MP3 anyone?
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  1. #1
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    MP3 anyone?

    I know it's illegal and not safe. That said it would only be used on the bike for occassional time trials(races that have traffic control, closed course, etc.) and a possible running marathon this fall. Anyone use one? Any good ideas on brand; capacity, size, weight, price, etc.? I'm also wondering if certain headphones fall off while running. I have a PC not a Mac, don't know if that matters.
    Thanks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by c-record
    I know it's illegal and not safe. That said it would only be used on the bike for occassional time trials(races that have traffic control, closed course, etc.) and a possible running marathon this fall. Anyone use one? Any good ideas on brand; capacity, size, weight, price, etc.? I'm also wondering if certain headphones fall off while running. I have a PC not a Mac, don't know if that matters.
    Thanks.
    the ipod is really the only way to go. i'd buy refurb from the apple website to save some money, but you'll totally be satisfied. the headphones that come with are decent and do stay in ear pretty well. however, sony makes a little bit better in-ear for around $40.

  3. #3

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    i always ride with my ipod

    i didn't take it when i went on a big organized ride, but i usually ride alone and always take my ipod unless i am going to be in a group. it really takes your mind off long ascents or grinds. if i am riding in an area where i need to listen for cars, i turn it off (i clip the remote to my waistband) or pull the left earpiece out. once you get used to it, you will really miss it on rides without.

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    Quote Originally Posted by c-record
    I know it's illegal and not safe. That said it would only be used on the bike for occassional time trials(races that have traffic control, closed course, etc.) and a possible running marathon this fall. Anyone use one? Any good ideas on brand; capacity, size, weight, price, etc.? I'm also wondering if certain headphones fall off while running. I have a PC not a Mac, don't know if that matters.
    Thanks.
    I'm a distance runner and a self professed MP3 fanatic, so I can speak to this subject a bit.

    If you are AT ALL thinking of using your MP3 player for running, you do not want to get a hard drive based player. These players have relatively high capacity for the price, but they have moving parts which can be damaged by jogging with them. IPODs are hard drive players. Cyclers might really like IPOD, but they are too big for a runner and can be damaged from the jiggling they take when you run. Flash memory players are highly recomended for active uses. My little Creative Nomad is the size of a small cigarette lighter, weighs a couple of ounces and holds 4 hours worth of music. Yeah, that's a lot less capacity than an IPOD, which can hold DAYS worth of music, but they are really indended for different purposes. You wouldn't want to run a marathon with an IPOD... maybe an IPOD mini, but even those are 4x the size of a little flash player. Also, the flash players have NO MOVING PARTS. It is completely impossible for them to skip to be damaged by shaking while running (not so with an IPOD).

    Check out the MP3 section of CNET.com for some great details on specific brands. They even have a player buying guide.

    http://reviews.cnet.com/Music/2001-6...g=cnetfd.glnav

    In my experience, Rio, iRiver and Creative are all very good brand names... each having multiple models for different purposes. A good flash player will cost from $100-$200, depending on features and capacity. Many newer models even have a built in FM tuner... very nice!

    I'm not anti-IPOD, in general they are great, but there are a few things about them that I don't care for. 1. They are EXPENSIVE. 2. They have a relatively short battery life compared to many other players in that category. 3. For exercise that involves shaking, such as running, they can be big and prone to damage. Cyclists probally don't have to worry about this as much as runners, because biking is much smoother than running on equipment, so they could be better for that activity.

    I currently have 2 MP3 players... a little flash model that I run with and take to the gym. It's TINY. And I have a larger hard drive model with a 20GB capacity and I use at my desk and take with me in my car and on flights.

    A good rule of thumb when estimating capacity is that you can get about 1 minute of music per megabyte of storage. So a 256MB flash player will get you about 4 hours of music at standard bit rates. A 20GB IPOD will get you about 830 hours of music. But it's going to be bigger, heavier and most improtantly, prone to shaking damage.

    The issue of headphones is really personal... it's like asking what the best shoes are for running, or what the best saddle is on a bike. You have to just try a few and see what fits your ear well and what you like. Personally, I like my Sony earbuds for running. They cost about $20, weigh nothing and never fall out of my ears. But I have a friend who can't stand earbuds...

    Good luck!

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    I've had my ipod for over two years and it's never skipped once. I know a great many people who run with it and don't have a problem. It can skip, but you really have to shake the hell out of it for longer than 50 seconds.

    If sales tell you anything, the iPod is the way to go. Yes, the battery life could be better, but you won't find another player that can be used as easily or integrate with it's software better.

    I'd just encourage you to read. Read about every player and I can almost guarantee that you'll end up with the iPod. As for me, I just stick it inside my shorts around the hip. It doesn't move there and it's real easy to run the cord up your jersey. It works great for me and I ride on some not-so-great roads.

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    Like everyone else, I've got my own theory on MP3s and their players for "sport."

    My first point, you cannot hear the quality of the 128+ mps songs. Resample them to 42 or so. Why, the files shrink by well over half. For a unit that advertises 2 hours of music, you suddenly get 4 hours... I don't do this for sings I run in the home stereo, but while moving (running or riding), and with the headphones I can't tell the difference in the sound quality.

    My second point, get a cheap solid state memory unit. Using reason 1, you should get a 64 or 96 MB model. On mine, I've got nearly 3 hours of music. Hit random and I'm good for a while, when it does start to repeat, I've forgotten about the original songs. Solid state memory with no moving parts means long battery life. Mine takes a single AAA battery. Sure rechargeable would be nice (and more Green), but they didn't offer it in the $90 model. I get a lot of hours out of it (15+). And I don't need to remember to charge it.

    Headphones... when I ride, I only use 1. I don't use a quality one either. I use what came with it for cost reasons (free). Over 20/22 mph, I can't hear a thing. It is pretty much only on climbs or with a trailing wind I can hear it, so why spend the big buck on something that will get sweat damage?

    What format are your songs in? If you also have non MP3s, check to see that the player will play them. I only have MP3s. I keep all of the high quality ones in their normal spots, and copy riding songs to a special directory where I resample them down. There are a lot of programs that can do this for you (mmj for example).

    Well, back to work.

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    Mp3

    Thanks everyone for the helpful information. It looks like the Ipod gets a lot of nods. I was concerned about the price so I may check out the refub stuff. How poor is the battery life on the Ipod? I'll get out and do some looking and see what I can come up with. Good riding everyone!

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    It really is worth it's price. Do not let that stop you.

    The battery life is around 8 hours, but it all depends on how much you change songs and generally mess with it. I seriously doubt you'll ever want to listen to it that long. When I ride with mine, I only listen a small portion of the time. It's nice to hear the sounds sometimes.

    The iPod mini is a really great gadget, but most people are discouraged by it's small capacity. But if you really think about it, you have ten gigs of music and you listen to 1/5th of that. My brother just got one and it's great.

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    IPOD Mini is the way to go!

    I have owned the regular ipod for 2 years now, and recently purcahsed the Mini IPOD.
    The mini is really a great product as, unlike the regular IPOD it really does not skip. I run with it ~ 3 times a week and bike about the 4 times a week with and still no skipping or any issues.
    If you go for the mini, try to get the ARM band (I think +$29) it makes it barely noticeable.

  10. #10
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    One downside to IPOD

    Quote Originally Posted by c-record
    Thanks everyone for the helpful information. It looks like the Ipod gets a lot of nods. I was concerned about the price so I may check out the refub stuff. How poor is the battery life on the Ipod? I'll get out and do some looking and see what I can come up with. Good riding everyone!
    If you have a PC, a lot of players will allow you to use Windows Media Player format rather than straight MP3 or the format that IPODs like. With windows media player format, the compression is much greater and you can get about twice as much music on a given capacity as with regular MP3s. The sound is theoretically not as good, but it sounds awesome to me.

    -Ray

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    Quote Originally Posted by ramboorider
    If you have a PC, a lot of players will allow you to use Windows Media Player format rather than straight MP3 or the format that IPODs like. With windows media player format, the compression is much greater and you can get about twice as much music on a given capacity as with regular MP3s. The sound is theoretically not as good, but it sounds awesome to me.

    -Ray
    Are there any disadvantages to an Ipod without a Mac? Does the Ipod want a Mac? I have a PC. I'm not super hyped on the sound quality of MP3, I think it's a step backwards for sure but for something small and light that doesn't skip it seems super. Like others have mentioned, I'm not looking for audiophile quality sound. Just some Eye of the Tiger for the marathon.

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    the ipod perfectly integrates with the itunes software that you can download for free from the apple website. itunes is actually a great music management program and player and you'll probably end up using it. i'm a mac nut, so i know i'm a little biased, but apple designs some really really great software. i'll never go back to the pc world and i'll never buy a different mp3 player. they are just that great. feel free to pm me with any questions or concerns, i can definitely help.

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    Quote Originally Posted by c-record
    Are there any disadvantages to an Ipod without a Mac? Does the Ipod want a Mac? I have a PC. I'm not super hyped on the sound quality of MP3, I think it's a step backwards for sure but for something small and light that doesn't skip it seems super. Like others have mentioned, I'm not looking for audiophile quality sound. Just some Eye of the Tiger for the marathon.
    C-record, do you actually understand the differences in bit rates and how mp3 compression really works? Also, do you rip your own music or are you downloading off the net? Those 2 questions are very important to the quality of your mp3 tracks. First off, I have to say that I absolutely can not disagree more with Sandiegosteve's comments about bit rate and music clarity. Unless you are tone deaf or using remarkably bad equipment, always use at least 128 kbs for your music. 128 kbs is audio tape quality. 256 kbs is generally considered cd quality, and 320 kbs is loss-less compression In most double blind tests, a listener can not tell any difference in sound from a cd track, a 320 kbs track, or a 256 kbs track. If you have some music that is at 64 kbs quality, you can expect very poor audio in the high and low range of the music. When you compress music to mp3 encoding you clip the music at the high and low ends of the audible spectrum. The reason that 256 kbs is considered cd quality is because it only clips ultra and infra sonic sounds (deep hitting bass) from the track. Most people can not 'hear' a difference in a song at 256 kbs, but say they can 'feel' it, which is only possible with deep hitting subwoofers. 128 kbs clips even more from the bass range and also from the high end range, leading to songs that come off distorted.

    The next question is do you rip your own music? If so, set your encoder to rip at between 160 kbs and 256 kbs and you should be fine. 192 kbs will work for most home computers or lower end car stereo use. If all you plan to use your mp3's for is small portable players, you can use 160 kbs and most likely not know it from a portable cd player. The reason is that the speakers are not good enough to cover the full audible spectrum anyways. You would need much better speakers that walkman sized speakers to be able to tell that you lost some of the bass range of the sound since a speaker that fits in your ear can not move enough air to hit that deep anyways. If you rip your own music, it will sound much better than if you download it. Ripping your own is a 1st generation copy. You know the encoding technique and you know it wasn't compressed smaller, than expanded again. If you pull music off the web, you have no idea how many times that song has been encoded and how good the initial rip was. Some people will take a 96 kbs rip and try to convert it to 160 kbs and expect it to sound fine... it won't. You can't take a low quality rip and encode it to make it better... you can do the opposite, but if a rip is crappy to start with, it will always be crappy. Rip your own tracks or at least get them from reliable sources. Usenet newsgroups are a decent place to pull music from as most of the posters are posting their own rips... it is easier to get full albums there too. P2P programs are horrible. Most of the songs being passed along on the net via P2P has been butchered at some point because it has passed thru too many hands on its way to your ears.

    If you want to know more about mp3's this site is great and has great links to other tech info. http://www.mp3-converter.com/faq/index.htm

    Russ

  14. #14
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    I've had Rio and Creative...nothing beats Ipod

    Quote Originally Posted by c-record
    I know it's illegal and not safe. That said it would only be used on the bike for occassional time trials(races that have traffic control, closed course, etc.) and a possible running marathon this fall. Anyone use one? Any good ideas on brand; capacity, size, weight, price, etc.? I'm also wondering if certain headphones fall off while running. I have a PC not a Mac, don't know if that matters.
    Thanks.
    I have an iPod mini...don't waste your time or effort on anything else. I'm obsessed with techno bits and music and this is flat out the best. Only bummer is having to wait to get it (I waited more than a month).

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    No iPod for me...

    I have an Archos Jukebox (earlier Model) with 20 GIG !!!! of Harddisk space for MP3s or other files... Works like a regular external HD as well. Forget about iPod, man.... This baby has more space than NASA !

    Seriously... there are alternatives to iPODs out there and I really like the Archos (www.archos.com). The earlier models had some battery problems but the newest models seem to be manufactured much better.

    I use it with an external battery pack when I ride on the F1 circuit here in Montreal... Very nice (a little bulky but nice).

    Check out the Gmini.
    Last edited by LSchoux; 06-30-2004 at 06:48 AM.
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by russw19
    <--- snip --->
    If you have some music that is at 64 kbs quality, you can expect very poor audio in the high and low range of the music. When you compress music to mp3 encoding you clip the music at the high and low ends of the audible spectrum.

    <--- snip --->

    If you want to know more about mp3's this site is great and has great links to other tech info. http://www.mp3-converter.com/faq/index.htm

    Russ
    Russ is right on, but for riding (in the wind), I'd be interested to know if anyone can hear the difference between 64, 124, ... or higher.

    I can't even hear my cheap headphone above 21 mph (let alone ever hearing the highs or lows on headphones that can't reproduce them). I use low bit-rate encodings to save space and fit more music. I get them by down sampling high bit-rate originals. 54 sounds like radio or better to me when I am out and about.

    That said, always start with a high level of encoding on the first rip as Russ mentions. If you want lower, that is easy to do. You can not go from bad to good.

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    I second the Archos. The 20Gig can be found for as little as $120 from Amazon if they're having a deal.

    I have a 20Gig Ipod. My brother has the Archos. I would NOT buy the Ipod again. It's way, way too expensive. I mean, just obscene. It CANNOT be used while running. I know, I've tried. Once the buffer runs out, it's trashed. The Archos is the same, but it costs way less.

    I hate the Ipod software which you MUST use. The Archos just shows up as an external hard drive, and you drag and drop files. Much, much better than iTunes, IMO. But, I'm not a Mac head, so I'm more comfortable with a Windows interface.

    Lastly, Apple's policy on battery replacement stinks. Two guys actually produced a movie on their experience when the battery died in their Ipod. Apple's response was, "Buy a new one." After all the bad publicity, Apple changed its policy. Now, when you battery dies in a year or two, you can have it replaced by sending in your Ipod and $100 or so. Not a great deal.

    So, I choose to just say NO to Apple. If the 20Gig Ipod cost $150, maybe I'd consider it. But the interface still stinks.


    Quote Originally Posted by LSchoux
    I have an Archos Jukebox (earlier Model) with 20 GIG !!!! of Harddisk space for MP3s or other files... Works like a regular external HD as well. Forget about iPod, man.... This baby has more space than NASA !

    Seriously... there are alternatives to iPODs out there and I really like the Archos (www.archos.com). The earlier models had some battery problems but the newest models seem to be manufactured much better.

    I use it with an external battery pack when I ride on the F1 circuit here in Montreal... Very nice (a little bulky but nice).

    Check out the Gmini.
    It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the most responsive to change.

    Charles Darwin

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