mp3 player questions

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dolor ex fides
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I'm turning to the more learned in this area. I'm looking for a new mp3 player, something with 30 or more GB.

I'd prefer something with a drag-and-drop kinda system, because I'm really sick of buying music, then loading it to my computer with one program, then converting it with another, then transferring it to the player. Takes so much time for a "simple" operation.

I used to have a 256MB player that worked with a drag-and-drop - do they make a good player with a lot of memory that works like that? If not, then what's the best one (that uses simple software) out there?

I yield to your greater expertise (for advice on this, anyway).
 

Jung

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The iPod gets my vote, I find it to be far more durable than anything else and it has a lot of features.

Transfering music with iTunes is pretty simple, but I don't know if it would meet your definition of "drag and drop." Personally, I hate iTunes; I use Anapod for transfering files and setting up playlists. There is also another program called Ephpod, but I've never used it.
 

</rant>

Tenderony
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junglizm said:
The iPod gets my vote, I find it to be far more durable than anything else and it has a lot of features.

Transfering music with iTunes is pretty simple, but I don't know if it would meet your definition of "drag and drop." Personally, I hate iTunes; I use Anapod for transfering files and setting up playlists. There is also another program called Ephpod, but I've never used it.
I second that. No complaints about the ipod coming from me.

</rant>
 

Diesel

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My personal opinion is that the iPod is just way too overpriced for what it is. There's no viable reason that a 40GB iPod should cost 2x what a competitors 40 or 60GB model costs.

I have a Creative Nomad Zen 60GB. Cost me $250, and I get 99% of the functionality that the iPod offers at less than half the price. Even with the purchase of my audiophile-quality headphones (Etymotic Research ER-4P), the total price didn't come to as much as an iPod by itself. Works really nicely, isn't terribly big (fits easily in your pocket), allows you to use it as a portable hard drive (requires driver though), and is basically drag and drop, for the most part.

The Dell units are pretty nice too, but I think they max out at 20GB. I haven't seen any bad feedback from owners on them yet, so they might be worth your consideration.

Like junglizm, I have to recommend Red Chair Software's stuff, no matter which model or brand you buy. It makes life with a portable mp3 player so much easier. They make versions for Creative, Apple, Dell, iRiver, etc., so you should be good as long as you pick a popular brand and model.
Best $25 I spent in relation to my music.

I'll also recommend Softpointer's Tag&Rename as necessary software. While it's not required to make the files work with your portable, it does make things a helluva lot easier.
 

Jung

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Diesel said:
(Etymotic Research ER-4P)
I've never heard of that brand before. I looked around on headphones.com, and they look pretty decent, what model do you own? I ended up going with a pair of Sure in canal earphones for when I'm out, but stuck with my Seinheissers for the house.
I'll also recommend Softpointer's Tag&Rename as necessary software. While it's not required to make the files work with your portable, it does make things a helluva lot easier.
I will second this software; I love it, and use if all the time. It's very well written and has a lot more features than I'll ever use, but isn't bloated at all. Only downside is that it costs $30. There are some freeware/open source programs that do pretty much the same thing, although I've never tried them. The Godfather and MusicBrainz come highly recommended though.
 

Diesel

Clitpickle
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junglizm said:
I've never heard of that brand before. I looked around on headphones.com, and they look pretty decent, what model do you own? I ended up going with a pair of Sure in canal earphones for when I'm out, but stuck with my Seinheissers for the house.
It's an audiophile brand that specializes in hearing protection for musicians. Their headphones are incredible.
I own the ER-4P with the 4S adapter cable. I also use them in conjunction with a portable headphone amp (Headroom Total Airhead).

In comparison to the Shures, they're pretty comparable, but kinda fall in between the Shure models in terms of sound quality.
From lowest to highest, I'd rate them:
Shure E2C -> Etymotic ER-6 -> Shure E3C -> Etymotic ER-4P/S -> Shure E5C

The ER-4P/S are pretty comparable in sound quality to the E5C, but are about half the price. Still, admittedly, the E5Cs do sound better. However, there is a significant improvement in sound quality jumping from the E3C to ER-4P/S.

At home, I use my Sennheiser HD-600's. Man, are those sweet cans. Just too much sound bleed for the road though, especially the NYC mass transit commute.
 

Descent

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The Entempo Spirit is the best deal out of all...140 greenbacks will get you a 20GB player that needs no drivers (Except for 98SE), has an iPod like interface, FM radio recording/tuning, playlist management, etc. It also features qwuality construction.

Mine came with a bad hard drive, but that's not their fault. They just order the hard drives from IBM, Western Digital, etc. and assemble the players. It's next to impossible to discover pre-mature hard drive failure at the plant.

If you flash the firmware, it's the best player around then. All you have to do is drag it to the root of the drive, and unplug it. Voila! Easier to read font, more stability, and newer features.

It also doubles as a portable hard drive, and it has active shock protection for the drive as well. When the drive isn't needed, it moves the arm into a position where it can't collide with the platter. It actually loads the whole MP3/WMA file into it's memory when it plays it, so it's skip free, as well as crash free.

It's only problem? It's the size of a Walkman, but that's a small setback, IMO. It's worth every penny.
 

bnccoder

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Did they ever fix the issue with the I-Pod Mini? The one where the harddrive would loose all the contents every so often?
 

Jung

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Switch_Scribe: I just rememberd this thread, it may be of some help to you.

Diesel said:
In comparison to the Shures, they're pretty comparable, but kinda fall in between the Shure models in terms of sound quality.
From lowest to highest, I'd rate them:
Shure E2C -> Etymotic ER-6 -> Shure E3C -> Etymotic ER-4P/S -> Shure E5C
Interesting, I'll do some research on them for my next purchase. I'm loving the Sures though, and I'm of the opinion than anything much higher would be overkill for listening to mp3s. I usually use LAME alt-presets for my iPod, but I have used Apple lossless a few times. The LAME presets seem to be transparent enough for a portable player though.
At home, I use my Sennheiser HD-600's. Man, are those sweet cans. Just too much sound bleed for the road though, especially the NYC mass transit commute.
I'm also an owner of the 600s, and I do love them. I debated over purchasing them or the 650s, and I've never once regretted my purchase. You're right about the open ear design though, it definitely has it's down sides. I'll probably move up to a pari of amp driven cans next time though.
 

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dolor ex fides
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Diesel said:
Like junglizm, I have to recommend Red Chair Software's stuff, no matter which model or brand you buy. It makes life with a portable mp3 player so much easier. They make versions for Creative, Apple, Dell, iRiver, etc., so you should be good as long as you pick a popular brand and model.
Best $25 I spent in relation to my music.
Fuckin' sweet. I had no idea this software existed. That makes it easier.

I think I'm going with Creative Zen Xtra 40GB ($150 less than the iPod, and 10GB more), and the Notmad Explorer by Red Chair.

Thanks to all who contributed!
 

Diesel

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Descent> Just curious, but why are you always recommending cheap-ass crap brands that no one has ever heard of? Do you have a backdoor warehouse connection in Singapore or something?

junglizm> I actually did some extensive research with my encoding methods, and settled on alt-preset extreme. It's more than sufficient for mp3 playing, and I even pipe them through my Audiotron to my home theater. Most people can't tell the difference between my mp3s and the original CDs in those particular environments.
If you really want an extra bump in quality, forego that Apple lossless crap, and get either FLAC or Monkey's Audio.

I've had my HD-600's for several years now, and have demo'ed the 650's. I heard nothing that would convince me to trade-in or upgrade from the 600's. They sound almost identical in an A/B comparison... certainly not a reason to ditch the 600's.
I also have a pair of HD-580's that I got an incredible deal on ($72) that I use for miscellenaous usage. Hooked up to my Creek OBH-11, I can hear a decent difference between the two, making me glad I have the 600's.

My advice... don't upgrade to new headphones... just get a decent amp. ;)
 

Jung

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Diesel said:
Descent> Just curious, but why are you always recommending cheap-ass crap brands that no one has ever heard of? Do you have a backdoor warehouse connection in Singapore or something?
I think he's a Masochist when it comes to hardware.
Diesel said:
junglizm> I actually did some extensive research with my encoding methods, and settled on alt-preset extreme. It's more than sufficient for mp3 playing, and I even pipe them through my Audiotron to my home theater. Most people can't tell the difference between my mp3s and the original CDs in those particular environments.
If you really want an extra bump in quality, forego that Apple lossless crap, and get either FLAC or Monkey's Audio.
I've pretty much settled on extreme for most things, but I still use standard for some situations. I use MPC for certain things as well. I'm pretty much locked into Apple lossless for the iPod, and Mac though, but I use Mokey's Audio for everything else. I find that it consistently yields smaller files than FLAC. I actually prefer Apple's lossless to the Mac version of Flac, as well.

Now if I could just find a Foobar clone for OSX. :mad:
 

Diesel

Clitpickle
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junglizm said:
I think he's a Masochist when it comes to hardware.
Funny that, for a guru, he's constantly having hardware problems. Could it be the cheap-ass hardware? One wonders...

Maybe the true gurus figured this stuff out already. ;)
 

Descent

Hella Constipated
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Diesel said:
Descent> Just curious, but why are you always recommending cheap-ass crap brands that no one has ever heard of? Do you have a backdoor warehouse connection in Singapore or something?
It's German :p .
 

Descent

Hella Constipated
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Actually, most of the hardware problems I have are due to user error.

When you're doing lots of tweaks, you tend to overlook stuff.
 

Jung

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It's called not knowing when to leave well enough alone. Hell, I'm still running the same XP install from four years ago. I don't feel the need to tweak things that don't need tweaking, and I know what I'm doing. Sure, my cpu is overclocked, and XP stripped down to a bare minimum, but I knew what I was doing.

Hacking your bios is a prime example of what I'm talkign about; I've never needed to even think about doing that. What do you plan to gain? Personally, I think if you don't know what you're doing, anymore than following some directions on a website, you should probably just leave well enough alone.
 

Diesel

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Descent said:
When you're doing lots of tweaks, you tend to overlook stuff.
Actually, when you're doing tweaks, that's when you're supposed to be extra-methodical. You don't just go changing settings willy-nilly.
You change one thing... monitor. Make another single change... monitor.

If you're overlooking stuff, you're doing it wrong. And by that logic, probably shouldn't be making the changes in the first place.