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Old 04-29-2006, 02:44 AM   #1
spaceballs
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Best Linux compatible mp3 player


I was considering either purchasing an external hard drive, or a large storage based mp3 player. I figured that it might not be a bad idea to purchase one device that could function as both. I don't have much experience with mp3 players.

What I want is a device that I can just mount, and copy my music onto that I will still be able to listen to. Does any device like this exist?

If anyone has any ideas, please let me know.
 
Old 04-29-2006, 06:50 AM   #2
rottie
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I have a creative Zen X-tra Jukebox. I bought it for the same reasons as you.
It didn't live up to my expectations. You can't mount it as external drive, you need software.
Don't buy it. It's slow, it hangs, the latest firmware upgrade breaks linux functionality, ...

A friend of mine has an iPod (don't know which kind) and he says he can mount it as an external drive.
I haven't tested it so I can't say for sure.

I think your best bet is with "smaller or generic" brands. And try to buy in a shop that gives you refund possibility so that you can test it first.
 
Old 04-29-2006, 08:05 AM   #3
spaceballs
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I am fairly certain that the Ipod still needs some software to put the files in some format to where they can play. Does no mp3 player offer a feature to where you can just drag it into the mp3 player [which is mounted as an external drive] and just drop files in it?
 
Old 04-29-2006, 08:58 AM   #4
-=Graz=-
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i have an ipod which i am still yet to test in linux. It is a 2gb nano. I am still sus that it is about to break anyway as the battery just doesnt do its job hey. it is getting worse every charge too.... i hear that you can load a baby linux onto the iPOD nano though and play uncompressed AVI video files in colour - this sounds like a fun project.
I also have an old Sony MP3 player which will mount in linux and support drag and drop directly onto the device. However it is only 128MB and is not available anymore i dont think.
With the cheaper generic brands you should do okay though - as long as they dont require some fancy pants software to work properly.
 
Old 04-29-2006, 10:44 AM   #5
liquidtenmilion
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The ipod _can_ be mounted as a standard block device.

http://pag.csail.mit.edu/~adonovan/hacks/ipod.html
 
Old 04-29-2006, 04:03 PM   #6
shilo
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THis is a great question.

First, a lot of people seem to like the iAudio X5. I believe it is just drag and drop. Seems to be exactly what you're looking for.

I decided on an iPod. First, it has a wide user base. That means there are a lot of people with an interest in making it work properly on Linux. Second it has the most storage (60G) of anything else I found (I could be wrong, though).

Also important to my decision was previous experience with another mp3 player. My old mp3 player functions as a UMS device. It's handy being able to just drag and drop, but for a large collection the iPod solution is MUCH easier to use. The iPod keeps a database of all the music that you have stored on the device. This means that you can QUICKLY sort, view, and organize a very large collection of music. Navigation can become cumbersomewithout this feature.

The iPod does work as an external HDD. With the new models, they are already FAT32 formatted. Just plug it in and it will work. The only caveat is that you CANNOT just add music files (that you want to listen to on the iPod) this way.

Though the iPod does require extra software, it is really easy to get. Install libgpod and then gtkpod. Both are simple compiles. With a stock Slackware system, you will only be missing AAC support. If you want AAC support, it is a little more complex, but all you need to do is install mpeg4ip first. I don't bother, since my music is all mp3. Once you have installed these, you can fire up gtkpod. Amazingly, you can then Drag and Drop both to and from the iPod (which is a cool trick that cannot be done with iTunes).

There is a lot of things to consider. You might also want to look at supported formats, if that is important to you.
 
Old 04-29-2006, 04:19 PM   #7
jimX86
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I know you said mp3, but one advantage of iRiver is that some of them also play ogg vorbis files. (Check the specs though... I'm not sure about the larger models.)
 
Old 04-29-2006, 06:05 PM   #8
shilo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimX86
I know you said mp3, but one advantage of iRiver is that some of them also play ogg vorbis files. (Check the specs though... I'm not sure about the larger models.)
My old mp3 is an iRiver iFP-895. For these models, iRiver offers UMS firmware. I don't believe that they offer this for newer models, which means that you will be using an MTP interface. That means that Drag and Drop will not work without extra software.

I know this to be true for several newer iRiver models, but it may be differ.

Also, I have read that some iRiver models consume their batteries faster when playing OGG, though I cannot confirm or deny this.
 
Old 04-30-2006, 12:34 AM   #9
spaceballs
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Now this is more of an Ipod question. If I use gtkpod to drag and drop songs to my ipod, can I then use itunes? Or will switching from one to the other ruin my database?
 
Old 04-30-2006, 01:16 AM   #10
shilo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spaceballs
If I use gtkpod to drag and drop songs to my ipod, can I then use itunes? Or will switching from one to the other ruin my database?
It will work fine, but there are some things you should know.

1) Last I checked, you may lose artwork added by gtkpod when connecting to iTunes. The artwork is restored when connecting to gtkpod again. This was the case in the past, but it may have been fixed.

2) You will lose your tracks on your iPod when you connect to iTunes if you have iTunes configured to automatically "sync". "Sync"-ing in iTunes is a one way sync. It syncs the iPod to the computer. Any tracks on the iPod that don't exist in iTunes are removed. This can be avoided by setting iTunes to manual. That way, you just use iTunes to add tracks to the iPod.

If you are worried about it, you can always use the iPod as a mass storage device under Windows. Put the mp3's on the iPod for storage. You can then copy the tracks to Linux, remove them from the iPod, and add the tracks back to the iPod via gtkpod.

That may sound complex, but it is pretty straight forward. You can come up with your own solution, if you prefer. The only thing that is really important is to remember to make sure iTUnes is not set to auto-sync.

Also, there is the issue of firmware. It is easiest to use a Windows machine to upgrade it, but it is possible to upgrade the firmware manually on Linux. Just takes a bit of CLI.

Lastly, if you have both Windows and Linux, you don't have to worry about database corruption as much. Though it takes time, you can always set the iPod back to factory state with Windows. I've never had to, but it's nice to know that you can.

***EDIT***

One thing I forgot to mention. The iPod uses id3 tags to identify songs. If your songs are not agged properly, you can set gtkpod to automatically tag them based on the file name. This is user configurable, so it can be adjusted for your particular naming structure. It is much better, IMHO, to tag your music properly. Id3 tags are used by a lot of things (hardware and software mp3 players, music servers, media centers). My favorite tagger is EasyTAG. I have ~40G of music and it is very easy to keep all my tags in order.

Last edited by shilo; 04-30-2006 at 01:25 AM.
 
Old 04-30-2006, 04:25 AM   #11
spaceballs
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I decided to go with the iaudio. It had the features that I wanted, and a wide range of compatibilities that I was looking for. I will be sure to follow up with a review of how well [or not well] that it works.
 
Old 05-01-2006, 11:49 AM   #12
salmaklak
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Which mp3 player?

iRiver H340 works well for me.
It mounts as an external HDD, plays Ogg Vorbis, mp3. I use it to record my lectures at uni, then transfer them to my desktop with drag and drop in Konqi. The battery lasts for 16 hours per charge. Good all round.
 
Old 05-01-2006, 01:55 PM   #13
shilo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by salmaklak
iRiver H340 works well for me.
It mounts as an external HDD, plays Ogg Vorbis, mp3. I use it to record my lectures at uni, then transfer them to my desktop with drag and drop in Konqi. The battery lasts for 16 hours per charge. Good all round.
Your post indicates Drag and Drop works, but you only give an example of using it to move from the device to the computer where the filename is unimportant. This can be done with an iPod. An interesting question is, can you take a music file from your computer and Drag and Drop it to the MP3 player, disconnect the MP3 player, and then play the music on the MP3 player?

My understanding is that you cannot, which means that both iRiver (with the exception of devices for which UMS firmware is available) and iPod use an interface to add to the device. iRiver uses MTP (a PTP derivative), while iPod uses a proprietary method.

It would be interesting to learn that it does work on the iRiver, though.
 
Old 05-01-2006, 02:11 PM   #14
gilead
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Shilo, it depends on the iRiver player you're using. I also have the H340 and I can just copy files to it as a USB device. However if you want its database updated you need to use the proprietary software - I don't, so I just use standard mount/umount commands and cp files over to it as a vfat partition.
 
Old 05-01-2006, 03:46 PM   #15
shilo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gilead
Shilo, it depends on the iRiver player you're using. I also have the H340 and I can just copy files to it as a USB device. However if you want its database updated you need to use the proprietary software - I don't, so I just use standard mount/umount commands and cp files over to it as a vfat partition.
Thanks gilead. This was my understanding. This is very similar to the way the iPod functions. I just wanted to point out that, like the iPod, the newer iRiver devices are not completely "Drag and Drop" the way most would think of "Drag and Drop". The older iRiver devices were able to function as UMS devices (true "Drag and Drop") with alternate firmware, but some of the recording functionality was lost.

The iAudio does support true Drag and Drop, I believe. The only question I have is manageability. Both the iPod and the iRiver utilize a database. Having used UMS firmware on a smaller iRiver (no database), I would think that a database would be essential to a well functioning, large capacity MP3 player. This is one of the reasons I stayed away from the iAudio. how can one easily browse 20G+ of music without a database?

Another thing to consider. Most MP3 companies are not going to support true Drag and Drop because of financial/legal issues. Apple won't make a product that supports this because they would be shooting iTunes in the foot. iRiver moved away from supporting this to get the "Windows Play for Sure" designation. If you want to produce an MP3 player AND provide legal music downloads, you can't have a product that easily shares those downloads with others. The music industry would simply quit allowing the downloads.
 
  


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