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Coytee

MP3 player ideas?

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Help me spend some cash...

 

I have a (perfectly fine working I might add) Ipod.  It's a 160 gb.

 

Looking to maybe replace it.  Oh, might be worth knowing....  my phone is a flip phone so using a phone isn't really an option for me.  Furthermore, I don't see that changing for the foreseeable future....  so it's a dedicated MP3 player I'm after.  (work provides a smart phone to me but I can't use it for this type thing)

 

Bigger capacity is always better but sound Trumps all (<--Pun not intended)

 

In a perfect world, I'd LOVE to rip some DVD's and Blue Rays that I have.  Not terribly concerned about the video.....  just the audio.

 

Output has to be 1/8" jack however, (thinking of the Apple variety) if it  has their plug at the bottom AND a 1/8" jack I'm ok with that.  I'm using it with my Custom 3's which are my 13'ish year old original pair that have been beat to snot BUT, keep on going.  I have a pristine unopened second pair of them but as long as they keep playing, I don't care how they look!  (the back has popped off the left ear piece)

 

Anyway....  what are some ideas for a nice MP3 (are they still at 3?) player???

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3 hours ago, Coytee said:

Oh, and what's a good ripper software?

There is no good ripper. The last one got a few good ones in. But damn. Don't aspire to be like him.

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Coytee, I don't think you'll beat an iPod because of the storage capacity.  I use a Sansa Clip+ with a pretty large chip added (and Klipsch plugs or Grado phones).  The sound is identical to an iPod Shuffle. 

 

There was a Pono player that used ultra high resolution files, but i think it has gone bankrupt. 

 

I rip with an old copy of RealPlayer in Windoze or Asunder in Ubuntu. 

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I've got a Sansa Zip Clip (something like that).  It's been replaced in the lineup with something similar but less capable.  Mine boots up a community-developed OS (still can boot up the original if desired, but why?) called Rockbox.  They cannot make a version for the newer less-capable hardware.

 

Nonetheless, the player is quite good.  There are far fewer dedicated players now.  The market has pretty much dried up since smartphones became popular.

 

I guess I'd look at https://www.amazon.com/Sandisk-8GB-Clip-Player-Black/dp/B00VXMY262 or one of the "also looked at" suggestions therein.  Bluetooth capability rather defeats the purpose IMO.

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On 12/26/2019 at 3:09 PM, Coytee said:

Bigger capacity is always better but sound Trumps all (<--Pun not intended)

 

If sound quality is a consideration, then don't even bother with MP3 or any other "lossy" compression (actually data reduction) format. Just say no.

 

Consider this: Full-precision CD audio is 1411.2 kilobits per second (kb/s). Run that through a lossless compressor like FLAC, and you'll get approximately 2:1 compression, or about 700 kb/s. Even the best "lossy" compression algorithms don't sound really good until maybe 256-384 kb/s, or about half the file size that you'll get with a completely lossless compressor. Is it really worth discarding precious information for just that extra doubling of capacity, especially when memory is so cheap nowadays?

 

Disclaimer: I was a member of the ISO and ANSI technical committees that developed the MPEG 1 Audio Layer 1, 2, and 3 (MP3) standards in the early 1990s.

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MP3 at 128k really is sufficient for duty on a miniature dedicated player for listening through whatever on factory floor, or through earbuds while riding a bike or mowing the lawn, and gives extremely good battery life.  The more data being processed over time eats more milliamps of juice.  I've settled on 192k MP3 compression as a very good compromise and can handily get through a 10-hour workday with the battery in my obsolete unit I'm going to have to replace (the battery) somehow sometime in the near future.

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I own 2 Cowen music players. My first purchased approx 10 years ago, and very recently purchased a second Cowen Plenue D high res player. The Plenue is smaller that a pack of cigarettes, will play mp3, alac, flac, wav, wma, and aaif file types. Has a 32 gb built in mem but will accept a micro sd card to expand. I have a 64 gb card in mine now, but you can use up to a 128gb micro sd card. No bluetooth, I use wired earbuds or input to my stereo receiver via a 3.5mm cable to aux.

 

I record quite a bit of mp3 files @ 340kb/s (highest quality) ripped from youtube (my free try it out music source). I purchase both flac and wav music files/albums from HD Tracks occasionally on line. I also slowly rip my cd collection to either wav or mp3 high quality (just depends on my mood at the time) on my desktop pc. Then you can share as you wish to devices.

 

The reason I went back to Cowen for my second purchase is my original digital player still works 100%, I just ran out of memory on it. The Plenue D is rated for 40-50 hours play time per charge. Very pleased over the years with Cowen products.

 

Here is the Plenue D @ amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/Cowon-Plenue-Resolution-Player-Silver/dp/B01A8NU5GM

 

I caught it on sale @ amazon for $100 delivered, but its much more now. Maybe search the interwebs and ebay.

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That unit looks nice but it's huge.  The Sansa units I mentioned are a little smaller than a Zippo.

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1 hour ago, glens said:

That unit looks nice but it's huge.  The Sansa units I mentioned are a little smaller than a Zippo.

 

I have a sansa clip 4 gb, no comparison to the playback quality of my Cowens. The sansa was the first mp3 unit I ever purchased. Mostly used it while washing my car or out walking for exercise, or the gym.

My first Cowen purchased is an S9, has software tone controls and an equalizer. It will playback mp3, wav, flac, and wma files too. 16 gb mem.

 

Sansa was like $39 new. The S9 was $190 back in 12/2009.

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So, how do the Sansa compare to the Cowens units you spoke to me recently about...

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My older sansa clip (9 or 10 years old) 4 gb is a simple mp3 player. Only plays mp3 files, no tone adjustments whatsoever. For the price, its an ok unit. The Cowens play lossy and lossless file types, larger memory, can create multiple play lists, have tone controls, and sound cleaner especially when you approach higher volume levels. Both of my Cowens have an output level of 1 volt. Cowen does offer more expensive hi res players, with outputs up to 2.0 volts. Those work better with larger over the ear headphones if you choose to use that type. I don't. I use Sennheiser wired in the ear units. You can spend $500-1300 on a portable hi res digital player if you choose to. Go browse at crutchfield on line.

 

Both of my Cowen units I frequently output to my two home receivers via an extended 3.5mm cable. It sounds wonderful. Could do the same in my car. Never tried connecting the sansa clip. I don't know off hand what the output voltage of the sansa is. For $35-40 if it suits ur needs, then great.

 

I'm guessing Sansa offers better units now too. I never looked. I like my Cowens.

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Left to right: Sansa clip 4 gb mem, Cowen S9 - 16 gb, and Cowen Plenue D, up to 160 gb.

 

DSC_0037.thumb.JPG.0f587abec6d04b1b7fc58cd1e4623f63.JPG 

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8 hours ago, Edgar said:

If sound quality is a consideration, then don't even bother with MP3 or any other "lossy" compression (actually data reduction) format. Just say no.

 

Consider this: Full-precision CD audio is 1411.2 kilobits per second (kb/s). Run that through a lossless compressor like FLAC, and you'll get approximately 2:1 compression, or about 700 kb/s. Even the best "lossy" compression algorithms don't sound really good until maybe 256-384 kb/s, or about half the file size that you'll get with a completely lossless compressor. Is it really worth discarding precious information for just that extra doubling of capacity, especially when memory is so cheap nowadays?

Agreed.  Storage is cheap.  If you're going to rip CDs, store them as FLAC.

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I have a Brennan B2.  I like it ok, but it isn't foolproof at all.  It needs some serious development time to make it great.

 

I started to design my own until I found the Brennan in roughly the same form factor.  I'm thinking about working on my project again because I believe I can do it better.

 

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I have no doubt that's (Cowon) a quality unit but it's really a different sort of thing from the little Sansas.  It's moot unless an older model like mine could be found, undoubtedly used, but with Rockbox running on it there are a plethora of controls and options.  You can equalize to heart's content, select Replay gain type and level (versus what's declared in any tags, which of course must be present to use the feature), width of soundstage (plus or minus), track change crossfade, to mention just a few of likely hundreds.  Display themes, button control assignments, plugins (can even play a game of Doom on it!).  In fact, if I ever have to replace my player outright I will do so only after consulting the Rockbox website to see what's compatible.

 

I have no idea whether the sound quality is nearly as hi-fi as that Cowon, but my requirements for such a device don't necessarily require ultimate sound quality - I've got the home stereo for that.

 

Just now rockbox.org shows the Cowon D2 is supported fairly well but less so the D2+.  There has been little development for some time now...

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I think the Cowon Plenue L would be awesome, but it's over $2k. I will do DSD256 though, so it's really really high end.

 

 

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13 hours ago, Marvel said:

I think the Cowon Plenue L would be awesome, but it's over $2k. I will do DSD256 though, so it's really really high end.

 

 

 

That is a really nice unit reading its specs. And so many options, even a balanced output @ 4 volts. As you go up the Cowen line there is a diminishing return on investment, as it is always with audio equip. My Plenue D batt charge will last 4x of the L tho, and I am amazed of the audio quality connecting from its headphone jack to my home receiver aux input, or my 2 channel rig in the BR. Absolutely no noise, look at the specs on even my low cost D model: SNR 123dB, THD+N 0.004%, Crosstalk -105dB, so clean. High end audiophile integrated amp manufacturers would be envious of specs like those. I picked it up in an amazon flash sale for $100, now @ $155.

 

It's a crazy and volatile market.......you can purchase a new stand alone DAC for $30 (I found one on line on sale, the extreme end of the scale no doubt), or you can purchase one for $3500. Micro chips are dirt cheap in today's markets.

 

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