New Sony? New iPod? Archos? Which one?

kokoshka

Novice Member
I have had a refund for my defective md player, and have been advised to move on, that md is dying. I know a fair bit about mp3, but not enough to choose, so please help. I need 20gb minimum, the longest battery life possible, preferably the ability to edit away from my Mac, and a budget of up to £180. Because I use a Mac, the obvious choose is iPod, and despite the brand wars evident in these forums, I have no brand bias. Sony would be my first choice, if only they were Mac friendly, because of battery life. Sony technical dept. don't know if their new software will be Mac friendly. At the moment it comes down to Archos 202, with 17 hours of battery life but very basic interfacing, or iPod, with 15 hours(?) battery life, and very good editing. Are my assumptions correct? I would appreciate any user info to help me decide. I'm not very technical, I don't know what the 'gaps' constantly referred to are, or what is meant by mass storage. Please help, even little bits of info help. Possibly I should wait to see what Apple will come up with before Christmas, I don't mind waiting.
 
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lukey

Guest
let the battle commence, bring on the sony v ipod brigade :lesson:

The ipods 15 hour battery life is based on you using very low bitrate files (48kbs) and not using any eq/backlight or skipping tracks, the reality of daily use is probably more like 8hours if your like me and skip tracks all the time, so for battery its the sony hands down (not that ive tried one). the gaps that you here being referred to are artificial breaks in between music tracks which arnt supposed to be there. for example if your listing to some classical or dance music where each track might blend into one another, you wont get that effect on the ipod as it will create a small break in the music, this may or may not bother you depending on your preference,

Was wondering what you mean by 'editing' away from the mac, how crucial is that to your need?
 

kokoshka

Novice Member
Thanks for the reply. By editing, I mean that when I used to record entire albums onto md, I could be walking down the street later, really not enjoying a particular track, and would therefore delete it there and then. I actually hate being so computer reliant. It's partly neurotic, although my wife admitted to me that she would gouge grooves into vinyl to bypass tracks which she loathed. But that was in the heady, willful and comparatively primitive sixties. It looks to me as though I may be getting the Archos, users confirm a 17-18 hour battery life, with average usage. Does the 'gap' phenomenon result in poor shuffling? On my md, unless I added or removed T marks, I would get very odd things happening...a pause in classical music would be read as end of track, as would the opening dramatic chord followed by a pause on a System of a Down album, resulting in a very short track indeed. Very John Peel, rip.
 

Cloysterpeteuk

Distinguished Member
lukey said:
let the battle commence, bring on the sony v ipod brigade :lesson:

The ipods 15 hour battery life is based on you using very low bitrate files (48kbs) and not using any eq/backlight or skipping tracks, the reality of daily use is probably more like 8hours if your like me and skip tracks all the time, so for battery its the sony hands down (not that ive tried one). QUOTE]

Don't post misleading statements please, the Apple battery test is based on using 160kbps mp3 files http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=61475
It is the Sony battery test that is done using a 48kbs bit rate.

Of course that figure will rocket down with real world usage, just as it will with ANY player.
 
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lukey

Guest
whhooohops, been reading to many sony hd threads, :oops:

didnt realise that the figures were based on 160kbs although thats makes things even worse, i cant believe i only get 8 hours from my 60gb photo, must be the colour screen then!!
 

Cloysterpeteuk

Distinguished Member
It's faulty if you only get 8 hours when doing the battery test, in real world usage I would say that's probably about right, unfortunately.

I just did the battery test for my nano, it's rated at 14 hours and I got a measly 9.15!. Tried it again and I got 13.07 so I guess it just needed the discharge cycle which I hadn't done before.
 
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lukey

Guest
how do you do the battery test, or do you just mean playing the ipod without touching it and timing it to see when it shuts down ??:confused:
 

Cloysterpeteuk

Distinguished Member
You must have one song which is around 4mins, with a 160k bitrate, set pod to repeat and stick that song on at 12 midnight then see what time of day it gives up the ghost. Turn off shuffle, EQ, backlight etc and have the volume at 50% (I actually had mine up at 80%). If your pod is not within 2 hours of it's stated playback time then fill in the online service request form, Apple will then send you out a prepaid box to send the ipod back in assuming it's still under warranty.

I made a few exceptions when doing the battery test, first off I selected repeat all library so it played everything in order instead of just the one song, plus I had the volume higher than recommended, plus I also switch songs halfway through which of course turned the backlight on. So taking that into account i'm please to be within 53 mins of the stated battery life of the product.
 
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lukey

Guest
this might sound stupid but...how do you know when its switched itself off, apart from the obvious of watching it every couple of minutes?, I assume the eq has to be off too?
 

Cloysterpeteuk

Distinguished Member
Yep no eq, you can work out when it stopped playing via the playtimes listed on itunes. I just kept the pod with me in the same room when it got down to a small sliver of red, then I could hear easily when it stopped playing.
 

kokoshka

Novice Member
So, am I to understand from the debate between Cloysterpeteuk and Lukey that I should take the Sony claims with a pinch of salt? I'm really, really ignorant on these matters, and am trying to decide whether or not it would be worth buying the Sony and lugging a couple of hundred CD's 'round to a friends house and using her PC, or buying the Archos which, having read extensive user reports, does indeed offer about 17 hours of 192 bitrate play, but only drag and drop downloading, or an iPod with, it seems, a modest battery life, but a good Mac interface. Please understand that I am new to MP3, and don't know how important the quality of interface is, so long as the music arrives on the player and sounds ok.
 

Steven

Senior Moderator
I used to have this dillema. How did I solve it?

Decide I'll save up and buy a more expensive iaudio X5 after xmas :rolleyes:

I'll stick with my HD3 for now with my PSP (with GTA soon), they'll will keep me busy
 

kokoshka

Novice Member
That smacks of sound advice. Incidentally, commiserations on yesterday's result. I've been a Red for almost 50 years, and as luck would have it my best pal in London is a Chelsea boy. Isn't life cruel!
 
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lukey

Guest
well if you dont have a pc (just a mac) then you will have problems with the sony as it works on windows only. However if youve got access to a windows pc albeit at a friends house then that kinda sorts that problem although it isnt exactly practical. I dont think theres any argument that the sony is the smallest with the longer batter life. I think you need to decide what your priorities are and decide either on the basis of research or talk to those who have practical experience, of which i only have ipod, and some sony hd1........ wheres the sony hd owners??
 

drmoze

Standard Member
He said he has a mac, and unfortunately SonicStage is not mac compatible. Thus I wouldn't recommend a Sony here.

OTOH, I listen to my HD5 a few hours per day and charge it only once per week (even though it's not run down yet!). Glad I don't have to do the daily iPod recharge. My cellphone is bad enough!
 

extremelydodgy

Active Member
kokoshka said:
So, am I to understand from the debate between Cloysterpeteuk and Lukey that I should take the Sony claims with a pinch of salt? I'm really, really ignorant on these matters, and am trying to decide whether or not it would be worth buying the Sony and lugging a couple of hundred CD's 'round to a friends house and using her PC, or buying the Archos which, having read extensive user reports, does indeed offer about 17 hours of 192 bitrate play, but only drag and drop downloading, or an iPod with, it seems, a modest battery life, but a good Mac interface. Please understand that I am new to MP3, and don't know how important the quality of interface is, so long as the music arrives on the player and sounds ok.

An iPod will last for around 10 hours in typical, fiddle-prone use at 192K MP3 or equivalent. The Sony will last for about 17 hours in fiddle-prone use at 192K MP3 or equivalent. As others have said, forget the Sony for your uses as it's not Mac friendly, and things are unlikely to change.


The iAudio X5 lasts for roughly the same as the iPod. The X5L, which is almost effectively double the thickness lasts for double that.


The iPod would be the most easiest to get the hang of. Others will probably cause you some grief... ripping material and converting the tags so that they appear properly on the X5 and the Archos is probably something you don't need to see on your first day of ownership. On the flipside, the X5 is a more versatile, if still flawed machine.


My current players (I have a variety of PC's and a Mac Mini, I must say I only sync on the PC's) are the iPod Photo 60Gb, iPod Nano, and the iAudio X5. I have divested myself of the Sony HD5 (competent but uninspired, nowhere near as good as it would appear to be from the opinions of the Sonyphiles on this forum) and the iRiver H320 (versatile, but clumsy and not fully finished) recently.
 

kokoshka

Novice Member
Thanks Extremelydodgy. You seem to have understood where I fit in the hierarchy of technical aptitude. Rather low down I feel. From what you say, and thanks for not talking down to me, the iPod is the way to go, and I'm sure I'll get used to charging up more frequently. If only iPod would make a piggy back battery box! But I could save up for a higher capacity model. One last thing, is there an issue with iPod sound levels, and if so, can it be remedied?
 

reevesy

Distinguished Member
nothing wrong with the archos gmini 202 if you dont want to secomb to the sony/ ipod brigade (not that theres anything particularlly wrong with either of them ;) )
i've just got one,
sounds great,easy to use,big screen with all the info on the track you'll likely to need,
loads of settings and features and sounded good through my amp using a ten quid cable.
yep, the battery life quoted as 17 hours though i have'nt used mine enough yet to verify this though.
oh its small as well and uses a hitachi hard drive if that is of any use and updates are available from the archos web site and look easy to install but again i have't tried this yet but will get round to it.
all in all no problem reccomending as an alternative to the main stream especially if you are thinking of using it through a amp or hi fi
the only thing i'd say is that you've got the usual fannying around downloading and installing a driver if using win 98 se like i am but still this was'nt too painful and i was soon up and running.


oh, got mine from amazon for £148 incl. p & p but had to wait a week or two for delivery but after much searching this was the best all inclusive price i could find.be aware though that quite a few places were out of or awaiting stock.....book early to avoid dissapointment
 
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shadowritten

Guest
As one of the Sonyphiles extremelydodgy refers to (hello again to him, incidentally! :hiya: ), I have to say I fully support his suggestion of the iPod.

If I were a Mac user, I'd avoid Sony altogether and veer towards the Archos or iAudio models already mentioned. Having a reasonable amount of experience of all things MP3, I'd be fine with these. But for you, definitely look at the iPod.

Oh, and while the HD5 is, as extremelydodgy points out, 'competent', I think 'uninspired' is a little undeserved. If you're in the market for a PC-only player that simply plays music and nothing else, you could do much worse. :)
 

Uridium

Member
God damn shadowritten - just noticed the amount of posts you have made since you joined a couple of months ago.

Do you never Eat/Sleep/Work etc.. etc..!!!!!
 
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shadowritten

Guest
uridium said:
God damn shadowritten - just noticed the amount of posts you have made since you joined a couple of months ago.

Do you never Eat/Sleep/Work etc.. etc..!!!!!
I write for a living, mate, so spitting out words like a WWI bi-plane's rear gun comes easily!! I often have to pen several thousand words a day ... gets easier with practice!
 

extremelydodgy

Active Member
kokoshka said:
One last thing, is there an issue with iPod sound levels, and if so, can it be remedied?
Yes, the same as, although not as incredibly low as the Sony machines but there's still a limitation problem. goPod cures it.


As others have said, a whole wodge of add-on battery products are available. Some here (iLounge). If you're leaning the iPod way, probably best to join iLounge actually.
 

kokoshka

Novice Member
Thankyou one and all...I think my questions are answered. I certainly had no idea about the plethora of accessories for ipod, in particular the battery back up. In typical usage, I would be carrying my player in a large bag, so size isn't critical. So I've decided to go with the ipod, I checked prices on Amazon, and noticed a couple of scathing user reviews, which I am not going to pay much heed to. It seems as though if I did, I'd be going 'round in circles for some time to come. Thanks again. :hiya:
 

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