I’d go out on a limb and suggest one of the Sony NetMD Minidisc models. You can’t really beat the price for the media (about one to two bucks per disc) and you can get up to three hours on a single disc in LP2 mode, five in LP4 (though it’ll sound like mud in the latter.) The NetMD models transfer files at up to 32x, and they’re virtually skip-free.
A gig of flash memory will cost you an arm and a leg. On a good day, you can get an MZ-N505 for less than a hundred bucks. MSRP is only $130.
If you’re willing to pay a bit more, you may want to check out Apple’s iPod. The box advertises 20 minutes of skip protection. I’ve never been able to test that claim, but it’s served me well without skipping for about nine months now.
Forego the expense, get a 10 dollar walkman. I record digital music onto cassettes for my car or for jogging. If it breaks, so what. Its ok quality (good enough for me!). I thought about buying a fancy smancy mp3 player, then I remembered the good ole days of piracy via cassette tapes
I have a TDK Mojo CD-MP3 player which has 8 minute anti-skip in MP3 mode, plus it holds up to 700 MB of (legal, of course) MP3s with 700 MB CD-Rs. It doesn’t have a strap or anything, but it doesn’t ever skip, either.
Mine cost about $120 when I got it, but they released a newer model not too long ago, so you might want to look into it.
There are few others like the iPod that carry upwards of 5gigs. They are hard drives but I’m pretty sure they don’t skip. They have ones with a camra and maybe even a video camra on the back now for a couple hundred. I think 3 or 4.
If you really want >400MB of RAM, get an MP3 player that uses Compact Flash memory cards. You can get a 512MB card for it, if you don’t mind the price tag (about $300 just for the memory card). I don’t have a specific recommendation but if you do a Google search for “mp3 player compact flash” you’ll see a few examples.
MP3 players with MMC, MemoryStick or SmartMedia slots are more common, but these are limited to 128MB per card. You could still get three or four cards. Or you can choose a model which has 128MB of built-in memory in addition to a slot, so you can have 256MB at a time. The Rio S35S is one example.
The iPods do not skip. The data is read off the hard drive into a 32MB cache of solid-state memory and plays from there. The hard drive only spins when the iPod needs to read data off the drive, so unless you are listening to a track that is longer than 20 minutes*, the only sign of the hard drive being accessed will be the occasional extra 4-5 second pause between songs. People go running with them all the time.
*this figure is based on 160kbps CBR mp3s… lower bit rates would give you a longer timespan, higher bit rates a shorter one.
Well, I guess that really runs the gamut of choices… to recap
a solid state MP3 player - no moving parts.
a CDR based mp3 player - similar to a CD player.
a mini diskplayer - similar to CD, but in the small 2 inch size
a hard drive based player - ipod, or similar.
People can swear by this technology or that technology, but if you ask me, if you want to use it for jogging, i’d get something with ZERO moving parts.
Sure an iPod has 32megs of skip protection, but what good does that do you when the mini harddrive itself fails due to all that bouncing up and down every day while jogging? Same with MiniDisk and CDR based players.
a solid state mp3 player has NO moving parts. If you can get one that takes a 512meg hard and higher, you’ll have plenty of space for music.
Also, since you’re using it while jogging, you may think about re-encoding the music at a lower bit rate. You probably won’t notice if you go down a notch or two if you’re running fairly hard, and that will let you pack more into your player. Just because I want 128Kps for my home stereo, doesn’t mean that 96kps for running won’t work fine. Just something to keep in mind.
I like Atrael’s advice about re-encoding for jogging.
I own an iPod and love it. But I find it a little heavy for jogging. While it is true that the hard drive only spins up to replenish the 32MB buffer, it often won’t spin up while the unit is being shaken around. And when that happens, you sometimes have to reset the device, which I imagine would be a PITA while jogging.
My advice would be to find a device with no moving parts and lots of memory space.
That concerns me too. I have an IBM mini disk in my camera. Works great, but I’m pretty carefull with it. IBM says that you shouldn’t use it over 10,000 feet in elevation. The head uses air pressure/resistance to keep it off the disk. We live a 11,200 and my wife regularly jogs at 9,800. So far so good with my camera, but like I said, I’m gentle with it.