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Best MP3 Player for OTR

 
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shuffleotrfan



Joined: 17 Jan 2009
Posts: 14
Location: West Covina, CA

PostPosted: Fri Sep 10, 2010 11:46 pm    Post subject: Best MP3 Player for OTR Reply with quote

I would like top see what other OTR fans consider the best MP3 player for listening to OTR, listing features that make the player suited for OTR.

I would like to start out by saying that I have retired my 2nd gen 1GB iPod shuffle in favor of my Sandisk Sansa Fuze (v2 with 8GB + 8GB uSDHC card.)

It sounds great, and after installing Rockbox in late Aug. 2010, I would never buy another player which could not run Rockbox software.

Although the original firmware is not bad, with Rockbox I have
1. Unlimited bookmarks for each directory of shows. I have many directories, 1 per OTR series, and can switch between them at will without losing track of where I was in any given series. Can also bookmark music.
2. The ability to switch the sound output to "mono" which is great for listening to music while driving (in CA one ear MUST be open or you could be ticketed.)
3. Support for multiple playlists.
4. Good database support if you provide proper MP3 tags. I prefer using directories and drag-and-drop to manage and browse my files.
5. The ability to customize what is displayed while a track playing. I have not used this feature as the default is fine.
6. A true sleep timer which can shut the player off after a given amount of time (up to 5 hrs in 5 min increments). I use this when I want to fall asleep to music or OTR.
7. Can maintain a list of the ten most recent bookmarks. Quick and convenient if you do not want to scroll through a list of bookmarked directories (each bookmarked directory has its own bookmark (.bmark) file at the same level as the bookmarked directory.

Rockbox is open source software which is available for many players. You can find more about it at rockbox.org.

Note to Brad: Would it be a problem if I dumped "shuffleotrfan" and became RockboxFuzeFan?

Thanks for runnning such a great site.
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human



Joined: 20 Nov 2007
Posts: 243

PostPosted: Sat Sep 11, 2010 10:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I recently picked up a fourth generation 20 GB iPod Classic used on eBay at a pretty reasonable price and have finally found an mp3 player that fits my needs. The 20 GB capacity is big enough without being too big. I think about what's on it and keep it organized, but I don't fret much about actually running out of room. It's great for OTR and audio books. I acutally seldom listen to music on it.

The form factor is big enough that I can handle it easily and see the screen, but small enough to be convenient. My girlfriend has a fifth generation Nano and everything is so tiny on the screen, it's useless. I couldn't deal with a Shuffle or other player that didn't have a screen.

I tried Rockbox on my iPod for a couple of days, but got frustrated with it and restored the stock iPod firmware. I had a devil of a time getting to the music directory with Rockbox. I have no real complaint about the iPod interface, although I liked some of the additional sound controls that Rockbox offered.

I don't listen to my iPod with headphones while driving. My car is old enough that it has a cassette player, so I just plug the iPod into a cassette adapter. This setup sounds okay, definitely better than the Griffin iTrip transmitter that came with the iPod.

I've used two other players that had nice features but didn't quite meet my needs. The first was an Archos Gmini XS 100 with a 4 GB hard drive. This unit is about the size of an iPod Nano, and had a very easy user interface. You just plug it into the computer like a flash drive and load mp3 files into the "Music" folder. No special software is needed. The screen is small, but very readable. Its major drawbacks for me are the small capacity and inability to play some mp3 files. Some files, mostly OTR shows, are encoded at a bit rate that the player can't handle and they playback is garbled to the point of being completely unintelligible.

On the recommendation of a good friend, I replaced the Archos with a Creative Nomad Zen Xtra 60 GB player. The sound quality is awesome, the battery is designed to be user replaceable, and it's got more capacity than I will ever need, but that's also part of the problem. It's easy to get too much stuff on it and then not be able to find what you're looking for. The display is a bit difficult to read (the characters need to be bolder) and the controls aren't laid out very well, especially for a left-handed user like me. The navigation jog dial switch is on the right side of the player, so it's naturally under the right thumb when held in the right hand, but in my left hand, it's under the left index finger, which can't operate it as easily. The player itself is also very bulky, about half again larger than my iPod. It was fine when plugged into my home stereo system or a set of portable speakers, but not too great for carrying it around and listening to it with headphones.
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shuffleotrfan



Joined: 17 Jan 2009
Posts: 14
Location: West Covina, CA

PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2010 7:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

human,

How do you manage your shows on your iPod? Drag-and-drop? iTunes?

How about its bookmarking abilities?

How do you keep track of which tracks (shows/series) you are currently listening to?

BTW, I am 64 and retired, and listen to about 12-20 hrs/week of OTR.
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human



Joined: 20 Nov 2007
Posts: 243

PostPosted: Tue Sep 14, 2010 5:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

With the iPod, you can't drag and drop unless you're using Rockbox. iTunes is the only means of putting content onto the device. The device automatically bookmarks the track you're on when you hit the pause button. As long as you don't start another track, it will pick up right where you stopped. I'm kind of a linear listener in that I don't jump around between episodes. I'll listen to an entire series or several episodes in a series before moving on to something else.

shuffleotrfan wrote:
human,

How do you manage your shows on your iPod? Drag-and-drop? iTunes?

How about its bookmarking abilities?

How do you keep track of which tracks (shows/series) you are currently listening to?

BTW, I am 64 and retired, and listen to about 12-20 hrs/week of OTR.
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Jimbo



Joined: 12 Sep 2010
Posts: 190
Location: Georgia, USA

PostPosted: Wed Sep 15, 2010 6:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not trying to be disagreeable, human, but there are setting in iTunes that allow you pick up where you left off.

I use an iPod and have tried many other 3rd party software products to interface with it and have found iTunes to be quite capable.

I am, however, not familiar with the firmware/software you use...
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human



Joined: 20 Nov 2007
Posts: 243

PostPosted: Fri Sep 17, 2010 7:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm just using the stock iPod software version 3.1.1 and I manage the content on my G5 iMac with iTunes 10 running on Mac OS X 10.5.

I loaded Rockbox on it for a couple of days, and I liked some of the extra features it gave, but I found it next to impossible to navigate through the audio files, so restored the iPod to factory settings, which erased everything and reloaded the iPod software that Apple intended to run on it. Everything works like a charm.
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Brad
Site Admin


Joined: 06 Oct 2007
Posts: 1030
Location: Channahon, IL, USA

PostPosted: Sat Sep 18, 2010 3:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

human wrote:
I'm just using the stock iPod software version 3.1.1 and I manage the content on my G5 iMac with iTunes 10 running on Mac OS X 10.5.

I loaded Rockbox on it for a couple of days, and I liked some of the extra features it gave, but I found it next to impossible to navigate through the audio files, so restored the iPod to factory settings, which erased everything and reloaded the iPod software that Apple intended to run on it. Everything works like a charm.


I've never heard of Rockbox before. Is that a replacement for the default Ipod firmware or just for Itunes?


Brad
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human



Joined: 20 Nov 2007
Posts: 243

PostPosted: Sun Sep 19, 2010 9:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rockbox does not replace iTunes. It is a free, open source replacement for the default iPod firmware. There are also versions for several other non-Apple players as well.

It offers a number of features the default iPod firmware doesn't offer, including more robust audio controls, changeable screen themes, and compatibility with additional audio file formats, including Ogg and FLAC, that Apple doesn't support out of the box. That part of Rockbox I really liked

In theory, Rockbox makes it possible to manage your iPod without using iTunes, just drag and drop media files directly onto the device from the desktop, but that's one of the features I had difficulty with, along with accessing existing audio files already in the iPod's database. This aspect of Rockbox prompted me to reformat my iPod and start over.

You can download Rockbox and try it out at http://www.rockbox.org/.

Brad wrote:

I've never heard of Rockbox before. Is that a replacement for the default Ipod firmware or just for Itunes?


Brad
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Brad
Site Admin


Joined: 06 Oct 2007
Posts: 1030
Location: Channahon, IL, USA

PostPosted: Mon Sep 20, 2010 6:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

human wrote:
Rockbox does not replace iTunes. It is a free, open source replacement for the default iPod firmware. There are also versions for several other non-Apple players as well.

It offers a number of features the default iPod firmware doesn't offer, including more robust audio controls, changeable screen themes, and compatibility with additional audio file formats, including Ogg and FLAC, that Apple doesn't support out of the box. That part of Rockbox I really liked

In theory, Rockbox makes it possible to manage your iPod without using iTunes, just drag and drop media files directly onto the device from the desktop, but that's one of the features I had difficulty with, along with accessing existing audio files already in the iPod's database. This aspect of Rockbox prompted me to reformat my iPod and start over.

You can download Rockbox and try it out at http://www.rockbox.org/.

Brad wrote:

I've never heard of Rockbox before. Is that a replacement for the default Ipod firmware or just for Itunes?


Brad


I always set my ipod to manage songs manually in the settings. I just drag stuff to my ipod rather than sync with itunes database. I like it better that way.

Brad
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shuffleotrfan



Joined: 17 Jan 2009
Posts: 14
Location: West Covina, CA

PostPosted: Tue Sep 21, 2010 4:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Brad, try
http://www.rockbox.org

to see if your iPod is supported. If so, Rockbox offers many features which make it ideal for OTR, namely

Multiple bookmarks per directory or track,
Many sound options such as
Balance, stereo/mono playback, degree of earphone separation for stereo, bass and treble control.

Rockbox offers a dual boot option so that you can boot the original firmware any time you wish.

Rockbox is easy to install and remove.

Check out the FAQ and instructions (for your specific iPod model.)

Verne Tice (aka shuffleotrfan)
p.s. The Rockbox forum is very active and helpful to answer questions. You will want to search through the forums first if you have any questions, since they probably have already been answered.
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human



Joined: 20 Nov 2007
Posts: 243

PostPosted: Thu Sep 23, 2010 2:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been managing my iPod manually within iTunes, but I thought iTunes was required to move audio files onto the iPod because it had to make modifications to the iPod's internal (and hidden) database file. The downside is that iTunes has to copy the file to its library before you can copy it to the iPod, which takes up an inordinate amount of disc space.

I did find a workaround for that a few days ago called Floola. I find it preferable to iTunes for managing my iPod's content because it does not require its own library. I can load an audio file onto my iPod from anywhere on my computer without making a second copy of the file to unnecessarily take up more disc space.

You can download it at http://www.floola.com/home/. It's available for Mac, Linux, and Windows.

Brad wrote:

I always set my ipod to manage songs manually in the settings. I just drag stuff to my ipod rather than sync with itunes database. I like it better that way.

Brad
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TexasWildhorse



Joined: 18 Nov 2010
Posts: 5
Location: South Texas

PostPosted: Mon Nov 29, 2010 10:54 am    Post subject: Using the Zune for OTR. Reply with quote

After trying numerous MP3 devices, I've settled on the Microsoft Zune for my OTR. It meets most of my criteria for the ideal OTR device. I have used a first generation Zune (30 gb), a 2nd gen (80 gb), and a 4th gen (32 gb). Because my "ideal" playlist consists of a random mix from about 40 gb of OTR, I favor the 2nd gen 80 gb Zune, which gives me room to breathe. I have on it the complete series of my favorite OTR shows, including Suspense, Escape, X Minus One, Dimension X, The Shadow, Mysterious Traveler, the Whistler, and Lux Radio Theater. All my shows are encoded either at 32 kbps or 64 kbps. I use the free "MP3tag" software to tag them all for consistency (I use "Old Time Radio" for the artist and "Other" for the genre). I use the free "Audacity" software to re-encode when needed. I use the free "Bulk Rename Utility" to rename hundreds of files at once.

The way Zune works is you set it to synchonize automatically when connected to your desktop. So, any files you put into the Zune music folder will be automatically synchronized the next time you connect via the USB cable or wireless. So I keep about 40 gb of OTR in my Zune music folder on my computer, and whenever I get the urge, I add more stuff to it or delete stuff from it. Yes, the Zune software is required to actually transfer the files from the computer to the device, but it is not as intrusive and restrictive as iTunes. It rarely complains and just does its job of synchonizing. One caveat: it does not like bitrates below 32 kbps but will re-encode them automatically before syncing.

My Zune 80gb is 2nd gen and is more or less working its way out of the marketplace. You can still find new ones for around $220. I bought a refurbished one for a lot less and have had no problems. Its replacement is the Zune HD 64 gb, which runs a little over $300. I've used both and still prefer the 2nd gen. The HD has a lot of features that I don't use.

So, if you pause your OTR show in the middle, does the Zune remember where you left off? Yes, it does, as long as you haven't played anything else since. It does not have "bookmark" capabilities, but this isn't really necessary when most shows are 30 min. in length. Moving backward and forward within a selection is fast and easy, in case you lose your place.

I love my Zunes. I used the first gen 30 gb device until my core OTR collection grew past 30 gb. The Zunes do a great job of randomizing the shows, and you can also create playlists very easily using the Zune software.
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Zap



Joined: 16 Nov 2010
Posts: 53
Location: Los Angeles, CA USA

PostPosted: Tue Nov 30, 2010 11:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I used to use Rockbox way back when on a first generation iPod nano, and I really liked it for OTR.

Apparently, a version that will run as an app on Android is underway. That should be interesting. I doubt an app version could be made for iPod unless its for jail-broken devices.
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Jimbo



Joined: 12 Sep 2010
Posts: 190
Location: Georgia, USA

PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2011 7:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is not for the very (VERY) experienced iPod user but I just finished an article about how I've set up Itunbes to work with OTR. You might find something useful in it: http://otrbuffet.blogspot.com/2011/01/tips-for-managing-your-otr-using-itunes.html
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Zap



Joined: 16 Nov 2010
Posts: 53
Location: Los Angeles, CA USA

PostPosted: Wed Feb 02, 2011 3:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jimbo, great tips on iTunes! Ive never used smart playlists like that. I'll give that a shot when I load up my iPod with shows for a long drive from LA to Vegas next month Smile
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Jimbo



Joined: 12 Sep 2010
Posts: 190
Location: Georgia, USA

PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2011 12:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Woohoo Vegas!

Glad you made some use of the tips. There is another article I wrote too about iTunes tips, it's here: http://otrbuffet.blogspot.com/2011/01/tips-for-managing-your-otr-using-itunes_11.html
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MSF17



Joined: 02 Dec 2008
Posts: 57
Location: United States of America

PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2012 8:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Any suggestions to enhance my MP3 player in the USB and AUX ports in cars such as Chevy Impala and other car models?

The Chrysler Touring Van has a plasma screen hard disc drive which plays and saves all of my songs/files from my GPX mp3 player

I've a GPX 8GB MP3 player holding up to 2000 songs, but only a few hundred of songs and files will play in the cars that I drive at work.
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jmllh513



Joined: 11 Aug 2013
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Sun Aug 11, 2013 6:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would like top see what other OTR fans consider the best MP3 player for listening to OTR, listing features that make the player suited for OTR.

I would like to start out by saying that I have retired my 2nd gen 1GB iPod shuffle in favor of my Sandisk Sansa Fuze (v2 with 8GB + 8GB uSDHC card.)

It sounds great, and after installing Rockbox in late Aug. 2010, I would never buy another player which could not run Rockbox software.



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