Explain audio players (zune, ipod, etc)
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    Explain audio players (zune, ipod, etc)

    Help.

    I need some help with ipod-style audio players.

    Here's the deal, I haven't messed around with music in the computer since college. Now my wife is busy ripping her CDs to her newly acquired laptop and is hinting an Ipod would be an excellent christmas present.

    So ...

    I'm currently having her rip her music to WMA format. Do I need to convert that to MP3 to save space (like with WAV files)? Do Ipods and the like play WMA format?

    Also, what is the best audio player out there? I've seen there are a lot more possibilites outside of Ipod land ... anything better than others?

    Basic use would be just for working out / running / long bike rides and 99% sure it would only be used for music.

    Any and all opinions would be appreciated.



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    Re: Explain audio players (zune, ipod, etc)

    Quote Originally Posted by clones_jer View Post
    Help.

    I need some help with ipod-style audio players.

    Here's the deal, I haven't messed around with music in the computer since college. Now my wife is busy ripping her CDs to her newly acquired laptop and is hinting an Ipod would be an excellent christmas present.

    So ...

    I'm currently having her rip her music to WMA format. Do I need to convert that to MP3 to save space (like with WAV files)? Do Ipods and the like play WMA format?

    Also, what is the best audio player out there? I've seen there are a lot more possibilites outside of Ipod land ... anything better than others?

    Basic use would be just for working out / running / long bike rides and 99% sure it would only be used for music.

    Any and all opinions would be appreciated.
    I use WMA files because they have a bit better sound quality/size ratio than MP3s. However, I have a Creative Zen Vision M, which plays almost any format, unlike the Ipod. Zunes (Microsoft) of course love WMA files, Ipods (Apple) will not play them.

    If your wife wants to work out, a flash based player would be best. It has less capacity than hard drive based units, but has no moving parts, so can be shaken like crazy and have no skips or harm done.


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    Re: Explain audio players (zune, ipod, etc)

    Quote Originally Posted by isucyfan View Post
    I use WMA files because they have a bit better sound quality/size ratio than MP3s. However, I have a Creative Zen Vision M, which plays almost any format, unlike the Ipod. Zunes (Microsoft) of course love WMA files, Ipods (Apple) will not play them.

    If your wife wants to work out, a flash based player would be best. It has less capacity than hard drive based units, but has no moving parts, so can be shaken like crazy and have no skips or harm done.

    Creative has a great line of MP3 players. I am liking the zune as well. While I love the look and accessories of the Ipod, I just cant bring myself to the price and limitations.



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    Re: Explain audio players (zune, ipod, etc)

    so WMA is basically another version of the MP3 ... not much bigger in size in general?

    Are there shareware converters to go back and forth between MP3 & WMA?

    I take it Ipod is only MP3, Zune use WMA, etc ... everything has a file type it prefers? Or are there players that can play all (many) types?



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    Re: Explain audio players (zune, ipod, etc)

    The first mp3 player I bought was a creative zen nomad. Good player, but way too bulky for my taste. Last year I upgraded to a 60 gb ipod, which I like a lot more. More storage, easier interface, plus, you can share more music w/friends (most people have ipods, most music files are encoded with apple's encryption).

    Personally I'd recommend the ipod, but there are a lot of good players on the market. The other thing to think about is how much music your wife has. If she has a lot, you might want to go w/a player w/a hard drive. If she has a little, get a flash drive player, like the nano.


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    Re: Explain audio players (zune, ipod, etc)

    Quote Originally Posted by clones_jer View Post
    so WMA is basically another version of the MP3 ... not much bigger in size in general?

    Are there shareware converters to go back and forth between MP3 & WMA?

    I take it Ipod is only MP3, Zune use WMA, etc ... everything has a file type it prefers? Or are there players that can play all (many) types?
    WMA is Windows Media Audio, Microsoft's preferred file type for audio, thus the Zune gets along well with it. Apple has a different format, AAC. Both can play MP3s, but files downloaded from Itunes are in AAC format, and can't be played on other players. (There is a workaround to this, but it degrades the quality of the file.)

    This is a big reason why I prefer a Zen. It plays MP3, WMA, and other formats, but not AACs. I am not an Itunes guy, so this suits me well. There are other players like Sansa and Samsung just to name a few, that are without their own propriety formats, but in my opinion, Creative makes the best player. I've had three different ones, and have had no problems.

    I agree that if your wife wants only a small number of songs on it, a small flash player will suit her fine. If she wants a whole music library on it, she would need a hard drive based player, but these aren't best for working out with.

    Hope that helps, sorry for the long explanation.

    Forgot to mention: WMAs supposedly have a better sound quality and are comparable in size to an MP3. It's probably negligible to the average listener, though.


    Last edited by isucyfan; 12-01-2007 at 07:57 PM.
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    Re: Explain audio players (zune, ipod, etc)

    Is there an equivalent site to Itunes for different formats?



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    Re: Explain audio players (zune, ipod, etc)

    Quote Originally Posted by clones_jer View Post
    Is there an equivalent site to Itunes for different formats?
    There are...

    If you are into independent and obscure artists, emusic is the greatest. They give high-quality, DRM-free (no restrictions on copying, will play on any player) MP3s. You get a certain number of downloads per month for a subscription fee.

    If you are into the mainstream, Rhapsody is usually the highest rated service. You can download the tracks for a fee, like Itunes, or do a "rental" subscription, where you can load as many tracks as you want on your player as long as you pay the fee each month.

    Yahoo Music Unlimited is the cheapest of the alternative mainstream services, and also has an "all you can load on your player subscription" service. If you sign up with a Mastercard, you get 2 years for the price of 1. Great deal (that's what I use) but the selection isn't quite as good as some others.

    There's also Napster, which is similar, but I prefer the others.


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    Re: Explain audio players (zune, ipod, etc)

    Quote Originally Posted by isucyfan View Post
    There are...

    If you are into independent and obscure artists, emusic is the greatest. They give high-quality, DRM-free (no restrictions on copying, will play on any player) MP3s. You get a certain number of downloads per month for a subscription fee.

    If you are into the mainstream, Rhapsody is usually the highest rated service. You can download the tracks for a fee, like Itunes, or do a "rental" subscription, where you can load as many tracks as you want on your player as long as you pay the fee each month.

    Yahoo Music Unlimited is the cheapest of the alternative mainstream services, and also has an "all you can load on your player subscription" service. If you sign up with a Mastercard, you get 2 years for the price of 1. Great deal (that's what I use) but the selection isn't quite as good as some others.

    There's also Napster, which is similar, but I prefer the others.
    What would prevent you from signing up for a month and downloading the entire database and saving it to your hard drive? Do the songs expire? or do they make their money off of new songs coming out?

    Sorry about all of this ... last time I dealt with it I just drug and dropped from the wonder that was the ISU ethernet



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    Re: Explain audio players (zune, ipod, etc)

    Quote Originally Posted by clones_jer View Post
    What would prevent you from signing up for a month and downloading the entire database and saving it to your hard drive? Do the songs expire? or do they make their money off of new songs coming out?

    Sorry about all of this ... last time I dealt with it I just drug and dropped from the wonder that was the ISU ethernet
    Some expire. Thats why I use the application SoundTaxi. It strips the DRM out. Its well worth the 15 bucks.



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    Re: Explain audio players (zune, ipod, etc)

    Quote Originally Posted by bostinelosd View Post
    Some expire. Thats why I use the application SoundTaxi. It strips the DRM out. Its well worth the 15 bucks.
    Yep, I use that too. It effectively gives you ownership of millions of songs if you want them. Although I do get some skips and audio "hiccups" occasionally with it.


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    Re: Explain audio players (zune, ipod, etc)

    where did you get Soundtaxi for $15?



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    Re: Explain audio players (zune, ipod, etc)

    If you have the CDs and purchase an iPod, iTunes will format them to be uploadable and playable on the iPod. It took me about 30 mins to do 20 cds.
    iPods are exceptional for athletic activity. Not bulky, pretty durable, and tons of accessory options. I have an H2Audio case for mine with a belt clip that has never slipped off my shorts (which is hard to find).
    I work with someone who has a zune, the old model. He likes it alright but has a very hard time finding someone else within network range to pick up stuff off of. It's pretty bulky and looks fragile, however.



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    Re: Explain audio players (zune, ipod, etc)

    Quote Originally Posted by bpmdu View Post
    If you have the CDs and purchase an iPod, iTunes will format them to be uploadable and playable on the iPod. It took me about 30 mins to do 20 cds.
    iPods are exceptional for athletic activity. Not bulky, pretty durable, and tons of accessory options. I have an H2Audio case for mine with a belt clip that has never slipped off my shorts (which is hard to find).
    I work with someone who has a zune, the old model. He likes it alright but has a very hard time finding someone else within network range to pick up stuff off of. It's pretty bulky and looks fragile, however.
    From a female point of view (as it sounds like this is a gift)...

    I love my Nano when I'm traveling, driving, or generally on-the-go. I can throw it in my purse (I have an acrylic case that protects it) and just leave it there. My Touch is great for movies, etc., but the other is so much more portable. Other than .wma's, bpmdu is correct - iTunes will convert for you. I also got the full version of QuickTime, which will convert certain types of files to others that are supported.


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    Re: Explain audio players (zune, ipod, etc)

    Not to rain on clones_jer's parade but I'd like to chime in with a different question of my own.

    I'm currently shopping for a new receiver/surround sound/home theater system and almost all of the packages include an ipod dock. Am I correct to assume that the dock will ONLY work for ipods as opposed to Creative or another brand? I assume that the plug is a proprietary plug for ipod. If this is true, then is there another good way to hook another brand of mp3 player up to a receiver? I'd rather not get an ipod, just not an apple fan. Thanks.



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