Headphones & Mp3 Players forum

General discussion

Is an MP3 player really worth the trouble?

by GVDL01 / August 2, 2008 3:25 AM PDT

As I read through post after post throughout numerous websites regarding the frustrations associated with MP3 issues, complaints and problems, I have to wonder if having an MP3 player is worth all the trouble. I don't want my MP3 player to be the main reason for my need to meditate. I want my player to be a source of joy vs. anger, feelings of inadequacy and frustration.
At this point, as soon as you've parted with a good chunk of money for the player, many needed extra accessories too help protect the player or charge it aren't supplied. The screens are easily scratched so you need to buy a case. Don't accidently sit on them or they'll break. They won't easily convert WMA formats or they work one day and are dead the next for no known reason.
For 6 months now I've come close to laying down my money. But just as I'd decide on a player I'd read someone's frustrated cry for help regarding the one I'd just decide on.
Is it just me or does it seem that every manufacturer is playing some sick-o game with all of us vs. creating something that doesn't make us have to blog our brains out over it?
Let's review my choices again...I keep my $$$...have more spare time to do fun things with friends and family vs. screaming at a MP3 player or some mfgr's software glitches and play my CD's?
Your thoughts please.

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I've had great experiences
by ktreb / August 2, 2008 4:49 AM PDT

But consider this. Millions of mp3 players are sold every year (iPod has a big chunk of this business and have sold 120+ million to date). What you are seeing on this and other websites represents a relatively small chunk of that. People come to forums like this to ask for help, seek advice, and to complain. So that's mainly what you'll see. And unfortunately, a certain percentage of player will have problems. You will hear more iPod issues because there are so many more out there. But you can say the same thing for any product, electronic or not.

I've been buying mp3 players for nearly 6 years. I currently own 10 that range from simple/inexpensive to the fancy/expensive. One was a cheap freebie from work. I've never had any problems that have caused me anger and frustration. But I also started off simple and learned my way around mp3 players before moving on to something more complicated. And they're not really that complicated.

For me, listening to CDs are best done at home on a nice system or in the car if you have a cd changer or can play mp3 cds. Having an mp3 player is a convenience. I can carry a few hours worth of music or podcasts that I can clip to my shirt and then I'm off to the gym or a walk. If I want to carry more music and more types of music, I have something that fits in my pocket or purse. I can plug it into a speaker system at work and share my tunes with the office and take requests. If I want to watch tv shows, movies, and video podcasts I have a player for that.

You don't have to buy a fancy and expensive mp3 player, especially if you are new to it. Not everyone wants, needs, and can afford an iPod or similar player. If you're perfectly happy listening to cds, then you don't need one. But if you do want one, start off simple and inexpensive. Get one that simply plugs into your computer without a cable that you can put music on via drag and drop through Windows Explorer. I've got several like this that I've sat on and dropped numerous times and don't have accessories for.

If you want to get something fancier/complicated/more expensive, do your homework. I actually got myself a "Dummies" book. Look at reviews. Try to get a hands on. If you need software, get to know it. Many programs, such as Windows Media Player, iTunes, Zune software, and RealPlayer are freely available for download if you don't already have them on your computer. If you don't know this already, the default ripping setting for Windows Media Player is wma, so you may want to change that to mp3 (you don't have to). Also the default ripping setting for iTunes is AAC. You can also change that. If you get a high capacity hard drive based player, you may want an accessory to cushion it from falls or to keep it from falling (of course, keeping it in your pocket a fine idea and no extra accessory needed).

The one accessory I do recommend for almost every mp3 player out there is a pair of headphones. Almost all come with crappy headphones. An additional $30-$50 will get you something that is a lot better than the ones they come with. I actually have a few that I paid as little as $10 for. But I do a lot of experimentation and sound quality is subjective.

One more thing. If you buy downloads, I suggest that you buy mp3 only. Don't get anything with DRM that restricts what you can play them on and what you can do with them.

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Don't buy an Iriver CLics!
by pallidin / August 2, 2008 5:11 AM PDT

After hours of reading posts, recommendations, etc on players I finally bought one--an iRiver Clics. Turns out to incorporate a piece of half baked software. I like to listen to audio books and am a pretty competant PC person. After frustratingly listending to several books I find there is no way to bookmark. Thus every time you rip a new book and load it to the Clics plan to listen to it all the way through each Disk. Turning it off either on purpose or accidently makes you start all over again to find your place. What half competant programmer put that program together??

Most people who write reviews, professionals or otherwise, use their MP3 players for music. Thus they never tell you how well the player works for downloading audio books and listening to them. I really wonder why the audio book software is so far behind that for music.

In summary, if you are interested in audio books read any reviews VERY CAREFULLY!

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Players that bookmark
by ktreb / August 2, 2008 10:34 AM PDT

Here's a link to players that support bookmarking, according to the mp3 editors at CNET. I believe that these do active bookmarking, you actually have to do something on the player in order to bookmark at the point you want to bookmark.


You are right. Reviews and manufacturer product specs don't really say enough, if anything about bookmarking, if they have it or not. And if they do, how to utilize it. Even the CNET reviews don't really touch on that.

Left off of this list is the iPod, but it does bookmark. If you mainly listen to audiobooks, the iPod may be overkill, though. In my rather biased opinion, it's probably one of the best at it. Bookmarking is done passively. If you download audiobooks from iTunes or audible, bookmarking is already enabled. If you rip from cds, you'll need to set the options for each track within the iTunes software to remember playback position.

If you are a podcast listener, you can download podcasts through iTunes and they will automatically have bookmarking enabled. Useful for listening to long podcasts.

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Do your homework is the key.....
by TMT904 / August 16, 2008 6:03 PM PDT

Not quite sure which iRiver Clix you own, but I've owned 3 for almost 3 years and they're all still working perfectly. I bought one for my brother to send to him in Iraq and one for me and my wife. We use them for our motorcycle music system. I can be listening to a song and power it down and it picks right back up where I left off when I power it up. Now if I stop the song and back out to the main menu, I will have to restart the song and fast forward or relisten. It works the same for the videos I watch on my iRiver. Never listened to books but are they not audio files...(mp3s)?? Maybe you just got the wrong Clix.

The main thing in purchasing any electronic device is to do your homework. Read the reviews on CNet or ask friends. The iPods are certainly the most widely promoted in the mp3 arena. They have countless accessories......and endless list of accessories for that matter! I own an iRiver Clix 4gb, Archos av500 100gb, and an Archos 605wi-fi 160gb player which basically spans from the lower-end to higher end of the mp3 spectrum. The latter actually gets me onto the internet and can stream videos from my pc to my tv....it's all in what you want to do with the player. As I said, my iRiver is used primarily on my motorcycle....very compact and doesn't miss a beat. I can go forward or backwards thru my playlist by tapping (clicking) the appropriate edge of my player....hence the name Clix. No buttons to fiddle with while trying to concentrate on collision avoidance from the careless automobile drivers out there who sometimes seem like they're out to get me.

Identify what you want/need and as was said in a previous post, do your homework. All of a sudden, your player will be right in front of you. Keep your receipts and make sure there is a good return policy just in case!! Put it through the hoops as soon as you can as most stores will accept returns in the 1st 30 days. If you're not satisfied, move on to another brand.

Happy listening,


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Iriver Clic
by pallidin / August 17, 2008 3:40 AM PDT

You are happy with the Clic for music and I agree with you but I used mine mainly for audio books. For audio books it leaves a lot to be desired. Bookmarking just do not work--even tho several reviews said they did.

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by ktreb / August 2, 2008 12:28 PM PDT

I'm curious as to what player you almost plunked down $$$ for.

And a recommendation.

If you live near a SonyStyle store or a retailer (Best Buy) that sells them, I would suggest that you take a look at the newest Sony players. They are well built, simple to use, you don't need additonal software, you can do drag and drop, and battery life is phenonmenal. It supports folder organization. There are limits to how deep you can go, but the documentation spells this out. They are not incredibly cheap, but you can get a lower capacity one for $100 or so. I do prefer the video playing ones than the stick ones (I like having a "biggish" screen).

I have one of last year's models that I bought on clearance. It sounds great and I have bought absolutely NO extra accessories. I have the NWZ-A816 and I even use the included headphones (cord is a little on the short side, though).


Another recommendation:

If your cell phone has mp3 player capability, use it. It may not be the best experience, but you could get your feet wet with it.

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Players I've looked at
by GVDL01 / August 3, 2008 3:44 AM PDT
In reply to: Curious...

Sony, iRiver, Zune, iPod nano. It's just that no matter which brand/model, it seems there is some type of comparative drawback either in offered features, sound quality, fragile construction, proprietary, doesn't come with a charger, etc. Just as an example, I'll think I've found the right one but then I'll read a post saying something like: it's proprietary, the sound quality isn't as good as the previous generation, no SD slot, won't convert WMA, unit keeps crashing and tech support is useless.
Basiclly, I just want an MP3 so I can archive my CDs. I have WMA files I've purchased that will need to be converted. My car has a auxiliary input jack which is where I'll primarilly be playing music so I know I'll need a cable for that. I'm thinking 8GB should be all I'll need.

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experiences are subjective
by ktreb / August 3, 2008 4:32 AM PDT
In reply to: Players I've looked at

And perhaps you're overthinking. Almost every product out there (mp3 players, computers, cars, televisions, toasters, etc) will have negative reviews. If you listen to everything, you could have an empty house and no car in the garage/driveway.

I could go on an on and attempt to refute everything you're saying, but that would take hours and it's no way to spend a nice Sunday afternoon.

Another question/suggestion: Do you or your family and friends know any teenagers? If so, chances are one or more of them has an mp3 player. Take a look at what they have, listen to them, and pick their brains. Try to take a more hands on approach. Reading stuff online is all fine and good, but nothing beats hands on.

If you're primarily playing music in your car, perhaps you really don't need an mp3 player. Maybe you should get a new head unit that allows you to play mp3 cds, if you don't have one already.

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I want to ditch the CDs
by GVDL01 / August 3, 2008 5:55 AM PDT

I want an MP3 because I don't want to carry CDs around anymore. If I buy an 8GB Nano, will I be married to iTunes or can I use Napster just as easily? Battery life is another concern as it isn't changable on the Nano. Does the unit have to be sent back to the mfgr for a replacement?

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by ktreb / August 3, 2008 8:32 AM PDT

you need to use iTunes with a nano. There are ways around it but I've never bothered. Don't buy music from the iTunes store and you'll be fine. As long as you buy drm free mp3s you can use any service. I'll expand on my answer later. I'm typing on an ipod touch right now and I prefer to be at my computer.

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by ktreb / August 3, 2008 12:10 PM PDT

The iPod and Microsoft Zune are tied into proprietary software, if that was what you meant by proprietary. So, the short answer is no you can't use Napster software. And any DRM'ed content from stores such as Napster, Rhapsody, and the old MSN Music store(which closed when MS opened up the Zune Marketplace) will not work on either player. And subscription services will not work either (Zune does have a subscription service, though). Napster and Rhapsody recently went all mp3 for music sales, so everything purchased from that point on (I think this was a couple months ago) should work on any player using any software.

Most mp3 players do not come with a wall charger. They usually just come with the cable to connect it to your computer to transfer songs and will charge at the same time. A wall charger is usually an additional accesory. The iPod's is a $30 accessory, which I bought. Then I ended up buying $15 charger at WalMart that charges two devices at the same time.

Battery lifespan on the iPod:

Of course the battery will die eventually. By the time this happens, it should be well out of warranty. You could send it back for replacement, but Apple actually replaces the iPod with either a new or refurbished one of the same model. It is currently $59 plus 6.95 shipping and handling. It is possible to DIY, but it might be more difficult as they become smaller/thinner. Most mp3 players do not have user replaceable lithium ion batteries. Off the top of my head the ones that do are SanDisk Sansa e200 series, the Archos generation 4 (not the new gen 5), and the Creative Zen Vision W.


Here is a quote from Apple's website regarding the battery:

"A properly maintained iPod battery is designed to retain up to 80% of its original capacity at 400 full charge and discharge cycles. You may choose to replace your battery when it no longer holds sufficient charge to meet your needs."

There are ways to maximize battery life so you don't need to charge as often:


I would imagine this would apply to any mp3 player.

As for WMA conversion. If they are un-DRM'ed iTunes can convert to mp3 (you will need to change default ripping settings to mp3 since iTunes default is aac). It actually makes an mp3 (or aac) copy and the original wma is preserved that you may either want to delete or move off of your computer. If they are DRM'ed, no software can legally do this, since breaking copy protection is illegal in the United States (violates the DMCA). Of course, you can do the tried and true method of burning as an audio cd then ripping back onto computer.

Units keep crashing:

Unfortunately there will always be a small percentage of players across ALL manufacturers that will be defective. You may hear more Apple horror stories because there are many, many, many more out there than their nearest competitor. If you find yourself with one of these, return it.

Fragile construction:

As I said before, nothing beats hands-on. iPods today are mostly metal construction (iPhone and Touch have glass faces) and I find them to be well built. Perhaps look for mostly metal construction. I do like to keep my hard drive players in a case to cushion against falls. Dropping a laptop is never a good idea, and I wouldn't want to drop a hard drive player too far either.

Horrible tech support:

I've never needed tech support. Apple is usually known for its good tech support. If you've got an Apple store nearby, you can get some face time at the genius bar.

Sound quality is subjective. I really don't have a lot to say on that. If you're going to listen through headphones, don't use the ones they come with. As I said in an earlier post, most headphone pack-ins are crap.

But if you really want something objective, take a look at this article:

Although objective, these numbers mean nothing to me.

This post is getting really long, so I will just say a couple more things and be done with it. If you really are unsure and have a Costco membership, you can buy an iPod there. They've got a 90 day unlimited return policy (no restocking fee) and you can return it if you absolutely hate it. You'll probably know right away. If you really want to use Napster, I'm pretty sure that Sony players work with the service and they are well built.

Good luck!

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one more thing...
by ktreb / August 3, 2008 1:44 PM PDT
In reply to: cont'd

If you are still interested in getting an ipod Nano, you may want to hold off. iPods are due for a refresh, so we may be seeing some new ones with possibly lower prices in September. Nothing has been announced yet, but September is usually when Apple announces these things.

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How do I know if my WMA's are DRM's?
by GVDL01 / August 4, 2008 12:39 AM PDT
In reply to: one more thing...

"you need to use iTunes with a nano. There are ways around it but I've never bothered. Don't buy music from the iTunes store and you'll be fine."

1.) I'd like to clarify my understanding of the above statement. So vs. buying tunes from iTunes I just access the iTunes website to convert any DMR or WMA tunes?
2.) I don't know how to verify if my WMA's are DRM. Can I assume all my earlier Napster purchased tunes that are WMA are also DMR so I'll have to converted them all regardless if I'm ripping from a CD or accessing from my hard drive?

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"you need to use iTunes with a nano" = False?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 4, 2008 12:42 AM PDT

Here I'm using FLOOLA. Odd thing is that I can also use iTunes. As to DRM and WMA, CNET has written that if we burn those to AudioCD then feed them to iTunes then "it just works."

I've never had to use any other method.

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FLOOLA question
by GVDL01 / August 4, 2008 4:30 AM PDT

If I use FLOOLA vs. iTunes, do I still need to connect to iTunes or Apple initally to download anything to the new Nano I just bought?

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by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 4, 2008 4:56 AM PDT
In reply to: FLOOLA question

This means you didn't research what FLOOLA is. I am a poor substitute for the Floola site.

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Don't even look!
by 3rdalbum / August 15, 2008 7:01 PM PDT
In reply to: Sadly...

You shouldn't even be looking at anything that requires special software to put songs onto it, especially not iPods. Trust me, I'm a retailer and had my fill of frustrated iPod-buyers (including the rep of a consumer electronics company!). I don't stock iPods anymore.

I bought a Sony Walkman. It's drag 'n' drop, no software required, you get good sound and the build quality is phenominal (no scratched screens, no scratched casing). As long as you put ID3 tags into your MP3s, the Walkman will organise them into artists and albums, no problems. And if you need to get your songs off the Walkman, it's just as simple as getting them on there, unlike the iPods where the songs are scrambled.

Walkmans are compatible with Plays For Sure DRM, which is the same as you get from Napster. There shouldn't be any issues transferring the music over, provided you use Windows Media Player. DRM places unreasonable restrictions on your use of music, so I *seriously* recommend switching from Napster to something like Amazon, where there is no DRM (or buy CDs rather than downloads).

So: Sony Walkmans don't require software to transfer MP3s and unprotected WMAs, meaning less frustration and no chance of operating system updates breaking your ability to transfer songs. They are compatible with DRM if you don't care about your own personal freedom. Sound quality and battery life are fantastic. Standard USB-plug chargers can be used to charge the Walkman. And they are hardy little players that don't scratch easily.

I'm not just telling you this because my bricks-and-mortar store gets them - my store is in Australia and you're likely in the US Happy They are seriously my recommendation for you.

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Using Floola
by ktreb / August 4, 2008 2:13 PM PDT
In reply to: FLOOLA question
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use this link instead
by ktreb / August 4, 2008 2:15 PM PDT
In reply to: Using Floola
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I was a little hasty in that answer
by ktreb / August 4, 2008 1:07 PM PDT

The short answer is, yes you do need to use iTunes with iPods. iPods were specifically designed to only work with iTunes. Yes, there are ways around it. Through hacking and/or third party software (ie Floola). I don't really have any experience with that because I've never bothered. I knew going in that iPods and iTunes were a closed ecosystem and I wasn't really interested in doing the hacking/third party software. If I didn't want to use iTunes, I would never have bought an iPod. I was using iTunes for about 6 months before I ever got an iPod. Fast forward a few years later, I own players that do not need iTunes that I use along side my iPods.

Buying from iTunes: I suggest you don't. If you ever want to have your purchased music playable on other players beside the iPod, don't buy from iTunes. Most of the music iTunes sells are DRM'ed.

What does DRM stand for? Digital Rights Management. Think of it like a lock. It locks in what you are able to do with the music you purchased. In the case of iTunes purchased music, you can put the music on 5 computers (back in the day, this would have been considered generous because other services only let you put them on 3). You can only put them on iPods. You can only burn the exact same playlist with the purchased songs to audio cd 5 times. Of course, you can get around those restrictions by burning them to audio cd then reripping them. DRM gone. iTunes does have part of its catalog DRM free. They are iTunes Plus tracks. They are not mp3s but unprotected AACs that are playable on any player that supports them. Examples of such players are the newer Sony players and the Creative Zen. Otherwise they can easily be converted to mp3 without doing the audio cd burn the rerip.

How do you know your WMA files have DRM? You indicated that you use Napster. If you bought from the Napster store at any point before May 20, 2008, they more than likely have DRM. That is the date that they officially went DRM-free for its entire catalog of 6 million songs. They may have started a slow rollout from the time it was announced in January '08 til then. And the format they are selling in is MP3 not WMA. If you have purchased tracks that are WMA, more than likely they are DRM'ed. How can you tell for sure? Go to the place on your hard drive where Napster puts your songs, but don't open the Napster software itself. Go to the artist/album/song that you know you purchased from Napster. Hover over the file and a box should pop up saying what kind of file it is (I'm using MS Vista). If it says something like "Windows Media Audio (protected)" then, BINGO! You have DRM. If it is an mp3, then no DRM. If you don't get the box, right click on the file and select "properties." Go to the details tab and you should be able to see the file type. CDs that you ripped would have no DRM and hopefully you ripped them as mp3s. DRM'ed WMA songs cannot be put on iPods without doing something to them first. While iTunes can convert UNPROTECTED WMAs (no DRM), it cannot convert ones with DRM. If you ripped your cds as MP3s, then you DON'T NEED TO CONVERT.

So, what to do with all thoses DRM'ed songs? You can do the burn to audio cd and then rerip to your computer. Then you'll probably have to fix the tagging information. What will probably happen is that when you rerip to your computer, the song titles may come out okay (or you could get track 1, track 2 etc), but you might have "various artists" under artist info and "compilation album" under album information. You can manually change this information, but if you have hundreds of songs this can be tedious. I believe there are programs that can help you with this, but I'm not familiar with them.

Another option is to repurchase the songs, either on Napster (since they are DRM free now) or another service that sells DRM free music. Why not iTunes? I've already answered that...because most of their songs still have DRM. I have many iPod and don't buy from iTunes anymore. I use Amazon's mp3 download store.

The last option is to ditch the iPod and buy a player that supports Napster's service.

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It goes everywhere with me!
by Miss M. / August 13, 2008 3:23 PM PDT

I would have to say hands down YES! I never leave home without one of my MP3 players on me; I can carry tons of music on one light and compact player, not to mention audiobooks and podcast. Also, I use it in my car, and I have to say it is a hundred times better than having to carry around CD's in my car, or listening to a song and then having the CD player start skipping on you. Now, will I every get rid of my CD collection? No, I will always keep them because keeping all of my music on a hard drive just doesn't sit well with me ( I have had a hard drive die on me...along with all of the music that was on it), and if, for some reason my hard drive goes bad, or something happens to my MP3 player, then I still have the songs on CD.

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Thank you Miss M.
by GVDL01 / August 13, 2008 11:46 PM PDT

I agree. I finally made the plunge and bought my first MP3 last week, which was an 8GB iPod nano. I too wanted to lighten my load by leaving my CDs at home.
Since you also store audiobooks, I could use your expertise. Using iTunes, I uploaded an audiobook which went straight into my songs. I've since added the audiobook icon to my iTunes library but I'm unable to transfer the data from songs to audiobook. Also, if you have a nano, is there a way to delete songs, etc. from the nano itself, or do I have to delete the song from iTunes and reload to the nano?
Thank you.

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About Audiobooks...
by Miss M. / August 14, 2008 4:43 PM PDT
In reply to: Thank you Miss M.

Hello Again,

I purchase audiobooks from Audible and from E-music; the ones from Audible automatically download to my "Audiobook" folder in my library. The ones that I download from E-music go into the "Music" folder in my library, but do show as "Audiobook" under genre. I have tried to change this, but have yet to find a way to do so. So, the only thing I can tell you is when you are looking for a audiobook on your Nano you will have to search for it by genre, album, or artist (author). Now, as far as deleting content directly from the nano; I do not have a Nano, but the two Apple MP3 player I have will not allow me to delete content from them unless I connect them to the computer and go into iTunes. So, my guess is that it would be th3 same for the Nano. This can be irritating at times, but I have learned to live with it...this has just made me a little more careful as to what I put on them, especially if I know I will not be near a computer for a while.

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I haven't done it myself
by ktreb / August 15, 2008 1:31 AM PDT
In reply to: Thank you Miss M.

But I did a little research and found a couple of things. I will link to the one with the easiest explanation, which I found in Apple's iTunes Discussions Forums. But I'll try to explain here. It's actually in the using iTunes for Mac discussion, but the directions are the same for Windows users.

What it boils down to is that you need to import the cd as an aac rather than an mp3 and join the tracks to produce one long track for the cd. Joining the tracks will make it easier to manage and keep everything in order. Then delete the file from your library, but not delete from your computer. You want to keep the file when iTunes ask s you about deleting. Go to the file in Windows explorer and rename the extension from .m4a to .m4b (audiobook format). Then put the file back into your iTunes library by dragging it from its folder location into your iTunes music libray (open iTunes, then drag into the music section in the left pane). iTunes should then recognize the file as an audiobook file and apply bookmarking settings so that iPod/iTunes will remember where you left off. You're joining tracks so that the file will be easier to manage.

Here is the link to the instructions. I've read the instructions from several sites. They all pretty much say the same thing, but this link has it spelled out better. If you don't care about album art, just ignore it.


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I tried it
by ktreb / August 16, 2008 4:57 AM PDT

And it works. What you do get however, is a "protected" aac file, but it acts like an audiobook and shows up in the audiobook list. That part shouldn't be a problem if you have already have the cds.

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I've been using the same player since 2006 - it works fine!
by TriniMaster1 / August 15, 2008 12:31 PM PDT

The short answer to your question, "Is an MP3 player really worth the trouble?," based on my experience (and I'm nowhere near as "expert" as many of the people posting here), is - YES.

I've been using my current MP3 player since 2006, or even late 2005, and for the most part it's been working fine. It's a 40GB Creative Zen Xtra, which I don't think they make anymore.

In fact, I think I'm going through my biggest problem with it now, and that's BECAUSE I've had it so long - I recently got a new computer that runs Vista, and I don't think Creative will support this player on Vista. That's something I'll have to look up (though if anyone here can give me advice, I'd appreciate it), but as far as the player itself, I've had a nice, happy relationship with it.

As others have noted, people are more inclined to post complaints rather than compliments. Read the reviews, find a player that appeals to you and meets your needs, and as you re-read the reviews, decide what potential problems and/or lack of features you can live with.

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MP3 player
by mrsjkoster / August 15, 2008 1:30 PM PDT

Do you want one? Yes, you do. I LOVE LOVE LOVE my iPod. I debated long and hard (a couple of years) and took the plunge with a 5th generation video iPod right before they turned it into the Classic iPod. I bought what was the big one at the time. I have three kids, and I not only downloaded music, videos and other content for myself, I downloaded content for them. Then, I never got to use it. Imagine this: quiet car rides to Grandma's house (4+ hours). Kids waiting QUIETLY for an hour at the doctor's office. Yes, kids are too plugged in today, but sometimes it's a big help and you do what you have to do to get through the day. SO, in order to be able to listen to my own audiobooks and podcasts, I bought a bigger one. My husband was absolutely livid--why would anyone want one of the things in the first place, and you spent HOW much money? Very anti-MP3. Well, then he borrowed it. And specifically asked for one for Father's Day. We use them all the time, lots more than I imagined or predicted we would. I cannot believe how much useful information I've downloaded and ENJOYED. So, I have three of them (two 80 gig and one 160 gig. I've never had a moment's trouble with them, and that includes letting an 9, 7 and 5 year old use them for over a year. That includes battery life. Get a big one, and get a good case and possibly external speakers. (I have a set of those in the laundry room.) That makes a difference. And I'd definitely go with iPod. I'm a dedicated PC user, but this is the best thing since sliced bread and peanut butter.

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What Are You Looking For In A Portable Music Player
by wexmary / August 15, 2008 9:01 PM PDT

I have been using these things for about a year and a half. For some long plane rides and for my daily walks.

I started out with a Sansa Flash player then got an IPod 80GB last December.

I am glad I did it this way as I worked out all my hassles with the Sansa.

I do not download music very often and I do not use it for videos or pictures. Like you, I want it to play CDs.

Everybody touts the Flash players. The supposed advantages are their compactness (big hairy deal), their durability (no moving parts. But their disadvantage is their much smaller capacity. You get much less bang for the buck with them.

I find the voice recorder on the Sansa irrelevant. And you listen to FM radio for music, which sort of duplicates the MP3 player feature. How come an AM player is not included so you can pick up a news station or a ballgame.

Software, I have tried many of them. All took a while to learn.

I am extremely happy to be using my IPOD 80GB. I like ITunes, it works consistently and it does not crash. It takes an extra second or two to load but it is stable and logical. The IPod interface is good and with 80GB hard drive space, I can load in CDs without worrying if they will fit. i do my walking and trotting and never a problem. Buy a case for it.

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Getting a new mobile phone soon?
by RobertLeBlanc / August 16, 2008 3:57 AM PDT

Not sure if this was already mentioned, but if you're planning to get a new mobile (aka: cell) phone soon, then consider one with built-in media playing capability.
There are many phones now (such as my LG Voyager, about $100 with contract through Verizon) from all the mobile service providers that not only play music but also video files, as well as all the features of mobile phones and smart phones. Also, they are expandable as far as memory. I have added an 8GB microSD card to my phone to store over 2000 music files that cost me only about $50 extra. A 4GB card goes for about ? that. The card is of course also easily transferable to any other media playing device.
Some other great models are the new Apple iPhone 3G (about $200 with contract through ATT), almost any version of the Motorola RAZR ($0 to $100, with contract from most service providers), and the new LG Dare (about $200 with contract through Verizon). These types of phones also of course come with syncing software for easy syncing to your computer's media library (Apple iTunes, Microsoft Media Center, etc.)
This method also prevents having one more device to carry around, to lose, to have to keep charged, etc., and puts all the desired features into your mobile phone that you'll likely be carrying around with you anyway.
Also, since these new phones are BlueTooth compatable, you have your choice of whatever make and model of wireless Bluetooth headphones to use that can also be used to take and receive calls, hands free. There's also a headphone jack should you wish to use a wired set of headphones.
So, if a new mobile phone is in your future, get one with built-in media playing capability, an additional micro SD card, and you're all set!

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MP3 players!!! Worth it? Definitely!!
by Ron Geiken / August 16, 2008 11:30 AM PDT

I have 5 i pods in my possession, and no, I don't work for Apple, and don't have any other Apple products in my home. I have 3 different generations, and normally they all work OK. Some times you have to reset them, and that can get you angry, but they work just fine after the reset. I really love my latest i pod, the touch, and was reading the owners manual in pdf format on my computer earlier today. I had never read the manual before today, since basic operation is pretty intuitive if you have owned previous i pods. I have mp3s, videos and photographs on the unit, and with the large screen they show up nice and clear. You can also rotate the unit to view the pictures or watch videos. This makes the screen larger than any competitors. I personally at the this point of having an i pod for 3 or 4 years cannot imagine not having one. I guess if you have to ask this question, you might just skip buying one until you feel that you really need it. I love being able to listen to my entire record collection each and every day. I listen in shuffle mode, so that it plays tracks randomly. It can take me almost 3 weeks to a month to hear a track played the second time. I have over 150 audio CDs that I have ripped in the past few years. I buy new CDs from time to time, and then immediately rip the tracks to mp3, and put the CD away without ever listening to the audio version. Buy the CD and rip the tracks, that way you will always have the original. I then put the music on every one of 4 of the i pods that have the same music mix. I am retired, so listen to my Kitchen i pod every morning, and then take my i touch to the mall to listen while I walk the mall, and then have music in my car that comes from an i pod connected to my car radio. I also have an i pod that I use in the bathroom, and one in my bedroom with a different music mix that I have on all night to listen to music while I am sleeping. If I wake up during the night, it helps me to get back to sleep, and also helps to get to sleep when I get into bed.

If you buy one i pod, you will likely end up with several of them around in the years ahead. They get to be habit forming.

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