David Cook (davidcook) wrote,
David Cook
davidcook

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Portable music !

First, a tangent to the actual question I'm about to ask. For the past week or so, I've borrowed rwrylsin's iPod, since she hasn't been needing it at work, and I've been feeling the need for some music. While searching for some albums I knew were on it, I noticed that a few of the Genre tags were wrong, and decided to fix them in iTunes tonight. I've just finished doing so, and I only have this to say : "What sort of crack were the people who set those Genre tags on ?". Dead Can Dance filed under "Alternative & Punk", and Classical, and Pop, and Gothic ? Only one of those is even vaguely close, and even then only in Record Store Categorisation[TM]. Sopor Aeturnus under Metal ? Hesperion XX under Pop ? Sheesh.

So, on to the actual question : Recommend for me a portable music player.
(not a cassette player or CD/MP3-CD player, because I have one of each already, and they don't fit my needs these days)


What I want :
  • Small (I've been spoiled by my digital camera, the Pentax Optio S, which I can just stick in my pocket every time I go out)
  • Reasonable battery life, with removeable batteries (AA or AAA, should accept rechargable versions)
  • Good interface (e.g. make ad hoc playlists, easily select by artist or tags in formats like MP3, ideally I'd be able to impose my own directory structure too).
  • Robustness (I drop things. Often. My phone, fortunately, has survived its many landings. My music player will need to be able to do the same)
  • Anti-skip - not an issue for a flash memory device, but could be if hard disk based (iPod etc). I want to use the device while walking (briskly, and for up to an hour or two), and during exercise in general.

    Also nice to have :
  • Some sort of equaliser/tone settings
  • "Gapless" playback
  • If flash-based, expandable memory (e.g. using SD cards)
  • If hard disk-based, ability to copy music back off it (so it can act as a backup for my collection).
  • For either format, it would be nice to just mount it as a removeable drive and copy files straight across
  • Obviously, MP3 support. AAC would be nice, maybe even OGG.
  • Linux support ? I'm such an optimist :-)
  • Reliable, good support
  • Decent sound quality (I'm no audiophile, but it should be noticeably better than the old walkman :-) ).



    What I'm considering :
  • iPod, of course. My main concerns are the battery (and battery life), robustness, not being able to copy things back off, and as I understand it, the only interface is through iTunes (no Linux version, I presume).
  • Flash-based players in general, in particular expandable ones (SD cards preferred, since I can also use those in the camera).
  • The Rio Forge seems to meet most of those requirements, but it seems that quite a few people have had reliability problems with them, and had bad experiences with Rio support. Also, the sound quality is apparently not quite up to the standard of other players.
  • Other hard drive-based players - I haven't looked into these in great detail, though.

    I'm in two minds whether I want to be able to carry my whole music collection around with me (which requires at least a 20 Gb hard disk player), or whether I can select a few albums according to my mood (should be able to fit 7-10 albums on a 512 Mb SD card, depending on quality, plus a few more in whatever internal memory the device comes with) every week or so and just play those.

    So, any suggestions ? Any devices I've overlooked ? Are newer generations of iPod improved in the areas I'm concerned about ?
    Is Rio really so horrible ? Will anyone read this, or will it succumb to the Weekend LiveJournal Effect[TM], where everyone is running around doing stuff and not reading LJ ?
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