I was one that never bought player-only models, but being really really into that world, I can tell you who bought them: 1. People who had component systems for their HiFi's. They recorded with a home or professional-level players. 2. People who wanted something smaller, lighter, with better battery life, and often, simpler design. 3. Some people suggested very seriously that player only models had better sound quality. This was the norm for about 8 years. 4. People who collected. Here we have people who collect portable MP3 players. Same thing has been going on for decades. Transferring disks: if you have Sony's latest recorder, you can optically transfer, but no matter the transfer method, you will experience losses associated with transcoding. They will still sound good though.