What MP3 Player is Right For Me?

Chiefly - simplicity, straightforward ability to drag and drop files HIGHLY preferred. My wife has Zune, and I hate it. I don’t want to dick around with some new GUI. I mostly sort my files into albums already, and when I don’t it’s because I want them unsorted. I don’t want the player to try to on its own, and then dick it all up because lots of versions of songs I have are technically from other albums and releases.

EXAMPLE: If I have a Led Zeppelin folder in Windows that has 80 unsorted Led Zep MP3s on it, I want to be able to dump that folder into my player and be able to play from that folder exclusively, as well as throwing those songs into a master playlist of all my songs. Kind of like an MP3 player that’s as simple and straightforward as Winamp.

around 30 gigs or more is great

Durable. I baby my stuff, but I’d also wear it to the gym.

Long battery life.

some basic CD ripping software would be a big bonus

So what fits my criteria? I never kept up with this tech. Is what I’m describing one of the iPods, something from Rio? I dunno. Please help.

The easiest way to make sure your MP3s don’t get reorganized is to remove any information that the software would use to organize it. For example, in your Led Zeppelin folder, make sure it doesn’t mention albums.

But really, what you are basically describing is a playlist. So I’d make sure your MP3 player can handle them.

NOT an iPod.

I like iTunes, and it’s great if you don’t want to futz with organising your crap and letting iTunes do it, but iTunes does not care about your naming scheme. It does not care about your folders, and it will not allow you to put music which you have already painstakingly organised into folders directly onto your iPod and “play it by folders”.

iTunes is for people who want to throw a CD in the computer (or buy from the iTunes Music Store), press “rip”, and make their playlist from there. The more steps you’ve taken between that and having the music on your computer, the less you’ll like iTunes.

As far as software goes, I use CDex for ripping. Free, open-source, works great. Downloads album info so you don’t have to type all the song names; rips to .MP3, .OGG, .WAV and a bunch of others; can convert .MP3 to .OGG and vice/versa. I’m sure there are other similar free programs, too; this one works well enough I haven’t gone looking for anything else.

Add something like the Godfather (free, open-source), for organizing the tags in your .MP3 files. There’s probably a good open-source songlist creater/organizer, too. And you can have all the control you can handle of your files.

I would look into Sansa mp3 players.