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IRG
11-03-2004, 07:26 AM
I am in the market for a new MP3 player, and have been doing a fair amount of research on cnet and other sites. Obviously the iPod is the favorite. I have never downloaded music before, and would like to, plus I would like to rip the cds I own now to a mp3 player. I realize that the format is compressed and the sound quality is not as good. However, I also realize that I rarely get to listen to my own music anymore (2 young kids, not enough time, etc) and that the time I spend walking/driving could be better used spent listening to music. Plus I find that I rarely buy new music lately, and using a service like musicmatch or itunes would help me expand my offerings.

So choices at the moment are the 4th generation ipod (20gig hard drive) at about $299 or the Creative Zen Touch, same size hard drive, about $229 at J&R Music World. Both get real good reviews at Cnet.

I will be using the mp3 player with a new Windows based Pentium4 computer (need to buy that too) so one consideration, is that if I buy an ipod, I basically have to use itunes, correct? Whereas if I buy the Creative, I can't use itunes (or can I?) but I can use all of the other music service available.

The ipod seems to have a ton of accessories, not sure if the Creative does or not. Which mp3 player would you buy? And why? Budget is about $300 for this purchase. Quality of sound, ease of use and dependability are important factors to me. Any owners of mp3 players, I would appreciate your comments. Thanks.

plextor guy
11-03-2004, 08:06 AM
Combined with iTunes it's a well thought out, user friendly and high quality package. Given the choice between a Zen Touch and iPod, I'd go iPod primarily because of the scroll wheel interface. It's a pleasure to use. If you buy the iPod, check out a program called Ephpod. It's an alternative to iTunes that lets you offload from the iPod to a computer, something iTunes won't let you do. It's free too. http://www.ephpod.com/ There are many accessories for the iPod from companies such as Griffin Technolgy, Belkin and others. I have a 2nd gen iPod and like it a lot. My only real complaint is battery life but the latest iPods do a little better. If you don't need the capacity of the iPod and the slightly bulkier form factor, consider the Rio Carbon. Smaller, lighter, drag and drop simplicity, Audible compatible, great battery life and a quality look and feel. I use the Carbon far more than the iPod because of it's form factor. Much easier to carry, much longer battery life. It can be had from Amazon for about 200 bucks. If you need the capacity of the iPod, check out iRiver product. Far more sophisticated than the iPod with a slightly less user friendly form factor. High end iRiver players are approximately iPod size with color screens and with video playback capability. If you're looking for a painless and high quality solution though, the iPod is hard to beat.

IRG
11-03-2004, 12:03 PM
Combined with iTunes it's a well thought out, user friendly and high quality package. Given the choice between a Zen Touch and iPod, I'd go iPod primarily because of the scroll wheel interface. It's a pleasure to use. If you buy the iPod, check out a program called Ephpod. It's an alternative to iTunes that lets you offload from the iPod to a computer, something iTunes won't let you do. It's free too. http://www.ephpod.com/ There are many accessories for the iPod from companies such as Griffin Technolgy, Belkin and others. I have a 2nd gen iPod and like it a lot. My only real complaint is battery life but the latest iPods do a little better. If you don't need the capacity of the iPod and the slightly bulkier form factor, consider the Rio Carbon. Smaller, lighter, drag and drop simplicity, Audible compatible, great battery life and a quality look and feel. I use the Carbon far more than the iPod because of it's form factor. Much easier to carry, much longer battery life. It can be had from Amazon for about 200 bucks. If you need the capacity of the iPod, check out iRiver product. Far more sophisticated than the iPod with a slightly less user friendly form factor. High end iRiver players are approximately iPod size with color screens and with video playback capability. If you're looking for a painless and high quality solution though, the iPod is hard to beat.

I'll check out that site. So if I understand correctly, when you download songs from iTunes to your iPod, you can't (without this program) move these songs from ipod to computer hard drive, correct? And if I can move them to my hard drive, I should then be able to burn them to a cdr for use in a cd player, like my car. Is this correct? The quality would not be as good, since it is going from compression form to a cdr.

Can you use iTunes to download a song to a cdr? Or is it intended only to be downloadable to an ipod? Still learning here. I like the new limited edition iPods in black and red. Pretty sharp. I wil check out iRiver too. Thanks, irg

uzibear
11-03-2004, 02:22 PM
itunes has something called "fair-play" or fairshare, or something. basically, you can only burn items from your itunes library so many times. the way around this is to burn it to cd-rw, and re-rip it back to itunes. of course, that sort of destroys the point of itunes in the first place. itunes is a simple and effective and intuitive way to keep your music, but i would strongly advise you not to buy music from itunes music store. why? because it will only give you a compressed lossy aac format, that in that form can only be played on itunes and ipod. the problem is that, you'll never be able to have a copy in lossless format. if you rip it to a new codec, it will be even worse quality as it will take the aac file and through out more "data", to fit the other lossy codec's algorithim. there isn't an alternative for online downloading that is good enough at all yet in my opinion. if you could find somewhere to download lossless music (say, FLAC or apple lossless- itunes won't play FLAC), that might work, but i'd say; go to half.com or some other used music site, and buy cd's. you don't want to have a bunch of music in a format that has the quality reduced. with a cd, you can always burn it to whatever new and wonderful codec comes out. blah blah blah, i think you see my point

plextor guy
11-03-2004, 04:53 PM
I'll check out that site. So if I understand correctly, when you download songs from iTunes to your iPod, you can't (without this program) move these songs from ipod to computer hard drive, correct? And if I can move them to my hard drive, I should then be able to burn them to a cdr for use in a cd player, like my car. Is this correct? The quality would not be as good, since it is going from compression form to a cdr.

Can you use iTunes to download a song to a cdr? Or is it intended only to be downloadable to an ipod? Still learning here. I like the new limited edition iPods in black and red. Pretty sharp. I wil check out iRiver too. Thanks, irg

It's a good ipod sight and will be able to answer all your questions. http://www.ipodlounge.com/ It gets a little involved but basically you can't move protected content (ie music purchased from iTunes) off your ipod to a computer. And even if you could, the computer would have to be 'authorized', as one of three (I believe) computers you're allowed to use. There was a plugin for iTunes prior to version 4.7 that would let you do this but 4.7 nixed that. Bottom line is that Apple has a good fair use policy. You can burn the same play list to cdr up to three times, use up to three computers. Not sure how many iPods you're allowed. It's been a while since I've looked into this. Check iPod Lounge. The forum at that site is full of helpful people. Most people won't be able to tell the difference between a cd burned from iTunes content and a retail cd. The sound quality is good to excellent in my experience.

IRG
11-05-2004, 05:56 AM
It's a good ipod sight and will be able to answer all your questions. http://www.ipodlounge.com/ It gets a little involved but basically you can't move protected content (ie music purchased from iTunes) off your ipod to a computer. And even if you could, the computer would have to be 'authorized', as one of three (I believe) computers you're allowed to use. There was a plugin for iTunes prior to version 4.7 that would let you do this but 4.7 nixed that. Bottom line is that Apple has a good fair use policy. You can burn the same play list to cdr up to three times, use up to three computers. Not sure how many iPods you're allowed. It's been a while since I've looked into this. Check iPod Lounge. The forum at that site is full of helpful people. Most people won't be able to tell the difference between a cd burned from iTunes content and a retail cd. The sound quality is good to excellent in my experience.

I seem to be leaning away from Apple iPod/iTunes now. I like what I have seen with the new iRiver machines, particularly the H320 that has a color screen for digital photos - something I might use. One feature I know I would use is the fact that it is recording functions and an FM player all in one machine. And from what I have read in epinions and other places, the iRiver machines have a better quality sound than the ipod. Definitely not as cool looking, but in reality who cares about that.

I also think I like the setup better at places like musicmatch than I do itunes. More PC based than Mac, which is what I will have. Still, I have a lot to learn and there is so much info (and conflicting info) out there. I was at my campus bookstore the other day (Cornell) talking to the guy who sells computers and such, and he sells only ipods and iriver, but so far has had no one buy the iriver. He can't keep the mini ipods in stock. He claims he has sold well over $100k in the minis this fall alone. But beyond that he was clueless. I had to tell him some of the things i had learned, and I am supposed to be the novice.

Anyway, I am getting the computer first, and then the player. But for now I am leaning towards the iRiver. Thanks for all the help so far. Feel free to educate me further! irg

ericl
11-05-2004, 11:05 AM
Hey Guys,

I am going to be posting an MP3 guide that I have been working on very soon. I'll make an announcement about it when its done. I am starting by laying out all the key features, and looking at a handful of players in the 20gb range. Hopefully it will be helpful. Watch for it!

-Eric

IRG
11-05-2004, 01:25 PM
Hey Guys,

I am going to be posting an MP3 guide that I have been working on very soon. I'll make an announcement about it when its done. I am starting by laying out all the key features, and looking at a handful of players in the 20gb range. Hopefully it will be helpful. Watch for it!

-Eric

Most of the info I look at has been at cnet, and a few other places. I'm never sure about what is accurate and what is not. Example on cnet, if you click on their mp3 section, there is guide about which players will play with whcih services. According to this, and ipod is only good through itunes, and a couple of smaller ones, but not musicmatch. Correct or not? And none of the other mp3 players can use itunes, only an ipod? Seems silly to me, but maybe not. Are you going to post this guide under general? I'll be on the lookout for it.

hermann_giron
11-06-2004, 09:56 AM
After a lot of research I was ready to go for the Iriver IHP 120 or 140, basically due to their battery life, FM playback, Recording ability and compatibility with certain lossless formats.

I also looked into the Rio Karma for sound quality reasons and Music Management abilities that other players didnt have. I didnt find enough real users opinions on these units (most people were reviewing based on opinions of others, not really having used the units themselves, beware of a lot of IPOD and Mac haters out there...)

Just then, the new generation IPODs came out, solving my need for longer battery life and having the software to run lossless formats.

I purchased the IPOD and have been very happy with it, specially because sound quality is good (change the headphones to better hardware), the great navigation interfase (4th gen is really better than the ones before) of the great amount of software and webpages that can help you out in your moments of need (hundreds of active users with lots of advice.)

I have had trouble with ITunes though, it is slow to load, very slow to rip (specially in MP3), slow to burn, and the Copyright protection issues become a pain for managing your music (Even if you ripped it yourself). Itunes also requires a lot of PC resources, making it slow to load and move around.

I have been looking for a way to manage my music through Windows Media Player 10.0 which recently came out and that is really better (all around) than any other Media Manager i have tried, including MusicMatch, Itunes and Winamp (in my opinion each has its benefits, but WMP 10.0 is best for all around use of sound and video files)

I would go for the IPOD if you really want a good, straight forward music player device. If you are looking for more multimedia aplications look into some other device (just make sure you will really use those functions before plopping down an extra $100 to watch video clips or photos when you really won´t watch them on a 1.5 inch screen)

IRG
11-09-2004, 11:23 AM
After a lot of research I was ready to go for the Iriver IHP 120 or 140, basically due to their battery life, FM playback, Recording ability and compatibility with certain lossless formats.

I also looked into the Rio Karma for sound quality reasons and Music Management abilities that other players didnt have. I didnt find enough real users opinions on these units (most people were reviewing based on opinions of others, not really having used the units themselves, beware of a lot of IPOD and Mac haters out there...)

Just then, the new generation IPODs came out, solving my need for longer battery life and having the software to run lossless formats.

I purchased the IPOD and have been very happy with it, specially because sound quality is good (change the headphones to better hardware), the great navigation interfase (4th gen is really better than the ones before) of the great amount of software and webpages that can help you out in your moments of need (hundreds of active users with lots of advice.)

I have had trouble with ITunes though, it is slow to load, very slow to rip (specially in MP3), slow to burn, and the Copyright protection issues become a pain for managing your music (Even if you ripped it yourself). Itunes also requires a lot of PC resources, making it slow to load and move around.

I have been looking for a way to manage my music through Windows Media Player 10.0 which recently came out and that is really better (all around) than any other Media Manager i have tried, including MusicMatch, Itunes and Winamp (in my opinion each has its benefits, but WMP 10.0 is best for all around use of sound and video files)

I would go for the IPOD if you really want a good, straight forward music player device. If you are looking for more multimedia aplications look into some other device (just make sure you will really use those functions before plopping down an extra $100 to watch video clips or photos when you really won´t watch them on a 1.5 inch screen)

for the helpful info. I was just in BesbBuy checking out the iRiver H320 and wasn't impressed with the feel of the navigation controls. Didn't spend much time, but not sure it is my cup of tea after all. COnversely the ipod felt very natural. So, can an ipod work with Musicmatch or Media Player? I was under the impression that ipod works only with itunes (I got this info from cnet, that have a comparison chart). If you could shed firther light, that would be helpful. irg

kode3
11-17-2004, 01:49 AM
I chose the 40 gig iPod, not because its a great portable way to take you music with you. But because it got my 800+ CDs out of my living room, I put all my music on the iPod and hooked it up to my home theater. Its updateable, and I download new music and put it on there with ease I like it a lot, and highly recommend it.

ericl
11-17-2004, 01:59 PM
On the Learn page (http://audioreview.com/Learncrx.aspx), click on the MP3 link to find new info on mp3 players. It is my first article, hopefully the writing is understandable and useful. Feedback and questions welcome, but please, be gentle!

http://audioreview.com/Learncrx.aspx

Also, here's a selection of well rated 20gb players on our site:
http://audioreview.com/HOL_5548_2004crx.aspx

Be patient, I will keep working on this guide to make it more complete and easier to use.

-Eric

J*E*Cole
11-17-2004, 10:39 PM
I have had a Philips HDD120 now for about 6 months, and have been most pleased with it. It cost $250 at BB,and has a 20GB hard drive. This unit has many useful features like an exceptional search function, easy organization of your media, fairly easy to use, and it has some customization features. The ear buds that come with the unit are of pretty good quality, and fairly comfortable, but the sound quality of the unit across several different types of headphones and ear buds etc..., was exceptionally good. This unit features custom equalization features to tailor the awesome sound to your liking. After the sound this units best feature is it's looks. This Philip's super clean lines and space age materials that comprise it's outer shell are just killer. Although the finish is so shiny and polished you could use it as a mirror, it does attract fingerprints, but it's worth having to clean it at least daily. All in all an exceptional product with only 2 drawbacks, namely, the software that interfaces with your computer, though user friendly, ultimately is quite weak. Secondly, the access and processor times could be a little faster. Oh, the white on black LCD display is pretty cool too!

Good choosing...

ericl
11-18-2004, 10:00 AM
I didn't even know philips had a player! That looks really nice. I'll have to add it to our product db. J*E*Cole, will you write a review for it?

Thanks,
Eric

Norm Strong
11-18-2004, 09:21 PM
I am in the market for a new MP3 player, and have been doing a fair amount of research on cnet and other sites. Obviously the iPod is the favorite. I have never downloaded music before, and would like to, plus I would like to rip the cds I own now to a mp3 player. I realize that the format is compressed and the sound quality is not as good. However, I also realize that I rarely get to listen to my own music anymore (2 young kids, not enough time, etc) and that the time I spend walking/driving could be better used spent listening to music. Plus I find that I rarely buy new music lately, and using a service like musicmatch or itunes would help me expand my offerings.

So choices at the moment are the 4th generation ipod (20gig hard drive) at about $299 or the Creative Zen Touch, same size hard drive, about $229 at J&R Music World. Both get real good reviews at Cnet.

I will be using the mp3 player with a new Windows based Pentium4 computer (need to buy that too) so one consideration, is that if I buy an ipod, I basically have to use itunes, correct? Whereas if I buy the Creative, I can't use itunes (or can I?) but I can use all of the other music service available.

The ipod seems to have a ton of accessories, not sure if the Creative does or not. Which mp3 player would you buy? And why? Budget is about $300 for this purchase. Quality of sound, ease of use and dependability are important factors to me. Any owners of mp3 players, I would appreciate your comments. Thanks.

My advice is to buy a portable CD player that has a car kit and plays CDRs encoded with mp3s. Each CDR will hold about 15 hours of music and will play through the car radio. They start at $30 and work up to about $100.

It's true that the iPod and its ilk are cute as can be, but that cuteness costs a lot of money.

Smokey
11-18-2004, 09:39 PM
So choices at the moment are the 4th generation ipod (20gig hard drive) at about $299 or the Creative Zen Touch, same size hard drive, about $229 at J&R Music World.

In Nov issue of ConsmerReport magazine, they reviewed iPod and few MP3 players. Here are the results:

Creative Zen Touch ($270), iRiver iHP 120 ($330) and Sony Network Walkman NW-HD1 ($400) ranked higher than iPod in term of quality signal output. Of the three, iRiver had the best quality headphone :)

IRG
11-19-2004, 07:24 AM
In Nov issue of ConsmerReport magazine, they reviewed iPod and few MP3 players. Here are the results:

Creative Zen Touch ($270), iRiver iHP 120 ($330) and Sony Network Walkman NW-HD1 ($400) ranked higher than iPod in term of quality signal output. Of the three, iRiver had the best quality headphone :)

Thanks for comments one and all. After reading a lot of reviews, looking at different units, and reading a bunch of magazines, I ended up with the iPod. I also really like iTunes, someone mentioned that it is slow, but I have found just the opposite. It probably helps that I have a fast new computer, and am using Roadrunner (cable) modem which is wicked fast. But iTunes is great so far. What I haven't tried yet is when I download music, burning it to a cdr which I know I can do, just haven't tried it. But it was remarkably easy for me to download cds I own into iTunes, and then watch the few seconds it takes to load onto my iPod.

The iPod itself (20gb) unit is great. I do not like the earbuds - they hurt my ears, and are too big for my earholes, but that is easily fixable. It is a remarkably easy device to use, and battery life seems pretty good - about 12 hours. The click wheel is super intuitive, which is what I wanted. Conversely I tried using the iRiver H320, and I could not make heads or tails of that unit on display. It is probably easier than it seems, but if I can't figure it out on my own without a manual, then I move on. I really didn't like the feel of the overall unit either. The Creative Zen Touch would have been my second choice.

I bought the unit at BB, and was pleased with their service. Very knowledgeable, and helpful people there. I know not many people on this board like BB, but I have found the opposite to be true, they by and large know their products, and want to help you, and if they don't know an answer are willing to find out.

The combination of iPod and iTunes is hard to beat, and that combination, with ease of use, and the overall price was not much more than the competitors, made it an unbeatable competition in my opinion, and for my needs. Thanks again to all...irg

cjtalbot
11-20-2004, 06:39 PM
Do any of those higher end MP3 players have a toslink digital output that you could run into a HT receiver?

IRG
11-22-2004, 12:37 PM
Do any of those higher end MP3 players have a toslink digital output that you could run into a HT receiver?

The iPod doesn't. I'm not sure there are many that do. You can plug one using a mini to RCA plugs and plug it that way into your receiver using a traditional analog connection. You can also burn the stuff you buy at iTunes onto a cd, which is what I have started to do, and that works well. I just tried the cd I burned in my car and it plays fine. Itunes let's you burn into traditional cd format, or compressed mp3 mode.