Cincinnati Enquirer: Keys to choosing digital audio player

“If you haven’t already been bitten by the urge for a digital audio player, don’t be surprised if you give in soon. The Consumer Electronics Association says digital players will be one of this year’s hottest sellers, with many people buying them this month as back-to-school gifts,” Heather Newman writes for The Cincinnati Enquirer. “Not so long ago, Apple’s iPod was pretty much the only major brand shoppers could choose. Now, more and more electronics makers are getting into the act, and it’s not as easy to decide which model to buy.”

“Once you’ve answered these questions, consider [physical size, storage space, price, software compatibility, supported formats, and number of accessories avaialbe] when choosing a digital audio player,” Newman writes. “You’re going to want to choose a device that supports the music download services, such as the iTunes Music Store or Napster, you plan to use…. Because it dominates the market, Apple’s iPod probably has the most accessories available at the moment. However, despite its awesome controls and sleek design, it is far and away more expensive than some other players with similar features. If you’re on a budget, shop around.”

Full article here.


  1. Sounds like the reporter was trying to be objective. I’ll bet she owns an iPod. She’s wrong, however, to state that there wasn’t much to choose from before iPod. There were. They just were less relevent before Apple put the whole player/store paradigm in place.

  2. the only warning sticker when buying an iPod if one plans to feed of the iTMS is the eternally sucky old skool sound quality at 128kbps. Whats the problem upping the rate, say??? I read somewhere that it has to do with the deal between Apple and the labels – something I would have a hard time to believe.

  3. Note that the “cheaper” $120 SanDisk player uses AAA batteries. Use that puppy for a year and tell me how much money you’ve spent buying batteries and then tell me how much money you saved by not buying a $129 iPod Shuffle.

    Secondly, the author completely ignore the software. A big reason the iPod is such a joy to use is because it works hand-in-hand with iTunes. What kind of crap software are the other players bundled with? Obviously, the author places little value on user experience, which is typical of tech writers.

  4. “far and away the most expensive” – huh? This guy seriously needs to renegotiate his salary if the $20-$50 bones premium across the iPod line ($20 in the suffle category, $50 in the high capacity iPod) is gonna make a difference. What, we are talking a few albums here right?

    MDN: special

  5. “I live in Cincy so I was hoping it’d be a smart review. Hometown pride and such.
    Oh well”

    I second that thought. The way the media is here, Im surprised they didnt try to tie it in with the city by quoting some Apple employee who used to live here.

    Funny how they missed the most important point, which is integration with the computer and a music store. Thats the real iPod magic, and it seems lost on everyone that doesn’t own an iPod.

    MW, ‘decision’. Heh.

  6. Tmas-

    Believe it- the bit rate limitation is most likely a condition of the agreement between Apple and the RIAA. 128kbps is no where near CD quality, and therefore is easier for the RIAA to “accept”. This is the same reason why the RIAA didn’t crack down on cassettes when they were popular- each copy was worse than the original (you do remember the cassette, don’t you?) This is why the RIAA were so reluctant to join the digital age- EXACT copies over and over again. A copy of a copy of a copy was just as good as the original. This was a new threat.

    Therefore, by starting out with a less than perfect digital file saved in a lossy format from the iTMS, any copies made of it (by burning a CD and re-importing) will result in more loss of quality. The key is they are not selling an exact copy of the masters- they have already degraded it.

    This is my biggest gripe with the iTMS and why I generally use it to determine which CDs I will actually buy. I don’t like the idea of not having a copy as good as the master. The iTMS has actually forced me to be more selective with my purchases- not a bad thing.

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