that it's very easy to transfer music on and off. I've heard horror stories about people whose computers crash and they lose all the music on their iPods. With Creative, you are not a slave to your specific version of the software...when I go to friends' houses, I take a USB cord and a CD-ROM of the MediaSource software, and I can hook up my mp3 player to their computer and give them tons of music. If you consider that to be important, take into consideration that most other mp3 players offer that flexibility.
posted by apple scruff at 9:59 PM on September 21, 2006


I have a Zen Xtra (probably not still available, but if it is, the new firmware allows it to be used as a "plug and play" hard drive, which is the only thing i didn't like about it previously) and an Archos AV500. Both of those would serve your needs fairly well, although the Archos' battery life drops considerably if you use it for video.
posted by concrete at 10:49 PM on September 21, 2006


I'm agreeing with the Creative nuts out there. I've got a Zen Microphoto and it's got great battery life and cops a bucketload of abuse. I also like the fact that it feels sturdy when you pick it up. If its more memory you're after, I've also heard good stuff about the Vision:M.
posted by cholly at 11:10 PM on September 21, 2006


I'd get the new iPod. Lots of space, good resale value when you want to upgrade, plays movies and games, too. Other MP3 players miss out on at least one of the above.
posted by solid-one-love at 11:25 PM on September 21, 2006


I've done a bit of (work based) research into mp3 players and have therefore used and evaluated pretty much all the alternatives listed above (and then some).

Only one was better than my year old 4th gen 60GB iPod and that was the 80GB iPod with video. I wouldn't touch any of the other makes.
posted by mr_silver at 12:45 AM on September 22, 2006


if you have a mac there is no reason to get anything other than an ipod. if you have a pc, there are advantages to the ipod and advantages to others on the market. just remember part of the portable mp3 player package is its management utility. if you like itunes, then get an ipod. if you like winamp and four other utilities to do each separate thing you need, get an iriver, yepp, creative, or any of the other good ones on the market.
posted by Señor Pantalones at 1:02 AM on September 22, 2006


I'm in the same market at the moment, as my Rio Karma has just died. For my money, the 80gb iPod is your best value. I don't care that you need software to transfer music onto it (I've done it for years with the Karma, I don't have any need to change my habits). I don't care that it doesn't support other music stores, I don't buy music online. If I want to get my music off of it, there's always the Winamp iPod plugin. None of my music is in any format other than mp3, so I don't care about the lack of other formats. Likewise an FM tuner. And they've got gapless now, so that's one less thing for the pundits to complain about. Also, it's daaaaamn pretty. 80gb for $349? Sounds pretty damn good to me! I was also tempted to get the 8gb nano, but $100 more for 10 *times* the storage space? I'm sold. :)

Also, there's Rockbox, which addresses some of these issues already (USB direct copy, other file formats). Personally, I haven't found anything that is better than the 80gb iPod video. I'd be happy to find something that was
posted by antifuse at 2:12 AM on September 22, 2006


I own the zen vision: m 30 gb model. It has been fantastic. Better video than the ipod (except for maybe the shmancy new ones), more flexibility in formats, and 640x480 output.
posted by utsutsu at 7:04 AM on September 22, 2006


seconding Iaudio-cowan. Absolutely brilliant products both in looks and functionality and always very highly rated on cnet. I too dont know why they're not more widely known.
posted by jak68 at 2:24 PM on September 22, 2006


Iaudio products page link
posted by jak68 at 2:27 PM on September 22, 2006


Rhapsody and SanDisk will be launching Rhapsody-branded flash player in October with some pretty sweet service-specific features which I'm sure you can find out about on the web. Thats my next MP3 Player purchase.
posted by softlord at 5:04 PM on September 22, 2006


I recommend the 60gig Toshiba Gigabeat.
posted by Lucie at 5:46 PM on September 22, 2006


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