Suggestions For MP3/Ogg Player

| 9 Comments

I'm currently in the market for a new MP3 player. I currently have a Creative Zen Touch 20GB which, in fairness, is a great device. The main points going for it are good battery life and a decent interface. However it lacks USB Mass Storage support, and has a very very annonying "Random" button on the front which I'm too good at accidently pressing.

Standard USB Mass Storage support is the main feature that I will be looking for in the new player. I have about 10G of music on the Zen, which means 10G free. You can transfer normal files to it, however unless the computer at the other end has the correct software, it's not all that useful. If I'm using Ubuntu or Debian, it's not too big a deal as I can simply apt-get install gnomad2, but on a Windows PC the Creative software is up to usual Creative standards. In order words, not the best.

Another nice feature would be Ogg support. I'm not going to re-encode the big pile of CD's in the corner of my room, but I would have no problem encoding new CDs using Ogg. WMA support is very down on my list of priorities for some odd reason :)

From searching around the internet I've come across the following options:


  • IRiver H340: Seems to do all of what I want. Doesn't explicitly say USB Mass Storage Support though.

  • Vibes: Looks nice, but has only 12G of space.

  • Rockbox Based Player: Getting a device and flashing it with Rockbox will mean that even an Ipod will do what I want, and will even give me Doom!!


Does anyone have any suggestions as to what to go for or any experience with Rockbox?

9 Comments

I have an iRiver H120. Bought it a few years ago now but its never given me a minutes trouble. It's a removable storage device as well so I'd bet that the H340 is as well.

The iRivers do look good. Why they don't make more of a song and dance about the Mass Storage support I don't know. What's the battery life like?

I got an iRiver H320(20gb version). It is USB Mass Storage.

Battery life is supposed to be 12 hours(I think), but I don't think I ever got more than 10 hours really.

Another player worth checking out is iAudio X5. If you want better battery life, there is an X5L.

I've an iRiver H340 that I bought in Melbourne back in June '05, still going strong and am very happy with it.

Battery life is good and there is support for it under Linux (for regenerating it's database so you can play by genre, artist etc) - otherwise you drill-down through the filesystem to the ogg you want to play.

It's seen by the system as an external harddrive and has 'USB-on-the-go' support where you can plug another device into it and the player acts as host - ideal for copying photos to it through a card reader without requiring a laptop or PC as a go-between.

You can record off radio and internal/external mic too; which I've done for recording the odd SAGE-IE talk :-)

Rockbox runs on it too - though I'm yet to try it out.

Sarunas, Ken,

Thanks for the info. What's the app for regenerating the database on the iRiver?

The iRiver H340 does seem to be getting good reviews all over the place. Any recommendation on where to pick one up?

iripdb is the command-line app that regenerates the database on the iRiver - you might be able to pick up one on ebay at a good price; especially seeing as they've been discontinued by iRiver - although they still churn out the odd firmware update for them.

I have used the Zen, thought it was great too. I picked up an iPod to replace it as Zen don't work on Mac (or so it seems).

Getting the iPod was a big mistake. I should have picked up an iRiver, but they're fairly expensive.

I ordered a 7GB player from iriver.ie at it was going to cost 200euro. I phoned them up a week later wondering where my order was and they didn't have any record of it. :(

So i cancelled and got a Zen 20gb player for the same price!

What's up with the ipod that it's such a big mistake?

I found another little bug in the Zen last night. Try fast forwarding through a Podcast in VBR mp3 format, for example LUGRadio's high quality mp3 option. Fast forward about 50mins into it, and the Zen will freeze solid.

Biggest problem I had was finding a paper clip to reset it :(

The iPod has shocking bad DRM built into it. And since I mainly use it with a Mac it doesn't get recoginised when i plug it into a PC. Windows wants to format the unkown drive! :(

I must check if you can partition the drive so you can swing between both OS trees.

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