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MP3 players for lovers of classical music.

by JohnBrownsdon / November 30, 2009 8:23 PM PST

I enjoy classical music and have a large collection of CD?s.

First of all I am looking for simple software that will enable me to:

? rip these CD?s as albums
? rename the albums in a uniform way (Composer/Name of work/type or work/ so that they appear alphabetically by composer in my computer?s library.
? select to have or eliminate pauses between tracks. Symphonies etc without pauses, but song cycles etc with them
? chose between formats and bitrates.

Secondly I am looking for an MP3 player that will work and give reasonable quality output with airline type noise elimination headphones.

Up till now I have had a series of disasters.

I began with a Creative Zen 8GB, which would never work for very long. Each time I went to Creative Labs for help I was advised to download their latest firmware. Usually this worked for a few weeks before going on the blink again until the latest firmware was downloaded again. Eventually this made no difference, so in frustration I abandoned it.
My replacement was a Sony Walkman, bought because I was then on my second Vaio which had always done good service. I am now on my third. The Walkman works with special Sony software called Sonic stage, which rips the music beautifully but stores it in a strange way and in a place of its own choosing rather than mine. When moving it on the computer into my own music directory or when restoring from a backup, the Walkman, when connected to the computer is unable to find the music and I am unable to add materiel to the player. The only way to get things going again is to rip around 200 CD?s again, a mammouth task. I have done it twice, and want to find a better solution.

Anyone got any ideas as to a player that will do the job?. I need 8GB or 16GB for my collection, size is relatively unimportant and am not seeking a cut price job, although money is as always a factor.


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try cowon for classical music
by drseee / December 6, 2009 12:43 PM PST

I have used lots of different mp3 ripping software for my classical CD's and have settled on Media Monkey. It has More features than most other Media player software

As for portable MP3 players for classical music, I recommend anything from Cowon, which generally gets the best reviews for sound quality.

I have the I7, which is now being replaced by the Cowon Iaudio 9 (available in 8gb, 16 gb) on Amazon.

A big advantage of the Cowon players is that you can use file/folder browsing. I have never had luck with tag browsing with classical music, where order of play is important. All you do is plug in the player and drag folders from your computer to the player.

You also may want to consider the the Cowon IAudio S9. It has the same features as the 9, but has a bigger display for video.

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Had to think about this awhile...
by make_or_break / December 8, 2009 12:46 AM PST

More recent Sony Walkman devices nowadays have dropped the SonicStage software and use another device management package called Media Manager. It's supposed to be more user friendly than SonicStage was, but since I've no tangible experience with the earlier app I can't attest to this claim (other than to say that I didn't like SonicStage at all).

It appears that you strongly care about the audio quality output. If the Sony experience has been quite rewarding aside from the file management issues, I would suggest that you consider the Sony X-series device. It's been argued by many to be one of the best sounding devices around, has an extremely good user interface, allows for considerable sonic customization, and can even be managed using third-party applications like MediaMonkey (my manager of choice) or Windows Media Player 11, or even Windows File Manager (with a slight change to how the device is seen by your computer).

I've never used Media Manager as a CD ripper, so I can't comment on its capabilities. Fact is I've only used Media Manager to (frustratingly) get video on my Sony devices. Sony could use some lessons on building a solid, easy-to-use app in this instance, but overall Media Manager doesn't SEEM that bad, but then again I've only rarely used it to manage my own Sony devices, opting instead to use 3rd-party applications. That said, I have found that it isn't the best app for managing your library contents (like file naming and song tag information). And I'm not sure it can create song files like you desire (elimination of individual track breaks).

With regards to your laundry list of wants:

- I'm not sure what you mean by 'rip these CDs as albums'. On a computer, it's the artist + album title metadata that usually signifies the relationship of songs to a specific 'album' and determines the storage of the songs on the computer within a specific folder.

- Renaming abilities: I assume your talking about doing this manually, since no online database has their data in some standardized configuration, let alone tailored to your specific needs. Capabilities is all over the place when comparing various applications; no question that not all tag editors are created the same. I've found that I actually like iTunes best for its tag editing capabilities, particularly group edits. I use MediaMonkey at times as well, though its design structure isn't as no-brainer friendly as iTunes. But it does a better job of embedding album art, something that iTunes does rather poorly in that the artwork can be easily 'broken' from the song file.

- Earlier versions of iTunes used to have the capability of 'removing' the gaps between songs, essentially making one large file, perfect for listening to a Bach violin concerto or a Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon as they were meant to be experienced. But over the years Apple seems to have developed some reason against this and has since deleted this function in more recent iterations of their software. I'm not aware of any OEM app that has this capability built-in; likely you'll have to rely on using a 3rd-party app like Audacity to get the desired result (basically it's manually pasting the songs together and saving the result as one file).

- Not sure what you mean by 'chose' (choose?). At what time? At the time of ripping? At the time when loading from the library onto your device?

I think what you'll find if you haven't already is that there's NO device on the market that will fit your needs exactly. The device might be great but the software it comes with is a disaster. The software works good but the sound of the device is less than stellar. Etc., etc., ad nauseum. With competing standards and proprietary lockdowns it's a tough place to navigate, this universe of MP3. It's not like component stereo was, though even there not everything is as universal as RCA jacks (which ironically isn't universal itself).

What works for me is using a number of different software applications to manage my library. I rip using Nero and sometimes iTunes when I'm lazy or dealing with a CD of mediocre SQ to start with. I edit using iTunes. I manage my (compatible) players using MediaMonkey. My lone wolf players like my Zune HD...well, they're kinda out on their own with their own proprietary needs and support. But for everything else I rely on a multiplicity of resources and tools to get what I want. Not simple, but definitely suitable.

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My Sanza Plus does just fine
by xmoviddude / December 15, 2012 11:19 AM PST

I use Windows media player to rip my CD's. I navagate to the files on my hard drive, create a folder and name it whatever I want then drag and drop it to the player. The folders all show up under "folders". I have over 500 clssical CD's ripped to 4 & 8 Gig chips. The sound tailored from the equalizer is superb, especially using my excellent earphones on which I am listening to Prokoffiev's Romeo and Juliet as I type this.

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