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Old 09-14-2013, 11:00 AM
MikeRivers MikeRivers is offline
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Default ISO Cheap, Servicable Audio Player

The standard particulars:

  • Location: USA
  • Capacity: 4 GB is fine. 2 GB is a bit too small, more than 8 GB would be wasted
  • Budget: Under $25 , well, OK, maybe $30!!! No $300 players, please
  • Use: Playing recorded radio programs 1-3 hours in length while flying or on a long road trip.
  • Type/Design: Audio player - MP3, WAV, FLAC would be nice but not essential. Most everything I play is 128 or 256 kbps MP3
  • Features: Easy to understand and operate. Would like to turn it on, see a list of files (typically about 20 so some scrolling will be necessary, pick one, and start playing. When that one's finished, automatically start playing the next one. I don't want to fiddle around with menus while driving.
  • Display: Display, large enough so I can read file names. Scrolling linearly so I can see the complete file name eventually is OK.
  • UI/Controls: Buttons, and ones that don't feel like they're going to break real soon. Must be responsive and not take several seconds after pressing a button before something happens.
  • Battery life: 8 hours would be nice
Other considerations:

  • Drag-and-drop loading. I don't want no stinkin' iTunes to manage my songs.
  • USB connectivity to a computer, of course, but also I want it to look like a thumb drive to a USB player when I get one of those newfangled rental cars that lets you plug one in. (I was pleasantly surprised to find that my old one does that)
  • A playlist function would be nice. When copying a bunch of files to all of the players that I've had in the past, it's not always clear in what order they'll be played (or listed). Since I listen to a variety of programs (all music, just different kinds) I'd like to not have all five dates of the same show play consecutively. I'd like to mix them up.
  • I'd like to be able to use all of the memory for my stuff and not have it re-load the trial songs that came on it every time I delete them. Do they all do that?
I've been living with a TrekStor EMO for a few years. It's 2 GB and about runs out of battery when it runs out of files. It's actually not too bad as far as functionality goes, but I thought I'd like to get one with more capacity and a new battery.



I just picked up a 4 GB Eclipse 180 (not 180T, not 180G2) which, after rebate, was only $8. It meets my basic needs, and it sounds much better than the EMO, comparing the two with the same set of headphones - Sennheiser PCX-250 crappy noise cancelling phones that I use on airplanes. I can read the screen, I got 9.5 hours out of a charge on first test, and, while it's larger than the EMO, is still small enough to ignore. I can drag-and-drop files to it but here's what bugs me:


It comes preloaded with a bunch of songs and one video, none of which interest me. Also some software for converting formats that I haven't tried. When I delete all of that stuff, the next time I turn it on, it restores it all, presumably from an invisible partition on the internal memory. It's like cockroaches.



There are two different menu systems which have some things in common, and some things unique to each menu. The user interface is a 4-way rocker with a button in the center. Pressing it in the M direction brings up one menu which, if I scroll far enough through it, gets me to the folder where I've placed the radio programs. The other menu, which seems to be more useful, comes up when powering it on, but I haven't been able to find it once I've got it up and running. This may be the way it's supposed to be, or it may be that I'm just not clever enough to find, or remember how to find it. (to me, that's a design flaw)


It takes long enough to respond to most button presses that I have to keep looking at it to see if it's going to respond or if I need to push the button again. The button/rocker doesn't feel all that great or positive, and there's little tactile feedback.


I'm going on a trip next week, and I'll take it with me to see how annoying it turns out to be in real use. I might keep it just on general principles because it's only $8, but more than likely if I don't care for it, I'll return it. There's a boatload of these things on line (most of which look pretty much the same), but stores don't carry much of a selection any more. I bought this one at Micro Center and two years ago, they had a whole aisle full of assorted players, but now have just a handful on hang tags and no salespeople who have any idea about the differences.



So am I looking for something that just isn't made any more? Or is there a secret player that only folks on this forum know about?


This is what I have now:
http://www.microcenter.com/product/3...dia_Player_Red


I'm sure it's a discontinued model since it's no longer on the Eclipse web site. That doesn't bother me.
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  #2  
Old 09-14-2013, 12:52 PM
Enigmatic Enigmatic is offline
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SanDisk Clip+ or SanDisk Clip Zip? They are, however, slightly more than 30 USD.
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Old 09-14-2013, 01:37 PM
MikeRivers MikeRivers is offline
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I looked at a SanDisk when they were on sale at Radio Shack a few weeks back. From what I could tell from the on-line reviews, it needs Rhapsody to load files on to it. That's a non-starter for me. Do you know if this is a fact, or just a misunderstanding from a new purchaser? Of course I couldn't feel it through the blister pack, but a few reviews led me to question the robustness of the controls.
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Old 09-14-2013, 02:00 PM
Enigmatic Enigmatic is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeRivers View Post
From what I could tell from the on-line reviews, it needs Rhapsody to load files on to it. That's a non-starter for me. Do you know if this is a fact, or just a misunderstanding from a new purchaser?
No Rhapsody is required. I only use copy-and-paste file transfers with my Clip+ and Clip Zip and have never had any problems.
Quote:
Of course I couldn't feel it through the blister pack, but a few reviews led me to question the robustness of the controls.
There is nothing wrong with the controls. I have had my Clip Zip for well over a year and my Clip+ even longer. The Clip+ and Clip Zip are MP3 players that one can swear by and not swear at.
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  #5  
Old 09-14-2013, 02:56 PM
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The DarkSide The DarkSide is offline
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For your price point you won't find anything better than a clipzip or clip+. Even at a higher price point they're well above the grade.

As for software, none is required. But I create playlists via computer, and I don't remember how these are with just doing on-the-fly playlists.

Still, for around $30 your asking for a lot. In the real world it ain't gonna happen,...but the clip+ & clipzip come damn close.
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Old 09-14-2013, 06:14 PM
MikeRivers MikeRivers is offline
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Thanks for the info on the Clip+ and ClipZip. I picked $30 because that's twice what I've spent on two other players that I've had, the one I'm currently using and the one I left on an airplane, which was better than its replacement (and a lot better than the $6 replacement I bought for it when I was on the tirp where I lost it - one of those that looks like a thumb drive and has a one-button, one LED user interface).

I wonder if the person who mentioned Rhapsody was required only thought that because it came with a disk that had that program on it, and he wasn't clever enough to try it without. There's all kinds out there.

I'll keep an eye out for a good price on a Sansa.
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Old 09-14-2013, 06:43 PM
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FreeZ5 FreeZ5 is offline
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Budget: Under $25 , well, OK, maybe $30!!! No $300 players, please

I didn't read the rest of your description. As you have seen from the other responses, there is nothing else that comes close.

Your best deal would be a refurbished one. If you're in the USA, watch the Deals sub-forum, refurb'd Clips are regularly mentioned.

BTW, don't know where you read the reviews, but places like Amazon have a lot of reviews posted by dummies. Have a browse thru the Clip forum here.

One serious problem to mention. The Zip supposedly can play m4a files from iTunes. It can, but there are a lot of m4a files that it can't. Doesn't look like it's an issue for you.

Steve
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