MP3 player debates

i-pod shuffle is gonna rule. it’s small, cheap and can hold a lot of songs. i looked at i-tunes the other day. since i usually run my credit card at the record store anyway, why not just buy the songs i want at i-tunes? cds take up space.they’re bulky to put in your backback. they skip like a little girl on a sidewalk doing hopscotch. let them die. their time has come!

Mod note : Title change to reflect direction of thread.

I tried iTunes the other day and it told me it wasn’t availible in my region. I could probably setup some kind of proxy thing to make it work, but screw it.

I don’t think mp3s will replace CDs just yet, but I do agree that portables are quickly becoming a thing of the past (if not so already).

You are right, iTunes is only available in many regions of this world, and the Apple DRM is way too restrictive. I once heard about a guy who bought iTunes tracks in the US. He then moved to Canada, changed his Credit Card information and location on his Mac, and all of the sudden, he was not able to play any of his legally purchased files anymore. Besides that, for my taste, the tracks are way overpriced.

Maybe someday my CD collection will be worth something. $12 a disc.

I noticed at Sogo, they’re selling something called XRCD or something. They are very expensive. I wonder how much better they can be than CDs. I remember when CDs came out they were supposed to be so much better than LPs. Bands started recording digital albums like Queen’s The Works and Paul Simon’s Hearts and Bones. And then they quit.

You young whippersnappers who never had albums can’t appreciate what a hassle that was and what an improvement CDs are.

Technically a CD is better than LP, besides the better mechanical qualities (smaller, no contact with the reading head) CDs have for example a higher dymanic range. But there are still those that prefer the “warm” sound of the LP, just like some prefer a tube amp over a solid-state (transistor) amp. Nothing wrong with that, it’s just a matter of personal preference.
However one should not think that your standard pop-rock recording is suitable to show how good a CD can be, instead most mainstream recordings are mediocre at best; where $$$ are to be made it’s quantity instead of quality.

XRCD means Extended Resolution CD and was invented by JVC. I won’t bore you with the technical details, you can read them up here:

XRCD, but also HDCD (requires hardware decoder) or processes used like at Chesky Records etc. prove that mainstream stuff does not use the capabilities of CD to it’s full extend.
Unfortunately most of the recordings don’t meet my taste in music though and you often have to pay a higher price for them.
As far as a comparision is possible and based on the few “audiophile” CDs I own I would say the recordings do indeed sound much better. Understand this as an opinion, not a fact.

Further I think MP3 etc. are very suitable to portable devices or where a lot of songs are required on one media, but since most formats use lossy compressions the sound quality will inevitably suffer. This may or may not be audible, mainly depending on the format/codec, bitrate used (where it can be selected) and the playback device.

so, does this mean my 8-track collection shall remain worthless until further notice?

you really like the ipod shuffle?

But many album covers are beautiful works of art, unlike little plastic CD cases, and many years ago a double album opened across the lap used to make a handy platform on which to crumble a bud and sort out the seeds. . . or so I’ve been told.

i don’t have a shuffle yet but it should be okay. i have a little practice amp with a CD in and i can velcro my ipod shuffle to my amp and hear my pat metheny songs to practice with!

[quote=“Rascal”]Technically a CD is better than LP, besides the better mechanical qualities (smaller, no contact with the reading head) CDs have for example a higher dymanic range. But there are still those that prefer the “warm” sound of the LP, just like some prefer a tube amp over a solid-state (transistor) amp. Nothing wrong with that, it’s just a matter of personal preference.

Audiophiles prefer LP’s because a cd sounds more compressed than an LP. If you know someone who has a really good record player and a good amp and decent speaker the sound will be amazing.

Tube amps are good for recording with but I prefer playing live with solid state amps because they are more reliable and lighter to carry around.

The iPod Shuffle is a ripoff. It’s only 512MB if I remember correctly. And it costs like US$100. A FOUR GIG iPod is only twice that. And I bought a 512MB MP3 player here for like US$70 a couple of months ago. I guess that extra $30 must pay for Steve Jobs blowing a load all over each iPod, because that’s all they really have going for them over flash-based players - wank value.

tetsuo has a point about the bang for the buck there. there’s a big difference in the i pod mini and the shuffle that doesn’t equal the difference in price. also can shuffle paly songs in the order i want? the ad is giving me the impression that it’s a random list player.

[quote=“Richardm”]I remember when CDs came out they were supposed to be so much better than LPs.[/quote]Even at that time the CD format was not the best that could be achieved. It was a compromise due to some marketing interests – I forget exactly what.

The sound quality of the vast majority of MP3s is worse than that of CDs, because MP3 is a compresson format. Most of the time, this doesn’t matter too much and the convenience outweighs the slight drop in sound quality.

96khz 24 bit stereo DVDs were arguably the best quality music format made. But they’re not making them any more because apparently the customer wants to hear the unnatural effect of “surround-sound” music with the trumpets breathing down his neck or something.
RIP Stereo DVD

CDs were developed back in the late 70s/early 80s, so they had to deal with the tecnology they had at the time. Information theory says you need a digital sampling rate twice that of your bandwidth to accurately encode a signal. Since most people can’t hear above around 17khz, a 44.1khz sampling rate should be good enough. The 16-bit sampling is more likely the limitation of sound quality. I highly doubt anyone can tell the difference between 48khz/24-bit (normal DVD LPCM) and 96hz/24-bit (DVD-Audio). There’s stilll some 48khz/24-bit audio DVDs put out in UK. Perhaps the market thought that was good enough.

As for compressed audio, the main problem is the use of low bit rates. 128kbps mp3 music sounds hideous to me, though a lot of people think it’s fine. Personally I encode at 192kbps AAC (in iTunes) after a lot of experimenting to see at which bit rates I could notice the difference. For me, I can’t tell the difference at that rate. With mp3 I can hear a difference up to 224kbps.

In either case, it’s quite possible that you can tell a difference. If so you’re unusual enough that nobody can make any money off targetting your capabilities. Sorry 'bout that.

I haven’t used CDs much at all for several years now. I’ve been ripping them first to mp3 and later to AAC. When I buy CDs these days, they get popped in the computer for ripping and then go into storage. I occasionally buy stuff on iTunes Music Store if it is an exclusive or hard to find, but I prefer ripping things myself for the higher bit rates. This also saved me from having to move my music collection phyiscally to Taiwan. It was much easier to bring over one hard disk than 1000 CDs.

The main drawback of the iPod Shuffle is the lack of an LCD. I’m told by others that it actually works well despite that, but I’m still skeptical. The iPod mini is intriguing to me, but it’s a bit too pricey at USD250 for 4 gigs of storage. I’m hoping they come out with a 10 gig version and/or lower the 4 gig price at some point.

The main advantage Apple has is that their user interfaces are excellent and easy to use. My wife bought an MSI mp3 player a while ago and the user interface is hideous. She and I were constantly fumbling around trying to get it to play the right thing. That and it doesn’t show ID3 tags, just filenames, and only displayed Chinese using the Chinese firmware, Japanese only with the Japanese firmware, etc. Not very useful for those of us with stuff in both. The iPod and iPod mini are very easy to use and support all languages.

Someone stated CDs are better than LPs. I fell asleep listening to CDs simply because there was no need to turn it over. I didn’t see this as a good thing. Like television remotes etc…a lot of new technology is just making people lazier. A friend of mine had a TV that only could be turned on with a remote.

I really have no idea what an I-pod is.[/quote]

Heading off to Nova on the weekend to buy an MP3 player. Got my eyes on the Creative 512MB Slim model (credit card-sized, not mucher thicker than one). Retails at NT4290.

However, I’m open to suggestions. Are there brands to avoid? Are there ODM players that are great value-for-money, that I should know about?

My budget: NT3000 - 4500. Ideally a 1G, but happy to settle for a 512MB…


Perhaps you can avoid the Ipod Shuffle.

You can’t replace the battery once it is out of juice. It has to be recharged.

Cool looking device, but not practical.


For the price I’m willing to pay, I reckon I could get one with an FM radio and voice-recorder. It seems most come with the above…

Do I stand corrected?

Sandisk makes one that comes in Red, Blue, and Silver, has radio/recorder/display, but for some reason is not sold in Taiwan.
Its also cheaper than the iPods.

Sony also just came out with some interesting new models, but again they’re hard to find here. The Sonys are pricier than the Apples which cost more than the Sandisks.

I don’t know why everyone is falling over themselves to join the apple cult, but Jobs has sold his people up the river to the music industry. iTunes is not all its cracked up to be. Just read the fine print and the negative reviews before you get an Apple.

I’d still get the iPod shuffle. You can always buy a replacement battery off the internet. They are available for the normal iPods. They will be for the Shuffle. So you don’t get a FM radio or recorder (you can get a recorder with the normal iPod).

The important component is software. How many good applications are there for managing your music? Napster To Go, Musicmatch, Winamp? I’ve tried them all and would never use anything else besides iTunes. You may like them, but I find them very cluttered and cumbersome.

Manually dragging mp3s to your player? I would never do that again. Needing to manually manage your MP3s on your HD? Why? Someday we won’t manually manage any files on our computers.

I suppose many people put up with bad interface design because they’ve never seen anything else. I love my Mac but I know OSs and software are still evolving. Only time and a few decades will give us good software.

If you can afford $6,900 you could get the iPod mini 4G.