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MP3 Jukebox choices - Help!

Discussion in 'Headphones, Earphones & Portable Music' started by Davej50, Jan 26, 2004.

  1. Davej50

    Davej50
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    I need to buy an MP3 jukebox and have narrowed my list down to 3 choices:

    iPod (20Gb) - £299.99
    Creative Zen Xtra (60Gb!) - £294.99
    iRiver iHP120 (20Gb) - £244.99

    I'm kind of veering away from the iPod because of battery life problems and price but am having a real problem deciding which of the other two to go for because of the following reasons:

    1) Creative Zen Xtra has massive storage space, changeable battery, the best sound quality (apparently), but has no output facility. I want to be able to use it in conjunction with my home AV setup. It is larger and has no remote either.

    2) iRiver has optical in/out, remote, almost same size as iPod, amazing reviews on the web, is £50 cheaper than the others. Bad stuff is that it has the integrated battery like the iPod, much smaller disk space, limited playlist options.

    If the Creative Zen had the output facility then I don't think I'd even be considering anything else. I've not been able to use any of these products except for the iPod so don't know what they are really like. Has anyone on here tried them all? Anyone got any good opinions on these which might sway my vote?
     
  2. Dazed

    Dazed
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    Yup, I've got a Creative Zen Xtra 60gb (phew long name) - pretty pleased with it to tell you the truth. Not at all sexy in an iPod type way but then again you get away from that urban cool guff.

    Not sure what you mean by no output facility, can't you just connect it through the headphone socket using one of those phono to two phono leads? I've not done it with my Zen but used to sometimes use it with my Minidisc - although this used to have two different volume out levels.
     
  3. Davej50

    Davej50
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    Well after much deliberation I've gone for the iRiver. Seemed like it had the best options for me and was also the cheapest. Shame it's only 20Gb but then hey, it's not like I can listen to more than 4 or 5 thousand tracks at a time is it ;)

    It's got an optical out on it so should be able to put it into my AV receiver and play tracks from there. Saves finding CDs and having them clutter up the living room anyway.

    Just gotta spend months on end converting all my CDs to MP3 now...
     
  4. MarkE19

    MarkE19
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    I've just received my iRiver and would be very pleased with it had it not been DOA :mad:
    I ordered it mid December and just hope it doesn't take another month to get it replaced.

    Ripping your CD's should not take too long. Most of the ripping progs such as WinAmp can rip at something like 48X (or as fast as your CD-ROM will spin them) so it should only be a couple of minutes per disk. You could do the ripping on the fly with a CDP with optical out direct to the iRiver, but this would be in real time!

    Hope you have more luck with it than I've had. I'll give it another try when Amazon manage to get me a replacement, but if that fails I'll just forget the idea and go back to cassette :suicide: , but Hey, that's just the way my luck is going at the moment.

    Mark.
     
  5. Davej50

    Davej50
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    I ordered mine from www.advancedmp3players.co.uk

    They price matched with Amazon (at £244) and were supposed to be getting them in today. They've told me today that their suppliers will now be getting them on Friday and so they will be able to send it to me early next week so I'll keep my fingers crossed that it works! (Also ordered some Koss 'Plugs' too).

    I'm currently ripping my MP3's with MusicMatch. It seemed that I had to pay about £20 or something to register Winamp and get the faster ripping features and I can't be bothered with that. I'm getting about 5x speed on a 160kbps MP3 with MusicMatch so it ain't too bad I guess. I've got longer to do them now anyway seeing as it ain't arriving until next week :)
     
  6. HMHB

    HMHB
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    I'd be interested in hearing what you think of it when you get it, as I'm currently deciding between this and an ipod.
     
  7. Davej50

    Davej50
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    I'll let you know once I get it. I was really put off the iPod once I started reading up on these things on the web. The battery life problems were a big deal for me plus the fact that the iRiver, although still quite expensive, was cheaper than the iPod yet seemed to have similar / more features. Okay, maybe it's not as user friendly as the iPod but hopefully the sound quality will be better as the iPod distorted so quickly...

    I've been reading the forum at http://www.misticriver.net/forum/index.php and it kind of made up my mind to go with the iRiver.

    Just to be sure, I borrowed an iPod from a friend just to see how I liked it. I hardly used it but it went from fully charged to nothing in no time at all. I just wasn't that impressed with it.

    I also like the optical out feature in the iRiver as I plan to connect it up to my AV Receiver, which means I can keep my CDs put away and get less hassle from the missus for leaving them everywhere ;)

    I guess I'll have to wait and see if it's any good when it turns up...
     
  8. HMHB

    HMHB
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    Thanks for the link. I've been reading lots of positive reviews on the sound quality of it, which is making me lean towards this one rather than the ipod.
     
  9. kennydies

    kennydies
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    I am glad you came to the same conclusion, as I bought one off Amazon yesterday, roll on delivery...
     
  10. wizbongre

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    Just for info - have a look for Exact Audio Copy (EAC) on t'internet for ripping your CD's. Its spot on in terms of sound quality and best of all is free!

    HTH.
     
  11. Davej50

    Davej50
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    YeaH, I read about that yesterday. Typical, I've now ripped over 70 CD's with MusicMatch. I'll download it and see how it is.

    anyone got any recommendations for bitrate? I've been ripping at 160kbps rather than 192. Wasn't really sure whether I would notice much difference between the two as I don't have anything to test them on. I really don't wanna have to re-rip all those CD's if I can help it but I guess I'd rather do it now than have to re-rip hundreds of 'em!
     
  12. MarkE19

    MarkE19
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    I'm useing EAC with Lame that uses VBR (variable bit rate) as this gives very good quality and saves a lot of space.
    Lame is also a free download and full details for setting both of therese up can be found Here

    Mark.
     
  13. Matt Horne

    Matt Horne
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    Yep I am also using EAC with Lame.. for LAme I use the standard setting which is a VBR rate around 192 .. excellent results..

    I'll post a webpage tonight which had instructions how to set up EAC and Lame.. makes it nice and easy.

    Matt
     
  14. Davej50

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    Just received the iRiver this morning and I am VERY impressed!

    Compared to the iPod I borrowed the other week, the sound quality on this thing is incredible (even with the standard headphones! - Can't wait to get my better ones). I found that the iPod distorted very quickly and had no real bass response, but the iRiver is a whole new ball game.

    It's about as big as my mobile phone (Nokia 6600), although a little 'squarer', the remote is really cool, and it feels very sturdy overall.

    I am so glad I went for this instead of the iPod. And for £50 cheaper than the equivalent sized iPod it's a bargain!

    Oh, and BTW, the MP3's I've got on it at the moment are just normal ones encoded at 160kbps using Musicmatch and they sound great. Will try using EAC and LAME etc later to see how much better they can sound...
     
  15. HMHB

    HMHB
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    This is probably a dumb question so please excuse me if it is

    Does it matter what CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive you use to read the original CD when ripping it to hard disk ? It seems that in the hi-fi world they are constantly going on about the quality of the drive mechanism having an affect on the sound produced, and I was just wondering if this applies here.
     
  16. MarkE19

    MarkE19
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    What is more likely to cause a loss of quality is the software used. The ripping software can loose quality and then the conversion to MP3 will loose even more. From reviews of 'real users' on this forum I went for EAC (Exact Audio Copy) which is said to loose very little quality and then use LAME to encode to MP3 which can be set to use VBR (Variable Bit Rate) that give about the best possible quality without creating massive files.

    Mark.
     

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