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more on electronic gadgetry

Since just about everyone I know seems to own an iPod, I have wanted one for a while. Thing is, while I need a laptop for various reasons, I do not need an iPod. It is a luxury that, at first glance, I can't afford.

Put in the context of my impending move to London, though, I start to wonder if maybe owning an iPod might not be more affordable than not. I do not want to be without my sizable CD collection, but the costs of shipping all those CDs overseas will be exorbitant. It might be cheaper to buy an iPod, transfer my entire collection (some 700 or so CDs, about 2/3 classical) to it, and leave the CDs with my parents or a friend.

Of course, I know absolutely nothing about the various models of iPods. Can any of you give me your thoughts on what model iPod might be good for me, whether the sound quality is good enough for classical music, or anything else I might need to know? Thanks.

Comments

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
muffyjo
Dec. 5th, 2005 07:58 pm (UTC)
The sound quality is fine, of course like all digital music, it also depends on your earphones. While the ones that come with it are just fine, you are probably more of a conoseur than I am and might find it rewarding to have the Bose set or something.

Mostly the choice of iPod will probably depend on how much music you want stored on it. It's all about size, my dear. :) How many hours of music do you own? THAT is the real question.
urban_faerie_
Dec. 5th, 2005 08:18 pm (UTC)
oh my gawd.
you soooo need an ipod.
i need an ipod.
everyone needs an ipod.
it is a toy i have coveted for a long period of time and i am still trying to get up the dander to drop that much cash on something so teeny (unless the christmasey hint dropping with the mom's worked, then she shall be doing the cash dropping). Therefor, i highly support anyone else buying an ipod so i can live vicariously through them.
eclecticavatar
Dec. 5th, 2005 08:19 pm (UTC)
Buy an XCLEF! Half the price and more storage and features!
ayelle
Dec. 6th, 2005 03:41 am (UTC)
I got a Shuffle and have been deliriously happy ever since.
eclecticavatar
Dec. 5th, 2005 08:19 pm (UTC)
I do not own an iPod. I own a "pseudoPod" that holds a whopping 80GB of music (my entire 1,000 CD collection plus a whole lot more).

They even make a 100 GB version, now! http://www.digmind.com/store/index_500.html

The only thing that you can't mind is the size. It's about the same size as a tape-player walkman, only thinner. Its best features are that it has a radio tuner built in, it doesn't require any special software, including iTunes, though it's compatible with all of them. It has a record feature that lets you encode from an external source or record from the radio. It's just the most amazing little machine!

Let me know if you want anymore info.

volta
Dec. 5th, 2005 08:34 pm (UTC)
The audio quality of the iPod is not all that great (at least with MP3, virutally none of my music is in AAC), on the high end of average for MP3 players. The Creative Labs players are slightly better, but not a lot. Particularly for classical music, MP3 is not the best format. That said, it is good enough for casual listening, and usually the limiting factor is the headphones--the included headphones universally suck, and good headphones are expensive, bulky, and at the high end need an additional amp as the MP3 player's output simply is not strong enough.

That said, if you are happy listening to these CDs on, say, a typical portable CD player, a decent MP3 player like the iPod with high bit-rate encoding on the MP3s will likely yeild similar results. Try it out on your PC, encode a CD or two into MP3 and see if the audio differences bother you. Pick a complex piece and a quiet piece, those are where I notice the biggest problems. If they do bother you, all is not lost, you can encode into a lossless format like FLAC or Apple Lossless and still play them on your portable, the file size will just be larger.

700 CDs ripped to MP3 at a reasonable bitrate (I would recommend ripping VBR with a ceiling of 320kbps) will be in the range of 80-115GB, so you are not likely to be able to store your entire collection in any of the current generation players. That is not usually a big problem, at least with the iPod the tools available to automatically manage what gets loaded into the portable are reasonably good. If you go with a lossless format for better audio quality, the sizes will be larger, probably around 230GB for 700 CDs.

Of course, it will take a bit of time to rip 700 CDs, so you might just decide to rip some subset of them to have a good collection to bring with you. iTunes does make the ripping fairly easy, but the MP3 encoder in iTunes is not all that great. I can not speak to the quality of the AAC encoder, as I have never used it. It is not too difficult to tie in a better encoder like LAME, though.
volta
Dec. 5th, 2005 08:39 pm (UTC)
All of that, and I still left some out. *sigh*

My solution was to pick up a low end iPod (6GB mini), and sync up each night with a few smart playlists to cycle through my music library (237GB so far, and I have at least 50GB more that needs to be sorted and imported into iTunes) so I always have fresh music in the iPod. Even at high bit rates, the 6GB model holds way more music than I can listen to in a day, or before the battery runs down. Since I charge it through the USB cable, it is no extra trouble to have it load fresh music while it charges.

If I were to do it today I would probably go for the 4GB nano.
minkrose
Dec. 5th, 2005 09:05 pm (UTC)
I loathe the iPod and it's shiny attractiveness. I never wanted one and I know people who have had serious issues with them (if you really want me to go find the post where my friend detailed all the reasons for not using an iPod, I can. most of them were useful functionality of product complaints but not quality of sound).
Yeah, I'm just grumpy about this. Probably because I see it as wasteful and useless and expensive gadgetry that I watch my friends buy THE LATEST ONE!!! every few months, which is silly, and they don't last forever (but of course nothing does anymore). That, and my family spent MONTHS trying to talk me into letting them give me one for Xmas last year (no! NO! I want the external HD and I'm ten thousand times happier with it!). Okay, done ranting.

Honestly, I'd go with the suggestion to get a small iPod and put all your CDs onto some kind of hard drive. That said, every single person I know who has done that has ended up with a wiped drive afterwards and then they come to me asking to borrow back all those nice CDs that they gave me because they "didn't need them anymore." So, if you do put it on a drive, make sure to make data CD copies of all of it.
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