General Question

wenbert's avatar

What MP3 player would you buy? Excluding the IPods.

Asked by wenbert (311points) September 9th, 2008

I’m planning to buy a non-ipod mp3 player. Flash memory ONLY. no hard disks since i’m a bit clumsy. Ipods are great, but i don’t like itunes and i could probably get something with bigger space for the same price.

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55 Answers

kristianbrodie's avatar

My experience has been that nothing comes close to the ease of use, the user-friendly interface and the simplicity that you get with an iPod. Are you sure you want to go elsewhere?

jrpowell's avatar

New iPods and iTunes in the morning 10AM PST. You might want to see what they offer. Rumors are big price drops.

wenbert's avatar

yes i have thought about that. i do not need much the user-friendly interface. i am more of a “random” listener than going thru the folders, etc. my brothers and sister have ipods and i noticed that i do not use the wheel that much…

what i am looking for is the biggest space i can get for the price of an ipod… it has to be durable and reliable. i don’t care how ugly it looks since im just going to put in inside my pocket :D

for itunes, i haven’t bought a single song from there. i live in the philippines and the internet here (at home) is really shitty.

jrpowell's avatar

I would probably buy this if I didn’t have an iPod Touch.

cooksalot's avatar

I don’t know what could be as good. I do know I would never buy another Zen Stone. Absolutely no control as to where you are in the audio book. But I couldn’t afford anything else, and the ipod doesn’t work with audio books from the library.

wenbert's avatar

my cousin suggested this: http://us.creative.com/products/product.asp?category=213&subcategory=214&product=16999
has anyone had first-hand experience in using this product?

Lightlyseared's avatar

If I didnt have an ipod I would probably go with something from Sony. But then I would be disappointed by the Sony software.

If you don’t like itunes there are a load of other ipod managers out there that offer more features.

DandyDear711's avatar

I recently bought my husband a Cowon D2 4GB (same thing JohnPowell recommended). It has bookmarking capabilities so you can mark where you left off… Great if you like to listen to audiobooks. It has a long battery life. I have trouble seeing some of the fine print on its touchscreen but I have old lady eyes. I don’t know how easy to use if you are working out at the gym or running and want to change songs without looking.

We went to the drive in a couple of weeks ago and I hooked it up to a speaker. I tuned it to the FM station for the movie and got excellent sound in the back seat. Made the movies much more exciting!

Here is the speaker I used but I only paid $15 on ebay….
http://www.amazon.com/Logitech-970174–0403-Logitech%C2%AE-Portable-Speakers/dp/B000AM6QH4/ref=sr_1_11?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1220966270&sr=1–11

BTW – I love my 3rd generation Ipod Nano 4 GB. It is really easy to use… especially without looking!

sndfreQ's avatar

I’ve had good luck with Haier’s Ibiza Rhapsody; in addition to loading store-bought and personal DRM-free media, it also has a wi-fi antenna for connecting to the Internet, and best of all is compatible with Rhapsody unlimited. If you’re into subscriptions, their plan has you pay $14.99 per month for unlimited downloads direct to the player-and they have over 8 million songs in their catalog. I myself have downloaded over 4000 tracks to the player since my purchase back in June, and have paid a legal fee to lease them of $45. The player comes in at just over $200 for a 4GB Flash (although I opted for a 30GB disk version for a bit more $), has A2DP bluetooth, FM radio, plays movies, and is comparable to Zune, but is aluminum throughout.

cooksalot's avatar

Well @Dandy I’ll look into the Cowon. It really bites when the stone loses it’s place and your 6 hours into an 10 hour book. The fast forward on the stone S***S because it cramps your finger then messes up and starts the book from the top again. Last time I let it run all night and an hour or so after I woke up just so I could get to where I was when it a child came along and played with it. ARRRRRGGGGG!!!!!!!

MooKoo's avatar

A Zune. I had an iPod before and I have to agree that the software for it is really horrendous. I didn’t like it at all, plus occasionally I would find that some of my songs would just randomly disappear from my library. Another friend had this same problem, and opted for the Zune. I fell in love with it immediately, and went out and purchased one for myself. Haven’t had any problems out of it, and the software is just as phenomenal. The 1st Generation, the 30GB ones, use a hard disk I believe. The new generation, the ones with the touchpad, are flash based. Hope I was able to help!

boxing's avatar

You can always read CNET’s reviews before committing.

http://reviews.cnet.com/best-mp3-players/?tag=leftColumnArea1.0

dalepetrie's avatar

I really like the Zune as well, being a PC guy (I’m an Accountant, and we just haven’t switched to Macs, at least not yet), I like the fact that it’s not proprietary, i.e., I don’t have to convert everything to iPod format or buy it from iTunes. I know that’s less of a problem on the newer generation iPods, I just like the way it looks, the big bright screen, the interface, the file formats, etc.

poofandmook's avatar

I love my Zune. Incidentally, my Zune is first generation hardware, not flash, and I’ve dropped it in parking lots, dropped my bag right on it, it’s slid off my seat right smack into the door, accidentally fallen onto the kitchen floor, and it has yet to give me a single problem. The new ones are flash memory though.

dalepetrie's avatar

Same here, 1st gen…good idea to get a used one of Craig’s List since I don’t think they even make the 30gb anymore. I plan to step up to an 80 when they drop the price, hopefully that will happen today when iPods set new price points.

cwilbur's avatar

You don’t need to “convert everything to Apple format”—iPods play MP3s too.

Frankly, if I didn’t have an iPod, I’d probably still be using CDs.

poofandmook's avatar

@cwilbur: they used to only be in their format, which was the main reason that us non-iPod users ever bought other brands of mp3 player. Until you said that, I didn’t even know that the iPod was adapted in later versions to play mp3s.

dalepetrie's avatar

I thought I’d heard that iPods could play MP3s now, but I wasn’t sure, thanks.

cwilbur's avatar

Er, no, poofandmook, the first iPod was entirely capable of playing MP3s.

Please don’t spread nonsense and lies.

poofandmook's avatar

@cwilbur: Please don’t be an jerk. There was no need for your attitude over something as silly as what an iPod can do. Get a grip.

cwilbur's avatar

My attitude? I asked you not to spread nonsense and lies.

If your information about iPods’ capabilities is wrong, it’s nonsense. If you know it’s wrong and spread it anyway, it’s a lie. You could verify it online with a simple web search; you didn’t.

Either way, repeating it means spreading nonsense and lies. Don’t do that.

dalepetrie's avatar

Well, at offending you cwilbur, I do know that my wife has one of those stick iPods, the predecessors to the Nanos, it’s about 512MB, and she HAS to convert MP3 files to the Apple format to load them. I had also read about this a long time ago, and I thought I’d heard some iPod advertising a few years ago to the effect of “now you can get your music anywhere.” I know for a while if you had an iPod you pretty much had to convert or buy from Apple, that SPECIFICALLY was my MAIN reason for not getting one. So I’m not really sure where the assertion that the first iPod could play MP3’s comes from as I own one that does NOT have this capability, and I know for a fact that the first iPods were completely proprietary. So, I find poofandmook’s statement that “the main reaon that us non-iPod users never bought” them to be factually acurate, not the spreading of lies, for what it’s worth, and before I’d call anyone a liar, realize that if we are both wrong on this (though I don’t think we are), it’s an honest mistake. If you would like to prove your point, please provide some evidence before suggesting that someone is lying. You say you can verify it online with a simple websearch, please point me to the link, because it was an actual advertising point for competitors that this MP3 player could use say eMusic, iPods could not, this MP3 player could play MP3s, iPod could not, etc. Unless all the tech magazines I read a few years ago were wrong and all of the competitors were spreading blatant lies which Apple decided not to sue over, and unless whomever wrote the press release about the next gen iPods having these capabilities was on LSD, I think you are the one spreading nonsense. Prove me wrong and I’ll be stunned beyond words, but I’ll take it back.

dalepetrie's avatar

BTW, I’m guessing that the problem here is symantics. I believe you have always been able to play MP3s through iTunes, but you HAD to use iTunes, and essentially iTunes had to convert them to a format playable on iPods. That’s what we have to do with my wife’s stick iPod. Trust me, to those of us who would rather not buy something proprietary, being forced to use proprietary software to convert our files into a format that then won’t be playable on other MP3 players was a pretty big deal breaker.

cwilbur's avatar

Your wife is wrong, dalepetrie. What she’s probably thinking of and misconstruing is the option to convert songs to 128Kbps AAC. But even AAC isn’t a proprietary format, any more than MP3 is.

iPod shuffle, first generation, specifications: http://support.apple.com/kb/SP51

To wit, under “Audio Support”: MP3 (8 to 320 Kbps), MP3 VBR, AAC (8 to 320 Kbps), Protected AAC (from iTunes Music Store, M4A, M4B, M4P), Audible (formats 2, 3, and 4) and WAV

Original iPod specifications: http://support.apple.com/kb/SP103

To wit, under “Audio”: Audio formats supported: MP3 (up to 320 Kbps), MP3 Variable Bit Rate (VBR), WAV, AIFF

Further, the iTunes Music Store actually came out around the time of the third generation of iPods—do you really think that people bought iPods and just sat around waiting for 2 or 3 years until they could buy songs from Apple? Utter nonsense.

dalepetrie's avatar

OK, I think I understand the problem here. I’ll concede based on your evidence that straight MP3s could be played on the iPod, however, you did have to load them through Apple’s iTunes software (or whatever it was called before they introduced their music store…clearly I did not think, nor did I imply that people just sat around for 3 years waiting to be able to buy music). But iPod has always had its AAC format which its software converts say ripped CDs to as the preferred format, and any music with any sort of DRM unless it was Apple’s DRM is unplayable on the iPod (or was). It’s essentially an argument about symantics….so to rephrase what poofandmook and I said, we bought Zunes because we were able to play more file formats on them than we were on the iPods, given how we use our Windows based PCs. Fair enough?

boxing's avatar

Impartial to the heated atmosphere here, I here confirm that cwilbur is right about iPod being able to play .mp3 songs.

The real issue with iPod is the WMA format with DRM, which was the format chosen by a lot of music stores until a year or so ago. MP3 songs are unprotected, so iPods can play it. People often are confused between mp3 as a generic term for digital music and the .mp3 file format.

Lately many stores have switched to selling unprotected .mp3 files, like walmart and amazon, even Apple is selling unprotected songs at a higher price.

So, the benefit to choose an alternative is really to be able to play DRM WMA files, and to be able to shop elsewhere other than iTunes. But nowadays the benefit is less significant. I guess the other stores are trying to lure iPod customers, or they finally realized DRM was hurting sales more than the benefit of fighting copyright infringers.

However, the MP3 format itself has gone through many changes, it is quite common when a mp3 file can not be played in iPod without being converted in iTunes software.

Assuming the version of decoder in your iPod is compatiable with the encoder of the mp3 files you are using, you do not have to go through iTunes software either. You can simply drag and drop the files from your hard drive to iPod in your computer.

You know who the worst player in the mp3 player business is? Sony.

Sony was the only one who did not support the .mp3 format from the beginning, only to find out they had to later.

MooKoo's avatar

I had a 2nd Generation Nano, and it played MP3’s if I recall correctly, but I do remember the software asking me if I wanted to convert it to a different format, and when I went to rip a CD, it would always put it in it’s own format. What’s wrong with just letting us use the standard MP3? It was just irritating is all. Also, both my friend’s Nano, and my Nano froze up occasionally. Really really obnoxious there, sometime the only way to get it going again is to plug it into a computer, which is kinda’ hard to come by on long trips. Grrr… I’ll also add that my sisters battery failed in her Nano, and it took forever to get that replaced. I really don’t see what all the hype is about the iPod, it was just the first really great portable music player I believe, but the first isn’t always the best. =/

I’d like to add to what ‘poofandmook’ has said about the beating his/her 30GB Zune has taken, completely true. I probably give my Zune one real good drop every week, not on purpose of course, it just happens, and it’s bound to happen. Still no problems out of it.

I may sound like a fanboy, and I don’t try to be, but if I am, it’s because of this fine piece of technology. lol

boxing's avatar

The first generation of Zune is not much a hit though, critics almost trashed it into 10-foot deep mud, While the second generation (and now 3rd) is a definite great product.

poofandmook's avatar

@boxing: I have found 2 problems with my first gen Zune, and one of them isn’t the Zune, but the software: a) the shuffle feature is poor… 1900 tracks and I seem to hear the same things every day. b) the screen is prone to static electricitiy and zaps you through your headphones into your ears. The latter was fixed with the new ones I believe.

boxing's avatar

@poofandmook, I believe a firmware update should improve the shuffle feature in 1st generation of Zune.

poofandmook's avatar

@boxing: really? I thought I was up-to-date with all the firmware updates… maybe I need to check again. (I said software when I meant firmware. Oops.)

boxing's avatar

Well, it could be that, even with update the feature still sucks! ;-)

dalepetrie's avatar

Thanks boxing for clarifying the problems we were having between the MP3 and DRM free WMA and what not.

As for my Zune, I’ll agree the shuffle feature isn’t ideal. I have about 500 albums from about 100 artists on mine, and if I were to try to track the first say 25 songs, even though there are 100 artists, I’d be lucky to get songs by a dozen different artists…I’ve had it play the same artist 4 songs in a row. Sure it might be someone with a dozen albums, but still.

That and I DO ocassionally get a freezeup or have it reset on me…minor and infrequent inconvenience, but like everyone else, it’s been dropped…a LOT.

poofandmook's avatar

@dalepetrie: Mine always used to reset, and then I found out it was the static electricity. One of those rubber sheaths helps.

dalepetrie's avatar

thanks poofandmook, I’ll give that a try!

boxing's avatar

if I read correctly, firmware version 1.4 is supposed to improve the randomness. If you have that already, well…...

poofandmook's avatar

@boxing: actually, now that I think of it, I probably only did a firmware update if it said I had to in order to continue using it. I’ll check for any others when I get home!

cwilbur's avatar

@dalepetrie: er, no, it’s not a question of semantics. It’s a question of objective fact.

Scroll up this page to where you say such things as:

* my wife has one of those stick iPods, the predecessors to the Nanos, it’s about 512MB, and she HAS to convert MP3 files to the Apple format to load them.

(In fact, a citation directly from Apple’s website shows this is a misunderstanding on her part.)

* I know for a while if you had an iPod you pretty much had to convert or buy from Apple, that SPECIFICALLY was my MAIN reason for not getting one. So I’m not really sure where the assertion that the first iPod could play MP3’s comes from as I own one that does NOT have this capability, and I know for a fact that the first iPods were completely proprietary.

(I have just shown you a link that shows that the original iPod supported MP3s. I don’t know where your delusion that the first iPods were completely proprietary comes from, but it needs to go back there.)

* If you would like to prove your point, please provide some evidence before suggesting that someone is lying. You say you can verify it online with a simple websearch, please point me to the link, because it was an actual advertising point for competitors that this MP3 player could use say eMusic, iPods could not, this MP3 player could play MP3s, iPod could not, etc.

(I have proven my point by showing you a direct link to Apple’s site.)

* Prove me wrong and I’ll be stunned beyond words, but I’ll take it back.

Well, I proved you wrong, and you took nothing back; instead, you decided it was a question of semantics.

Instead of “rephrasing” and claiming “it’s just a matter of semantics,” own up to your mistakes. You claimed that iPods only recently acquired the ability to play MP3s; you were demonstrated to be wrong. You claimed that the original iPod shuffle could not play MP3s; you were demonstrated to be wrong.

Now you’re trying to feed me a line of BS about how “it supports more formats.” I’m not buying that for a moment, because you didn’t know what formats it supported in the first place.

You said you’d take it back; you didn’t. NOW you are a liar.

You have every right to not like the iPod. Just don’t feed me a line of bullshit about compatibility and file formats, and then claim it’s an error of semantics when you are objectively demonstrated to be wrong.

@MooKoo: AAC produces better sound quality at the same bit rate than MP3, and is just as open a standard. If you don’t like it, in the iTunes Preferences screen there’s an option to select MP3 instead.

@boxing: er, the WMA format is a complete debacle. Songs bought under Microsoft’s PlaysForSure initiative won’t play on the Zune. Songs bought in the Zune marketplace won’t play on other WMA devices.

Further, the MP3 format has not gone through any changes at all, and I defy you to come up with a syntactically valid MP3 file that needs to be reencoded for iTunes to play it.

The level of bullshit in this thread is just astounding. One hopes that if this continues, Fluther will issue hip waders to all members.

dalepetrie's avatar

Cwilbur,

being nasty won’t make you any friends or solve anything. I said I’d take it back and I did by saying, and I quote…

“I’ll concede based on your evidence that straight MP3s could be played on the iPod”

I never lied, I misunderstood. I did what I said I would do.

Stop being such a fucking asshole.

cwilbur's avatar

You said, and I quote: “OK, I think I understand the problem here. I’ll concede based on your evidence that straight MP3s could be played on the iPod, however, you did have to load them through Apple’s iTunes software”

This is hardly “taking it back.” This is attempting to befuddle the issue, and turn it into an error of semantics rather than an error of fact—and, worse, it compounds it with a further error of fact.

DandyDear711's avatar

((((Hello)))) – I would like to ask another question here amongst the bickering….

I have a 3rd generation ipod and I find that when I use shuffle play , stop, and then start a new shuffle play session, I get a lot of repetition of songs I heard on my previous session… Do you have that problem too?

dalepetrie's avatar

If I’m befuddling the issue, it’s because I didn’t understand it. As you’ll see how I specifically thanked Boxing for clarifying what was the source of my misunderstanding (not lying, misunderstanding) of what the real issue was, I thought it had to do with proprietary file formats, moreso than proprietary software. I was wrong. I admit it. I’ve strived to correct it by rephrasing what I said.

I stand by my original point that I didn’t want to buy and iPod. That is true. I made this decision because it didn’t work as well with the way I use my PC as would another media player. This is also true. No one lied, no one tried to smear the iPod, and hey, even if there were a lie about what something USED to be able to do or not, so the fuck what? You can’t buy the ones in question any more, so I don’t understand why you’ve got your panties in a wad about a mistake. We bow to your greater technical expertise on the issue, OK, happy now?

Still doesn’t mean you have to be a prick about it.

cwilbur's avatar

As noted elsethread, I’m f@#$ing sick and tired about people spreading bullshit. I’m far more interested in eliminating bullshit than I am in making friends, and there was a great galumphing heap of bullshit in this thread that needed dealing with.

If me delivering a verbal smackdown to you means that a few readers realize that you were posting bullshit, whether you realized it or not at the time, then my goal’s accomplished. If it makes you think twice about the accuracy of what you’re posting in future, even better.

poofandmook's avatar

seriously, if I ever drag something out like this, someone, just send me this thread and I’ll know there are people more sick than I

MooKoo's avatar

Okay okay, this is getting a little out of hand. I just downloaded the iTunes software to see what it is like now. It’s been a while since I’ve used it. Right out of the box, it still isn’t that great in my opinion, and I see where all of the ruckus is coming from. Just go to the preferences and you can make it all sunshiney for just about anyone. Default settings, which most people don’t bother changing, are a pain to a lot of people and just aren’t that great. It’s extremely biased which a lot of people don’t like. After looking around in the preferences area, a lot of these problems can be fixed.

Still though, Apple, make it non-biased out of the box, makes a better first impression. =)

boxing's avatar

cwilbur, you are correct on the mp3 standard itself that has not changed based on my further research on this.

You know, my knowledge could only take me that far and I thank you for correcting me.

Some users have expressed in some forums that their mp3 files can not be played in ipod, but after they converted them to ACC, the songs became playable. But maybe, their files were not syntactically correct to begin with, but why a conversion can make it playable is beyond my current knowhow.

Or maybe the fault is on either the encoder or the decoder? Could it be the case that some decoders are more forgiving, or some decoders do not support certain things in the standard? It this is the case, should I say that the actual implementation of the MP3 format by an individual company can change over time?

boxing's avatar

@MooKoo, I have a friend who absolutely is a music maniac, but he only got into digital download not long ago.

He asked me what online music stores were available, I gave him some choices, like Walmart, Amazon, iTunes, eMusic, Rhapsody, Yahoo and MSN. Now MSN and Yahoo no longer sell songs directly.

He loved MSN to begin with, then he got into Walmart, then during a period of time when Walmart was going through changes to mp3 format, the song choices became limited, he then got into Amazon’s service.

But he never likes iTunes. I don’t see any wrong with iTunes, but I can’t blame him.

MooKoo's avatar

@boxing: Zune has a store as well, the Zune Marketplace. I really like it, but Amazon is probably my favorite. You should tell him to look into Amazon, it’s one of my favorite places to get music, besides the Marketplace. The only reason the Zune Marketplace beats it is because it’s right there in the software, quick and easy.

boxing's avatar

Amazon is my favorite too and he does enjoy using it now. One thing about him is that he is no ordinary music fan – he is practically a library.

jrpowell's avatar

@MooKoo

“Microsoft announced that as of August 31, 2008, PlaysForSure content from their retired MSN Music store would need to be licensed to play before this date or burned permanently to CD.”

I have little faith in any media that is wrapped in DRM. That is why I like the store at Amazon. And this rules… http://twitter.com/amazonmp3

edit :: and cwilber was actually factually correct in everything he said. There was a whole bunch of bullshit in this thread and he wasn’t the one saying it.

dalepetrie's avatar

johnpowell, he may have been factually correct about everything he said about the iPod. He wasn’t factually correct in referring to me and poofandmook as liars, we were mistaken, not lying. I hope you get that distinction.

jrpowell's avatar

Oh.. I get the distinction.

MooKoo's avatar

@johnpowell: I as well, that’s why I say I love Amazon’s MP3 store. When I do buy from Zune, you can bet that I take the time to rid myself of that DRM. I bought and payed for it, it’s my property. It’s like going and buying a album, but without the burning of gas, more time out of my day, and waiting in line. =)

boxing's avatar

Yahoo did the same thing, somehow I did buy some songs from the now deceased Yahoo music store, I had to burn and rip again. What a pain.

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