Dr. Damage asks: Which MP3 players sound best?

— 3:03 PM on December 2, 2000

I was messing around last night with a couple of PCs here, comparing speaker systems while playing MP3s, and it suddenly became abundantly clear to me that Winamp 2.65 sounded horrid compared to Microsoft's Windows Media Player. With Winamp, it almost sound like we had a blown speaker—lots of distortion where it didn't belong—while Media Player was crystal clear.

This discovery clarifies a lot of things, including why my new Aiwa CDC-MP3 in my car sounds so much better than what I'm used to hearing on a PC. Winamp's MP3 decoder just ain't up to snuff.

Now, I have no intention of putting up with MS's Media Player interface for any length of time, but I'm not sure which other MP3 players are worthy of attention. I'm trying out Sonique right now, and it already sounds better than Winamp to my ear. But maybe there are some newer or better options out there. Anyone have any suggestions?

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