Want a new mp3 player.

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Want a new mp3 player.

Postposted on Mon Jul 21, 2008 8:46 am

ok, first of all I want a unit with an FM radio built in. So Apple is out.

I am looking for at least 8GB and very portable. So larger 80GB are just too big, plus I don't even have the much music. Video playback isn't needed. As I am not interested and don't watch a lot of TV to begin with.

Right now I am looking at these:

Creative ZEN
SANdisk Sansa FUZE
Zune

Price isn't a major issue, I'd rather go with product I am going to like and be happy with rather then save a buck. Battery life is a plus. Also I don't want software that is going to monopolize my media. I've recently starting using media monkey to manage my collection and I like it a lot. If I have to use it to sync that is fine.

Thoughts, opinions, feelings, there is no wrong answer here. I am currently leaning toward the either the Fuze or the Zune. Creative, well, there is a bad taste in my mouth there, but I might consider it.
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Re: Want a new mp3 player.

Postposted on Mon Jul 21, 2008 9:00 am

I would say go against the flow for an "off" (not that off mind you, it is quite well known if you talk to the right group of people) brand: the Cowon iAudio 7. This is a review that is supposed to show the ridiculous battery life (can't load it right now for some reason).

Edit: Google cached version of the review.
Last edited by Flying Fox on Mon Jul 21, 2008 10:08 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Want a new mp3 player.

Postposted on Mon Jul 21, 2008 9:09 am

Why not a cell phone with those features, and that takes memory sticks?
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Re: Want a new mp3 player.

Postposted on Mon Jul 21, 2008 9:09 am

I have a 4GB Sandisk Sansa which unfortunately is giving up the ghost, it's rebooting/shutting off for no reason. I *was* pretty happy with Sandisk... My Sansa is one of the original versions, and its microSD slot is not "HC" (High Capacity). I was promised a firmware upgrade that they never delivered. They didn't even bother replying to my e-mail asking for an update on that.

I've only ever dropped the player once and that was ages ago. All it does is mostly sit in the car, connected via line-out to the radio, and sometimes it goes with me to the gym (where it's never been dropped). Not very reliable :roll:.

As much as I dislike Apple, it's probably going to be them for the next player, or one of the lesser-known brands. I'm wary of poor interfaces though, it's near impossible to get close to Apple in that regard.
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Re: Want a new mp3 player.

Postposted on Mon Jul 21, 2008 9:11 am

FubbHead wrote:Why not a cell phone with those features, and that takes memory sticks?

He's in the US, dude :lol:

Apart from the iPhone and a couple others, all of their phones are outdated bricks. Ok, I'm exaggerating a bit, but the phone choice in the US absolutely sucks. You can't just pick a phone and get it, the carriers have very limited selection, most of which is crap. A couple of months ago a US friend asked me to recommend a phone and there were only a couple valid choices, after much looking.
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Re: Want a new mp3 player.

Postposted on Mon Jul 21, 2008 9:22 am

FubbHead wrote:Why not a cell phone with those features, and that takes memory sticks?


Cause it is going to be used between my wife and myself, in cars and around the house. A phone isn't going to be useful in this case. My fault for not mentioning that.

But if she is going to travel for the weekend for a conference or something, I would rather not be without my phone. :wink:

And two would be overkill.
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Re: Want a new mp3 player.

Postposted on Mon Jul 21, 2008 9:49 am

z-man wrote:
FubbHead wrote:Why not a cell phone with those features, and that takes memory sticks?


Cause it is going to be used between my wife and myself, in cars and around the house. A phone isn't going to be useful in this case. My fault for not mentioning that.

But if she is going to travel for the weekend for a conference or something, I would rather not be without my phone. :wink:

Well, then I'm not much help. Since I got my K800i, which probably is an outdated brick aswell these days, my other MP3 players have been collecting dust. And then there's the fact that you don't miss calls when the loud music's drowning everything else out. :-)
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Re: Want a new mp3 player.

Postposted on Mon Jul 21, 2008 10:13 am

morphine wrote:
FubbHead wrote:Why not a cell phone with those features, and that takes memory sticks?

He's in the US, dude :lol
LOL. But if by "memory sticks" you mean those Sony M2's, then you are not following the "no proprietary ****" requirement. Micro/Mini SD's are fine.

morphine wrote:You can't just pick a phone and get it, the carriers have very limited selection, most of which is crap.
And the CDMA providers are pretty good in coverage to give up sometimes.

morphine wrote:A couple of months ago a US friend asked me to recommend a phone and there were only a couple valid choices, after much looking.
If he's with the GSM providers you might as well just buy an unlocked one at your place and ship it to him.

FubbHead wrote:Well, then I'm not much help. Since I got my K800i, which probably is an outdated brick aswell these days, my other MP3 players have been collecting dust. And then there's the fact that you don't miss calls when the loud music's drowning everything else out. :-)
Take good care and keep that K800i, the new SE ones are not too good in the stability department. :-?
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Re: Want a new mp3 player.

Postposted on Mon Jul 21, 2008 10:23 am

I say go with the Zen. I have the 8GB one and love it. The screen is really good and bright, I've watched a few recorded shows on it while on the bus to work with no problems. The software is easy to use and straightforward. Battery life is good too. Mine lasts for about 12 hours with the volume at about 1/2 way.

The Zen also has an expansion slot, so you can each keep your own stuff on separate cards.

The best thing is that it can be found pretty cheap at Best Buy or Future Shop. I got mine on sale for $120 just before last Christmas.
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Re: Want a new mp3 player.

Postposted on Mon Jul 21, 2008 10:50 am

Flying Fox wrote:
FubbHead wrote:Well, then I'm not much help. Since I got my K800i, which probably is an outdated brick aswell these days, my other MP3 players have been collecting dust. And then there's the fact that you don't miss calls when the loud music's drowning everything else out. :-)
Take good care and keep that K800i, the new SE ones are not too good in the stability department. :-?

SE is (or was anyway) pretty good with updates to the phones, removing bugs and improving sound and such, I've updated it several times. Recently, I also "hacked" (unbranding/unlocking) it, and when learning how to do that (which was kinda fun in a nerdy kinda' way :-) ) I realized how many mods there are for cell phones these days. Mods that improves sound, photos, look, feel, etc, etc. Never tried any though, the phone is good enough for me as it is, but it's good to know they exist. :-D
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Re: Want a new mp3 player.

Postposted on Mon Jul 21, 2008 2:09 pm

axeman wrote:I like some of the Samsung flash players. Awesome OLED displays and purty interfaces. And best of all no Apple tax. A decent site for info on players is http://www.anythingbutipod.com


Woah I like that Samsung P2 player, but $220 is the best price I can fine. Seems a bit steep for an 8GB player. If it was 16GB probably wouldn't hesitate.

Thanks for the link though I am going to explore it more as I can.
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Re: Want a new mp3 player.

Postposted on Mon Jul 21, 2008 2:54 pm

The ABI site also has a pretty good review on the Cowon iAudio 7.
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Re: Want a new mp3 player.

Postposted on Mon Jul 21, 2008 7:47 pm

What's your price range? For $150 this here Insignia 8GB MP3 player (BestBuy's store brand) covers the bases -- 8GB, non-proprietary SD addon, DigitalFM, Bluetooth...it's about the size and weight of a small cell phone -- click over to "specs" and note the mass and dimensions. Pretty similar to the Cowon unit FlyingFox listed, just without the razzledazzle.

As a party bonus, it includes video playback for numerous popular formats. Even if you don't use that regularly, wait until the next time you're in a small seat on a long airline flight -- a pocket-sized device is really useful for killing the time.

I bought my 4GB version (used) from Fleabay a couple years ago, then added a 2GB microSD card. It's actually a bit larger than this one and omits Bluetooth and the extended video format support; other than the scroll wheel becoming a bit temperatmental from dust buildup, I've never had a problem with it, and have gotten over 5h continuous video playback on a used battery, or far longer with just MP3s.
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Re: Want a new mp3 player.

Postposted on Mon Jul 21, 2008 10:12 pm

ludi wrote:Pretty similar to the Cowon unit FlyingFox listed, just without the razzledazzle.

I don't think that BB house-brand can beat the Cowon in audio quality? But then again who cares about that too much? :P
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Re: Want a new mp3 player.

Postposted on Tue Jul 22, 2008 2:29 am

The audio quality is fine. No high-frequency artifacts, "smearing", or any of the other garbage that comes out of a bad DAC. I also had BB's Insignia MP3-only player with an OLED display for a while -- thing was already tiny three years ago and it sounded fine, too. And the new product revisions keep getting better.

These things are massively undersold, probably because BestBuy doesn't want to canibalize the healthy margins on their iPod products and accessories, but there's no reason why the Insignia media players shouldn't be compared 1:1 on features and price with the other available options. The hardware is solid and the firmware is well-behaved, and flashable bug-fixed firmware updates do get posted on the brand website when they are needed.
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Re: Want a new mp3 player.

Postposted on Tue Jul 22, 2008 7:30 am

I really like my Cowon iAudio 7. The earbuds that are included with the player made me question whether or not I should buy the Shure in-ear monitors I wanted to get. The radio works pretty well, but the controls are a little funny. It seems to want to do presets over scanning, and I haven't figured out how to get it to rescan the presets now that I'm in a new location. But I'm sure if I spent more than two seconds trying to figure it out I wouldn't have those problems.
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Re: Want a new mp3 player.

Postposted on Tue Jul 22, 2008 7:47 am

ludi wrote:The audio quality is fine. No high-frequency artifacts, "smearing", or any of the other garbage that comes out of a bad DAC. I also had BB's Insignia MP3-only player with an OLED display for a while -- thing was already tiny three years ago and it sounded fine, too. And the new product revisions keep getting better.

These things are massively undersold, probably because BestBuy doesn't want to canibalize the healthy margins on their iPod products and accessories, but there's no reason why the Insignia media players shouldn't be compared 1:1 on features and price with the other available options. The hardware is solid and the firmware is well-behaved, and flashable bug-fixed firmware updates do get posted on the brand website when they are needed.

Interesting stuff especially with the Bluetooth thing (not sure if the OP wants BT though). Funny the BestBuy link you posted is not working anymore. :o I have a further question: is it UMS or MTP, or both?

titan wrote:I really like my Cowon iAudio 7. The earbuds that are included with the player made me question whether or not I should buy the Shure in-ear monitors I wanted to get. The radio works pretty well, but the controls are a little funny. It seems to want to do presets over scanning, and I haven't figured out how to get it to rescan the presets now that I'm in a new location. But I'm sure if I spent more than two seconds trying to figure it out I wouldn't have those problems.

Any real life battery life numbers to share?
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Re: Want a new mp3 player.

Postposted on Tue Jul 22, 2008 10:36 am

I'm pissed. Meijer had 30GB Zunes on clearance a while back for $99.
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Re: Want a new mp3 player.

Postposted on Tue Jul 22, 2008 12:30 pm

Flying Fox wrote:Interesting stuff especially with the Bluetooth thing (not sure if the OP wants BT though). Funny the BestBuy link you posted is not working anymore. :o I have a further question: is it UMS or MTP, or both?


Don't know. The older one I've got is both. If the unit is on, reconnecting it to the PC keeps it in the current mode. If it's off, then just set the "Hold" switch to "off" to boot as MTP or "on" to boot as UMS/MSC, and connect to USB. In MTP mode it talks normally to any compatible application -- WMP, Amazon Unbox, Rhapsody, etc.

You can get to the full line of BestBuy media players by navigating through the website to the MP3 players section and then sorting by brand names for "Insignia" (it's set up similar to Newegg's product sorting scheme).
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Re: Want a new mp3 player.

Postposted on Wed Jul 23, 2008 6:31 am

Flying Fox wrote:
titan wrote:I really like my Cowon iAudio 7. The earbuds that are included with the player made me question whether or not I should buy the Shure in-ear monitors I wanted to get. The radio works pretty well, but the controls are a little funny. It seems to want to do presets over scanning, and I haven't figured out how to get it to rescan the presets now that I'm in a new location. But I'm sure if I spent more than two seconds trying to figure it out I wouldn't have those problems.

Any real life battery life numbers to share?

It lasts so long that driving all day doesn't drain it. With a full charge, which takes 2-3hrs from 0% charge, it's about a month before I need to charge it again. I think their quote of 60 hours might actually be conservative.
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Re: Want a new mp3 player.

Postposted on Wed Jul 23, 2008 7:09 am

I should also mention what I think the best feature about the Cowon iAudio 7 is: having the Hold switched to on won't keep me from adjusting the volume.

The volume buttons are on top of the player and I have never had them get pressed accidentally. This isn't to say those buttons are hard to use, but it keeps them from doing unintended volume changes. The Hold switch is also important because the touch interface can be sensitive, and the Hold switch will keep the player from recording an FM station without the user knowing it.
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Re: Want a new mp3 player.

Postposted on Wed Jul 23, 2008 7:21 am

titan wrote:I should also mention what I think the best feature about the Cowon iAudio 7 is: having the Hold switched to on won't keep me from adjusting the volume.

The volume buttons are on top of the player and I have never had them get pressed accidentally. This isn't to say those buttons are hard to use, but it keeps them from doing unintended volume changes. The Hold switch is also important because the touch interface can be sensitive, and the Hold switch will keep the player from recording an FM station without the user knowing it.

Yeah, how finicky is that touch interface? How small are the letters?
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Re: Want a new mp3 player.

Postposted on Wed Jul 23, 2008 7:30 am

Flying Fox wrote:The ABI site also has a pretty good review on the Cowon iAudio 7.


It looks interesting but the biggest gripe seems to be the user interface and/or lack of improvements. Along with the fact it has fallen behind. Also I find the thought of Superior Audio Quality MP3 player to be an oxymoron.

Granted it is in consideration.

The Best Buy player is out of the running...well cause it is a best buy product. Lets just say they've hung me out to dry before, so I am not really interested in dealing with them.
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Re: Want a new mp3 player.

Postposted on Wed Jul 23, 2008 7:36 am

Flying Fox wrote:
titan wrote:I should also mention what I think the best feature about the Cowon iAudio 7 is: having the Hold switched to on won't keep me from adjusting the volume.

The volume buttons are on top of the player and I have never had them get pressed accidentally. This isn't to say those buttons are hard to use, but it keeps them from doing unintended volume changes. The Hold switch is also important because the touch interface can be sensitive, and the Hold switch will keep the player from recording an FM station without the user knowing it.

Yeah, how finicky is that touch interface? How small are the letters?

I'm not the best person to ask about the letters because I have perfect vision. I think the letters are very readable though. At least, I can use it while driving and not leave my lane.

I don't find the interface finicky unless it's been left exposed to the Sun for too long. That was in Texas on very hot days by the way. Also, the sensitivity of the interface can be tweaked.

About the FM radio, it will sometimes drift ever so slightly. It isn't consistent so I can't pinpoint the actual issue, but changing the dial a notch one way and back fixes it for good. Until I turn it off and back on.

There is also a base volume difference between radio playback and file playback. The problem could be with me though as I have changed the way I did my ripping and that has taken care of that.

z-man wrote:
Flying Fox wrote:The ABI site also has a pretty good review on the Cowon iAudio 7.


It looks interesting but the biggest gripe seems to be the user interface and/or lack of improvements. Along with the fact it has fallen behind. Also I find the thought of Superior Audio Quality MP3 player to be an oxymoron.

Granted it is in consideration.

The Best Buy player is out of the running...well cause it is a best buy product. Lets just say they've hung me out to dry before, so I am not really interested in dealing with them.


As for the interface, I think it is excellent. As with any new thing it takes a little getting used to, but it works much in the same manner as other players. Additionally, Cowon actually listens to their users. Every firmware release addresses the concerns and/or WISHES of the users. All that is really needed is to visit the Cowon forum to see that in action.
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Re: Want a new mp3 player.

Postposted on Wed Jul 23, 2008 8:23 am

z-man wrote:It looks interesting but the biggest gripe seems to be the user interface and/or lack of improvements. Along with the fact it has fallen behind.
I have tried it in a shop and yes the interface can be finicky, but overall it is pretty usable, especially once you come to grips with it. Lack of improvements over what? Keep in mind that Cowon's devices have been at the top so there is not much to improve from. At the very least, support for OGG and FLAC is class leading that not a lot of players out there can still catch up, or they choose not to (this is just one point as I know you probably won't care less about those "obscure" formats). That battery life is just ridiculous, and battery life is one of the top things you look for when choosing a mobile device. For the wife or even yourself the relatively smaller letters (compared to say, the Samsung P2) may be an issue, but I would say you have to try one in your hands first before passing final judgement. The iAudio 7 does not have SD card expansion I believe, so that may be a minus in your selection criteria. I don't think you want the D2 since it is also a video player and is slightly larger, but you can look at that too if you are seriously considering the P2.

z-man wrote:Also I find the thought of Superior Audio Quality MP3 player to be an oxymoron.
Unfortunately it depends on so many factors that no one can say if someone is right or wrong on that. When I plug my ancient 256MiB player to a speaker or the car I can definitely tell the output quality sucks compared to say a CD Player plugged into the same output. The earphones are also a factor. Finally the source material is another problem, if all your MP3 files are 128kbps then it is not going to be very good. People from various forums do swear by the differences, but it is up to you I guess.

Prices are also comparable to the Best Buy stuff, at least on Amazon.

The SanDisk players have garnered quite a few good reputation around. However, searching the forums reveal a bunch of little issues and their firmware update is not as good as Cowon. One thing about them though is that some of the earlier Sansa's is hackable with something like Rockbox, which can be better than the original firmware.

Suffice it to say, you can safely stay away from Creative if you like. ;)
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Re: Want a new mp3 player.

Postposted on Wed Jul 23, 2008 9:24 am

morphine wrote:All it does is mostly sit in the car, connected via line-out to the radio, and sometimes it goes with me to the gym (where it's never been dropped).



Theres your problem. It gets VERY VERY hot in a car in the summer. 150-170+F. Solder can melt as low as 190F. You're getting awfully close to that and that could be part of the problem.
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Re: Want a new mp3 player.

Postposted on Wed Jul 23, 2008 10:31 am

Corrado wrote:Theres your problem. It gets VERY VERY hot in a car in the summer. 150-170+F. Solder can melt as low as 190F. You're getting awfully close to that and that could be part of the problem.

It's not sitting out inside the card in sunlight, it's in the glove compartment. I'm not *that* dumb :). Besides, phones and other electronics are usually around there and none seem to have had any issues ever.
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Re: Want a new mp3 player.

Postposted on Wed Jul 23, 2008 11:48 am

Corrado wrote:Theres your problem. It gets VERY VERY hot in a car in the summer. 150-170+F. Solder can melt as low as 190F.


Most cars peak at around 140F ambient air temperature with dark exterior paint (obviously surfaces in direct sunlight can get far hotter...ever see a melted CD?). They tested this one on MythBusters and that corresponds to what I've seen in 100F+ days in Colorado. The most common solder alloys used in the electronics industry melt around 350F (180C) or higher, and RoHS-compliant alloys usually run hotter still.

Most electronics will store safely in a closed car provided they are out of direct sunlight; only the battery may be adversely affected over time. If stored IN direct sunlight, or run at elevated temperatures, then all bets are off...

z-man wrote:The Best Buy player is out of the running...well cause it is a best buy product. Lets just say they've hung me out to dry before, so I am not really interested in dealing with them.


Your choice and your loss :-? I know BB has a lot of crap floating around in their store-brand stuff, but these players ain't it.
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Re: Want a new mp3 player.

Postposted on Wed Jul 23, 2008 2:07 pm

Flying Fox wrote:Unfortunately it depends on so many factors that no one can say if someone is right or wrong on that. When I plug my ancient 256MiB player to a speaker or the car I can definitely tell the output quality sucks compared to say a CD Player plugged into the same output. The earphones are also a factor. Finally the source material is another problem, if all your MP3 files are 128kbps then it is not going to be very good. People from various forums do swear by the differences, but it is up to you I guess.


My point is that unless it is 320kpbs I can hear a difference. However for the sake of portability and convenience I don't mind mp3s, but I know information and sound is lost with a lossy compression format...sooooo...I just find claim a bit silly. Still it isn't going to sway me from not considering it.
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Re: Want a new mp3 player.

Postposted on Sat Jul 26, 2008 5:57 pm

I spend a lot of time driving and have been getting more and more into podcasts to help pass the time so I have been looking for another mp3 player. I might have to go back on what I said and get a HDD based one.

On topic z-man if you are thinking of getting a zune go download the software and try it before you buy. I have been debating iPod versus Zune and decided to check out the zune software. The zune software is quite possibly the biggest abortion i have seen in my life. It is not user friendly at all.
Hance
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