Personal Music Player --Recomendations

Santa may provide the funds for me to get a Portable Music Player. :slight_smile: At least I’m hoping so.

I don’t want to be restricted by DRM. :frowning: I think that eliminates ITunes and IPods. :dubious:

I’ve purchased over two hundred cd’s in the past 15 years. I’ve transferred a lot of them to my laptop and saved as flac.

Are there players available that would let me transfer my music files from my windows laptop and play them? I’d prefer using flac but could convert to mp3 if needed.

I’m not a fan of earbuds. I have some tinnitus and even a few minutes with earbuds is painful. Keeping the volume low doesn’t help. Do any of these players have built-in speakers?

Final consideration. I may eventually want to have a docking station in my car. So the music plays through my car speakers. An optional requirement, but it’s something that would be nice.

So what do you recommend?

I can’t help you too much, since iPods are pretty much all I’ve ever used (save for a circa 64MB Rio player I had years and years ago when MP3 players first started appearing), so I can’t recommend much beyond that. But I do want to point out that the iTunes store went DRM-free earlier this year, so don’t eliminate it as a choice based solely on that. It may still not be the right choice for you despite that, but just so you know. You could always put your own burnt music on iPods, DRM never affected that. It was only an issue if you were buying from the iTunes store, and as I said, even that isn’t an issue anymore.

Totally agree with you on earbuds. I’ve never found a comfortable pair either, and I’ve bought some rather expensive ones.

I’ll take a closer look at IPods. I’d read some articles on the web and got the impression they only worked with files controlled by DRM. If they’ll play mp3’s or flac ripped from my own cd’s that would be great. I see a trip to Best Buy sometime next week for a closer look.

For whatever it’s worth and as long as you have no follow-up questions, iTunes and iPods will play songs downloaded from Limewire and presumably from torrent sites or whereever else people get their free music from.

EDIT: And will play songs ripped from actual CDs you own.

Oh no, that’s not true at all, and never has been. You definitely got the wrong impression, or the articles you were reading were just flat out wrong. I’ve had iPods since they first came out, and most of my music on them has always been mp3s I’ve ripped from my own CDs. I’ve bought very little from the iTunes store.

They do not play FLAC though, so that’s something to take into consideration; you’d have to convert to mp3.

I do wish I could help you out on more choices, as I certainly don’t think iPods are the only one you should look at, but I just don’t have any personal experience with any of the others! But I do love my iPod. It’s not perfect, but I love it.

The main strike against iPods is that you must use iTunes to ever do anything useful with it.

Other, less expensive MP3 players from generic brands or not as big as Apple brands tend to employ the simple drag and drop. No fiddling with iTunes BS.

I’ve started looking at various players on Amazon. Amazing how tiny they are. I like the Creative Labs Zen Stone. No frills, no fancy screen to scratch up. Just a basic mp3 player with a built-in speaker & belt clip.

Lots of choices. I’ll keep looking around. Thank you for everyone’s advice.

Many car stereos nowadays come with a standard AUX input socket that allows you to run a patch cord from your player’s headset port (either a Y-cord or a straight 3.5mm stereo M-to-M cord) My late-model Accord for some reason has its AUX port ***inside ***the armrest storage console. (An attempt to prevent my fiddling with it while I drive?? So, my player ends up somewhere in the cupholder’s vicinity, as that’s the direction in which the fit of the pieces allows the wire to run w/o pinching). This then means that I can use any player, and only if I’m on a longer than a few hours’ drive would I require a charger adapter for the lighter socket.

Otherwise there are numerous RF adapters that plug through each player’s USB or proprietary connection on one end and the lighter socket on the other and both charge the device AND convert the output to a low-power carrier-current FM signal, that you can pick through the FM radio.

I can’t stand itunes. I load my iRiver up using Rhapsody. For a low fee, you can stream all of Rhapsody’s music, or just use it as a player/downloader.

I have a Create Zen player and I love it. Windows sees it as just another external hard drive, so I drag and drop my songs, create directories, etc. Never used it to download stuff from on-line, just music I’ve burned from my CDs. Works great. I don’t know if it can handle FLAC, but wma and mp3 are fine.

As an answer to this question: very few mp3 players have a built-in speaker. The iPhone and the iPod Touch 2nd and 3rd generation are the only ones that come to mind. There is only one speaker, so it is mono, and not stereo and it is small and not very loud. For the home, there are several iPod speaker systems and docks, or you can plug your music player into anything with stereo inputs through the earphone jack. As for the car, I have a cassette player, so I play mine over the car stereo using an adapter. As others noted, you can plug an mp3 player into the aux jack of many car stereos, or use an FM modulator to play it over your car’s FM radio.

Unfortunately, the Zen has a screen that is prone to scratching (though protective screens are cheap) but it does have a few nice features, notably the SDHC card slot. You can buy the 4GB model and expand using the cards (which definitely are drag and drop).

Another vote for the Zen Creative. I love mine, it has a huge storage capacity, nearly 30 gb, radio built in, good sound quality, nd all very uncomplicated and easy to manage.

Creative Zen, all the way. Mine’s been awesome.

I’d recommend either Creative or Sansa. They have the best most accurate sound. Ipod sound is mediocre at best.
Right now I’m using the Sansa Clip for my tiny pocket player. Before that I had Creative Zen. Both are fine. Both use a drag and drop interface. Both can be synced via most free music library software, I use Media Jukebox. Both have playlists.
The new Sansa Clip Plus (as well as their larger players) have an expansion slot for SDHC so the 4/8 gb clip can be expanded with another 8/16/32gb whatever you want. There used to be a problem where the music on the card was a separate menu from the music on the clip itself, but the Clip Plus has fixed that and they sort together.

One thing I’d add is, FLAC is just a lossless codec (COding and DECoding).

It’s true they don’t play FLAC, but they do play ALAC which stands for Apple Lossless Audio Codec.

Lossless is lossless so it doesn’t matter.

You can find lots of free converter programs on the Internet that will convert one type of lossless to another.

Same with WMA, there is WMA for lossy (compressed) and WMA-Lossless which obviously means lossless. Again, lossless is lossless.

At one time Apple did have DRM on it’s tunes, those are mostly gone.

Even WMA long champ of DRM has pretty much stopped it. Though you still find this on audiobooks.

In fact there is no crack to the DRM for Windows Media Player 11 (WMP-11) the latest version simply because no one is interested in cracking it, because the newer music doesn’t have the DRM

The public pretty much won’t buy anything with DRM on it

I use computer speakers. The mp3 player just treats them like big non portable headphones.

Update I got my Creative Labs Zen Stone in today from Amazon. I’m very pleased. It’s really just a USB Thumb drive with a mp3 player. No software is needed. Just like a thumb drive, you create folders and copy files to it. It charges through the usb port. You can even use it as a thumb drive and copy any file type to it.

I choose this one because it was so simple. It doesn’t have a display or menu. You can change folders and tracks by pushing a button.

The built-in speaker is surprisingly good. I can hear it fine in a quiet room. Car noise would be a problem. It did come with ear buds, but my tinnitus won’t let me use them.

Eventually, I may get something fancier and with more storage. For now, 2 Gig of mp3 files is plenty.

Thanks again for everyone’s replies.

oh yeah, there is one annoying “feature” with the Zen Stone. The random play doesn’t stay in one folder. It samples from all the folders. :smack:

So you may get Silent Night from the Christmas folder, War Pigs from the Metal folder, and Coal Miners Daughter from Country.

Not a good mix. I won’t be using random play with this player. :frowning:

I had a heck of time getting the rubber cover stretched over the Zen Stone. It does a nice job protecting it from scratches.