I was drawn to this site as the best and most reliable site regarding audio gear. after a lot of reading it is clear to me that for my next audio player, the best source of information will definitely be here. thanks to the information pointed out on these forums im in the middle of ripping my dads near-mint vinyl collection to flac format, and it has been a very enjoyable, bonding experience to review the sound quality of every single of my dads favorite songs, thanks for that!
however, im not exactly rich enough to spend $50k on the type of prime equipment some of you seem to have, and im for the most part a mobile music listener. i dont know if it has something to do with me having small ears, or growing up with many musicians as relatives, but i never exactly liked the sound coming out of .mp3 files in general (even though the "best" headgear ive ever acquired is a sennheiser pc360 g4me headset, not exactly reference gear), and even with the same pc running the the .mp3 and the flac files comparatively, i think the sound difference is noticeable (and better in the flacs), though there may be some bias due to the fact that i worked on them, and some placebo for me wanting them to sound better. i have zero technical knowledge on the matter, so i wouldnt know if just changing the file type does actually make a noticeable difference on the first run.
which brings me to my question. reading around many have recommended the SansaClip+ as one of the best portable media players, even without the use of the rockbox software, but i also found a couple of tutorials recommending swapping the hard drive of a 1st gen ipod mini for a cf card and thus it obtains a gigantic battery life (if the battery is also replaced for a newer one), and cf cards go up to 128gb, which is nice considering how much larger flacs are to mp3s, whereas the largest microsdhc goes to 32 or 64gb, cant remember right now.
both projects would run for under $200, which is ideal for me, in order to save for the subsequent headphones (im stuck between sennheiser's momentum and v-moda crossfade m100, but thats a story for another day) to match the new player. i would like to have whatever comes closest to the ultimate portable flac player, with the best fidelity possible, but as i said, i have zero tech knowledge on audio, and im not sure which one would provide a better sound (or if theres any difference at all), something i find important before taking the next step, the acquisition of either player. While the clip project is cheaper and does have excellent reviews, id prefer to read it here from someone who knows more than me if it is impossible that the sound quality on a rockboxed ipod mini is anywhere near the quality of that of the clip. or if theres no difference at all.
Thanks a lot