Choosing an MP3 player... [Archive] - Honda Element Owners Club Forum

: Choosing an MP3 player...


Drew
04-18-2003, 04:44 PM
As a musician, it's pretty common for me to take rough mixes of my latest work in the car for heavy rotation and evaluation. In my old car, I used the cassette deck, but in the E, I plan to use the AUX and an MP3 player. However, I'm having a rough time deciding what to get.

I'd love to have an iPod of course, but I really don't want to spend that much on a non-essential like that. The main concerns are finding a player that a) can run on AC power and b) is both Mac & PC compatible. I'm trying to decide whether I want to go with a CD-based player, which basically means unlimited storage space and total computer compatibility, or if I want to get a simple solid state player. Most of the time I only bring two or three songs in for evaluation... anything more permanent than that will likely just get burnt on a CD, so maybe storage isn't an issue. And of course there are removable storage models as well. I'm trying to stay under $100. Anyone have suggestions?

Thanks!
Drew

rodaniel
04-18-2003, 10:03 PM
Drew, I''ve owned my Frontier Labs' Nex II MP3 player for almost two years now and I absolutely love it! It uses the same standard compact flash memory cards as my wife's PDA and our digital camera. And the Nex II is very reasonably priced - about $100 without memory.

Frontier Labs isn't as glitzy as some of the bigger name companies - and the Nex IIe is without some of the bells & whistles (mostly useless fluff) - that some of the more prominant MP3 players feature, but it works well, shares indystry standard compact flash memory cards, and won't set you back a week's salary. Here's a link if you want to find out more about it:

http://www.frontierlabs.com/IIe.html

Drew
04-21-2003, 10:16 AM
You know, I was looking at the NEX, but it doesn't have any way to run it on AC power. I think the IIe (the new one) does have AC input, but the new one is also more expensive. Still, I do use compact flash for my camera and already have a 128-MB card....

Hmm... a good option to consider...

Thanks!

Drew

boneheadz
04-21-2003, 11:38 AM
I just bought the Creative, Nomad Jukebox 2. It was on sale for 269.00 cdn. Plus its called the Nomad, thats also my elements name. Anyway I would have prefered the Zen but it was 450.00 cdn and I figured I could get by with 10 gigs. The audio features are great and work through the stereo. Very happy with it

rodaniel
04-21-2003, 07:18 PM
[quote:5fab230dca="Drew"]I think the IIe (the new one) does have AC input, but the new one is also more expensive.[/quote:5fab230dca]

The IIe model is only about $5-10 more expensive. In fact, you can squeak in just under $90 if you shop around...

http://www.etronics.com/product.asp?stk_code=fronexiieb

http://www.mydigitaldiscount.com/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=31&products_id=37&osCsid=7a6ef2e101af8dbcda33e66db59411e1

patedugan
04-22-2003, 08:49 AM
I got a Creative Nomad Jukebox 3 (20 gigs) specifically for my Element, and it works beautifully. I've got about 2,000 songs in it now, and it's still only half full. Highly recommend it - and I got a great deal on it at J&R music world online. Check it out.

Drew
04-22-2003, 10:58 AM
Well, I just got a RioVolt 250 on eBay. It's CD-based, so it's totally unlimited for memory... reads CD-RWs, MP3 and WMA, and has a handy remote control so I don't have to lean over to get at the buttons. I think it'll do nicely!

Unfortunately I bid on two different auctions by the same guy for the same item by mistake, and won them both! Hopefully I can talk the guy out of making me actually take both of them...

In any case, descision made! :)

Drew

eMass
04-22-2003, 11:58 AM
FYI to all musicians looking for MP3 players for the Element...

Did you know that the Archos jukebox can RECORD directly to MP3 format?

I plug it right into my electronic drum kit and record entire practice sessions lasting up to 90 minutes sometimes. Then I plug the Archos into my AUX jack and listen to my sessions while I commute.

It's a great way to evaluate your own performance.

I imagine the same idea could be applied to any electronic instrument including voice if you use a microphone.

jdef
04-22-2003, 12:18 PM
[quote:c8d2af64f8="eMass"]FYI to all musicians looking for MP3 players for the Element...

Did you know that the Archos jukebox can RECORD directly to MP3 format?
[/quote:c8d2af64f8]

Wow, eMass, that sounds like something I definitely need. Is it stereo input? Thanks for the heads up!

eMass
04-22-2003, 02:04 PM
Yep it's stereo. And not only does it provide an analog stereo line-in, they also provide a digital stereo line-in!

Any of the Jukebox Recorder series can record. There's 3 models - a 10GB, 15GB, & 20GB.

The 20GB sells for about $275 - here's the link to the technical specs...
http://www.archos.com/lang=en//products/prw_500277_specs.html

jdef
04-22-2003, 02:06 PM
Cool, thanks!!

pookSter
04-23-2003, 12:14 PM
And don't forget the Digital Out as well. It plugs right into the digital jack on the home sterio and sounds better than my dvd player.
Just an update on the Archos 20 gig recorder. It can be had for as little as $220 now with the car kit at harmony computers. Hey Emass, are you using the RockBox 2.0 open source firmware for your Archos?? It adds so many more great features. They have even added a karaoke features for the Record :). Its great to have an MP3 player that's software is updated on a daily basis unlike others that once you buy it you are stuck with what the factory offered.

well, enough boasting on this wonderful product.

eMass
04-23-2003, 09:56 PM
No - not using rockbox but I've heard great things about it and just need to get off my arse and check it out.

Thanks - Archos really is the best. :D

pookSter
04-23-2003, 10:14 PM
All you have to do EMASS is just drop the firmware file in the root directory of the Archos, and like magic, it boots to the new version...real simple and it will add about 25 features to your Archos model, extend your battery life,well, here is a list for ya
http://rockbox.haxx.se/docs/features.html

If you need some help...let me know.

Sunstoke
04-24-2003, 08:36 AM
[quote:0e30daac1a="pookSter"]All you have to do EMASS is just drop the firmware file in the root directory of the Archos, and like magic, it boots to the new version...real simple and it will add about 25 features to your Archos model, extend your battery life,well, here is a list for ya
http://rockbox.haxx.se/docs/features.html

If you need some help...let me know.[/quote:0e30daac1a]


How do you do that? I want to buy one of these! 8)

pookSter
04-24-2003, 09:09 AM
Sunstroke said:
How do you do that? I want to buy one of these!

How do you do what Sunstroke?
Copy it to the MP3 player?
All the Archos models show up as an extra hard drive on your computer as soon as you plug it in, so you not only have an MP3 player, but a portable 20 gig hard drive as well. Great for backing up/transporting files.

Sunstoke
04-24-2003, 09:14 AM
[quote:8c4abbcb8f="pookSter"]Sunstroke said:
How do you do that? I want to buy one of these!

How do you do what Sunstroke?
Copy it to the MP3 player?
All the Archos models show up as an extra hard drive on your computer as soon as you plug it in, so you not only have an MP3 player, but a portable 20 gig hard drive as well. Great for backing up/transporting files.[/quote:8c4abbcb8f]

I wanted to know how to copy the Rockboxx software to the Archos. Thanks for the reply!

GS

Sunstoke
04-24-2003, 09:20 AM
Pookster,

Seems like you like the Archos! Have you had any problems with it? Any problems withe Rockboxx software? Can't you download updates from Archos? Too many Questions! Any info on it would be greatly appreciated! I really like to research stuff befor I buy it!
8)
Thanks, GS

pookSter
04-24-2003, 10:15 AM
Sunstroke said:
Seems like you like the Archos! Have you had any problems with it? Any problems withe Rockboxx software? Can't you download updates from Archos? Too many Questions! Any info on it would be greatly appreciated! I really like to research stuff befor I buy it

I really do like this. I had an IPOD before. It had a nicer display than the Archos, and was an good player too, but the IPOD lacked a lot of features the Archos has, and I could not justify paying twice the amount just for the Mac name.

I have not had any problems yet. You can download updates from Archos, but the company simply does not have the manpower or the desire to improve the software. They fix only bugs. The "Archos" software is no where near as good as the Rockbox. You will see what I mean when you get one. The stock firmware has all the features as most standard MP3 players like the IPOD, BUT only the users of the Archos player really know what features they want because they use it every day. This is what is so Unique about the ROCKBOX team. They are in touch with us the users. You need a feature that is not there, put in a request and someone works on it.

If you look at the list of added features here http://rockbox.haxx.se/docs/features.html you will see the difference between Archos and Rockbox.
This however is not the complete list as this is version 1.4 and they have added quite a few more features in version 2.0

You want to upgrade the Archos player's size from 20 gigs you say? Easy, just go out a buy a 60 gig laptop harddrive and it is a simple plug in install after you unscrew the case. ...See what I mean?
I would however recommend the Archos recorder 20 over the FM Recorder 20 simply because the one without FM has the older style AA Nickel Metal Hydrate batteries which last 10 hours. If you go with the FM recorder, its a newer design with a lithium battery that is not standard, and I am afraid that in a year or so when it needs replacing, you will probably pay a pretty penny from Archos for it.

Hope that helps..

Sunstoke
04-24-2003, 12:34 PM
Helped alot, Thanks! It looks like the way to go!

pookSter
04-24-2003, 02:16 PM
NP, I know you won't be disappointed

algorythm
04-29-2003, 10:45 AM
well, i was looking at getting a player for my E, and had narrowed the field down to the nomad and archos products. That's when I came here to see what others were using. Based on the posts, I decided to go with the archos.

Am I ever glad I did.

Oh, and my linux systems see the drive, can life get any better?
=0)

This product rocks, and I went ahead and replaced the firmware with rockbox for more fun. I highly recommend doing that, it fixed the only 'bug' I was experiencing, which is that the player couldn't tell how much free space it had left on it. ( I had about 1.2 gb on the disk, it said there was 0mb left and wouldn't even let me create a playlist! ) But, like I said, moved to rockbox and all better now. Thanks to the folks above for their posts.

pookSter
04-29-2003, 04:53 PM
I'm glad you're glad :)
Thats one thing I can't stress enough with the archos is after the sale support from an ever growing user base. And don't forget, when it gets full, just put in a new 80 gig notebook harddrive hehhe

Sunstoke
05-01-2003, 05:22 PM
I just got my Archos Jukebox Recorder 20 on sale today from Circuit City for $230, with a $30 rebate! I bought a 5 port USB2 card from Buy.com for $25, and the cable from Radioshack for $5. I must say that I love this thing so far! It sounds pretty sweet, although as others have stated, the headphones that came with it are pretty crappy. Thanks to all who gave there opinions on this awesome MP3 player! I am installing Rockbox next! 8)

plselement
05-01-2003, 06:36 PM
I have been struggling with finding a CD jukebox for my Element. I found a low cost alternative. Sony has an MD player MZ-505. In the lowest resolution, which sounds better than the stock radio, each MD stores 5-6 CDs. Even better, each CD takes about 3 minutes to transfer to the MD with the software that came with the MD recorder/player.

It is small (~2.5 inch x 2.5 inch) and cost me $99. I found it locally at a discount store and it came with 6 MDs. I have seen it online for $89 - $129.

Sunstoke
05-01-2003, 09:58 PM
I can not figure out how to drop the firmware file in the root directory of the Archos!! I am semi-computer literate, but I cannot figure out how to do it. Any help? I guess I need EXACT directions. I already downloaded the file. Thanks in advance! 8)

Sunstoke
05-01-2003, 10:54 PM
I just figured it out! Definite improvement over the Archos firmware! 8)

Sunstoke
05-12-2003, 09:45 AM
Does anyone know if a power cord could be used with the Archos Recorder in the E? I am thinging something plugged into the power outlet to save/recharge the batteries?

Thanks, 8)

earlweaver
05-12-2003, 06:20 PM
It should work fine. Here is the link to the Accessory Kit

http://www.compusa.com/products/product_info.asp?product_code=50188510&pfp=BROWSE

pookSter
05-12-2003, 07:33 PM
Hey Sunstroke...check out the newest firmware finished this week for the Archos MP3 players. The Rockbox firmware guys actually designed talking menus for this player. Excellent when you don't want to take your eyes off the road. I think they call the new feature "talkback" and you should find it in the daily builds. These guys are really getting lightyears ahead of ipod.

pookSter
05-12-2003, 07:37 PM
Oh Sunstroke, another thing you can do for the 12 volt charger. There are universal adapters that convert to 12, 9, 6, 3.5 volts with different ends at target, radio shack, etc. Just make sure you get the polarity right or you will trash your player.
Another way is just to buy a 120v inverter. This way you can run your laptop, mp3 player charger or other small appliance in you E. I can show you where I mounted mine if you are interested.

Slowhand
05-12-2003, 09:40 PM
PookSter, can you post a pic of that inverter install please?

pookSter
05-13-2003, 09:39 PM
Sure..this is the 150 watt inverter. It is hidden under the drivers seat out of sight securred with my friend Mr. tie strap.
http://mnsi.net/~pookster/inverter.jpg

mborkow
05-15-2003, 12:30 PM
i have a question about the archos: does it play .wav files as well as mp3, or just mp3s? i know that it will store any kind of file (since it doubles as a hard drive), but i can't tell if i will be able to play .wav files which are stored there.

pookSter
05-15-2003, 03:21 PM
It really depends on the wav file. I record talk radio in a compressed wav format, and just rename the extention to mp3. For all intensive purposes, no it just plays mp3 files.
Other files it will manage is txt files (you can read text files) and html. You are correct that you can store any file format. When you plug in the Archos to the usb port, the computer automatically recognizes it as a 20 gig harddrive which is nice because you don't have to carry around special software/drivers like other MP3 players.

I believe the topic of playing other formats other than MP3 was brought up to the Rockbox firmware team, but I think it was voted out by most because it was not a useful feature.

mborkow
05-15-2003, 03:41 PM
one advantage of the ipod would then be that it can play wav files. personally i have always thought that mp3s sound a bit hollow, but i like the idea of being able to have a wav juke box...i guess i will have to consider the ipod inspite of the price.

pookSter
05-15-2003, 07:42 PM
mborkow said:
personally i have always thought that mp3s sound a bit hollow

I don't know what MP3s you have been listening to. Perhaps you have listened to ones that have been encoded at a lower bitrate. I have listened to songs in MP3 and Wav format on my ipod and I have to say, I can't tell the difference sonicly. (other than the fact that the playlists in wav format took 20 times longer to load because of the size).

Have you ever wondered why there are only 10 songs on a music cd? The reason is they were recorded in wav format (a standard decided upon before the MP3 compression came out). It would make no sense to listen to music on an MP3 player in wav format. The amount of space it would take up for say 10 songs in wav format, you could fit 150 songs in the MP3 format.

Owning both an ipod and Archos, I do like the ipod display, but the features on the Archos blows the ipod away. If you used both for a week, I'm sure you would agree.

mborkow
05-15-2003, 07:58 PM
do you not find that there is some quality lost in the compression of an mp3?

pookSter
05-15-2003, 08:12 PM
Theoretical ..maybe. Enough for a human to realize...probably not. This is the same arguement the "audiofiles" had when cd's came out. "records sound better man".
I am sure if I recorded in both formats and had you try to tell me which was which..you couldn't. And then there is the factor of you listening to the mp3 player through headphones or the stereo in the Element. There is no way you would see any difference.
Also, think about things like how long it would take to copy over a 40 meg song compaired to the same song at 3.5 megs in MP3 format. Then we haven't even dealt with the battery life issue in your MP3 player. If the Harddrive had to access 40 megs instead of 3.5 while song playback, think of how many more times your drive has to spin up to get that extra data. The battery life would stink. I could go on and on, but I will spare the readers of this post hehe..

mborkow
05-15-2003, 08:45 PM
pookSter,

thank you for the information. i have been going back and forth between the archos and the ipod now for a few days. i am still not sure which i will get but your input has certainly kept the archos in the running.

thanks!

pookSter
05-15-2003, 10:50 PM
You are quite welcome. Either unit you can't go wrong. The reason I bought the Archos the second time around is because the IPOD was only 10 gig model. I thought it was lots of storage space when I bought it. 2 years down the road I found myself looking at the 20 gig because I ran out of room. I went the Archos route because in a couple of years, I am sure I will be in the same situation. The Archos can be upgraded to any size simply by replaceing the harddrive with a normal 80 gig laptop drive. And with the firmware being upgraded and new features added on a daily basis, and the talking menus on the Archos has sold me.

mborkow
05-15-2003, 11:23 PM
ok, you convinced me! the question now is where to buy it (how much should i spend for it) and do i want to get the one that records as well..what do you think?

pookSter
05-16-2003, 11:44 AM
Depends where you live. I am in Canada and bought mine online at www.jandr.com I have bought several things here with very good service. Harmony computers, Computer city are a couple others. Expect to pay $200-$250 . There are different models to choose from. One that records, one that doesn't, one with FM one without. Its nice to have the record features as the Archos has a digital in jack, so you can record from CD's directly to MP3 format.

I would however recommend the Archos recorder 20 over the FM Recorder 20 simply because the one without FM has the older style AA Nickel Metal Hydrate batteries which last 10 hours. If you go with the FM recorder, its a newer design with a lithium battery that is not standard, and I am afraid that in a year or so when it needs replacing, you will probably pay a pretty penny from Archos for it.

Hope that helps..

wgp910
05-17-2003, 07:46 PM
just read through post, great information. i also like what i hear about the archos. my one question is pookster you recommend against the fm one because of an expensive batteries. do you know of any other real differences between them, any other upgrades to the fm recorder, or anything left off it that the other one has? since j&r offers them both for the same price, i am choosing between the two and would like any more information you might have. thanks.

wgp910
05-17-2003, 08:21 PM
by the way, i found the archos recorder for $208 and the fm recorder for $225 here:

http://www.compuplus.com/products.php3?sid=t6g3bniy5470v63&track=products&cat=Music

for $208, i think i'll probably go ahead and get the non-fm one. and the more i think about it, it does sound pretty convenient to be able to use AA batteries, especially if you're on a trip and you can't recharge.

pookSter
05-17-2003, 08:32 PM
The main difference is the FM and they have a propriatary battery now. I think the battery life is about the same, only when this needs to be replaced yuou will have to order one from archos. The Recorder 20 model comes with 1500 mah AA batteries which last 10 hours. Now availaible are 2200 mah batteries aftermarket giving you %30 more battery life, so if you dont need fm, I like the versitility for battery replacement.
As you can see, the new fm recorder is a bit sleeker in design and I'm not sure if Its an improvement or not.
I do know that they have an FM LCD remote coming out for the multimedia player which I know will work on the Recorder 20 in the future, so I will pick up one of those when available for the FM part.

As you know, the firmware upgrades I spoke about earlier which are changing on a daily basis give you more options on both models, but at the moment it seems that the most advances in features are in the Recorder 20 model since its been around longer. I am sure the fm model will catch up soon.

pookSter
05-17-2003, 08:36 PM
I would also recommend you get the travel kit which give you the remote and the dc adapter allowing you to charge the batteries in your car.

wgp910
05-17-2003, 09:08 PM
thanks for the info. convenience of AAs and a couple extra bucks, or sleek design and an fm radio. with a couple thousands songs, i don't think i'll be listening to the radio all that much, but that sleek new desing is appealing. either way, i think it'll be a good deal.

pookSter
05-21-2003, 04:05 PM
NP...tell me how you like it.

Drew
05-21-2003, 04:28 PM
Just as an update, I got my RioVolt SP250 and I think it's great. Not only does it have a wired remote so I don't have to reach far to change the song, but it's gray and black so it matches my interior nicely. :) Only complaints are that it's a little large to fit in the trays by the dash jacks and that the AC can turn off if the cord gets tweaked in the wrong direction. Still, it's very cool and I'm thrilled with it. Already put my entire Sting collection on one CD, and all of my Art of Noise on another, and that's at 160kbs quality. :)

Drew (http://www.arothman.com)

http://www.ctglobe.com/Riovolt.jpg

Sunstoke
05-21-2003, 04:51 PM
I opened the battery compartment on my Recorder 20, and it said something like "Caution, only use Archos rechargable batteries!" Is this an obvious ploy to make more money, or is there some good reason behind it? :?

pookSter
05-21-2003, 09:08 PM
No, its no ploy. The batteries are a very high capacity Nickel Metal Hydrate AA rechargeables. Since rechargeables are 1.2 volts and alkaline are 1.5 volts, you risk damage, not to mention that alkalines are not rechargeable, so you might damage the charging circuit.

You can however purchase some replacements from Radio Shack. The ones that come with your Archos are 1500 milliamp hours and last 10 hours on a recharge. The ones from Radio Shack (Canada) are 2200 milliamp hours, so they should last 30% longer. If you are using the RockBox firmware you will see a battery milliamp hour selection. Just match the capcity of the batteries in the menu and the charging system will top them off perfectly.
I would recommend those if you ever need another set. Just make sure they are AA Nickel Metal Hydrate type.

How many CD's have you copied over to your Archos Sunstroke?

I have copied over 180 full CD's and still it is only half full. Kind of amazing considering the whole thing is only the size of a deck of playing cards ! Best $200 I ever spent.

Sunstoke
05-21-2003, 09:39 PM
Sorry, I wasn't clear. I knew they were the Nickel Metal Rechargables, I didn't know if we could use some other brand like Energizer (which I have some of) or they had to be the Archos brand. I guess as long as they are 1.2 volt NMH rechargables it doesn't matter! I probably have around 100 cd's so far, I dought I will ever fill it! I think I have sold it on at least 2 other people so far! The thing rocks! Thanks for all the info! I showed my buddy how easy and cool it was, and he went right to his wife for approval. 8)

pookSter
05-21-2003, 10:08 PM
Like I said, if you are using the RockBox firmware, just match up the battery capacity (it defalts on 1500 mah) with whatever capacity your Eveready brand has and the charging curve will work properly.

Sunstoke
05-22-2003, 08:58 AM
Pookster,

You said battery life was 10 hours, I am getting maybe 3.5 tops! I initially charged it per the instructions, and when I charge it, I leave it on until it says "Battery Charged". Any ideas? Thanks in advance! 8)

pookSter
05-22-2003, 10:27 PM
Shut the unit off, then plug it in overnight for a full charge. You will notice that the first 5 or so full charges will start to creep towards the 10 hour mark. Also, 10 hours is straight playing. If you are cruising around the menus with the light on (which everyone does for the first few days to get the feel of it) time will be less. I am getting closer to 11 hours on the stock batteries.

Sunstoke
05-23-2003, 08:20 AM
Pookster

Thanks, you have been a big help! 8)

pookSter
06-03-2003, 11:02 AM
Hey Sunstroke, check out the new Archos 20-40 Gig models That is going in my Element :)

Its all Touch screen!! I think its about 5-6 inches. These Guys are light years ahead of IPOD!!

http://www.archos.com/products/av300_series.html?sid=j22o2s2ob2ojjjcb3f4j34&t=20030603032228

Can't wait to get one

mborkow
06-03-2003, 11:13 AM
where can you get one of those!?

Sunstoke
06-03-2003, 02:55 PM
Pookster,

Man, that is so sweet! I LOVE technology!! I know my wife would WANT me to have it! (She just doesn't know it yet!) When does it come out? You should work for those guys! 8)

pookSter
06-04-2003, 12:16 PM
I think my wife is getting the 20 gig mp3 player she wanted :)
I'll let u know sunstroke when mine is in.