I've been using an Iriver SlimX as my portable source for a while now. Believe me, I'm well aware of the limitations of MP3s, so I didn't really expect much out of it, but it has served me well. Several months ago I picked on a Pine MP3/CD player because I had the chance to buy it real cheap, and thought it could serve as a backup if my SlimX every gave me problems. I decided to try it yesterday just for fun and I'm surprised to find out that (I think) it sounds significantly better than the SlimX. Of course, it could be that fleeting satisfaction you sometimes get with a component switch, so I will continue to listen. My initial impression are still surprising considering that the SlimX is thought to be one of the better MP3/CD players.