Want to get more into music, don't know where to start. Advice and Answers desired.
Nov 9, 2008 at 4:52 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 9


New Head-Fier
Nov 8, 2008
Hello. I'm just now starting to become more interested in music as a whole, and I decided a few days ago to start looking for a new MP3 player. I wanted to get something of high audio quality, and that led me to looking at headphones, and then I found HeadRoom, and then I came here, figuring that people here could either help me out or point me in the right direction. So, here are my questions. (Note: If there are any good FAQs, Wikis, etc. for this stuff just point me there and I'll cease to bother you any further.)

1. What are some good MP3 players and headphones that produce good sound quality and don't cost a lot of money? I don't want my baby steps into music enthusiasm to cost untold sums of cash. Perhaps a roof of about 500 dollars, with some leeway in either direction. (I would prefer non-Apple players and headsets that fully cover the outside of the ear. This is based on personal preference and past experiences with these and other products)

2. I've read a bit on HeadRoom about something called a "headphone amp." What exactly is a headphone amp, and are they worth the money? About how much battery life can one get from them? Finally, what would be a good entry-level one, based on performance and battery life?

3. Is ripping lossless files from CDs the best option for listening to music on the go? How big is the average song when ripped via this process? (vs. an MP3 file) Are lossless files too unreasonably large for an MP3 player? If one uses a headphone amp with good quality headphones and MP3 player, does one hear a notable drop in sound quality from a lossless file to an encoded file?

Sorry if I cause anyone too much trouble with all these questions. I really would like to get into the hobby, at least to try it out. I just need a push in the right direction.
Nov 9, 2008 at 7:13 AM Post #2 of 9


Headphoneus Supremus
Aug 4, 2008
1. This question is a little too general. Post in the portable source forum with a list of features you want and price, etc. That'll prolly be best. That said, Cowons are pretty popular here if you don't like iPods.
2. You don't need an amp, at least not to start with. If you must have one, go for a Fiio E3 or Travagans Bone or a DIY set like the cmoy.
3. Lossless files are great for backing up, but I think I'm right to say that most of us would not recommend this for your portable. 320 kbps is more than sufficient. Even 192 kbps is fine, I think.
Nov 9, 2008 at 10:44 AM Post #3 of 9


100+ Head-Fier
Dec 11, 2006
1. I agree with jonathanjong on this one. Though I used to hate iPods too, but have been very happy with my iMod. You can always rockbox them too (depending which generation you get).
2. A good amp will be an upgrade as long as you use a line-out on your player. I use a Corda Headsix, which has had a very good battery life for me, I'm not a heavy portable listener though, so I'm not sure how often most users would change their battery (mines been going around 3 months and is only just due for replacement). I'd recommend it as a good entry-level but still quality portable amp.
3. And I pretty much agree with jonathanjong here too, on the go, I'd recommend LAME v0 or maybe v2. Lossless is going to use a lot more space, more battery life, and if you can tell the difference (which isn't likely), you probably aren't going to be in a good listening environment with a portable rig anyway.
Nov 9, 2008 at 12:41 PM Post #4 of 9


Headphoneus Supremus
Mar 28, 2007
Yeah it all kind of depends on what you are getting. If you decide to get a 50$ mp3 player with a 450$ headphone you'll likely want an amp and HQ songs. But then it doesn't really matter if you have this ****ty mp3 player. It is as they say: garbage in, garbage out.
My point is that with a portable rig you are probably better of with mp3s. Lossless is nice but takes a lot more space and isn't worth it over well transcoded mp3s.
Nov 9, 2008 at 7:29 PM Post #5 of 9


1000+ Head-Fier
Jun 10, 2007
Well, if you want to get more into music, you may want to just buy more music. If you want to get into better SOUNDING music, then you should turn and run in the opposite direction!

Encoding in lossless won't make too much of a difference, but if you buy an iPod Classic or something with a HUGE capacity, then doing it might make sense.

For reference, when I rip my songs into WMA lossless, they are about 10x as large as when I rip them into mp3 at 128kbs.
Nov 9, 2008 at 7:53 PM Post #6 of 9

Uncle Erik

Uncle Exotic
Mar 18, 2006
I'll suggest going in a different direction altogether.

If you want to get more into music, you have to expose yourself to more of it. There are a few ways to do this. One is by downloading. That's legally questionable (and no, I don't want to debate that here), but it also misses a whole lot of music that's out there. A lot hasn't been digitized yet and most music that's traded is current popular music, which is only a little piece of what's out there.

I suggest a turntable. Vinyl sounds great, for sure, but the real benefit is being able to pick up all sorts of new music for cheap or sometimes free. Buying used vinyl is 100% legal, too.

In my opinion, the best way to find new music is to go out to garage sales, thrift stores, junk shops, estate sales, anywhere, and buy anything that looks interesting. Give it a listen and if you like it, learn more and pick up more music in the genre or artist.

Expose yourself to new music and you'll be surprised where you end up in a couple of years. You have no idea how much music you actually like yet.
Nov 10, 2008 at 2:10 AM Post #8 of 9


500+ Head-Fier
Jul 3, 2008
I can also suggest kexp.org for music -- explore the site, there is a lot of music.

Try going to local musical events, like jazz festivals or something.

Pandora is pretty cool, but you'd need to know what you're looking for (like a certain song or artist)

Hi-fi audio is another thing altogether... If you don't know what you're looking for in music, its hard to look for gear to suit your ears and musical tastes.
Nov 10, 2008 at 5:34 AM Post #9 of 9


500+ Head-Fier
Nov 13, 2004

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