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Rant: Why oh why does my iPod/MP3 player suck?

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socialxray

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Just discovering iPods and MP3 players and I must say that the whole affair is way more complicated than it should be.

So here is the scenario: Wife has an iPod Mini (which was shipped with a major defect by the way; menu button does not work) and my son has a Philips GoGear (which I found impressive for the price; $98, 2GB, FM Radio, Voice Recorder).

iTunes is fairly easy (but overrated) as long as you do not need to update any other brand MP3 players. If you like iTunes but find the premium price they charge for iPod ownership hard to swallow then you are out of luck.

Since my son's GoGear model only supports MP3 and WMA I have problems. I could convert my iTunes library to MP3 but at that bitrate AAC is far superior and Apple will probably never support WMA.

Since I cannot use iTunes to upload songs to my son's Philips Go Gear, I decided to try Windows Media Player (WMP). I found WMP slightly less intuitive than iTunes but the main problem is that is makes me do a lot of waiting. If I play an album I have to wait for the information from music.msn.com to download. the music plays but the app will not respond to inputs for about 20 to 30 seconds. Same thing happens when I try to access the music library. It just freezes. I want to look up an album or artist in my library and it freezes. WMP freezes a lot. It is unbearable. Yeah it could be the hardware but iTunes accesses everything fine. Thank God I only use it to sync the GoGear.

iTunes has it's share of problems too but since I am running v.4, I figure it would not be fair to comment on them since the software is relatively old.

Anyways, the bottum line is that I have to maintain 2 seperate libraries because iTunes/iPod is a fairly closed standard. This sucks.

What ever happened to attaching external storage (such as an MP3 player) to the PC and simply moving the files you want over to the external storeage using a simple drag and drop method?

I may just convert everything to MP3 and share the music between iTunes and WMP. Although I can hear the difference between an MP3 and an AAC file ripped at roughly the same bitrate, the Wife and Son may not even notice.

BTW: The most intuitive Jukebox/Music Manager I have found so far is Media Monkey. That opinion may change as I delve deeper into computer hi-fi.
 

Reverb

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I am not a big fan of Mp3 players my self.




“Progress peaked with frozen pizza.”

John McClane, Die Hard 2
 

TheBobGoat

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i have all my mp3s in one folder on my dell DJ (30gb) I just hit 'play all' and leave it on when i am bored at work. for transfering songs, dell has the worst software, but i just drag and drop it like normal windows stuff. you can also use WMP to sync it -
i hate apple and ipods because of the premium and how they dont share with everyone else as far as itunes
MSFT has joined up with MTV to offer 2 million songs soon on a new service called URGE
 

amey01

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"Computer hifi" is a contradiction in terms! It is for these reasons and more that I am not a fan of MP3 players either! This is supposed to be a relaxing hobby and music itself is supposed to be relaxing.

Why oh why is it that we'd rather sit in front of a computer ripping our hair out, wasting time with freezes, etc that slip a CD in the tray and enjoy the music?

Until these things can be made as reliable as CD players (ie. Get a music file, press play) I'm not bothering with them and nor shoud anyone else! The sad, sad thing is, that here it is almost 2006 - the technology exists for these things to be simple - why are they not? This is 2006 technology, not 1985 technology! As you say, it is almost as if they've gone out of their way to make these things as complex as possible.
 

TheBobGoat

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they are good for traveling - they dont take up as much room as CD players and they hold more songs than any CD -- mine has 3400+ on it and is only half or so full
 

amey01

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How much listening time have you sacraficed getting those 3400 songs onto it? How much hair have you lost?

My point is, with 2005 technology it IS possible to have an easy to use, good sounding player. By good sounding, I mean SACD quality or better. Think about it - back in 1982 16-bit redbook was possible. With all the advances we've made and all this supposed technology, how come now 16-bit is too big to handle and we're compressing to 128K and the like.......it does not make sense to me.

They're telling us computers are 1,000 times faster than 10 years ago, so to me, they should also handle 1,000 times better quality audio files too. Something smells like a fish to me......hey, well that is the whole IT industry as a whole!
 
T

Taz

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I love my ipod for travel and the gym. I use lossless and play it through my Shure E5c. itunes doe sreally only work with ipods but with ipods it is real easy and I love the interface. It is music for travel and it fits that bill better then anything I have ever used.
 

socialxray

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Well I don't think that technology is the problem. I think it is how these various companies manipulate the technology so that the customer is forced into having to make choices instead of being given opprotunities.

My problem is that I have to choose both Microsoft and Apple since they do not interoperate with each other. And I am not a big fan of either.

I do think that you can get audiophile sound from a PC though. Just stream the music to a decent DAC and stay away from using sound cards to listen to your music. Think of it this way, a PC is just a medium that holds the data in the same way that Compact Disc is a medium that holds data. In both cases the data is streamed to a DAC. Oh yeah, you have to use a lossless codec too.

I am in the middle of converting my CD collection to a lossless codec (FLAC) and I will grant you that it is a little tedious ripping songs from a CD, especially if you use a ripper that makes sure that the data from the CD is bit for bit correct with what will end up on the hard drive; but, the flexiblity that it gives you once it is done just cannot be beat. It definitely is the way of the future and once people become accustom to it and realize that it is ok there will be no going back. Conveinence drives everything. And as long as the sound can be made to be truly audiophile quality then why not?

Unfortunately we have to put up with different companies trying to force the customer to use their solutions and exclude all others.
 

MarkNewbie

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TheBobGoat said:
they are good for traveling - they dont take up as much room as CD players and they hold more songs than any CD -- mine has 3400+ on it and is only half or so full
I have been thinking of getting one for just that purpose. A normal year for me in business will include well over 100 flight segments. Being a frequent flier has it's perks in that I am in First Class 99% of the time at no additional cost. IF you take a DC-9 as the example here, it has 16 First Class seats. On the average, I would say that at least four of those seats are occupied by people listening to iPods. My hesitation has been the hassle of downloading all of the songs and what ear phones to purchase. Perhaps hassle was the wrong word to use, it's just that I have never done it and have no idea what all is involved. I got my daughter the video iPod for Christmas so I am looking forward to learning about it from her. Just my 1.5 cents worth. :D
 

socialxray

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iPod + iTunes is pretty easy and slick too. Just be aware that it is a semi-closed system. Meaning that if you want to play or stream any music purchased through iTunes you must use a solution provided by Apple. It may not be much of a big deal to you now but maybe in the future you may want something more. You may want to stream music throughout the house. With wireless technology it is easier than you think (yes I said wireless, all you audiophiles can pick your jaws up off the floor now). But if you go with non-Apple solution you will only be able to stream music that you have ripped or imported into iTunes.

I myself would like to be able to chose my solutions based on sound quality and not brand.
 

amey01

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socialxray said:
Well I don't think that technology is the problem. I think it is how these various companies manipulate the technology so that the customer is forced into having to make choices instead of being given opprotunities.



Unfortunately we have to put up with different companies trying to force the customer to use their solutions and exclude all others.

My thoughts exactly. The technology is certainly not the problem - if 16 bit was possible in 1982, then with the way technology has supposedly progressed, 1600-bit is possible now. (semi kidding, but not as stupid as it sounds really, is it?).

I believe it is the varioius companies trying to give themselves a buffer zone for an upgrade path as all their products have planned obsolesence built in. That is something that is foreign to audiophiles, who are used to products built to the best standard possible at the time (maybe with the exception of one or two companies who like to release new products on an almost weekly basis!).

It is for this reason that I am not going to be a part of it until things stabilise and the various companies get serious about providing something that is the best possible product with 2005 technology, not providing something that would have been available back 10 years ago! (Take the iPod mini for example - 4GB drives were available back in 1995 - rehashing that technology and selling it for the huge asking prices is a farce and nothing more!).
 

Yang1815

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If you don't like the technology then don't use it. Please don't state that everyone else shouldn't use it either. In addition, there are many products in the market, there's no need to "hate" a brand of manufacteur. Like I said, the best way to show your "hate" is to not buy them.
 

socialxray

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Whoa Yang!

Well not trying to hate any brand and voting with dollars is always an option. Maybe the post previous to yours threw you off but the problem here is that consumers are being forced into solutions that are not in the consumers best interest.

Maybe many people do not see it but this is true. Microsoft and Apple are using the same tactics to determine how I purchase entertainment. Instead of competing by offering better and more flexible services, the are using technology to tie me into their particular solutions.

Yes it is a minor problem now but I am sure that many people do not realize that our fair use rights in this country are just about gone.

Want to copy a DVD? Illegal.

Want to rip a CD so you can copy it to your iPod/MP3 Player? Soon to be blocked or impaired to where you get a version that the RIAA decides you can have. And you can bet it will not be audiophile quality. Try ripping Velvet Revolver to an iPod and you will be sorely dissappointed. (Yep, you will have to buy it twice. Once for your killer Martin-Logan rig and once for your iPod.)

Want to use your DVR to record shows that you have paid for but do not have time to watch when they are on? Sure, for a fee.

Want to tranfer said TV shows from your DVR to your iPod for later viewing? It will never happen.


In my situation I have to maintain 2 solutions to move audio to my son's GoGear and to my wife's iPod. Sure this is a minor annoyance and if I had known previous to purchasing these devices I might have only chose one brand.

But, don't you see that that is the point? I am being forced to chose NOT according to the features of a device and the value that those features bring me in relation to the price of the device. I am chosing simply according to compatibility.

Not features, not performance, not sound quality. Compatibility.

Yes this happens all the time in our economy but I am sure that audiophiles will all agree that choice is the cornerstone of this hobby.

We all need to do something now! We need to write our representatives and vote with our dollars and send a message that we as consumers need more flexibility when it comes to our entertainment.

Maybe I haven't explained it well enough. Check out this link for an opinion from a IT professional. It may make more sense.

http://blogs.zdnet.com/BTL/?p=1952
 

socialxray

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A class action lawsuit is usually against a company that fraudulently misrepresents a product or service. When you download music you accept the limitations that the provider sets by clicking the "I Agree" button. Furthermore, these restrictive policies are sanctioned by the DMCA that our government made into law.

While our fair use rights were clearly stated by the Supreme Court in the late 70's this does not stop Congress from enacting laws to limit our fair use rights. It will take another Supreme Court ruling or an act of Congress to reverse the DMCA.
 

Yang1815

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socialxray said:
Whoa Yang!

Well not trying to hate any brand and voting with dollars is always an option. Maybe the post previous to yours threw you off but the problem here is that consumers are being forced into solutions that are not in the consumers best interest.
Yeah I see your point but when people not only complain but try convincing other people to stop using *insert objects here*, I just get a little irritated.

I myself run into problems with all these different formats. I only have a 60GB HD on my laptop thus I choose AAC for all my iPod music. However when my friends without iTunes or iPods want to *cough* "borrow" *cough* my music, I have to convert them into MP3 first then send it to them.

And then for my favorite recordings I have loss less formats but I only have 2 albums in that format, again, due to size.

Isn't it legal to copy a DVD that you own? I've also heard people copying rental DVD's to "extend the viewing period."
 

socialxray

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Even though the technology exists and is readily available for download, copying DVDs for any reason is illegal in the USA because DVDs are encrypted. Here are excerpts from the DMCA:

Sec. 1201. Circumvention of copyright protection systems

VIOLATIONS REGARDING CIRCUMVENTION OF TECHNOLOGICAL PROTECTION MEASURES- No person shall circumvent a technological protection measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title.

No person shall manufacture, import, offer to the public, provide, or otherwise traffic in any technology, product, service, device, component, or part thereof, that...
is primarily designed or produced for the purpose of circumventing a technological protection measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title;

As used in this subsection--
...to `circumvent a technological protection measure' means to descramble a scrambled work, to decrypt an encrypted work, or otherwise to avoid, bypass, remove, deactivate, or impair a technological protection measure, without the authority of the copyright owner;


Yes folks this is the law of the land. We cannot exercise our fair use rights because it is against the law to descamble a DVD without permission from the copyright holder. (DVD player manufactures have permission of course.))
 
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