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Alternatives to iPod classic?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

My iPod classic just died on me and i wanted to see if there were any good alternatives out there. I tried google and devices from Cowon (currently eyeing the Z2) and Hifiman show up quite often, but generally in very old threads and i'd like to check if there's something new on the table before i commit. 


Actually, my first reaction was to look for a device with a similar capacity, but i haven't found any so my next stop was something with improved sound quality (after resigning myself to the impracticality of being able to carry my music collection around, which even my 160gb iPod couldn't do). My headphones include a pair of Sennheiser HD 600 for home use and i'm about to buy a pair of Shure 215 for when i go outdoors. I see that some of those devices might even power my Sennheiser, which could be handy since my amp died as well recently, but my budget isn't stratospheric (around 300$ or so. The Hifiman 801 are definitely out) so i don't know if this is possible. The iPod couldn't do it, and that's already quite pricey as it is. Aside for sound quality, features i might be interested in is the ability to actually load files directly from the SD car (and perhaps the ability to use the device as a DAC). One thing i truly hated about my iPod was the software and the way music was loaded into the device. Even using alternatives like Floola didn't help much. I already have my music organized on my hard drive the way i want to, why can i just drop it on the MP3 player as is and be done with it? Is that too much to ask (apparently, it must be). 


But really, what matters most at this point is the best possible sound quality for the price range i'm looking for plus reasonable capacity (microSD slot is definitely a must). 


[EDIT] Just been looking at the Hifiman 700. No microSD slot, but it comes with good earphones already (so that i can save on the Shure if i buy this). Price is actually similar to the iPod classic. Seems tempting, but i'm awaiting recommendations. 

Edited by Opus131 - 4/6/14 at 2:40am
post #2 of 7
The soon to be available Fiio X5. With 2 microsd slots you could buy 2x128GB cards although that would be expensive. You might want to have a look at the 20 or so reviews on this site. Another option if you need capacity is to get a 5.5G classic iMod it and put in a larger capacity HDD or CF card. You can probably buy one with these modifications. Other expensive options are the likes of Colorfly's C4 or Astell & Kern's AK100.
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 

Wow, lot's of new players out. Fiio, iBasso. I've really been out of the loop, didn't know the market had been so active this past couple of years. 


The Fiio x5 seems great, but it is a bit pricey. The DX50 seems like the next best thing but i keep reading the firmware is a mess. :(


Assuming i get the Fiio x5, what type of IEM would i need for it? If things like the Shure 215 are not good enough for it i may go way over budget. If its only to power the HD 600 i'd rather save on the DAP and get a real desktop amp. Fiio x3 seems like a good choice too. So many options... 

post #4 of 7
Shure SE425s (around 300USD). I forgot to mention none of the new hi-fi type players has as good user interface, battery life or eco system that Apple offers.
post #5 of 7
Given your budget, I would certainly consider the HM-700 combo (see: Amazon HM-700)Amazon HM-700 Read the reviews; I think they are very revealing. I don't have this device, but I have considered getting one as an inexpensive option for "on-the-go" music. (I have an Astell&Kern DAP as well, but I don't like to carry it in my pocket - at that price, I'd hate to drop it or damage it)

I cannot recommend the FiiO X-3, which I did have for a short time; I had to return it because it's performance was so crippled by problems such as freeze-ups, crashes, sluggish controls, library management issues, etc. (it does have playback issues which seem rooted in file format compatibility, but it seems likely I got a defective unit, which exacerbated the problems) Whether or not my unit was a lemon, I still wouldn't recommend the X-3 because of its software quirks and iffy file format compatibility. Unless you like to fuss with technology that requires a lot if hand-holding, the X-3 is likely to prove frustrating. The X-5 may be a better choice, but the jury is out as to whether the software problems have been properly addressed.

The HM-700 plus earphone combo may be a nice alternative for you, as long as you can live with the storage limitation (32gb on-board storage, not expandable)
post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 

What about the iBasso? With the Shure it would only cost me only 100 euros more then the HM-700. I'm currently reading up on it as much as i can and it seems that the new firmware is pretty good, plus the fact it can now run Rockbox makes it tempting. My only reservation is the volume bug. I already suffer from hyperacusis which i've contracted after attending a very loud concert (i also had tinnitus for a while which mercifully ebbed away). No hearing loss but i've been very careful not to expose myself to loud noises, and i definitely don't feel like risking more exposure when i'm trying to improve my audio equipment of all things. 

post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 

BTW, out of curiosity, is the Fiio x5 not available in Europe yet? I'm having some trouble finding it anywhere. Fiio x3 is however all over the place.  

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