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quality portable cd/mp3 player
captainmidnight
post Dec 8 2005, 00:30
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Does anyone have any recommendations for a good portable CD player?

Here are features that I want:

--must handle CD-R/RW as well as pressed (factory) CDs

--must support mp3 files

--should have an fm tuner with digital station presets

--decent appearance and ruggedness

--have decent battery life

--have a decent price


Regarding mp3 files, I especially need it to

--support LAME VBR files

--support id3v2 tags, and display all the standard fields (see also this discussion: http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index....howtopic=39462)

--would be very nice if it could drill down into directories (e.g. for albums) and find the files, since I really do not want to write all the files to the root directory


Don't tell me to buy a flash or hd based unit: that is that I would get for myself, but this unit I am getting as a gift for someone else who is not very computer literate and who will not be making many of their own mp3s but instead would be getting them from me on a CR-R/RW.
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captainmidnight
post Dec 13 2005, 14:31
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Man, no one has any recomendations???

I went to Circuit City the other night and after looking at everything on the shelves, bought 2 Philips EXP3482/17 units:

http://www.circuitcity.com/ccd/productDeta...T&cm_keycode=66

(Could not find the unit on Philips' website. Think they have the WORTSt large company website that have seen ever...)

This unit is great. It seems to satisfy all my requirements.

In particular, I broke open one of the units (hope that my future gift recipient does not mind) and played with it and found that it supports albums in multiple levels of nested directories (i.e. your files do not need to be all at root level, but can be put into separate directories and these directories can in turn be nested inside other directories like genre folders).

It seems to read ID3v1 and v2 tags, but only just the title and artist and album, nothing more exotic. The display is limited to ~30 chars, it truncates after that (it should scroll instead). And it does not support all characters (e.g. '~' chars get displayed as a funky square looking thing; see this posting for why I want to use '~' chars:
http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index....ndpost&p=346154
).

But all in all, I came away very happy with this unit. It does a lo for $51.
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herefornow
post Dec 13 2005, 14:55
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nice review capt., looks like you got a deal smile.gif curious what kind of plugs/headphones it came with? how do they sound? players get better and cheaper every week.

cheers,
h


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captainmidnight
post Dec 13 2005, 22:28
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QUOTE (herefornow @ Dec 13 2005, 09:55 AM)
nice review capt., looks like you got a deal smile.gif curious what kind of plugs/headphones it came with? how do they sound? players get better and cheaper every week.

cheers,
h
*



Sorry for not discussing that, and also for all the typos in my reply: I was frantically typing trying to get it out before leaving for work this morning.


The units that I bought are conventional CD shaped (i.e. round) portable units, but I thought that this was one of the slickest looking players on the shelf. In particular, the front top has what looks like a machined aluminum plate to me; I love the appearance.


The main accessories that it comes with are:

--headphones; I think these wrap around the back, not top, of your head (at least thats the way they best fit on my large head); they fit OK and sound OK, but are nothing compared to high end stuff like what I use when listening to my stereo at home (I have a $250 set of headphones that sounds better than my main speakers)

--a wired remote control; while the player itself has all the common buttons on it, this unit can be plugged into the player using the same plug that you normally push the headphones into (and then you daisy chain the headphones off of this unit); this unit can control several aspects of the player, and it is where the text led display is located, which displays info like id3 tags, fm station, etc

Note that there is also a power input port on the player where you can insert dc power if you have your own power supply and want to save on batteries, but the unit itself has no such power supply.


Some more random comments:

--the aforementioned remote control unit has a +/- album select button on it that is extremely useful; as mentioned in my original post, you can put your albums into arbitrarily nested folders on the cd, and by pressing this button, the unit will transparently drill down into the apprpriate directory and find the first file for you; this is a truly well thought out user interface feature. To be sure, it can take the unit a few seconds to find the next album, since cds are not random access media like a flash player would be, but the delay is tolerable.

--the unit seems to have been designed in an intelligent way to reduce battery usage. For instance, the remote control's led auto dims, and the unit only rotates the cd when it is getting near the end of its memory buffer (I guess that the unit reads ahead and fills the buffer to max of its 100 or 200 second capacity whenever it does spin up).

--I did not even look at the sony units once I found this philips player, since I regard sony as a customer hating, proprietary technolgy loving, DRM fiend of a firm that needs to be punished by humanity until they repent.
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Spool
post Dec 26 2005, 21:43
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I have a couple of questions.

Does it offer gapless play? I know mp3 playback won't be gapless but what about CD playback. I had an Expanium (forget the model number but was about $50 at WalMart) and it did not play audio CD's gaplessly, it would insert a gap between each track it was really annoying. I didn't expect gapless mp3 playback but when a normal audio cd was in it should be gapless.

Can you navigate through the folders? The one I had had buttons to go up or down by album (folder) but you couldn't navigate through the folders to select a song. I don't know if it handled nested folders as I never tried.

I hope yours lasted longer than mine did. I had two. The first one lasted about 2 weeks and died. Took it back for and exchange and the replacement lasted about the same. I then purchased a RIO cd/mp3 player that was pretty much junk as well.

IMO cd/mp3 players aren't worth the hassle. I much prefer a quality HD based player.

my $.02

Jamie
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atici
post Dec 26 2005, 21:55
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If you really must get a CD based digital audio player, I think Sony makes the best CD based units even though you don't like them. Another good choice could be iRiver.

I suggest you browse Sony's catalog here. The top model D-NE20 is absolutely fabuluos and has >100 hours battery life. They have very cheap but really good new units as well.

Even though the Sony management is obsessed with DRM, it doesn't affect you the least bit for a CD player unit. The only thing that matters for a CD unit is the engineering quality for which Sony is unbeatable.

The Philips model you linked to is ok, but nothing extraordinary.

This post has been edited by atici: Dec 27 2005, 02:52


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Clemech
post Dec 27 2005, 00:40
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QUOTE (atici @ Dec 26 2005, 03:55 PM)
If you really must get a CD based digital audio player, I think Sony makes the best CD based units even though you don't like them. Another good choice could be iRiver.

I suggest you browse Sony's catalog here. The top model D-NE20 is absolutely faboluos and has >100 hours battery life. They have very cheap but really good new units as well.

Even though the Sony management is obsessed with DRM, it doesn't affect you the least bit for a CD player unit. The only thing that matters for a CD unit is the engineering quality for which Sony is unbeatable.

The Philips model you linked to is ok, but nothing extraordinary.
*


Is Sony's engineering quality really head and shoulders above the rest? I'm considering buying a DVD recorder or HD-DVD recorder and construction quality is important in something that should last for several years.

I do have to say that I bought a Philips portable CD player which broke within a year. A Sony replacement still works now, after five or six years (it hasn't been used much for the last year since I bought a DAP though!)
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NeoRenegade
post Dec 27 2005, 11:18
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I wish I could compare, because I own a Sony and used to own an iRiver. But the iRiver was a model from 2002 and the Sony is from 2004. Features, size and pricing in the MP3/CD player market have changed a lot since then.
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