Best MP3 player for the money?

I need to buy an MP3 player because the brutes that work at my job with me play the most horrible music imaginable on the store’s PA as we work at night. Late-90s whiny-ass R&B (which was obviously the “dating music” of these early-30s people back when they were young and so is being played for nostalgia value,) horrible Adult Contemporary crap like Michael McDonald a-la The Forty Year Old Virgin, Toby Keith - it’s a living hell.

The only way to survive it is to play my own music. A small portable MP3 player seems to be the best way of doing this. So, I need to buy one. What I want to know is, what’s the best one for the money?

I’m pretty dead-set against an iPod because 1. It’s the player that everyone uses and I want to be different, 2. I’m aware that there are lower-cost alternatives like the Sansa and iRiver, and 3. I don’t want to only use iTunes. So, preferably I’d like another brand. I am planning on buying one used on eBay. With this in mind, what are some of the best purchases?

You forgot the best reason…it doesn’t allow you to play files in WMA format, only MP3 (or AAC, I think, but who uses that?)

I love my iAudio to death. I bought a 20GB one for about 230$ including shipping. It connects to my computer by USB, and I cut and paste the song files with Windows Explorer. It also acts as a USB host, so you can plug a memory stick into it and transfer songs off of that. Plays video, sounds great, and the battery will run for about 14 hours on a full charge.

The only downer I’ve found about it is that I can’t just walk into a store and find a case that’s made to fit it. All the accessories are iPod iPod iPod.

There’s a new iRiver 1Gb MP3 player on for just shy of $90 (plus shipping) that normally retails for $200. I got one a couple of weeks ago and have been pleasantly surprised at its features. It’s an incredible value.

When I subscribed for a year at eMusic, they sent me a free Creative Zen Nano Plus. It seems okay. The subscription was about $230 I think.

I know you’re asking about MP3 players specifically, but check out a Minidisc player. Mine’s from Sony and I like it better than an MP3 player because you have unlimited space to record by buying new blank discs. Using the compression software that came bundled with it I can compress about 4 and a half to 5 hours of music, standup etc on a single disc and it’s impossible to make it skip (well maybe not, but I’ve never jostled it enough to make it happen.)

I have a Sandisk m250 that I got for Christmas. It has 2GB of memory, which is enough for about 500 songs. Plenty for my needs. I’m not the kind of guy who puts every song I have on his mp3 player, I just ripped the good ones and left the crappy filler songs on the CDs. Also, it’s flash memory, not a hard drive, so I don’t have to worry about it breaking if I look at it cross-eyed or fart too loudly. It was about $150 new, but they’re currently going for $130. It also has a radio tuner and a voice recorder.

I love my little Sandisk, BTW. It makes my long commute to work so much nicer. I had an FM modulator installed in my car, so I can plug my player in and tune out the radio morning show people.

I have a Dell DJ-30 (30 gig) that I love. Have been using it everyday for almost a year - problem free plus it’s compatible with yahoo music engine subscription service ($60/Yr) I’ve currently got it pretty much maxed out at 4900 tunes and my only cost for the music has been the $60. The DJ30 can be picked up on ebay for under $200.

I second the Sansa 250. I have one for audiobooks and I adore it.

This thread is better suited for IMHO.

I’ll move it for you.

Cajun Man
for the SDMB

Off to IMHO.

Well, then. My work is done. (Okay, okay, Cajun Man’s work is done. :smiley: )

In particular, I find protected WMA support quite useful. I can download audiobooks for free from and play them on my Creative Labs Zen Xtra since it supports that format. Can’t do that with an iPod.

The Australian Consumer Association tested MP3 players recently and recommended as good value:


APPLE iPod Shuffle (1 GB)


COWON iAudio X5L (20 GB)
APPLE iPod (30 GB)
SONY Walkman NW-A1000 (6 GB)

They warned that:

The IRIVER T20 and the PANASONIC SV-SD100M were let down by their lower battery and sound quality scores respectively.

The IRIVER H10 claims to have a battery life of 12 hours, but we found it had no more than nine.

The CREATIVE Zen Neeon is the lightest and one of the cheapest of the hard disc models and has a very good battery life, but is let down by its sound quality. It scored much better when used with conventional headphones, so it may still be worth a look if you already have a set of good earphones.

The OREGON MP305 and MSI Megaplayer are more difficult to use than the other models tested.

The MSI also has the poorest sound quality in the test, dramatically improved with a better set of headphones.

I’m not so impressed with my iRiver. Luckily, it didn’t cost that much and I don’t use it that much, if I did - I’d be seriously pissed.

As it is, it took several runs at the company to get them to finally point me to the right software to get any music on it in the first place - and then it broke after 3 hours of use (they did fix it or replace it - not sure which, don’t really care) but based on their customer service (or lack thereof) and the barely functioning product, I’ll go somewhere else if I ever decide to upgrade.

I got the same Sandisk for my birthday a few weeks ago. It’s the greatest thing ever. I haven’t even come close to the 500 song limit. And the Sandisk comes in versions with more storage. The flash memory is a plus and it’s also sharp to look at.

So… you want to assert your individuality by allowing the preferences of the masses influence your decision? Am I missing something here? :wink:

The iPod also supports Audible (formats 2, 3, and 4) and WAV, and iTunes has an option to convert (unprotected) WMA files to either MP3 or (unprotected) AAC.

i recently looked around and plumped for the Creative Zen Touch 40GB for several reasons.

  1. i also dislike iPod for the reasons mentioned.

  2. It’s 40GB - i figure i will never need to buy another one. With good care (and i am careful with my stuff) it will last years and has sufficient capacity that i won’t run out of space.

  3. It was incredibly cheap given the capacity. Creative sell them direct for loony prices but i bought mine through a catalogue-style shop (Argos) where it was much less. And since they were having a sale at the time i got it for £175. :smiley:

Now that i’ve had it a few months i’m really pleased with it. Easy menus, easy to upload music, loads of storage capacity and easy to operate. A good buy.