Hit or Miss

Matt’s in the market for a MP3 player. After reading about Ron’s preparations for his Holiday trip (transfering his CD collection to his Nomad Mp3 Jukebox), I got the hankering to buy a large-volume MP3 player for my trip home (so I don’t have to pack a lot of CDs). Sadly, the local Walmart and Staples didn’t have the Nomad, but they do have the the RCA MP3/CD Player and the
Philips MP3/CD Player (both of which I’ve found widely differing reviews for).

I’m faced with a quandry — should I wait to buy a hard drive-based player, or go now with a CD-based MP3 player?

A hard drive-based MP3 player would have a large capacity and allow me to carry practically my entire CD collection, play different types of file formats, and have upgradable features. And how cool would it be to be able to output lists of my music like Ron can with his Nomad?

A CD-based MP3 player would have theoretically unlimited capacity, but would require me to carry around discs. The players now only play MP3 files and typically aren’t upgradable. They seem to have better battery life. I’ll likely only use it for travel (which is not very often), because I spend most of my time by computers in my home or my office and can access my music from my computer’s hard drive.

If I go with a CD MP3 player, which one should I buy? The RCA player can read ID3 tags and display them on it’s little screen and recharge batteries, but the Philips player can access the discs more quickly (but only displays numbers for each folder and track).

Basically, I know whatever I might buy will be outdated in a month.

6 responses so far (Respond)



Well, seriously, the iPod is awfully nifty but I suppose I can’t offer good advice since I’ve never felt the need to have such a player. I do, however, have megs and megs of MP3 ripped onto my laptop, which shuttles easily from home to office, sits in the passenger seat of my car on long trips, looks cool when I whip it out on the plane and has way more capacity than any stand-alone player I’ve seen.

The downside is that I can’t jog with it. Fortunately, I don’t jog.

TheBrad | 23 Dec 2001

I’d love to buy an iPod. Unfortunately they only work with Macs. Still, it would be nice to have a MP3 player that used firewire (so I could finally make us of my S1394 port).

Matt | 23 Dec 2001

I’ve got a Philips eXpanium 301 MP3-CD player. It only displays the track numbers, but you can put songs in folders, and can play a single folder at a time, or play songs from all folders. It’s got a very decent ESP system, but I usually turn it off when listening to MP3s because it really is not required and increases battery life by an hour or so. My avg. battery life (using alkalline AAs) has been about 8 – 9 hours. I like the fact that it also supports CDRW discs.

Hope this helps.

riffola | 23 Dec 2001

I have an iPod, and I absolutely LOVE it! And if you go to mediafour.com, you can download a beta version of an app that’ll let you use your iPod on PCs. I’m not sure how far along they are in development yet, but I know that they’re working on it and that you can download a beta version right now.

Lester | 24 Dec 2001

I got one of the CD-based MP3 players ($129 I think) before going to Kenya last year. I took 3 carefully created CDRs with me on my 2 week trip and it was plenty. I carried just the player, headphones, and one cd case (the skinny double CD kind) usually I just carry around the player w/ one CD in it, to the gym or whatever. I don’t find it limiting at all. My sister just got an iPod (for chrismas) and I don’t see the appeal, really. I don’t think it’s superior to any other MP3 players I’ve seen. I would recommend that you get one that displays ID3 tags.

rebekah jude | 24 Dec 2001

From your more recent goodbye post, I take it you opted for a CD-ROM player. I just wanted to throw in my two cents and say that I absolutely adore my new RioVolt SP250. Plays CDs, MP3/WMA CD-Rs, and has an *FM tuner*! (My reception is surprisingly bad, actually, but it gets NPR to my satisfaction.) It’s a great choice for us types that like putting great care into assembling CD-Rs. I can imagine the hard-drive-style players are good for those that don’t; I’ve heard the iPod is one of the rare such players that lets you copy files back to your computer (the music industry is pulling for a standard that disallows that; again, the acronymic name for it escapes me).

BrainDan | 27 Dec 2001