"MP3" players in 2018


Thanks for this — and the recommendation.


So that software is strictly required for loading music on the device? No way to just copy paste files on the SD card itself?


That’s an interesting question - I haven’t tried that. Generally I don’t bother taking the SD card out of the Walkman to load songs on to it, and I’ve found I can drag Finder folders onto it just as easily through the transfer software (which looks like a folder you drag things to). Also, I’m not sure whether formatting it for use by the Walkman makes it unsuitable for mounting on MacOS. In this case laziness is my friend.


My 160 gb iPod classic died now for the 2nd time in 6 months. It has served well for at least ten, maybe 15 years.

I’m looking for easy drag and drop, a similar interface, only focused on playing music, and most importantly…huge HD. Thoughts?



I picked up a used first gen Fiio X5 for not too much a while ago when my iPod died.
I’ve been very happy with it. The user interface is ok although it is really bad at sorting music by artist etc. All I do is make sure make sure I have things organised when I drag/drop them and then just use the standard folder browser.
One of the best things about it is that it supports two SD cards which I think gives something like a maximum of 512gb (it might be more I’d have to check) storage :slight_smile:


I ended up importing a cheap phone with huge battery. As I was unable to ressurect the ipod, sadly.

ULEFONE power 3s. Takes 256Gb sd card, which is more than enough for me.


Interesting to see that most of the discussion is about getting files on the thing, and accessing/organising them.
Which, in the end is prio one.
Tough, I learnt the hard way that there are enormous differences in audio quality.
Most cheap (also expensive) smartphones have a terrible DAC and just don’t deliver. In this case a good player app with a detailed enough EQ is paramount, or better, an external (pocket) DAC/amp.
Sansa used to have very decent sounding components, don’t know how it compares these days.
For Android I’m using the Sennheiser App, which has a nice EQ training feature and fast switch for various audio outputs.
Wonder what other forum members do to get a bearable sound quality …


personally, if I’m listening on my phone, I’m on a bus or walking somewhere or doing housework – I’m never listening close enough for the audio quality to matter so much as long as the EQ is minimally reasonable, so I’ve given up.


To be honest I’m really impressed with the sound from the ulefone. I’m using it with pump audio mix duo earbuds and the Spotify or Poweramp players. I’ve never felt the need for an external amp device, as stated above when I use my phone for personal listening I’m less concerned with audio performance. (Commute/Gym etc).


Responding to the various comments in this thread that mention getting an iPhone to be a (pseudo) dumb phone:

Not sure if anyone mentioned it, but I swear by Freedom. For a reasonable yearly fee (I think like, $30 or something?) you can disable internet and internet using apps on your phone on a one-shot or scheduled basis.

I’m not sure if Freedom does this on purpose or if it has to do with Spotify’s API, but while Freedom is running, it will let you listen to any song that you’ve already added to a playlist. Radio, searching, promoted playlists, and playlist editing are disabled, though.

As a music obsessive who should be writing a dissertation instead of making playlists (or surfing the internet), this has been clutch.


I got one of these. 25 dollars for 128gb of storage. The battery lasts days while continuously playing. It feels a bit cheaply made but for a cost/storage ratio you can’t really go wrong with it.


Thanks for mentioning this one. How do you get sound onto it? Is it a drag/drop thing, or does it sync? (I’m not sure I care one way or the other, just wondering.)


It’s drag/drop. You just load up your micro SD with however you want to organize the file structure and pop it in the side. The internal storage works more or less the same way via usb.

I should mention it’s a little laggy at times but nowhere near as bad as a 300 dollar fully loaded ipod lol.


Cool. Thanks for the information.


@sandy - how are you liking the Fiio X5? Do you use it with a Mac? The Fiio M6 I just tinkered with was a nightmare with some Android Transfer app that seemed slow and prone to crashing.

The storage you mention is probably why I liked your post over half a year ago ha, but now that I’m back to the drawing board, I’m curious about your Fiio. Also, is there any system on the X5 to eject the SD? I found the M6 super sketchy in that there wasn’t a way of getting the card OUT of the box, I had to use a mini screwdriver and fiddle with it to gradually get it out. Seemed sort of shoddy to put that little effort into it. Didn’t know if the X5 was similar.


I always thought that Onkyo DP-X1 looked very cool, but absurdly expensive.

I do long for the days of mp3 players and no smartphones. Am I turning into one of those “simpler times” people? :weary:



I feel like most of my posts are crowdsourcing info anymore, BUT, I was curious for people’s takes on the world of portable digital audio players. With the iPod Classic being discontinued, I’ve been looking into good solutions/alternatives. I’ve been poking around the last couple weeks and it’s insane the prices on some of these, however the audio quality of even reasonably priced DAPs seem superior to iPods. The issues are that the interface is often sluggish and they don’t generally have a lot of info readily available, so tech support/community support seems minimal (from what I can tell).

So earlier this week I ordered a Fiio M6 and a 400 gb microSD card. Slowly loading things on and it seems a major stumbling block to consider is whether the player cooperates with the Mac format (for me). So I’ve returned the M6 and spent some time researching options. I feel like the Sony NW-A45/B might be my best option. Maybe not as hi-fi, but hi-fi doesn’t matter if I’m constantly stressed by and wrestling with getting files over to the DAP.

Anyway, I can’t be the only one trying to sort this out as the reign of the iPod is over. Heck, maybe it’s been over, but I was just happily using them anyway ha.

Thoughts? Wisdom? I’ll update when I get my Sony and whether that seems any more cooperative.



Personally I never bought into the whole Apple logic of having to syncronize your library with the device. It feels like an overly complicated way to solve a simple problem. I’m mentioning this to give you a perspective on my advice that follows.

Personally I really like devices that work with the standard tools the OS provides, in my case that is Finder. My preferred workflow is: attach PMP, open finder, drag&drop files, disconnect, done.
I also like devices that come little extra stuff.

From that perspective, and after quite a bit of research, I landed on the FIIO X1 mk2 (as mentioned above). Which works well with MacOS, does not rely on weird proprietary protocols.
Of course if you want to drop your complete music library on it that might not work (I think it supports only up to 256Gb for the SD card) and for that synchronizing might indeed be a better option. But maybe it’s more aa matter of how you approach it?

You know… sometimes one gets very fixated on how things should work, and there’s all these things that are so super important about it, just to find out that it wasn’t all that important after all, and it’s mostly a matter of the perspective you have on things. At least that’s what happened to me many times.


Agree with the annoyance of iTunes. I basically still miss Soundjam from the OS9 days ha. Drag a folder into the window, hit play, delete it and put new tunes on there when you want to listen to something else. I have never done playlists.

So, the X1 just mounts as a drive and you can drag files from a file folder onto the drive or do you have to use some weird protocol? I ask because the Fiio M6 used Android File Transfer or something like that which was frustrating. It’s weird that Fiio would have different products using different approaches to this, but yeah, the X1 sounds great in that regard.


I just drag and drop onto an iPhone6, just set it in iTunes. It the only time I do go I to the awful iTunes experience though, I’d rather not. I listen to digital tracks using Audirvana.