Best mobile player

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Best mobile player

 

Can anyone recommend a digital player that can replace my old CD Walkman? I want to copy from CD at lossless rates presumably ending up with wma files on my computer and then load a portable player. Is a standard iPod suitable? Or should I go for a similar gadget which is not linked to iTunes etc? Thanks.

RE: Best mobile player

Have you thought of a Sansa Clip? My laptop recognises it as another hard drive, so copying files is simply a matter of drag-and-drop. Sound quality is good, especially after adjusting the EQ. It's the size of a matchbox (so small that it's worth ignoring the jet-black version for more outré colours because it becomes almost invisible in dark rooms), weighs almost nothing, and mine has worked faultlessly since purchase. The Clip comes in various sizes (2 - 8GB) and has a surprisingly good microphone and a so-so radio. The latest model, the Clip+, is slightly more expensive but the original 2GB Clip is still available from Amazon at a newly low price of £22.95, where it's proving very popular, as the numerous reviews attest. It has been a pleasure to use and, pound for pound, is just about the best purchase I've made.

Not being an expert, I defer to Gramophone's audiophiles as to its sound quality, but I think classical music sounds superb on it - again, adjust the EQ and loudness levels to taste. Be sure to choose the "North USA" volume setting; the "European" setting is far too low because of EU safety regulations. The earphones were adequate for my purposes although you might want to use a better pair. (It takes a standard 3.5mm jack.)

It will play MP3, WMA and WAV files, and I think recent software updates mean it will accommodate lossless FLAC files - but check the Sansa website to confirm this. (The new Clip+ definitely plays FLAC files.) It's also handy for listening to audiobooks and podcasts - the Clip's ability to resume playing a file where it last stopped is most useful.

The Clip's screen will show the name of the artist and work, along with a timebar. A tip to lengthen battery life: lower the brightness of the display and adjust the settings so the screen switches off after five seconds. To charge the battery, simply plug it into a computer or use/buy a compatible mobile phone charger. With judicious use, I can get 16 hours of playback, though the Clip can take a long time to recharge.

There are other media players on the market such as the iPhone and the Zune, but at such a low price the Clip is worth investigating. Best of luck!

Sansa Clip 2GB

 

RE: Best mobile player

If I am not mistaken the iPod will not play FLAC files. It will play Mp3 files, AAC files, Apples Lossless files (Apple's answer to FLAC files) and a few other formats. I am not sure if it will play WMA files. If you want nearly lossless files you would have to copy them into iTunes using the Apple Lossless encoder feature in iTunes. These files are big and the capacity of the classic iPod is 160 GB. I copied my entire collection - 5 big boxes of CDs - using the AAC encoder at 256 kbps and I found it to be satisfactory quality (sorry audiophiles) and got the entire lot onto the classic 160 GB iPod. It all depends on how many CDs you want to fit onto any single mobile player. Personally, I like the iPod. It is expensive, but it is a worthwhile investment. I would like to add that I even found the initial iTunes Store files at 128 kbps per second to be good, meaning that if you encode at that level you can fit even more CDs onto an iPod.

 

A music lover currently living in the middle of nowhere. 

RE: Best mobile player

I might add that if you are in the market for a new mobile phone, the Android-based Samsung Vibrant also doubles as a terrific music player. The sound quality is excellent. I have been listening to the Monteverdi madrigals on it. The phone has 16 GB of internal ROM and you can add another 16GB using an SDHC card. I don't know if it will play FLAC files, but if you encode your CDs using the iTunes mp3 encoder at 320 kbps you will get decent sounding files. Then you simply transfer the mp3 files to your phone's internal or external memory. Of course, you should also think of getting a high-end set of earphones. Some of them come with microphones so you can take a call when you need to. Hope that helps.  

A music lover currently living in the middle of nowhere. 

RE: Best mobile player

Hitch - thanks very much for this - I went ahead and bought one with an additional 8GB card. I'm currently building up some FLAC files for loading onto it.

Does anyone know any other mobile players that will play FLAC files?

RE: Best mobile player

The Creative Labs X-Fi2 supports FLAC. Of course, it is much more expensive than the Sansa. Here is the link

 

http://us.store.creative.com/ZEN-XFi2-16GB-Black/M/B002NKLRES.htm

http://us.store.creative.com/ZEN-XFi2-16GB-Black/M/B002NKLRES.htm

A music lover currently living in the middle of nowhere. 

RE: Best mobile player

Symphonia,

Happy to help. I hope you get as much enjoyment out of your Clip as I have had from mine. If you have any queries, let rip(!) and I'll do my best to answer them.

 

RE: Best mobile player

Symphonia and Tagalie:

Best of luck with your purchases. It might be an idea to keep the forum informed of your experiences of using the Sansa Clip+ so members can decide whether it's a suitable mobile player or whether they should follow some of the other helpful suggestions in this thread.

RE: Best mobile player

Thanks a bunch Rolf! I was all set on the Clip until I read your post.

From a quick surf through the net it looks like the iaudio gets excellent reviews but it's more than twice the price of the 8 gig clip. It has longer batter life for sure and reviewers pick this out as one of the downsides  of the Clip. But I'm curious about this sound quality bit. Given that I'll be using far better headphones than those issued with either player, I'm wondering if there really is a noticeable difference in sound.

I also see some complaints about the durability of the Clip. Perhaps it's a case of you get what you pay for. 

Has anybody tried both?

RE: Best mobile player

The problem with lossless is file size. If your player is a 2GB, you will have to compromise on the number of files - or play with compression.

As my music player is rarely used in quiet locations, i accept a bit of compression to be able to get a reasonable amount of music on my player.

Happy listening,

P

RE: Best mobile player

I've had a Sansa Clip for a few years now, and I'd agree that it's a great little mp3 player. Very good sound quality, supports a wide range of audio formats, extremely compact, and easy to use. The only drawback is the size of the display, making looking through the contents less than ideal, especially as the capacity increases, or if the tags are particularly long.  But for the money, I don't think it can be beaten.

At more of the other end of the scale, I've got a Cowon S9, which I'd also very happily recommend. Excellent sound quality, wide range of supported audio formats, touch-screen interface*, high quality video playback if you want/need it, and fantastic battery life (up to 55 hours for audio).  Get a decent set of headphones (the supplied ones are the usually rubbishy earbuds) and it's about as good as you can get in a portable mp3 player.

Okay, the default User Interface may not be as slick as an iPod, but there are several custom interfaces that you can download and install very easily - it's literally just a matter of copying files into the appropriate directory on the player. At least one of the custom interfaces allows you to tweak things to your heart's desire. (And there's no real risk of trashing the default interface - just delete all the custom interface files that you've copied over and the built-in one is automatically reinstalled.)

 

"Louder! Louder! I can still hear the singers!"

- Richard Strauss to the orchestra, at a rehearsal.

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