Buy an MP3 player?

OK, have already done search, couldn’t find this. Should I buy my son an mp3 player for xmas? He has hundred of files. Now I hear 2 things that make me wonder:

  1. CD’s now coming out with anti-copy protection targeted to personal mp3 players.
  2. MP3 download sites, same deal.
    So, if he can’t get tunes off his own CD’s, or a (legal) download site, what’s the point?

As soon as they come out with a new protection technology, there’s a hack/crack made for it.

Ditto I would imagine

Most of his current files will probably work fine.

Also, if you buy a really cool state-of-the-art gizmo like the ipod - (drool drool!!) - it also doubles up as a great external storage drive for any type of files.

But then of course he probably won’t get to enjoy it, because you’ll want to keep it for yourself! I know I would :wink:

I wouldn’t worry too much about the new technology. It’s just that-- new. It’s designed to scare most people and work for some of the others.

What it will turn into, nobody really knows at this point. And since your son already has hundreds of files, even if all this copyright stuff eventually works the way the recording industry wants it to, he’ll still have plenty of files to listen to.

I have one (Lyra) and love it. I bought it a few years ago so it doesn’t have the memory that the new one’s have, but I had the same concerns back then that you have now, all of which have never turned out to be a problem for me.

I’d buy a new again in a minute, I like them that much.

Buy it.

OK, you’ve convinced me. Thanks.I usually try to get him cool gadgets, cause I get his hand-me-downs when technology marches forward.:wink:

Even if the “free” download sites are all shut down (Doubtful. Napster was but one of several alternatives), AFAIK the record companies are in the process of making their catalogs available on a “pay-as-you-download” or subscription basis as MP3 files, probably cheaper than buying whole CDs for one or two good songs.
MP3 is too good a format in terms of file size VS. sound quality ratio to just go away overnight.

A good feature to look for, especially lately, is upgradability. I have a Riovolt MP3-CD player that I can download new software for. It’s not guaranteed that it will be able to support every new format, but it’s at least possible.

How is the RioVolt? I’ve heard good things about it, and I’m debating buying it for others as a gift, and/or requesting it as a gift for myself. I’ve heard the shock protection is only so-so on it, though… anyone else have comments?

I like it lot, but I don’t use it under circustances that need shock protection. Mostly I use it while sitting on my patio or while reading in bed at night.

My RioVolt works very well. By shock protection do you mean susceptibility to physical damage or skipping? I tried shaking and turning mine fairly hard and couldn’t get it to skip. I’ve seen it recommended highly on bicycle newsgroups so I think it must be pretty good compared to other products. (No, nobody was advocating using headphones while riding - they were talking about using small speakers.) I don’t know about damage, mine doesn’t get exposed to much beating.

That’s more or less what I’m looking for – something that’s not going to poop out on me if I have it in the car – a '92 Toyota Camry with lousy shocks. From your description, it sounds pretty solid. Thanks.

Another vote for the Lyra from me. I have had mine for more than two years, longer than I typically keep a walkman or discman. I upgraded to a 96 meg CompactFlash card, which gives me about 2 hrs of solid tunes recorded at 96kbps. I’ve dropped it at least a half dozen times, and to my amazement, it has never broken.

I believe one or two newer models came out after mine, the original. They are definitely worth looking into.


I got an iPod. It is awesome. I use it to rock out on the Metro every monring.

The Rio Volt’s buffering is great - it’ll read a couple minutes of audio and then turn off the motor, so nothing will interrupt it while it’s playing from the buffer.
But if you jostle it even a tiny bit while it’s reading from the disc (at the beginning of a song, or when the buffer is almost empty), it’ll choke. If you plan to use it in the car, make sure you put it on a sweater or something.

Are there any mp3 players that have am/fm radio too? I never bought a cd player, because it seemed so dreary to be stuck listening to a single cd without being able to turn to a radio station occasionally. However, it’s a pain in the neck having to record mp3s and cd tracks onto cassettes so I can listen to them when I go for a walk.

Some options:

-The aforementioned iPod. Pricey ($400), but if you want to get that added bit of luxury, this thing will practically carry the entire Library of Congress (well, not quite… 5 gigs). And it’s small, t’boot.

-Solid-mem players: Things that use Compactflash, Smartmedia, Memory Stick, Microdrive, and the like. These mediums of memory storage are getting cheaper all the time, and you can pick up 128 Smartmedia cards for $50. Probably even less by now.

-MP3-CD players: Essentially a CD player that reads both audio and data CDs. For the latter, it’ll look for Mp3’s, WMA’s, or the like (depending on the brand you get). Some use the miniature CD’s, which hold less memory, but are significantly smaller. The drawback is that you need access to a CD-RW drive for these to be of any value. The upside is that they, and the CD-RW’s themselves, are among the cheapest option.

-Minidisc: I REFUSE to believe that minidisc is dead! It’s tiny, it’s fast, it’s (relatively) inexpensive. A good player/recorder with PC-link will go aroun $180. The minidiscs themselves… hell, they’re dirt-cheap. When you add the fact that you don’t need to buy a CD-RW drive, they’re right on par with MP3-CD players. The biggest drawback is that recording to a minidisc takes forever… only 1X recording speed (last I heard). However, if you’re a diehard fan like me, the hour or so it takes to record a disc is nothing compared to the 100s of hours you get to spend listening to the disc…

The new Riovolt SP250 is an upgraded version of the original Riovolt (now called model SP100). It has a built-in radio, and makes a few improvements over the original.

The iPod looks cool, but does it only work with Macs?
Is there something comparable in memory size for Windows users?


From Apple’s iPod tech specs site:

There are some other options. The Archos Jukebox 6000 is less expensive, holds a gig more, and is universally compatible. However, the trade-off is that it’s bigger (4.5" x 3.2" x 1.3" as opposed to 4.02" x 2.43" x .78"), weighs 12 ounces instead of 6.5, it’s battery life is shorter (8 hours as opposed to 10 hours), and it doesn’t use Firewire (it uses USB, which is slower). However, it’s $150 cheaper… so you get what you pay for.

Here is a review for the Archos.

Just wanted to throw out that I have an Archos Jukebox and am very happy with it. I have seen the 6000 (6 Gig) for $199 around here and there is a $50 rebate right now which makes it very attractively priced.

Yes, it’s USB but very easy to use. Plug it into a USB port and it appears to your system as a removable disk. Just click and drag to get your files over. It works as a normal hard drive too so you can use it to store files; I use mine as a backup as well as an MP3 player. (I’ve got about 3 Gig of MP3s on mine (around 400) as well as about 2 Gig of documents backed up from my system (which leaves me about a Gig of free space on the thing!))

My only comment is that I typically get only about 6 hours from the batteries.

There is also a 20 Gig (!) version of the Jukebox for around $350. I think I could transfer my entire CD collection to that one.