Portable media player with Gapless/Scrobbling/Playlists/ReplayGain

Andrison

Standard Member
I've been using iPods for over 10 years (Classic until it gave up the ghost; Nano since). Have a carefully curated music iTunes library with hundreds of playlists (too many to recreate or even manually export). In an ideal world, Apple would release a shiny new classic with 1TB of flash storage - but we all know that's not going to happen. I've gone round in multiple circles online whilst considering getting another brand of portable media player now my Nano is starting to creak - but never find one with my core requirements:
  1. True gapless playback (essential for M4A/AAC and ideally also MP3)
  2. Scrobble what I play to Last.fm - happy for this to be offline (i.e. using a scrobbler.log file I can access with QTScrobbler)
  3. Syncing of playlists + music from media library to device - ideally direct from iTunes, but accept I may need to migrate my library to different platform (Media Monkey or similar)
  4. ReplayGain/Smart gain/Album gain - to ensure consistent volume when listening
  5. Expandable memory
So basically - and frustratingly - my five must-have requirements are something only the iPod has been able to achieve, and as way back as over ten years ago! I'm not fussed about Wi-fi, radio, or other snazzy built-in apps. Just want what my iPod Classic could do! Every time I think I've found an alternative, at least one of the above 5 requirements can't be met.

Anyone able to recommend something that does meet the 5 above requirements that I may not be aware of?

Thanks

Andy
 
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Yorkshire AV

Active Member
AVForums Sponsor
Hi Andy

What's your budget range in total?

What headphones are you using that you'd be powering?
 

MaryWhitehouse

Well-known Member
Sounds like one of the refurbed iPod classics with more storage etc to me.
 

Andrison

Standard Member
Hi Andy

What's your budget range in total?

What headphones are you using that you'd be powering?
Thanks for the reply.

Ideally around the £200-£250 mark (but would go up another £100-150 more if the gadget meets all my needs).

I'm just using wired JBL Endurance Run earbuds - nothing fancy at all. I'm not a massive audiophile as most of my music playing on-the-move is whilst cycle, so plenty of other background noise to contend with!
 
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Andrison

Standard Member
Sounds like one of the refurbed iPod classics with more storage etc to me.
Yeah, it's certainly one of my options. I actually sent my old Classic to ipodrepairs around 3-4 years ago to have a 256GB solid state drive fitted, but iTunes sync generated lots of errors about tracks being missing, then the drive being corrupt - so got them to put the original (knackered) hard drive back in it after two failed attempts!

Have a newer/faster Windows 11 laptop now, so wondering if it's worth another attempt. But a little wary of spending a lot on a refurbished model that may not last. Any recommendations for reliable sites to buy an upgraded Classic or get my old one refurbished/upgraded (again)?

Thanks

Andy
 

Steven

Senior Moderator
iTunes playlists can be exported as an XML and imported by other software or devices

Last FM sharing can be done with your choice of Android app download

Gapless can be achieved with choosing the right music software or app download

Could buy a digital audio player with Android and add a high capacity micro SD card. This is not intended as a dig, this is advice and a heads up: 1TB made up of MP3 files is likely a very high file count. It is likely a number of Android DAPs may have problems managing a library above 20k or 30k files as none contain modern versions of Android nor the latest components

DAPs are niche and the manufacturers buy unsold, outdated, components originally intended for the, far larger, smartphone sector

Or buy a DAP compatible with rockbox firmware (likely an older model) and you can upload Last FM submissions as a text file. That might just be too much effort. And still see above about library size limits

An alternative, and this means paying for unneeded features, is to purchase an android smartphone with a micro SD card slot. An Apple or Android smartphone with built in 1tb storage is expensive
 

MaryWhitehouse

Well-known Member
Any recommendations for reliable sites to buy an upgraded Classic or get my old one refurbished/upgraded (again)?

Unfortunately not. I did consider it recently until I saw the prices and thought it was too big a risk per £.

DAPs are niche and the manufacturers buy unsold, outdated, components originally intended for the, far larger, smartphone sector

Aren’t they just. Finding a decent dealer with good support isn’t easy either. I concluded that around £1000 was a starting point and that was too high. File based portable audio is a mess tbh.
 

Andrison

Standard Member
iTunes playlists can be exported as an XML and imported by other software or devices
Yeah, think I've done this, or something similar before when having a brief play with Media Monkey
Last FM sharing can be done with your choice of Android app download
Gapless can be achieved with choosing the right music software or app download
Any tips as to which specific apps would be best for both of these (I've occasionally used PowerAmp on my Samsung Android smartphone, and seem to recall it was more or less gapless, but can't remember if it did Scrobbling within the app)?
Could buy a digital audio player with Android and add a high capacity micro SD card. This is not intended as a dig, this is advice and a heads up: 1TB made up of MP3 files is likely a very high file count. It is likely a number of Android DAPs may have problems managing a library above 20k or 30k files as none contain modern versions of Android nor the latest components
Interesting to know thanks. Are there any sources of info anywhere that state maximum library sizes for portable digital audio players (my library is currently about 25,000 tracks - not essential I have everything on the one player, but it's certainly more desirable than having to pick 3,000 favourites as I currently do on the Nano)?
An alternative, and this means paying for unneeded features, is to purchase an android smartphone with a micro SD card slot. An Apple or Android smartphone with built in 1tb storage is expensive
I'm working on the assumption that any device I move to will need a micro SD card slot to expand the memory. One option is, of course, to get a new smartphone that can have a higher capacity SD card and move my music onto that device - it could be my only option considering my 5 key requirements. But I've always preferred having a dedicated device just for music, to avoid interruptions from calls, app notifications, etc. whilst playing music. Appreciate that DAP options are now limited in terms of providing the complete suite of requirements I have.

What recommendations do you have for syncing an iTunes library to an Android phone? If I moved to Android, it'd be great to not also have to move to a different media library on the laptop. I've tried DoubleTwist, but with no success - possibly because I have more than one .xml library file on my laptop, and the main one is on a Synology NAS via a mapped drive- so I think DoubleTwist is unable to locate the actual library - a shame it doesn't have a simple function to navigate to the preferred library.

Thanks for all the advice!

Andy
 

Andrison

Standard Member
Unfortunately not. I did consider it recently until I saw the prices and thought it was too big a risk per £.
Yeah, that's my current thinking. It's a lot of money to have an SSD and replacement battery put into my old iPod Classic (and it proved unsuccessful the first and only time I sent it to ipodrepairs). There's a risk that even if it did work, the warranties are usually short (around 3 months), and it could crap out for any other number of reasons not long afterwards.

Aren’t they just. Finding a decent dealer with good support isn’t easy either. I concluded that around £1000 was a starting point and that was too high. File based portable audio is a mess tbh.
Yes, there's some portable DAPs out there that look promising, but the price of many is phenomenal (particularly by the time you factor in the high capacity SD cards), and still none of them meet all five of my requirements (four of which the good old iPod could happily do without any issues).

Can't help but think I should stick with what I know. I bought a spare iPod Nano back in 2017 when Apple announced its demise. Now my first Nano is getting occasionally temperamental (often says there's no music on it after a successful sync), I though it was time to dig out the spare one. Trouble is, the battery is totally dead now, and has no recharge capacity (hadn't charged it or used it once in 4½ years). Thinking my best option may be a trip to my nearest Apple store in the hope they can replace the battery. I think it costs around £100, so that could be my cheapest option to keep using what I'm familiar with and retain gapless, smart gain, easy playlist sync and Scrobbling in the short to medium term. It's another option to consider alongside moving to a larger capacity Android phone.

...Unless there's another "mythical" DAP out there I've yet to be made aware of! Can't believe there's so many on the market, yet none meet my basic requirements!

Thanks for the info!
 

MaryWhitehouse

Well-known Member
No problem. I’m a very very long way from any kind of expert on DAPs but I was looking for a new portable solution recently.
What I wanted, to start, was a really good quality file based solution. In the end what I got was a phone based solution but in another phone so I don’t get distracted and streaming based as the cost of said files was going to be silly!
 

Bolosun

Member
It is not a hard job replacing the battery and storage in an Ipod, plenty of YouTube videos showing how to do it. I have done mine.
If want to use your phone, try iSyncr Desktop 5.1.7, from here
 

Andrison

Standard Member
It is not a hard job replacing the battery and storage in an Ipod, plenty of YouTube videos showing how to do it. I have done mine.
Yes, thinking I may have a go at this myself with my old Classic. Initially, I think I'll take out the old hard drive and put some sort of MircoSD reader in there. Then if I sucessfully test it with a spare SD card, I can think about adding a larger capacity SD card and replacing the battery. Andy recommendations on what's the best SD card reader to put in there?
If want to use your phone, try iSyncr Desktop 5.1.7, from here
I just tried installing iSyncr Desktop 5.2.20 on my Windows 11 laptop, but got this error:
Component Visual C++ "14" Runtime Libraries (x86) has failed to install with the following error message:

Another version of this product is already installed. Installation of this version cannot continue. To configure or remove the existing version of this product, use Add/Remove Programs on the Control Panel.
The following components failed to install:
- Visual C++ "14" Runtime Libraries (x86)


There's several Visual C++ components installed on my laptop, but none are called the above, so no idea what I need to do to resolve this (or whether I should)?
 

Bolosun

Member
Yes, thinking I may have a go at this myself with my old Classic. Initially, I think I'll take out the old hard drive and put some sort of MircoSD reader in there. Then if I sucessfully test it with a spare SD card, I can think about adding a larger capacity SD card and replacing the battery. Andy recommendations on what's the best SD card reader to put in there?

I just tried installing iSyncr Desktop 5.2.20 on my Windows 11 laptop, but got this error:
Component Visual C++ "14" Runtime Libraries (x86) has failed to install with the following error message:

Another version of this product is already installed. Installation of this version cannot continue. To configure or remove the existing version of this product, use Add/Remove Programs on the Control Panel.
The following components failed to install:
- Visual C++ "14" Runtime Libraries (x86)


There's several Visual C++ components installed on my laptop, but none are called the above, so no idea what I need to do to resolve this (or whether I should)?
Looks like it hasn't been tested on Windows 11. Works fine on my Windows 10 system. And this is where I got my adapter for my Ipod from iFlash.xyz – Welcome to the home of the iFlash Adapter
 

SeanBrothers

Active Member
I went through a similar transition recently, albeit with a different requirements list, and bought a used Fiio M11 along with a 1 TB SD card. I've been quite pleased since my 17 year dependence on iPods has been broken. I am currently re-ripping all my CDs since I can now store them uncompressed (~16.5k songs). I am using iTunes to organise my music (devil you lnow) and then copying files over with Windows Explorer. It's not as nice as Sync, but not nearly as unstable either.
 

Andrison

Standard Member
I went through a similar transition recently, albeit with a different requirements list, and bought a used Fiio M11 along with a 1 TB SD card. I've been quite pleased since my 17 year dependence on iPods has been broken. I am currently re-ripping all my CDs since I can now store them uncompressed (~16.5k songs). I am using iTunes to organise my music (devil you lnow) and then copying files over with Windows Explorer. It's not as nice as Sync, but not nearly as unstable eeither.
How do you manage your playlists on the Fiio using this setup?
 

SeanBrothers

Active Member
Unfortunately, I have not trundled down this path yet. I have only a few playlists, so I have focused on re-ripping instead. I will try and figure that out and get back to you.
 

Bolosun

Member
Yes, thinking I may have a go at this myself with my old Classic. Initially, I think I'll take out the old hard drive and put some sort of MircoSD reader in there. Then if I sucessfully test it with a spare SD card, I can think about adding a larger capacity SD card and replacing the battery. Andy recommendations on what's the best SD card reader to put in there?

I just tried installing iSyncr Desktop 5.2.20 on my Windows 11 laptop, but got this error:
Component Visual C++ "14" Runtime Libraries (x86) has failed to install with the following error message:

Another version of this product is already installed. Installation of this version cannot continue. To configure or remove the existing version of this product, use Add/Remove Programs on the Control Panel.
The following components failed to install:
- Visual C++ "14" Runtime Libraries (x86)


There's several Visual C++ components installed on my laptop, but none are called the above, so no idea what I need to do to resolve this (or whether I should)?
I did a quick look for what was causing the error and came across this. It is for Windows 10, but it should still apply to Windows 11.
What is the Visual C++ Redistributable? How to Install and Troubleshoot It on Windows 10
 

Andrison

Standard Member

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