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iPod Classic Replacement Recommendations

Discussion in 'Portable Source Gear' started by scholl43, Jan 22, 2018.
  1. scholl43
    I'm surprised every year when my 160GB iPod classic doesn't die, but the failing hard drive and unreliable battery life makes me think it's nearing it's end. I started reading up on possible replacements a year ago, but it kept going. I'd love some recommendations with the following considerations:

    Listening habits and user interface:
    - I ride a bike 8 miles/day, 5 days/week, whether it's 100 degrees, 10 degrees, raining, sunny, or snowy. Build quality and a decent case are important to me.
    - I currently use relatively cheap ear buds when riding or walking somewhere because of the beating they take. I rarely use headphones, but am interested in checking some out eventually.
    - I will plug the player into my Jolida JD302CRC tube amp when I'm at home
    - I listen to full albums at a time almost exclusively
    - I don't stream music and I don't plan on it
    - I have one small bluetooth speaker, but I generally don't plan on using bluetooth
    - I don't own a car so I'll rarely have use this in a car. I imagine this is where bluetooth might come in handy
    - I don't care about watching videos on this (I have a phone after all) and generally don't need a large display or touch screen

    File Transfer and Management
    - I'd appreciate the ability to make playlists on the go
    - I have a 2013 MacBook pro and still use iTunes to manage my iPod Classic. The MBP has 2 USB 3 ports, 1 Thunderbolt port, and 1 SDXC card slot.
    - I have approximately 140GB of music, but mostly 320kbps. This will only grow so storage capacity is important, but most players seem fine.

    - Seeing as I'm going from something not-so-special, I'm fine going with a cheaper player and may notice a big jump in quality even in the $500 range
    - Ideally, my max budget is $1,000 for player and case

    I've generally narrowed the list to the following:
    Fiio X7II - $649
    Fiio X5III - $376
    Astell&Kern AK70 MKII - $699
    Astell&Kern Kann - $999
    Onkyo DP-X1A - $479

    I was initially looking at the Fiio X5III initially, but reading the forums, I see people have a lot of firmware issues that Fiio doesn't seem to be very quick to address. I assume the X7II will suffer the same issues so that gives me pause when it comes to those products.

    Any thoughts on this would be much appreciated! Feel free to suggest other ideas or places to find these cheaper (I used Amazon to get a basic estimate).
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2018
  2. Oscar-HiFi
    Check out the new Audio Opus #1s or the Cayin N5II

  3. scholl43
    Will do. Any specific reason you like those over anything I have on my shortlist?
  4. Oscar-HiFi
    You seem to be going with the well known brands, and there are some gems from other companies that offer a lot for the price, and are not as overpriced because of the name...

    I used to use a 160GB iPod Classic too, and the Opus #1 (original, not #1s) was the first player I got that made me leave the iPod for good. The sound quality was a fair step above the iPod, and it is really easy to use. It has bluetooth and you can make playlists on the go.

    If you are willing to pay the extra, you could get the Opus #2 or #3, both of which offer wifi for streaming should you want that in the future.
  5. silverfishla
    Shanling M3s ticks most of your boxes. I’m not sure about external playlists, but you can compile many on the player itself. It has a very good UI, plays gapless, Bluetooth, and is not big like some of the others that you mention, sounds great.
  6. scholl43
    Have you owned this? If so, how do you manage files and have you used a Mac with it?

    I like the cheaper price point, but the 15,000 file limit seems odd to me.
  7. silverfishla
    I do own the Shanling M3s. There's nothing like itunes plug in and drop your music on the player. I just drop files onto the card and the player will sort out by Artist, Album, Genre, etc. if the files are tagged correctly. JRiver Media Center is a great file manager for your computer and media files. I used to use it with my Pono player and it was the best. I'm going to get it again, because I have not found a better solution to easy management of song files from my computer. I cannot confirm it's use with the M3s though. If it works like it did with my Pono, you should be able to manage all your files straight from the program and drop files into your player whilst scrolling through all of your catalogued media (like itunes). I'll update you on how it works when I finally decide to pay for it ($50 or something). Yes, I run a Mac.
    On the Shanling M3s thread, they've talked about the 15k song limit, and it has been noted by Shanling. It's up to them and Hiby (the people who make the operating software to change that). But, they've taken notice at least.
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2018
  8. vid1900
    You might take out the HD and install a SD card instead (no more skips from jolts and vibrations).

    While you have the unit open, install a larger, fresh battery.

    Tons of videos on Youtube on how to do this:

    If you don't want to do it yourself, any Cellphone Rescue store can do it for you in 5 minutes.
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2018
    lowy23 likes this.
  9. scholl43
    Thanks, that's a good idea. I'll have the money from my tax return so I'm definitely going to buy a new player, but it would be nice to have a backup for travel or other uses.
  10. scholl43
    The Opus #3 actually looks really good. Again, I don't really need wifi or BT, but I'm sure they'll come in handy more and more. I have been in a car or two that only took BT, which was a surprise to me (as someone who hasn't owned a vehicle in a decade). I think I'd prefer something with a larger capacity and going from 2 slots on the 1#s to 1 slot seems like a downgrade, but it took me a long time to almost max out my 160GB iPod so I'm not too worried about capacity issues.

    I'm not in any rush to make a decision, but I think this one might be in the lead for consideration.
  11. Oscar-HiFi
    256GB microSD and you'll be fine. I survive with just a 200GB one. It also has 64GB internal memory so I think you'll be fine with nearly 300GB usable memory.

    I really like the Opus #3 and gave mine to my other half, its easy to use and sounds superb, the increase in soundstage, clarity and dynamics will be quite an improvement over your iPod :D

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