Author Topic: What's the best portable music player out there?  (Read 681 times)

Offline Morgbug

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What's the best portable music player out there?
« on: December 26, 2004, 09:31 PM »
Everyone loves their Ipod, no doubt about it.  But recently I've been reading a bit (subjective stuff, nothing definitive) about the Dell Digital Jukebox.  Now RobL chimed in about the Sony Network HD Digital Walkman at 20 GB.  So now we have three choices, all by reputable brand names. 

Not sure on the pricing of the Sony, but Rob's statement
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...but if you will only be recording from CD, want top quality at high compression and you want the smallest HDD player out there at the moment, then go for the Sony).
pretty well describes what I'm after. 

MP3 sounds a little muddy to me, but that might be my Sony MiniDisc player I currently use.  It's nice enough and keeps me happy with the assorted discs I can make for working out, but obviously it is limited.  Is it the player or the format?  Seem to have lost a lot of the dynamic range in the sound?

Ipod's are, obviously, IT right now.  Huge marketing campaign and seemingly, by all reports, a very well made product.  One drawback is that you can only transfer music from one computer once the software is installed, is this indeed the case?  Any conflicts with Windoze software occurring? 

Dell is obviously a huge player and their 20 GB player comes in at about $100 less, not an insubstantial amount.  Is the user interface as friendly as the Ipod?  Oprah  ::) recommends this one, just about enough to send me screaming the other way, but I'll try and keep my biases out of it.  I haven't seen much more than subjective criticism of Dell's player - Dell is a bigger company (???)...copycat...not as well done as Ipod - but nothing that is really based much in fact?  Is the product too new? 

How does the Sony compare?  Aaaaaaargh!  Too many choices.  What sayeth the audiophiles?
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Offline jokabofe

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Re: What's the best portable music player out there?
« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2004, 09:58 PM »
Well, I honestly think that unless someone out there has actually used all 3, you won't get a definitive answer. But I'll tell you what I think ;)

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MP3 sounds a little muddy to me, but that might be my Sony MiniDisc player I currently use.  It's nice enough and keeps me happy with the assorted discs I can make for working out, but obviously it is limited.  Is it the player or the format?  Seem to have lost a lot of the dynamic range in the sound?

What bitrate are you encoding your files at? The higher the bitrate, the better the quality - but the larger the file size as well. I usually like to encode my mp3 files to at least 256mbp, sometimes even 320mbp. And now that I've got the 40GB iPod, 320 isn't a problem as far as storage goes.

My old player was a Rio with a 1GB SD card, so I was only encoding at about 192, which is "supposedly" CD quality, although I would argue with that. Sound quality was passable, but with the "limited" amount of space, I really didn't have much choice. At that bitrate, I was getting around 200 - 225 songs on there at a time.

Since I've never used the Sony (and haven't even seen the Dell player), I can't really give you any serious info on them. We do have the Sony one where I work, and it looks like a very nice piece of equipment. Smaller than the iPod, comes with a docking station... weighs very little. But I didn't get a chance to test it, boss said something about not being able to take it home and play with it unless I paid for it? He's an *******...

As for the iPod - I've been playing with it since yesterday, and quite honestly - I'm not impressed (but don't tell my Mom that ;) ). I really thought it would be... I don't know.... nicer? I mean, it's nice and all, but it's got some quirks to it. For one thing - the font used on it sucks. I've seen that the new iPod Photo players use a nicer font (and a color screen), but the price is also quite a bit more because of the color screen. The display options aren't very many, and when your track title is scrolling across the screen (if it doesn't fit on the screen at one time) - forget about reading what it says, it ain't gonna happen. The text gets very fuzzy while it's moving.

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Ipod's are, obviously, IT right now.  Huge marketing campaign and seemingly, by all reports, a very well made product.  One drawback is that you can only transfer music from one computer once the software is installed, is this indeed the case?  Any conflicts with Windoze software occurring?

I've got the iTunes software hooked up on both of my PC's (since I had some of mp3 collection on each PC and wanted all of them on the pod) and was able to switch between them pretty easily. And aside from the fact that my PC's are old and slow (PII 300mHz and AMD 1GHz processors) and it takes forever to load all the songs in, I haven't really had any major issues with anything.

I know that probably didn't help much, but hey - what else do you want for free? I would say just do as much research as you can, and try and talk to as many different people that own the different players about the concerns and questions that you have. I'm sure that Dell and Sony probably have forums somewhere that users of both of those products can be found. There is an iPod forum where you can connect to iPod users, and I'm sure you can ask around for some info, both good and bad, on all three of your choices.

Good luck :)