ABi’s Definitive Guide to MP3 Players

abi def guide ABi’s Definitive Guide to MP3 Players

Over the last couple of years we’ve posted a lot of feature articles that aim to explain all the individual aspects of having an MP3 player. From choosing a player, charging it, tagging files, finding music, transferring music and so on. It’s a lot of individual articles spread across the site, and unfortunately a blog system isn’t suited for easy access to timeless articles. This post will serve as a hub for all the feature articles on the site in order for you, the readers, to find them more easily. Some topics haven’t been covered (yet!), so feel free to leave a comment with requests for future articles.

Buying an MP3 player

Player Features


Content Transfer

Media Services


mike on January 27, 2010 11:12 AM

Just to add a commment in regards to media services and amazon. one thing that makes amazon mp3 provider the best, imo, is that they have outstanding deals. Their daily mp3 deal, which is a complete mp3 album for only about $3, is incentive enough to get away from iTunes. If you aren’t too selective, you can put together a nice collection of mp3s just from that deal alone. You can track the deal with the following google gadget:http://www.google.com/ig/adde?moduleurl=http://www.frugalgadgets.com/AmazonMP3DailyDeal/AmazonMP3DailyDeal.xml

Nobody Important on January 27, 2010 3:30 PM

I suggest a review of 7digital.com; I had good luck with it.

lafs on January 27, 2010 5:47 PM

umm im just waiting on updates regarding the zune

james on January 30, 2010 8:44 AM

ABi, i just want to suggest that whenever you write a review for a player, may you include an audio test similar to what gsmarena is doing in their mobile phone reviews. tnx!

jonny o on January 30, 2010 2:38 PM

I don’t think that a group which unconditionally excludes a brand of mp3 players (aka apple products) can have a DEFINITIVE guide to MP3 players.with that being said, this is a good guide if you’re willing to accept the fact that it is not a COMPLETE guide to mp3 players.

henoch on January 31, 2010 10:23 AM

Really?Website’s name didn’t give You a hint what this list is going to be all about? Besides let’s say they put ipod on the list and place it somewhere in the mediocre range then whole bunch people like you would come and talk crap about the list anyway so why even bother ?

jonny o on January 31, 2010 5:28 PM

I never said I was an ipod fan.I’m just saying that you can’t claim to be DEFINITIVE if you’re going to EXCLUDE.

Jaigoda on February 2, 2010 10:43 AM

Jonny, you should realize that this guide applies to iPods just as much as any other mp3 player. The articles here don’t specifically bash iPods or promote non-iPods. It simply educates people on ALL of the options out there. It does exclude Apple products in the reviews, but none of the articles listed here are reviews. They’re just giving information about the various aspects of Mp3 players. Even the Buyer’s Guide doesn’t try to assert an opinion on what player to buy or not buy.

Trond Einar Garmo on April 18, 2010 6:47 AM

I am sorry to say this, but I find both the comparison guides, the buyers guides and the reviews on this site to be completely useless for me. Imagine this:You want to buy a new TV, and search the internet to find reviews and comparisons between different models. The reviewers talk about the menu systems and fantastic colours on the different TVs. Then you make your considerations based on these facts plus your budget. You buy a TV and come home to watch it. Then you discover that the TV has a big dead spot in the middle of the screen. I suppose that you would bring it back and complain. But what if the seller says: “Most TVs made have this error, but very few has ever complained about it. I am sorry, but this is not a reason for a refund”.I suppose that you would be pretty pissed if something like that happened. But in the world of audio players this is actually the standard. I am talking about GAPLESS PLAYBACK, and the lack of mention of this very important feature in most reviews and buyers guides etc. Playing back an album on a non-gapless player is exactly the same as having a TV with a dead spot, or like buying a painting that has been torn to pieces and glued back again with visible joints.I am surprised that reviewers don’t seem to think that this is important to inform us consumers about. Why isn’t gapless playback the standard in any player? I would say that non-gapless players are faulty by design. Both consumers and manufacturers need to be told about it if the player don’t have it.Recently Pink Floyd won a law-suit against their record company that stated that their albums are ONE piece of art, and that they can’t split it up in single tunes and sell them separately. Most Pink Floyd albums are gapless – there are no gaps between the tracks. So most digital players actually ruins the playback. Gapless albums isn’t an exotic phenomena, it is actually quite standard. I consider Pink Floyd, the Beatles, Frank Zappa, classical and jazz albums to be pretty mainstream culture. But the non-gapless players are ruining all of these.So my suggestion to the ABI site moderator is that GAPLESS playback is mentioned in every comparison table, and is a requirement in every review. There should also be a sticky article somewhere in this site on how this can be worked around for players that doesn’t support it by default.Another suggestion would be to include software programs for phones in your reviews and comparison tables. I think that this could be an alternative for many, since there are actually good programs out there, and the sound of different phones could also be a subject of comparison.

Andreas Ødegård on April 18, 2010 4:30 PM

@Trond Einar Garmo: If you want gapless, buy an iPod or something that can run Rockbox. That’s pretty much the only players (with a few exceptions) that has it. The reason it’s not included in reviews etc is that while a lot of people are religious about it, the same can be said about things like pan/balance, equalizer range, line-out, sound chip type, bookmarks, metadata support, charge time, sorting methods, boot time, etc etc etc. We get comments asking why we have left out X or Y from reviews all the time, and if we were going to do a section on each of those subjects for each review it would literally be 20000 words long. UNfortunately that’s also why manufacturers don’t include such features; the amount of people who are religious about it is so low. I listen to PF myself and agree that gapless is important, which is another reason I love my iPhone, but in terms of what the majority of people are really interested in it’s far down on the list.

Jaigoda on April 28, 2010 8:54 PM

Andreas, I understand what you’re saying, but I do think that knowing what mp3 players have such capabilities as gapless and pan/balance is an important thing to consider regardless. I don’t know how much work it would be (probably a lot), but it would be awesome to have a single resource with a list of “minor” or niche features and which players have them.Or, you could simply create a database (again, I don’t know how much work you would be willing to put into something like this, if any) where you can search by criteria such as gapless playback capability, transfer modes, cable type, pan/balance, etc. These are just suggestions, but it would be pretty awesome to have something like this. I’m sure a lot of people would be appreciative.

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