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iPod or another Portable Digital Music Player?

So I've come to solicit some advice. After two years (and thus the warranty just expired), my iPod Classic 80GB has gone broken. The headphone jack input is loose, and sound is only coming out of one channel. They will either replace it with another 80GB classic for a lot of money, or I can get a new 120 GB classic for even more money. Of course, Apple does not repair the one you own for a smaller amount of money.

As I see it, I have three options:

1) I can send my iPod to one of those sketchy online repair shops. If anyone had any experience with that, I'd love to know if it works, and if you get your iPod back at all.

2) I can splurge for a new iPod. I'm a bit gun shy. This is my 2d iPod to go down. (I will admit I use it a lot and it gets a lot of wear.) I like the software on the iPod and iTunes, but want this one to last me longer.

3) I can try another mp3 player. Partly I don't want to do this because I have a number of songs only in Apple's AAC format, and unless I'm mistaken those only work on iPods. However, if someone can convince me that there is a great mp3 player (and I want one with comparbly sized memory or higher), then I would consider it.

Thanks in advance for any advice you might have.

Re: iPod or another Portable Digital Music Player?

Don't have any advice here because all my MP3 players have been less than wonderful but I'm going to track this because I'd like to buy something eventually (non-iPod as I can't afford them in the size memory I'd like...i.e. 40GB and up)

Re: iPod or another Portable Digital Music Player?

The ACC files should work on a few other music players, unless they were bought from iTunes.

Re: iPod or another Portable Digital Music Player?

And you can always convert them to mp3 if necessary.

Re: iPod or another Portable Digital Music Player?

If you are around Wi-Fi a lot, the Touches are awesome. You can download an app called Simplify Media which gives you access to every song on your computer streaming right to your hard drive eliminating the need for HD space. Also, Last.FM and Pandora give you customized streaming. But, if you don't have consistent Wi-Fi access you're sacrificing hard drive space for something you'll rarely use.

As for AAC I'm not sure which ones do. I don't think any player would be able to play songs you downloaded from iTunes other than an iPod. Many players, support songs you ripped in AAC and one I would recommend is Microsoft's Zune. Great software and a nice player too. If you live in the US (and maybe Canada too?) you can get a Zune Pass which is a subscription plan which even allows you to download music right from your Zune as long as you are wirelessly connected. You can sync wirelessly as well (not really a great feature IMO but some people like it). There are also programs out there that can strip DRM off your Itunes purchased music or I guess you could pay Apple 30 cents a song to let them give you full access to a song you already purchased.

Re: iPod or another Portable Digital Music Player?


An unfortunate situation. But if I may, go with option #2 -- shell out for a new iPod. Reasons:

1. You already have all of your music on iTunes. Getting a different make of mp3 player would necessitate using a different program (or maybe no program at all) to get your tunes onto the device. Either way, you're likely creating more work for yourself than if you just stick with iTunes -- a program that you're already familiar with. New iPod = plug and play. No hassle.

2. Tangentially, iTunes has all of your playcount information (if you care about this sort of thing). Also, its smart-playlist functionality is amazing. If you've used this feature, you know what I'm talking about. If not, it's reason enough to stick with iTunes/iPod just to discover the world of smart playlists.

3. I've had my hands on more than a few different mp3 players, and my honest evaluation is that the iPod is the best mp3 player out there. The menus are extremely intuitive and the clickwheel is deceptively genius. (In contrast, working a Cowon D2 player is the equivalent of being 14 and fumbling with a bra for the first time. It's embarrassing.) If you're like me, you've used your iPod long enough that you can probably operate it (ie. start from the main menu and navigate to a particular song) with your eyes closed.


PS. "A lot of wear"? Are your associates playing catch with your iPod during your lunch break? I've had my first iPod for over four years -- it's been through rain, a half-dozen falls, and about 100km of road races, and it still works fine.

Re: iPod or another Portable Digital Music Player?

14 and already fumbling with a bra ? You're an early bird, Anthony !

Re: iPod or another Portable Digital Music Player?

I don't like ipod, mostly because I don't like itunes which seems to have been programmed by a bunch o 10 year old morons.
It is highly user-unfriendly and make my PC lag awfully. Anyway it is a pain in the arse not being able to just cut and paste files in the Ipod like in much of the other mp3 Player which works like disk drive. Furthermore that disc pattern to navigate in the various fonctions of the Ipod start working badly after 2 months of use.
I like Creative much more, it's cheaper, easier to use, easier to upload music, can read more format (I don't know for ACC but if you take one with video files reading ipod is limited to mp4, which nobody else uses, while Creative can read .avi) and more resistant...

Re: iPod or another Portable Digital Music Player?

I'm with Nassim.
I never had any iPod and I don't think I will because i have now built my library on Windows Media. If I had to go Ipod I would lose all the classifying work I did on my WM library.
I had a Creative Zen Micro Photo (8 gb), not bad at all, but it broke down and I replaced it for a cheaper, smaller Sansa Clip (4 Gb). It works fine with Windows Media Player 11.

Re: iPod or another Portable Digital Music Player?

Two codes to live by:

1. Don't purchase DRM'ed music.

2. Tag all your music in tagging programs that embed the data into your music. I suggest Tag and Rename.

Re: iPod or another Portable Digital Music Player?


Interesting point about tagging programs.
My concern is that in case of computer crash or hard disk change I might loose everything I built on Windows Media (I don't know if there is an export solution). Do you mean that the programs you mention would tag the files themselves so that everything would be saved in case of crash or new hard disk ?

Sorry if it's getting technical.

Re: iPod or another Portable Digital Music Player?

Yeah, although I think stuff like song title and genre get embedded anyway in WMP or Itunes. But, stuff like album artwork and lyrics get lost if you don't tag them outside of music managers.

Tag and Rename takes the album, searches Amazon or freedb (only Amazon gives you artwork though), and lets you pick the right version and then tags automatically. It's just easier and embeds everything into the songs meaning you never have to worry about databases getting corrupted which does happen.

Re: iPod or another Portable Digital Music Player?

Same here Anthony - my ipod is at least 3 years old - no problems with it ever. But the day it packs up will most likely be the worst day of my life.

Re: iPod or another Portable Digital Music Player?

I don't know what has caused my bad luck with iPods. With the first one, I suppose I dropped it one too many times. With the second I got a great rubber casing, but the headphone jack comming loose was not something I bargained for. I do swap out headphones and the jack in my car nearly four times day, but I'm not that rough with it.

The Creatives look interesting, but none come with enough memory for me. I'm still open to other suggestions, but Anthony's testimony gives me hope. Thanks to everyone for their responses.

Re: iPod or another Portable Digital Music Player?

Interesting that John brought up Tag and Rename -- iTunes actually tags automatically (if you select it to do so), so there's no need to download any additional software. There's an option to select:

Edit -- Preferences -- Advanced (tab) -- and select "Keep iTunes Music folder organized"

If you turn this feature on, any changes you make to a particular song in iTunes will automatically update the mp3 file itself -- song title, artist, track #... even artwork.

Which leads me to Nassim's comment about iTunes being rudimentary and difficult to use. I disagree wholeheartedly. I mean, it's basic if you want it to be; heck, some of my ex-girlfriends were able to figure out how to use it (which gives you an idea of how idiot-proof it is), but it has a shit-ton of advanced features if you take the time to discover them. I think that contrast is a testament to how great iTunes is.

True, it can cause serious lag on certain operating systems (a legitimate mark against it), but you can't argue against the genius design of the iPod being a mirror of iTunes (and vice versa). Any changes you make in iTunes will automatically be changed on your iPod (if you've selected "automatic updating", which a monkey could figure out), and the opposite is true: if I'm listening to my iPod and want to change the rating of a specific song on the fly, guess what happens the next time I plug in my iPod to my computer for updating? It will update the rating on my iTunes. Brilliant. And with automatic updating, I don't have to constantly move mp3s to and from the device, which I can't see as being anything other than a total pain in the ass.

nicolas makes a good point though -- it probably all depends on what you started with.

Re: iPod or another Portable Digital Music Player?

Yes, you can do automatic tagging in Itunes however the artwork will not be embedded but instead saved to a folder that ITunes accesses. That actually might be the only thing that doesn't get embedded though. Now that I think about it, lyrics probably do.

Re: iPod or another Portable Digital Music Player?

Funny because that's the other thing I've noticed that is wrong with my current iPod... the wrong album art pops up for some songs.

Now I have never synced my iPod with my computer. I only just this week got a computer with a hard drive large enough to allow me to keep all of my music on my computer. (My iPod had the same hard drive space as my old computer. ) But when I moved all my songs from my iPod onto my new computer, the album art was all correct on my new iTunes. The iPod still pops up with the wrong cover art, though. Don't quite understand how that happens.

Re: iPod or another Portable Digital Music Player?

Here's the secret to artwork on iTunes...

iTunes doesn't embed artwork into the mp3 file if you select iTunes to obtain the artwork. In other words, if you choose:

Advanced -- "Get Album Artwork"

iTunes will search the iTunes store and attach the appropriate artwork to whatever song you've chosen, and it works with a relatively high degree of success. When this happens though, John's right -- iTunes will save the artwork into a folder (interestingly, the same folder that contains important files that store playcount, ratings, and other song info.)

Otherwise, if you find the artwork (for example, on Amazon), and copy it to the song (which can be done any number of ways, my preference being right-clicking and choosing "get info", and pasting it the "artwork" tab), it WILL definitely embed the artwork to the mp3 file itself.

You can try it by adding artwork to a song (by locating the image on the internet and pasting it in), and then deleting the song from your iTunes without deleting it directly off your computer. When you re-add the song, the artwork will be there.


Midaso -- the way I look at it, I'm more worried about losing my iTunes. I can always replace an iPod; it's iTunes that's way more valuable, given the amount of time I've spent ripping, organizing, editing, etc. That's why I've backed everything up on an external drive, including the two files that iTunes creates:

iTunes Library.itl
iTunes Music Library.xml

It's these little babies that are the heart and soul of iTunes. Should your computer ever crash (knock on wood), as long as you have your mp3 files and these two files backed up, you can restore your iTunes to look like nothing ever happened. Ratings stay intact, playcounts and playlists stay intact... everything's the same.