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Old 03-29-2012, 12:19 AM
Rosea Rosea is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 8
Default Recommendation request for a classical/audiobook listener - cheap and basic preferred


I am looking to purchase a player for myself, having outgrown retooling devices not originally intended as players. I don't need it also to be a GPS, web browser, digital music store front, YouTube/FaceBook/MySpace uploader, digital camera, QR code scanner, gaming device, and toaster - that's what cell phones are for (spoiler: my phone taste is pretty bare bones as well). As for what I am looking for, I'll start with the items listed in the sticky:
  • Location: Rural collegetown area located somewhere in the Atlantic Northeast area of the United States of America - will almost certainly be ordering used from internet
  • Capacity: At least 2GB, 4GB or more preferred, and expansion slots are also highly desired in case I change my mind
  • Budget: Preferably <50 USD - I am reluctant to go much higher than 99 USD.
  • Use: As the topic title suggests, I will mostly use the player to listen to classical music, with the occasional show/podcast or audiobook. I imagine that I will use the player primarily in two recurring settings: commuting and relaxation.
  • Type/Design: DAP/PMP - I can't see it making much of a difference (or being a choice), given the other constraints I have outlined.
  • Features: Gapless playback is a must, as certain classical works need it. I also place high priority on a sorting system beyond Artist/Album/Title - I would like at the very least searching by Composer and Performer, if not folder/file-based browsing. I inferred from a quick browsing of this sub-forum that bass boosts are for those people who like to blast loud rap/hip-hop/whatever noise they listen to these days from their car/party speakers. If that is the case, bass boosters are less important, and anything that counterbalances the market's pandering toward that demographic (assuming such pandering is forcefully inflicted upon the product in question) would be appreciated. Other priority features will be listed further down.
  • Display/Size: As long as I can get the information I need at a glance, this probably won't matter. Ideally, I would be able to see the Artist and Composer - customizable displays/readouts are a big plus here. For size, as long as it fits in a medium-sized pocket, which most older players seem to do just fine, I do not anticipate any problems.
  • UI/Controls: I much prefer tactile buttons in that unlike screens, they can be operated easily by touch alone.
  • Battery life: Not a huge priority if the transit method in question has a charger, which it will have most of the time, but just in case I might get caught on an extended chargerless trip... I don't know, 9+ hours?
Miscellaneous Properties: These are listed roughly in descending order of importance for me. I would also appreciate a rough estimate of how much each of these features adds to the cost of a player, to the extent that such is possible (some of these admittedly would make for awkward estimates).

Very important:
- Customization - I am sufficiently technically inclined that 'ease-of-use' features, interface pruning, and the like are much more often irritations to me than conveniences. Instead, I prefer customizability, especially the ability to password-protect my appliances for when I lose them, because it will happen eventually. Installing a custom OS is fun, but probably not feasible with the given price range. As for interfaces and information displays, as far as I'm concerned, more is more.
- Rechargability - I will not buy batteries if there is any way at all to avoid doing so, but it won't be the end of the world if such is necessary.
- Sound quality - I'm no audiophile, so I probably do not have much of the knowledge or background necessary to discriminate between different players' audio-rendering capabilities. However, if a product is notably different from the norm in either direction, I would like to know about it. In particular, I do have relatively good pitch, so I think I would be able to distinguish that (I once detected a pitch difference on one computer between WinAmp and Windows Media Player).
- Durability - things seem to slip out of my hands/pockets/bags often enough for this to be of medium-high concern.
- Product lifetime - I will probably be buying used, so I would like something built to last, not to mention that a device failure will mean days of waiting around for a replacement to ship.

Somewhat important:
- File formats - I would like FLAC, OGG, and AAC to be supported, in that order of descending priority. If the device can handle pictures, PNGs and JPGs are the only two formats I really care about.
- Dedicated volume controls
- Basic playlist support - nothing fancy is needed, but on-the-fly editing would be a plus.

Mildly important:
- Playback speed - I don't know if players have this sort of feature, but I guess I may as well put it here.
- On-screen clock - I have some bizarre OC quirk that makes wearing watches uncomfortable for me. Bonus points if it can speak the time on demand, but that's probably closer to alarm clock territory. 24-hour clocks preferred to 12-hour clocks
- Timers - telling the player to turn on or off at a certain time of day, or after a certain amount of time has elapsed
- Built-in microphone
- FM Radio reception - recorder would be nice but is probably too much to ask for at this price range
- Alternate font support - Not terribly important thanks to the magic of transliteration, but in this order of descending preference: miscellaneous European/Roman diacritics, East Asian character support, Cyrillic alphabet support, Semitic language (Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, etc.) support

Inconsequential side-bonuses:
- Text reading capabilities
- Video playback

Hmm, on second thought, this doesn't seem to describe a player as basic as I had in mind... oh well! Thank you in advance for reading through this topic.
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