"MP3" players in 2018


I oscillate between enjoying a hacked iPod as a dedicated portable music device and going back to a small selection of music on my phone… both have pluses and minuses. but in the end grabbing a set of headphones when I run out the door is easier than charging and syncing a separate device. Wonder if I would feel different if I had to grab a lightning>headphone adaptor all the time.


I’m peering hard at the Sony



Until I manage to open up my classic ipod to replace its hard drive, I picked up an Astell & Kern AK Jr. last year and it’s worked very well so far:


Still rocking flacs with my +8 year old Sansa Clip+ 8gb with a 64gb sd and Rockbox in 2018 :love_you_gesture:

This is basically the right solution, whenever the question is about .mp3 players.



Used a sansa clip+ with rockbox for a few months but I recently broke down and just bought a phone with 128gb of space. The screen is just way too small for it to work super well with a large collection.

My main complaint is that the interface to manage stuff on a given device is a pain. Like I use MPD as a music player on my computer and it’s great because it’s just folders— the clip is basically that, but the interface was just too small for me.


what do you mean by managing? making playlists and the likes?


For the Sansa clip I mostly I mean scrolling through long lists of artists/albums. It’s pretty great apart from that, it’s effectively a file explorer that can play MP3s.


But does it play Doom?

I’m browsing folders more than I use the rockbox database. Listening to full albums, no playlists, so haven’t really bumped into the limitations you described.

Curious what player you now use on the phone and which mpd client?

Biggest cons for the clip for me is the lack of Bluetooth. I never get to dj on friends portable speakers or car radios, but then again I have a pretty weird taste in music anyway :upside_down_face:


For my phone i just use the default iOS one, it’s … not great. And I don’t like having to use iTunes to move stuff over :frowning:

For mpd I use ncmpcpp and it’s wonderful.


I’ve owned several Sansas (and similar) and they’ve all died on me eventually. I’d guess the USB connect/disconnect was the cause of all of them dying, but it’s been a long time.

I have friends who carry old-school iPods, but my music hard drive is significantly bigger (storage-wise) than the biggest of the iPods, and as a result I have never wrapped my head around what I’d store on a large-storage portable player and what I wouldn’t, and how I’d manage the difference.

I use my iPod Touch as a portable music player on occasion, just storing a handful of things I want to focus on at a given time when I’m out and about. (I’d like to just use my Android phone for this purpose, but it seems incapable of reading music-file metadata correctly.)

My issue isn’t my phone. It’s how I use it. When it’s a music player (Bandcamp, SoundCloud, Google Play Music, YouTube) and a book and a typewriter, it’s great. When it’s keeping the pulse of an anxious world, trying to be my best friend, and nagging me about things that aren’t actually all that important, then it’s the devil in my pocket.


Far more eloquently put than I could muster. But this is exactly how I feel at the moment.


Has anyone ever gone the Apple Configurator route for iOS devices? Could you use that to wipe your device of any distracting apps?


Figured I’d nudge this thread again, as it appears that my iPod Touch is, indeed, experiencing the heat death of its own personal universe — which is to say the battery no longer holds a charge for very long. It’ll do for the time being, but at some point I’m gonna need to trade out. So, if anyone has any favorite inexpensive MP3 players other than the ones listed above, I’d appreciate some recommendations. I’m not into a $400 object. It’ll probably be a SanDisk Clip Sport Plus, which TechRadar and the Wirecutter have given a thumbs-up to, or maybe a lower-end Sony, which is still under $100. Thanks.


Sony has had some really nice designs for mp3 players over the years.

NW A1000

NW E205

NWZ B183

NW E013

(those model names are such a shame though…)

It’s interesting to remember a time where having a USB connector was a design constraint.

Man, how I wish I could get a modern NWA1000 (64GB storage, support for bluetooth headphones, …)


Yeah, Sony used to make way-cooler stuff. I also liked their early blocky design, like for their Palm devices, but it’s gotten pretty stagnant. This under-$100 model is my likely alternate to the Sandisk:

And this is the next level up, under $200:


I sometimes drop audio files on my sony pcm-m10 and use it as an audio player, sounds great.


That’s a cool idea. Two questions: how much does that weigh, and when you do use it as an audio player does it manage files in groups (a la albums) in any manner? I guess it can handle folders.


You have 10 folders plus more if you have an SD card in which I also use. It’s small, a bit chunky but I like it. The actual unit doesn’t weigh much it’s the two AA batteries that add any weight.

It’s limited for browsing but works for me. I like just having selected tracks on there and giving them a focussed listening. Gives me a theme of listening for the week. Sometimes I set up loop points too for sampling later.


Thanks. This is a good idea. I was gonna keep my price under $100, but if it doubles as a high-grade audio recorder I might rethink that. When it plays in a folder, does it proceed to the subsequent track after finishing one?


My loving wife and kids got me the Sony NW-A45 for my birthday, and I am generally very happy with it.

A mixed top ten list of pros and cons:

  1. The cable is non-standard. Better not lose it.
  2. Accepts microSD cards of varying sizes. I had a 32GB one laying around and popped it in - you need to format it through the menus on the device itself to prepare it for use.
  3. With some work you can drag-and-drop songs, whole albums and groups of albums from iTunes into the device through the proprietary Sony Content Transfer program. The same program allows you to auto-load files you stage in a named directory on your computer when you connect.
  4. There are two separate storage volumes on the device - built in storage and device (MicroSD) storage. You can choose which device to load songs to.
  5. There is a playlist function that I have not yet figured out how to use.
  6. Sony’s documentation is a Hot Mess.
  7. You will soon figure out that your album art isn’t everything you thought it was. This took me some time and trial-and-error to fix.
  8. High-resolution audio Really Does Sound Better.
  9. Battery life is good - I got three days on a charge while using mine fairly often.
  10. Menus are good, the device feels solid, the screen is pretty, the hardware controls are solid, and I appreciate the “hold” slider that prevents buttons from being pushed accidentally.

From a price-performance POV it is a real winner. I have even gone so far as to mount it on the side of my EDC bag using a clip-on phone holster. Nice.