Best portable CD player?

I am looking to get a portable CD player and have been looking for something under $200 which seems to leave me alot of options.

Sony has some nice units in the $150-$200 range that are made of aluminum or magnesium and seem to be upper-level.

I don't really see any competitive products in this price range, especially since I want sound quality not battery life or silly features. I want a more durable unit that is not made out of flimsy plastic if possible, I am going to college soon and I don't want to have to buy another portable anytime soon after this.

I had a Panasonic unit that was alright, nothing spectacular soundwise but it was broken in under a year because of the cheap plastic body wearing out.


Any reccomendations?





-Matt
 
The iRiver units look great...problem is where can I get the 550?

I can find the 350 and someplaces the 400 but where can I get the 550 or 900?

As far as normal MP3 player, it would actually be less convinient because I would prefer to just be able to toss a CD in there from my collection rather than have to connect to PC and download songs.

And with a CD player that has also MP3 capability I still have the option of putting higher bitrate MP3's on it.

Size is not really an issue, I just want decent sound quality, so I would prefer a line out (the iRiver units have them) to bypass the internal headphone amp as I already have a good headamp (BB 627 and 634).

Also have good phones already...

That is something most puzzling to me? Even the most expensive players almost always come with crappy headphones or earbuds...what is the logic behind that? :confused:


-Matt
 
I would guess all the money goes into the player and they throw in the headphones so you can listen to your new toy out of the box.

For what it's worth, I have a Creative Zen Touch 40GB and have my entire CD collection (more than 200 CD's) ripped at 320kbps. I still have about 15 or 20 gigs free on the player.

With lossless WMA or one of the other compression schemes, you're looking at about 300-350 megs/CD, so you could fit 120 or so on a 40 gig device. There's something fantastically convenient about being able to carry your entire CD collection with you...

Also, my creative sounds pretty good with my Pimeta and PPA headphone amps. No line out, but still sounds pretty nice.
 
Originally posted by motherone
With lossless WMA or one of the other compression schemes, you're looking at about 300-350 megs/CD, so you could fit 120 or so on a 40 gig device. There's something fantastically convenient about being able to carry your entire CD collection with you...


I ripped my entire CD collection -- about a 100 -- into my dedicated iMac, they took just under 30 GB in Apple Lossless format.

dave
 
Do you think really lossless?
MP3-320Kbps, WMA, ATRAC or APPLE software looks good on papers but they can't give such a quality in practical.I tried many times to rip cd even with the highest bitrate but still feel the difference from an audio cd.So if i got cd anywhere near to me i choose cd to listen, if i haven't then MP3.



Türker
 
When I've done a lossless rip (non-compressed) of a CD, it sounds identical to the original on my system. There's a lot of folks out there in the PC-as-source scene who can go into more details on what you need to do to get the best quality out of lossless encoding schemes.

Zagis: I think the best bang for the buck is the creatives. From what I understand, the iRivers have *terrible* interfaces. My creative is pretty much ideal EXCEPT for the fact that you have to have the device driver installed on a system before it will recognize a device (I see no reason for this, but that's the way they designed it -- it'd be nice to just hook it up as a usb mass storage device).

I would say probably the iPods or the Zens are your best bet. The iPods are a little smaller, but the Zens are cheaper and you get more battery life out of them.
 
Originally posted by motherone
The iPods are a little smaller, but the Zens are cheaper


iPods have better UI and work more seamlessly. My clients buy them because they can call them a backup storage device (they pop up on the desktop just like any other firewire drive).

What kind of DACs does the Creative have? I was happy to find the iPod has Wolfson DACs in (i wonder how much Apple has been responsible for pushing the cost of that chip (set) down)

dave
 
planet10 said:


iPods have better UI and work more seamlessly. My clients buy them because they can call them a backup storage device (they pop up on the desktop just like any other firewire drive).

What kind of DACs does the Creative have? I was happy to find the iPod has Wolfson DACs in (i wonder how much Apple has been responsible for pushing the cost of that chip (set) down)

dave

I've no idea on the DACs within the Creative. As far as the UI goes, I think the UI on the zen is fine, especially considering the price difference. It was developed by the same company that did the iPod's. I don't know how an iPod interacts with non-mac platforms. If it did show up as a USB mass storage device, that would be pretty nice.

The creative software is okay. I usually just wind up dragging/dropping all my stuff onto the thing, though. What does frustrate me about it (probably my only real gripe other than the USB Mass storage one) is that it bases everything off of the ID3 in the MP3, rather than the directory structure. A lot of my CD's that I've ripped have odd ID3 info in them, which produces some annoying results here and there. I'd much rather sort via the directory structure I maintain on my main box.

It's still pretty nice for about 33+% less than a comparable iPod.
 
Originally posted by motherone
I don't know how an iPod interacts with non-mac platforms. If it did show up as a USB mass storage device, that would be pretty nice.


On a PC with iTunes installed it works just like on the Mac -- or so i am told, i avoid Windows -- it's a plague. It probably even mounts itself like a drive too.

it's still pretty nice for about 33+% less than a comparable iPod. [/B]


Still, price doesn't seem to really hurt the iPod, at last count it had something like 92% of the market.

What lossless format does it support?

dave
 
planet10 said:


On a PC with iTunes installed it works just like on the Mac -- or so i am told, i avoid Windows -- it's a plague. It probably even mounts itself like a drive too.


Perhaps via Firewire.. I wonder if the USB models do the same.


planet10 said:

Still, price doesn't seem to really hurt the iPod, at last count it had something like 92% of the market.

What lossless format does it support?

dave

It supports both WMA and FLAC (or AFLAC?) lossless encoding. I think apple's marketshare has slipped down to like 80%.

The thing about the iPod is that it has sex appeal right now. The interface is nothing special, neither is the hardware -- anyone can hire the same company that did Apple's interface and put out better hardware. The key is being able to put it in a device that looks nice and can be marketed.

<offtopic>
Apple is pretty much microsoft nowadays -- they focus more on marketing their product than improving it. That's not to say they have an inferior product, just that I don't think they're putting their money into R&D like they used to.

It'd be nice to see OSX on an x86 platform (specifically the Athlon64 or Opterons), since they seem to smoke the powerpc. IBM and the PPC consortium just can't keep up with the likes of Intel and AMD -- their focus is too much on the embedded market rather than the crown of performance.

The only thing that might save apple is if they can port it to the Cell platform, and Cell actually turns out to kick serious ***.. Then it might be a whole new ballgame.
</offtopic>