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...and sometimes what I want is to listen to my surroundings...

...and sometimes I want to listen to surround sound...

...the kind of film criticism we do. We are talking about life, and more than that the possibility of abundant life." -M.Leary

"Dad, how does she move in mysterious ways?"" -- Jude (my 5-year-old, after listening to Mysterious Ways)

[once upon a time known here as asher]

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FYI - It is just a mental credit, there isn't really anything to send :)

Speaking of mental, we might want to, at least mentally, cross off this idea of “cheaper,” considering anything equivalent to the iPod (storage space and functionality) is right around the same price. Apple can even go a bit cheaper since their marketing department did a great job at cornering the market, and Apple wasn’t even the company to introduce the mp3 player.

Edited by asher

...the kind of film criticism we do. We are talking about life, and more than that the possibility of abundant life." -M.Leary

"Dad, how does she move in mysterious ways?"" -- Jude (my 5-year-old, after listening to Mysterious Ways)

[once upon a time known here as asher]

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I have been investigating the Creative Zen Vision: M. This looks to me like the more tempting buy for many reasons including the negative impact of the Apple hype.

MP3 is certainly not for true audiophiles and, in the same way we discuss film around here, it is not the intended format the artist wanted his/her creation to be heard in (for the most part). WAV files are much more accurate in frequency ranges but they require much more storage space (roughly 10 MB per minute of stereo audio = less than 1000 songs on the larger mp3 players).

...the kind of film criticism we do. We are talking about life, and more than that the possibility of abundant life." -M.Leary

"Dad, how does she move in mysterious ways?"" -- Jude (my 5-year-old, after listening to Mysterious Ways)

[once upon a time known here as asher]

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I have been investigating the Creative Zen Vision: M. This looks to me like the more tempting buy for many reasons including the negative impact of the Apple hype.

The "negative impact of the Apple hype"???

MP3 is certainly not for true audiophiles and, in the same way we discuss film around here, it is not the intended format the artist wanted his/her creation to be heard in (for the most part). WAV files are much more accurate in frequency ranges but they require much more storage space (roughly 10 MB per minute of stereo audio = less than 1000 songs on the larger mp3 players).

That's why I use the Apple lossless format (perfectly compatible with iPods) for most of my music.

"If the Christian subculture exists primarily to condemn the world, you can be sure that Jesus is not having any part of it." - John Fischer

"Ignorance is excusable when it is borne like a cross, but when it is wielded like an axe, and with moral indignation, then it becomes something else indeed." - Flannery O'Connor

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I have been investigating the Creative Zen Vision: M. This looks to me like the more tempting buy for many reasons including the negative impact of the Apple hype.

The "negative impact of the Apple hype"???

The negative impact it had on me. The Apple product isn't really better, it is just marketed better. Plus Apple is pretty much selling out its loyal, diehard "Apple Rules" users by shifting to Intel Chips ;)

That's why I use the Apple lossless format (perfectly compatible with iPods) for most of my music.

Well, there are a few different types of lossless formats but that just means it decompresses at the same ratio it compressed at, instead of decompressing at a lesser ratio. It still doesn't have the audio quality, or frequency range of WAV. This comment is much more related to the audio purist.

Edited by asher

...the kind of film criticism we do. We are talking about life, and more than that the possibility of abundant life." -M.Leary

"Dad, how does she move in mysterious ways?"" -- Jude (my 5-year-old, after listening to Mysterious Ways)

[once upon a time known here as asher]

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  • 3 weeks later...

Jeffrey - Did you ever decide to pick up an mp3 player, if so, which one and how do you like it?

...the kind of film criticism we do. We are talking about life, and more than that the possibility of abundant life." -M.Leary

"Dad, how does she move in mysterious ways?"" -- Jude (my 5-year-old, after listening to Mysterious Ways)

[once upon a time known here as asher]

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Interesting article on iPods, and other mp3 listening devices, and the potential to create hearing loss.

My favorite quote, I mean why provide more than you have to, that woud be true customer service and looking out for the consumer and not the capital gain.

"Apple declined to provide information on the maximum output level for its devices, and noted that the federal government does not require manufacturers to provide such information to consumers."

Edited by asher

...the kind of film criticism we do. We are talking about life, and more than that the possibility of abundant life." -M.Leary

"Dad, how does she move in mysterious ways?"" -- Jude (my 5-year-old, after listening to Mysterious Ways)

[once upon a time known here as asher]

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You better get an iPod... not only are they easy to use, but they can also remind you of Jesus.

"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
Opus, Twitter, Facebook

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  • 1 month later...
One billion served! Edited by TexasWill

"If the Christian subculture exists primarily to condemn the world, you can be sure that Jesus is not having any part of it." - John Fischer

"Ignorance is excusable when it is borne like a cross, but when it is wielded like an axe, and with moral indignation, then it becomes something else indeed." - Flannery O'Connor

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  • 1 month later...

Well, I finally did it. I purchased the Zen Vision:M yesterday. I am both anxious and apprehensive, I am messed up.

Anyway, I love the unit thus far (looks and specs). I am not quite sure about the fuss over thickness but I don't mind this not being as thin as an ipod, they weigh the same, the argument should be pocket space vs. pocket weight.

The main issue I have at the moment is that I have to upgrade all of my systems to XP in order to install and use the software, hence the Zen. I have avoiding this for some time. I like 2000 and I have never had a problem with either of my current systems, stable as ever. Oh well, what can you do?

...the kind of film criticism we do. We are talking about life, and more than that the possibility of abundant life." -M.Leary

"Dad, how does she move in mysterious ways?"" -- Jude (my 5-year-old, after listening to Mysterious Ways)

[once upon a time known here as asher]

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  • 2 weeks later...

iTunes is a huuuge ripoff.

???

What is your line of reasoning?

"If the Christian subculture exists primarily to condemn the world, you can be sure that Jesus is not having any part of it." - John Fischer

"Ignorance is excusable when it is borne like a cross, but when it is wielded like an axe, and with moral indignation, then it becomes something else indeed." - Flannery O'Connor

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Let me count the ways:

$0.99 per song (vs. $0.79 to download at Yahoo! and pennies at AllTunes.com)

At 99 cents, they're not making much money. (Is Yahoo 79 cents across the board?) You can also buy albums for a flat rate, often well below 99 cents a song.

I don't know enough about Yahoo to say much, since I doubt they allow anyone but Windows users to use their service.

...no subscription model,

I wouldn't use a subscription-based service myself. I'd rather own rights to music than rent them.

...limited portability,

Anything with DRM is limited in portability. However, my iTunes songs play on my Windows machine at work and my Macintoshes at home. The Windows DRM won't allow me to play protected content on Macintoshes.

iTunes is far more "portable" than any Windows-based DRM.

...closed/monopolistic encoding.

See previous response.

The devices are way overpriced. (On the plus side, there are lots of cool accessories!)

Yeah, that's why no one buys iPods. <_<

I've looked at other music players, but I haven't seen anything that would make me want to trade my iPod... except for some of the newer models of iPods. :D

My wife, who ardently wanted an iPod, now regrets her choice, wishing she had instead purchased a device compatible with subscription services.

I supposed if you want to rent your music, then an iPod and the iTunes Music Store are currently not your best options.

I'm no lover of Redmond, but in the digital music world, I predict a turn-around towards Microsoft unless Apple gets a cheap subscription model in place, and quick.

Analysts have been predicting that for several years, but iTunes keeps booming and the other services keep limping along or shutting down. I imagine Apple has a plan to implement a subscription service option if the marketplace indicates that there is an opportunity.

But I doubt that many people actually want to rent their music.

"If the Christian subculture exists primarily to condemn the world, you can be sure that Jesus is not having any part of it." - John Fischer

"Ignorance is excusable when it is borne like a cross, but when it is wielded like an axe, and with moral indignation, then it becomes something else indeed." - Flannery O'Connor

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Each song in Yahoo is FREE with a subscription, but if you want to license a song to burn, it's only $0.79, across the board.

As far as renting music -- I get to rent the entire LIBRARY for a fixed fee, and can purchase individual songs for $0.79. For example, after each American Idol, I was able almost instantly to listen to the original songs. No extra fee. I may not listen to them again.

I just checked out the terms of Yahoo Music...

In theory, it's not too bad if you don't mind a constant drain of at least $5 a month for a subscription. Unfortunately, the files are encoded in WMA format (a format that has always sounded inferior to me) and you're forced to use Windows.

So Yahoo Music is out of the question for me.

"If the Christian subculture exists primarily to condemn the world, you can be sure that Jesus is not having any part of it." - John Fischer

"Ignorance is excusable when it is borne like a cross, but when it is wielded like an axe, and with moral indignation, then it becomes something else indeed." - Flannery O'Connor

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Alan, is Alltunes a rental site or an ownership site? Are they just selling standard mp3s?

I've been using emusic primarily and have been quite happy with it, but those Alltunes prices are really, really low.

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Alltunes.com is ownership, and will rip your requested songs at any bitrate, in any format (including Ogg)--even lossless (!). It was formerly known as AllOfMP3.com. It's a Russian site, and *may* not be in the good graces of the RIAA. See this Wikipedia article for more information.

(Russell, if you understand the legal issues, please enlighten us...)

Yeah, I don't pretend to have much understanding of international copyright. A little on domestic copyright, but not much. I'd guess that the practice is legal where the site is "located" and illegal where the intended users are located. If those assumptions are true, I suppose we can ask whether it is substantively ethically different from being on vacation in Hong Kong, for example, and taking advantage of their lax (by our standards) approach to copyright while you can.

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Looks like Napster has changed a bit. Now you can listen to any track for free up to five times (although it's more FM quality than CD, and that feature is for US users only), after which they give you the opportunity to purchase it. They also offer a subscription service similar to Yahoo! Music.

Edited by Clint M
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Well, I completed the OS upgrade, kicking and screaming. All my worst fears have come true, but that is a story for another thread.

I have now got my Creative Zen:M up and running and I couldn't be more happy. This technological device, if I can quote a good friend, "Is giving me a new love for music and joy for the listening experience!" Thanks, Stef, you were so right.

I haven't downloaded a lot of songs yet, that is a time consuming process anyway, however I have played with it a good deal. This device is quite intuitive and I do not think the controls are poorly placed, I actually like the way they are designed.

The FM tuner is very nice feature, especially since you are able to record the radio station you are listening to. I am headed to NPR every Saturday to capture all of my favorite programs, plus all of that jazz that I could never afford or find. I could actually see me using that function a great deal.

...the kind of film criticism we do. We are talking about life, and more than that the possibility of abundant life." -M.Leary

"Dad, how does she move in mysterious ways?"" -- Jude (my 5-year-old, after listening to Mysterious Ways)

[once upon a time known here as asher]

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Now that I have joined the world of mp3 playas let's talk quality of audio.

What format and bit rates are people using?

I have been experimenting with different formats and bit rates to hear the subtle differences. I haven't decided on one quite yet, however, I am sure to go with fidelity and small file size.

Recent files - mp3 128 kbs, mp3 320 kbs, and wma at the same bit rates.

...the kind of film criticism we do. We are talking about life, and more than that the possibility of abundant life." -M.Leary

"Dad, how does she move in mysterious ways?"" -- Jude (my 5-year-old, after listening to Mysterious Ways)

[once upon a time known here as asher]

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I don't favor wma in the least, I was just comparing quality. The 320kbs mp3 seems a bit excessive for the listening format considering it cuts into any advertised song amount (7,500 or 10,000).

Alan, I agree with you regarding the dependancy on what the material is, certainly we wouldn't care too much about the compression if it was just voice like All Things Considered or Fresh Air but most music sounds better using as wide of a frequency range as possible. Would you agree?

Darren, you are an apple man it seems. When I burn CDs I use the redbook standard, via WAVs. Can you tell I am a PC (not politically correct) guy?

Edited by Thom(asher)

...the kind of film criticism we do. We are talking about life, and more than that the possibility of abundant life." -M.Leary

"Dad, how does she move in mysterious ways?"" -- Jude (my 5-year-old, after listening to Mysterious Ways)

[once upon a time known here as asher]

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conversion tests:

wma - works really well for files you don't mind converting to 64 to 96kbs, like voice only (talking) and the file is smaller.

mp3 - I am trying to determine where a noticable difference occurs for me. 192 to 224kbs seem to capture everything from the source. The only thing I noticed going up to 256kbs was that the low end is a bit more full. 320kbs certainly doesn't offer my ear a difference in quality. These are all at a Constant bit rate (CBR).

I am now converting to mp3 using a Variable bit rate (VBR) between 60% to 100% quality to see where the difference occurs. The VBR should offer a smaller file in the end, depending in the song.

Edited by Thom(asher)

...the kind of film criticism we do. We are talking about life, and more than that the possibility of abundant life." -M.Leary

"Dad, how does she move in mysterious ways?"" -- Jude (my 5-year-old, after listening to Mysterious Ways)

[once upon a time known here as asher]

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