Headphones & Mp3 Players forum

General discussion

Best Player for Sound Quality ?

by Blue_Max / July 23, 2008 11:07 PM PDT

Sound quality is my top priority. So all my CDs are ripped in FLAC or APE formats for audio streaming into a hi-fi system. I also need a portable to take with me. Don't really like converting files to MP3 cos it will take a lot of time, mess up tagging and reduce quality.

CDs ripped in lossless take around 300MB average. So I am looking for a player that can play lossless codecs such as FLAC and APE, have ID3 support, loads of built-in memory plus SD card slot. Something like a Cowon D2 but more modern and at a sensible price.

I have heard about cheaper models of similar spec from lesser known Chinese manufacturers. But no reviews of them here.
Are they problematic?

Any comments/recommendations as the best models for top sound quality with good ID tagging?

Many thanks.

Discussion is locked
You are posting a reply to: Best Player for Sound Quality ?
The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Please refer to our CNET Forums policies for details. All submitted content is subject to our Terms of Use.
Track this discussion and email me when there are updates

If you're asking for technical help, please be sure to include all your system info, including operating system, model number, and any other specifics related to the problem. Also please exercise your best judgment when posting in the forums--revealing personal information such as your e-mail address, telephone number, and address is not recommended.

You are reporting the following post: Best Player for Sound Quality ?
This post has been flagged and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.
Sorry, there was a problem flagging this post. Please try again now or at a later time.
If you believe this post is offensive or violates the CNET Forums' Usage policies, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the post). Once reported, our moderators will be notified and the post will be reviewed.
Collapse -
"Best"
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 23, 2008 11:52 PM PDT
Collapse -
Need Solid State Memory.
by Blue_Max / July 24, 2008 3:24 AM PDT
In reply to: "Best"

Did not mention earlier but the player is for use when active and outdoors. So players with HD are not suitable.

Noticed that players such as Teclast, Onda, Ramos, Hacha have latest chipsets and the spec look impressive. But are they also good in real use?

Collapse -
Never heard of those.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 24, 2008 4:31 AM PDT

Good luck with those but look at the other Cowon products. I'd use amazon.com's search for COWON and see if they make what you want.

Collapse -
May be Cowon D3
by Blue_Max / July 24, 2008 10:49 AM PDT
In reply to: Never heard of those.

I have already looked in to Cowon players, watched reviews, etc.
Some rumors about D3. If no real news soon, I will try and find info on those Chines players with modern parts.
Thanks

Collapse -
Did you mean Chinese?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 24, 2008 12:59 PM PDT
In reply to: May be Cowon D3

If so the names you listed should be avoided.

Collapse -
Reviews and Comments
by Blue_Max / July 24, 2008 1:15 PM PDT
In reply to: Did you mean Chinese?

I was hoping to read reviews and experience-based comments on players such as Teclast, Onda, Ramos, Hacha, etc.
But looks as if cNet has not done so as yet.
May be some other well known publication has?!

Collapse -
None.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 24, 2008 2:58 PM PDT
In reply to: Reviews and Comments

Took a quick look and these are likely to be found on Ebay with no retail presence, poor support and therefore no market penetration.

Avoid!

Collapse -
Many Other Sellers Than at eBay
by Blue_Max / July 24, 2008 4:50 PM PDT
In reply to: None.

I was not planning to buy through eBay. There are several other online dealers.

By opening this thread I was hoping to get unbiased comments based on personal experience of Teclast, Onda, Ramos, Hacha or other modern Chinese made players.

If anyone like that see this thread please reply.

Collapse -
Unbiased?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 24, 2008 4:53 PM PDT

Sadly I see many Chinese MP4 players as people ask us to test them. Most of them have similar names and no support web site, etc.

If you must, put the name into google to find reviews but if you don't see them on Amazon, Best Buy or such then avoid.
Bob

Collapse -
Who is "us" Mr. R.Profitt ?!
by Blue_Max / July 24, 2008 5:36 PM PDT
In reply to: Unbiased?

You say "people ask us to test them". But you do not state the capacity you claim when saying "us" !

I have already seen reviews of specific models at YouTube. But they are by the dealers such as mp4nation and therefore can not be considered as unbiased.

Also, your generalisations are of no real use. Have you tested or have expereince of specific models from any of the brands that I have mentioned?
If not, may you could leave this thread alone.

As already hinted, replies from people with personal experience of Teclast, Onda, Ramos, Hacha or other modern Chinese made players are welcome.

Collapse -
By similarity.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 24, 2008 11:07 PM PDT

I've seen all too similar units by other names.

-> I'm going to be more blunt here since you can't take the hint.

The no names you are asking about are Chinese small companies and some are junk. Let's not give them any more money.

Where did I see and touch and get to that rough assessment? People bring me this units and they are dead, won't connect or suffer other issues. Why would you give them your money?
Bob

Collapse -
i've only seen...
by ktreb / July 25, 2008 12:56 AM PDT
In reply to: Reviews and Comments

An Onda iPod Touch wannabe that one of my coworkers bought last year on ebay. It looks like you can get it from Amazon merchant (not directly from Amazon). He was very disappointed with it. It had an fm radio and mini as expansion slot. It came with a stylus. It sounded okay but felt cheaply made - all plastic. Last year he paid $125 for a 4GB one. He ended up selling on eBay and eventually got a 32GB Touch.

You're probably not going to find a lot of people on this forum that uses these. We also get a lot of spam here from the sellers. I usually complain about them so they get deleted.

If you want to try them and can get one super cheap, I say go for it and report back. If not but you still want to try Chinese, try a Meizu. They're not incredibly cheap but have been reviewed by CNET. And you can get them directly from Amazon.

Good luck.

Collapse -
Meizu and Zen sounded good but ....
by Blue_Max / July 25, 2008 4:41 AM PDT
In reply to: i've only seen...

I was lent a Meizu M6 SL over a weekend and was impressed. But my FLAC files are around 300MB per CD; so need memory expansion slots.
Creative's ZEN Vision also sounded good and it has SD/SDHC microSD slots but no FLAC/APE.

Some of the Chinese PMPs claim to have the current Rockchip RK2706 PLUS Wolfson WM8987 audio chip, so looked good to me; at least on paper.

Since they are all from online suppliers, there is no way of auditioning them. They are for sale by all sorts of online companies, so I am surprised cNet have not put two or three representaive models on test, at least to satisfy curiosity.
Guess I will have to decide after reading experiences of others in independent forums such as this.

Collapse -
MP3 Insider
by ktreb / July 25, 2008 2:57 PM PDT

You might want to try posting to the MP3 Insider forum or e-mail the hosts at mp3insider@cnet.com as to why they don't review the units you are asking about. That forum doesn't get as much traffic but sometimes one of the hosts (usually Jasmine, but she'll be on vacation this coming week) replies. I listen to this podcast regularly and I seem to remember that they don't have a very high regard for these players (not specifically by name but as a class of players that Chinese manufacturers generically call mp4 or mp5 players).

I do recall hearing that a lot of these are sold in South America, namely Argentina and Brazil. But that could have been one of those spam posts that were deleted.

Like I said before, the only one I've seen up close and personal was the Onda iPod Touch wannabe. Definitely was not impressed by its cheap plastic feel. And just because something is plastic, it doesn't have to feel cheap. But that Onda felt cheap. If that was representative of all of their products, I would definitely stay away from them.

Collapse -
MP3 Insider
by Blue_Max / July 25, 2008 3:36 PM PDT
In reply to: MP3 Insider

ktreb..
Food for thought in your post.
Did not know about MP3 Insider. Intersting place. Thanks for the link.
Was listenng to "MP3 players can't all be roses". Good insight.

Collapse -
Closest thing to what you want...
by x2wolf / July 26, 2008 7:12 AM PDT

If I understand correctly, the Zune 80 GB supports WMA lossless, but not FLAC or the other type you mentioned. One possibility is for you to find a program that converts your FLAC files to lossless WMA files. The only problem is that it is a hard drive player. If you are avoiding hard drive players because they break easier than flash players, you could just get an effective case that would let the player survive falls.

Collapse -
CNET Asia
by Blue_Max / July 27, 2008 6:12 PM PDT

Review section at CNET Asia has couple of Teclast and numerous other Chinese players unheard of in the west. Apparently, Teclast is quite well-known in China.

Shame that iPods only have Apple's own ALAC and they excluded much more popular FLAC and APE.

Still looking for a player that meet my needs. I don't really care who makes it or from which country; as long as it meets fundamental criteria.

Collapse -
Hi!
by jumping_fences / July 28, 2008 8:01 AM PDT

I have hopes that this thread will solve my worries.

Today, I bought a Sansa Fuze with some reluctance as I know very little about MP3 players besides for the fact that iPod means conformity, which is bad for me. An MP3 player is really needed for this certain trip of mine where I'm on the plane and in l-o-n-g car rides. I've already burned my CD's onto my computer and have converted most of their files so I've got a nice mixture of MP3 files and a couple of WAV files (I already know that WAV files are superior but I'm going for compatibility). To be honest, I couldn't care less about features other than being able to play music so that means video is irrelevant to me. My main concerns are:

1) If MP3 quality differs from player to player
2) If the Fuze is a smart purchase or not
...and on an off-topic note...
3) Which player has the best shuffle feature?

So all in all, I'm looking for a player that has the ability to delivery fantastic sound while stuck on shuffle as I'm hiking and whatnot. Does the Fuze hit that mark or should I return it for something else?

Collapse -
quality is subjective
by ktreb / July 28, 2008 12:57 PM PDT
In reply to: Hi!

And I may not really be answering your question to your satisfaction. If you've got a really good ear (perhaps no hearing loss) and a decent pair of earphones, you might be able to tell the difference among the top players. I have 6 iPods, 1 Sony, and a SanDisk Sansa Clip and use Shure e2cs (decent but hardly audiophile earphones)and they all sound great to me. But I don't have a really good ear. Too many years of rock concerts took care of that. A lot of people think iPods are crap, yet 120 million+ have been sold. Conformist, maybe. If you reall

The Fuze got a decent review on CNET:
http://reviews.cnet.com/mp3-players/sandisk-sansa-fuze-4gb/4505-6490_7-32896579.html?tag=mncol;lst

You might also want to take a look at editor Donald Bell's take on Audiophile mp3 players, which compares players using objective data:
http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-6490_7-9968448-49.html?tag=mncol;title

I really prefer buying players that I can have a hands-on experience with, so that I can listen with my own ears and try out the interface. Unfortunately, with all of the different players that is impossible. Not many stores give you a decent hands on. I can only think of the Apple and SonyStyle stores. Best Buy has players on display, but it seems that you can't really listen to them. But I suppose that's where reviews and forums such as this one fill the gap.

Do I think the Fuze is a smart purchase? Well, I think for its features and price tag it is. It has pretty good battery life. To maximize your playback time between charges, you'll want to use compressed audio (the mp3s) rather than WAVs and don't play video. The earphones that come with most mp3 players are crap (notable exceptions: Zune80 and higher end Sonys), so do yourself a favor and replace those. I don't think you have to spend a lot of money. You could get something in the $30-$50 range that would be a definite improvement. Check out reviews. I think Best Buy gives you 30 days to return headphones and I imagine other stores do to.

I can't say that I've used the shuffle feature at all. I prefer creating playlists for different moods/activities.

Collapse -
Testing your hearing ability
by Blue_Max / July 28, 2008 8:51 PM PDT
In reply to: quality is subjective

Hearing ability can be affected by exposure to loud music as ktreb said. It can also be age-related and is called presbycusis.
But deterioration can happen at any age.

This site has some tones with which one can test one's hearing ability.
http://www.freemosquitoringtone.org

It is also useful to plot a frequency responce graph of any audio equipment with speakers. A simple SPL (Sound Pressure Level) meter, such as the one from Tandy, will be required for this.

Collapse -
Thanks a lot!
by jumping_fences / July 29, 2008 1:04 AM PDT
In reply to: quality is subjective

Your reply was very helpful and reassuring. I already knew that the Zune80 was the best iPod alternative but it would be miraculous if I would be able to afford such a purchase. I already have a pair of headphones so I'll use that as an alternative to the crappy earphones.

I guess I will just have to compare to find out if I should keep the Fuze. Ugh...

Collapse -
Wolfson Audio Chips
by Blue_Max / July 29, 2008 8:01 PM PDT
In reply to: Thanks a lot!

I have heard some people claim that for best sound quality, players need to also have an audio chip, such as the Wolfson WM8987.
Any comments from users?

Collapse -
I've never heard that
by ktreb / July 29, 2008 11:51 PM PDT
In reply to: Wolfson Audio Chips

I'm not saying that it isn't so. I've been buying mp3 players for 6 years and I've never heard of any mainstream review or major mp3 manufacturer mention audio chips by name to tout their products. Maybe that's the problem: mainstream/major. Or maybe most people don't care. I don't know...maybe the audiophiles out there can weigh in. This question is deeply buried. You might be better off posting this question as a new thread and also posting in the digital audio forum (it gets less traffic though).

From doing a google search, I found out from Engadget that Apple iPods did use Wolfson audio chips (specific chip mentioned WM 8985 in a 2 1/2 year old article to improve battery life). I also found out from iLounge that Apple dropped Wolfson as their supplier for 2008 iPods.

Popular Forums
icon
Computer Newbies 10,686 discussions
icon
Computer Help 54,365 discussions
icon
Laptops 21,181 discussions
icon
Networking & Wireless 16,313 discussions
icon
Phones 17,137 discussions
icon
Security 31,287 discussions
icon
TVs & Home Theaters 22,101 discussions
icon
Windows 7 8,164 discussions
icon
Windows 10 2,657 discussions

GIVEAWAY

Turn up the volume with our Apple Byte sweeps!

Two lucky winners will take home the coveted smart speaker that lets Siri help you around your connected house. This sweepstake ends Feb. 25, 2018.