help me backpack Europe in style!
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akio

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This summer two buddies and I are going to be backpacking in Europe. i want to put together a reasonably priced rig that fulfills these goals, and/or has a clever way to solve them.

1. Battery power. I won't feel safe charging a $400 ipod overnight in some hostel, plus power adapters scare me. I'm afraid they can ruin equipment.

2. Very portable. I'll be living out of a pack, I don't really want to carry around CDs / loads of equipment, though maybe a small booklet would do.

3. Decently large capacity. The flight is about 20 hours, so I need at least that much music. The more the better.

4. Sound quality. This isn't paramount, as the system will mainly be used to kill time.

5. Ease of use. My R50 + mint + remote + E2 sounded great, but I had to carry a lil' pack and there were a ton of wires etc.

6. Isolation. I plan on using the E2's on the plane ride of course, but for listening in the hostels i'll want to be able to hear things (well, moreso than canalphones) and take off / put on the cans quickly, so I can still participate in conversations. I would also like it if they were leak-free, as I don't want to disturb other packpackers.

Currently I have a MZ-610 MD, R50 MD, and Shure E2 as my portable gear. I'm thinking of bringing either one of the sources (610 has great battery life and uses AAs, R50 has the battery pack) but I'm pretty sure there's something better out there. Also, a library of MD's isn't appealing.

So to sum up: Source (or tell me my current sources will work), closed cans, tiny amp if neccessary. Also - a buddy of mine has a pair of V6's that I can probably borrow, if they will suffice.

Budget for this project will be around, lets say, $200.00, but the less the better. I'm also willing to sell either source if it will help pay for something better. As you can see, I've thought this over and think I can probably manage with either one of my rigs. I'm just looking for another creative solution to my problem. Thanks!

Brian
 
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bangraman

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How about one of the new Sony D-NE series MP3/CD player + the V6 and maybe a PX100 (if isolation isn't paramount) or 200 (if some isolation is required)? If you get one which takes AA's (NE300?), you can either take a small multivoltage Ni-Mh battery charger along with you or get one when you get this side of the Atlantic. Burn some MP3 discs and you have the potential for 6 hours of music per disc at reasonably high bitrates and potentially 80 hours of high-bitrate music in a reasonably compact 12 CD case. If you get bored you can always BUY CD'S TO PLAY!!!!!!! WOW WHAT A CONCEPT
 
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dura

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Hoe about a cheap sony MD-recorder like the 610 you got? sounds good and lasts about 50 hours with one good AA.
 
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Jose Perez

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I'll agree with Bangraman except to recommend one of the iRiver Slimx cd/mp3 players instead. A guy I go to school with has one (IMP-550 I think it was) and it blew me away in both cosmetics and options for a $125 unit (thats what he said he paid for his but I don't see them for much less than $150 online so his might have been lower in the line).

Anyways you get a backlit inline remote, rechargeable batteries, AA battery adapter, 50+ hours of play time, yadda, yadda, yadda. Get that and a collection of songs burned to WMA and you're set. Even at $150 you still have enough left over for a pair of PX-100's which have a low enough impedence to run them off the SlimX without an external amp. My $.02 FWIW
 
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bangraman

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The main reason why I didn't recommend higher-up Sony or the iRiver (I have both) for this use is that you're almost guaranteed to lose the battery case. If the charger goes on the blink then you're stuffed unless you can find a shop selling NH-14WM rechargers. I do carry the battery cases with me, but I'm pretty well organised and I never backpack. With a player which directly accepts AA's you never have this issue.


The iRiver radio for travelling use: It's highly likely you'll end up picking up the local talk radio stations in a language you don't understand, the local pirate Kurdish rap station, or the crappy commercial stations
 
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taylor

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What format is the majority of your music in - i.e. minidiscs, cds, on pc, on mp3 cds, et cetera.

Will it be a problem to, say, rip some CDs to MP3 and then burn them on CDs or Minidiscs? or do you already have a substantial collection of MP3 CDs or minidiscs?
 
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akio

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all of my music is on CD, in actuality i have zero mp3's. I am in the process of ripping all my CD's to FLAC though, so making MP3's shouldn't be a problem.

Bangraman - good suggestion ... I especially like the part of being able to play actual CDs. I remember I went on a trip to SF, and a new album came out. My ipod buddy bought it, and then stared at it for the remainder of the trip
 
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akio

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all of my music is on CD, in actuality i have zero mp3's. I am in the process of ripping all my CD's to FLAC though, so making MP3's shouldn't be a problem.

Bangraman - good suggestion ... I especially like the part of being able to play actual CDs. I remember I went on a trip to SF, and a new album came out. My ipod buddy bought it, and then stared at it for the remainder of the trip
 
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zombietycho

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I'd go with the low-end MP3CD player.
Or if you want to rip all yours CDs onto MD using LP4, you can get alot more songs and alot more battery life. Minidiscs are small, and un-scratchable. I've got a pretty smart MD booklet that hold like 32 MDs. 4 CDs per MD could be nice if you can handle the fidelity.
 
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taylor

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I can fit 5 full 320kbps Pink Floyd albums on a MP3 CD. At 128-192kbps, you could hold perhaps 10.
 
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DeepMaroon

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I just baught the archos gmini 120 for my backpacking trip. It was like $180 something from buy.com. You can transfer any file from your computer on to it (like word documents, maps, whatever). With the built in microphone you can record stuff -places to see, directions, names, numbers, addresses, you name it. The sound quality is second to none. Plus if you have a digital camara like I do you can transfer all of your pictures on to its harddrive via a built in 5 in 1 media card reader. That saves me a ton of time by not having to constantly upload pictures to a hosting site and or email. No more $$ for extra media cards, internet cafe's or web hosting sites. It's really small to, suprisingly small for a 20 gig. Some of the train, bus, rides might be up to 20 hours long. A 256mg mp3 players just isn't going to cut it.
 
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