Other Mp3 player options for OS X and iTunes?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by AuburnTiger, Jan 22, 2006.

  1. AuburnTiger macrumors member

    Nov 27, 2005
    Are there any other MP3 players compatible with OS X and iTunes?
  2. zap2 macrumors 604


    Mar 8, 2005
    Washington D.C
    i believe so but nothing really works as well as the iPod/Mac OSX/iTunes Combo
  3. AuburnTiger thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 27, 2005
  4. Kingsly macrumors 68040


    Why? Considering what you get for the money iPod is still the best value, user interface, fashion statement around.
  5. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

    Apr 3, 2004
    Adelaide, Australia
    There's a large contingent of MP3 players out there that use music (MP3s only) transferred to them through Finder. The MP3 player mounts as an external drive and you simply drag the MP3 files either from iTunes or Finder to a folder on the player. However, I don't know of any specific brands, I don't use any players like this, and I certainly don't condone non-iPod usage. :p

    Just check to see that they're OSX-compatible.
  6. janey macrumors 603


    Dec 20, 2002
    sunny los angeles
    although, despite the price tag, the iPod tends to be on the cheaper & better side...(skips the requisite why-iPod-is-good speech)...

    iriver sells a few mp3 players compatible with their OS X music management software - i dont think all of their players do, but a few, like the n10 and such. check their site, iriver.com

    as for one that uses iTunes, those are very unlikely. i doubt apple would be happy to find out a competitor figured out how to use their very own lauded and widely known and marketed software (after all, it was iPod+iTunes in all those advertisements..and it is the iTunes Music Store...), they'd only include iPod support and discourage others as best as they could (read: Apple Legal) to try to do anything with iTunes. :rolleyes:
  7. DaftUnion macrumors 6502a


    Feb 22, 2005
    I'd like to know the reasons going through your mind why you want a different mp3 player besides an iPod.
  8. janey macrumors 603


    Dec 20, 2002
    sunny los angeles
    my biggest pet peeve about the iPod is that it doesn't have support for some of the files my music is encoded in, like ogg [vorbis] and flac.

    otherwise, it's a great little thing, only wish the battery on my iPod mini lasted more than 10 hours :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :mad: :mad: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:
  9. Dreamkatcha macrumors regular


    Mar 17, 2003
    Manchester, England
    I own the Samsung MT6Z and couldn't be more pleased with it. It's much smaller than an iPod and the battery life is in excess of 42 hours... and this will only increase as rechargeable battery technology improves, while the iPod's measily-to-begin-with 10 hours is likely to deteriorate further as the battery rots away.

    The 1GB capacity can't match the iPod though this was never an issue for me seeing as I mainly listen to podcasts and then delete them from the device straightaway. I never find myself running out of space.

    iTunes doesn't recognise the player, but Finder has no trouble mounting it. You don't need any special software to transfer music; it's just a case of no-nonsense drag and drop.

    The only problem you might have is that the settings are reset each time the player is connected to your Mac. I've talked to Samsung about this and they tell me this is due to the player not being fully supported by OS X. It doesn't bother me personally because the default settings are spot on for my needs. Maybe a firmware update will fix this some time down the line.
  10. jMc macrumors 6502


    Nov 19, 2001
    London N8, Late-16th Century
    iTunes on OSX (and before that on OS9) existed before the iPod and supported various MP3 players before it - with the MP3 player mounting in the source list of iTunes just like an iPod and users being able to drag songs to it. The official list of supported MP3 players on Apple's site is not very extensive however, neither is it particularly up to date.

  11. janey macrumors 603


    Dec 20, 2002
    sunny los angeles
    the last iTunes version for OS9 was iTunes 2.x. Right now, we're at 6. :p
    I am aware iTunes existed pre-iPod, but after iPod became popular, Apple advertised iTunes along with the iPod...and when they named it the iTunes Music Store...
    Apple's clearly spent a little bit of money trying to get people to recognize the trinity of iTunes+iPod+iTunes Music Store, and to let any other competitors try to make using their product as easy as iTunes+iPod is just unlike them. Plus, that entire list consists of the Rio and Nomad series of players, both of which were all discontinued last year, or the year before that.

    And any MP3 device that allows one to drag and drop MP3s would be OS X compatible.
  12. janstett macrumors 65816

    Jan 13, 2006
    Chester, NJ
    I've resisted iTunes for the longest time (and I go back to the 2nd gen iPod). Until the 6th gen, I didn't even use iTunes to copy music onto my iPod. I used XPlay (drag and drop song files onto iPod).


    (1) I don't want iTunes managing my music. I spent many years before iTunes arrived organizing my music into a file system hierarchy. I don't want iTunes absorbing/managing it.

    (2) Poor or no support for other file formats -- Ogg, FLAC, WMA, etc.

    (3) Sometimes I want to listen to a song and I know where it is on the hard drive exactly, and I want to just play it without having it absorbed into a library and possibly moved/copied.

    (4) My master MP3 library is 320 gigs, too big for even the biggest iPod. Huge pain to whittle it down through iTunes to fit 160GB on it.

    (5) As a result of (4), I convert my library to a downsampled AAC version that is not permanent -- I convert my main mostly-lossless collection to downsampled files strictly for copying to my iPod.

    (6) As a result of (5), once the downsampled library is on the iPod, I do not want to waste 160GB of space on it on my computer. It's done, I don't need it. Especially if I'm doing it on a laptop which by definition has a small hard disk.

    (7) I do not want my music duplicated BOTH on my iPod AND on my computer. I put it on my iPod and now I'm done with it.

    (8) Can't copy anything off the iPod once it's on there.

    iTunes is too heavy for some use. It has also gotten more bloated and slower over the years.

    Sometimes I'd just like something simple (like WinAmp) to drag and drop files onto.
  13. jMc macrumors 6502


    Nov 19, 2001
    London N8, Late-16th Century
  14. janstett macrumors 65816

    Jan 13, 2006
    Chester, NJ
    ^ Came up in a google search while I was looking for an alternative to iTunes on OSX.

    I just had to respond to someone who couldn't see why iTunes isn't perfect.
  15. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    1. I can find songs way faster in iTunes than your method. For those who actually bought their music, it's as simple as dropping a CD into the computer, and iTunes will find and fill in all the song info.

    2. WMA is inferior than mp3. Professionals use AIFF or WAV because that's the format of the audio CD, have been compatible with everything for the past 15 years, and will be compatible with future players.

    3. Can do the same via iTunes, faster.

    4. No other music player on the market can hold 320gb. What's your point? Oh you don't know how to use smart play list (takes 5 minutes to learn).

    5. That's what I do too, as most of my music is in AIFF.

    6. Firewire 2.5" external drive. Been using it for years (5 years ago I bring 3.5" drive with me for djing, switched to bus powered 2.5" drive RAID a few years ago).

    7. What if you lose your music player? What if you damage your music player? No backup strategy means disaster in the long run.

    8. False, plenty of apps to copy music off iPod. Actually, some of those apps would allow you to manage files by drag and drop.

    9. iTunes is the most popular music player on both OSX and windows due to its ease of use for beginners and its power for more experienced users. Even non technical old people can figure out how to use it. Not sure why you think it's slower at all. You might want to update to 7.6 (7.5 is a bit slow, 7.6 works fine, not sure about 7.7).

    10. Simple music player? Use VLC, open playlist view, but if the music is good, it gets added to iTunes library.
  16. macbattle macrumors member

    Nov 21, 2007
    Beg to differ. There are a few players you can modify to use large HD. The older Creative Zen Xtra and Nomad models for one I have seen been modded to 300GB. Older ipod have seen modded to 200gb, same with the older Toshiba F and X models can also use a 200gb hd. I have also see iriver devices using 180gb(I think it is) hd.
  17. Yvan256 macrumors 603


    Jul 5, 2004
    IF you want OGG you should go with Samsung, they seem to make it a point to always list OGG in the supported formats.

    I do think that music files in directories is not a good way to manage music however. I used to do that until I started using iTunes and then discovered smart playlists. That's impossible to do with directories unless you start making scripts and aliases, it would be a mess IMHO.

    If you just want to "preview" a tune, you can play it directly from the finder, so that's even faster than VLC. ;)
  18. janstett macrumors 65816

    Jan 13, 2006
    Chester, NJ
    Maybe YOU can find songs faster that way. I can't, because as I said, I spent a lot of time organizing my 35,000 songs before iTunes came around. I have populated my iPod both ways, and I listen to music within iTunes and outside of it on both PCs and Macs. 90% of the time I would say iTunes is either equally difficult to find something as on the filesystem or worse within a reasonable tolerance. I do have my entire 300+ gigabyte collection on my Mac Mini for serving to Airtunes & AppleTV.

    And I resent your implication that I didn't buy my music. I have 300+ CDs, dozens of cassettes, LPs, and MiniDiscs in my basement that say otherwise. Do I have some stuff I don't own properly? Sure, but mostlly to fill in the gaps. I still buy CDs when something is good.

    If I want to listen to something, I know exactly where to go within 2-3 folder clicks.

    Here's what my hierarchy looks like:

    - Artist
    -- Album
    - Album
    Collections (...)
    Novelty (...)
    Christmas (...)

    It's super-easy to find what I'm looking for.

    And, your theory also assumes every single MP3 is perfectly tagged, which does not happen in the real world. Smart playlists are cool and all, but organizing more than a few dozen or hundred MP3 files by "genre" is hopeless. Because genre definition is fuzzy and inconsistent. Ever have iTunes put two albums by the same artist in different genres? Yeah, me too. Plus, the fact that you can make up your own genres kind of kills the system. What is "Rush"? Is it metal? Is it synth rock? Is it progressive? Is it hard rock? It depends on the several different random people who bought the album first and entered it into CDDB and what they felt like calling it.

    And I missed another two ways in which iTunes is hopeless.

    (a) I also label my album folders with a number so they appear in finder/explorer in order of release. In other words, if I listen to Rush, for example, I can see their 20 albums in order of release (from "01 Rush" to "19 Snakes and Arrows") as that's how I will usually listen to albums if I listen to an artist's entire body of work. In iTunes tell me how you can do that (and no, I'm not going to set up custom playlists for several hundred artists and then have to remember to update them manually when a new album comes out). That's one of my big remaining iPod frustrations, the inability to listen to an artist's songs in chronological order. Instead I get songs in order of album name.

    (b) iTunes is pathetically unable to deal with multiple collections (libraries). For example, I have my "main" MP3 collection which is the majority that I am likely to listen to. But I also have "secondary" collections that I don't want thrown in my overall music library, such as comedy records and even a Star Trek sound effects CD, the Billboard Top 100 from 1959-2000, Christmas Music, Classical music. Easy to segregate with the filesystem. Impossible to do with iTunes (and no I am not going to play the game of setting genre correctly for 35,000 songs and making smart playlists based on the genre). How are you going to deal with that Billboard Top 100 collection from 1959-2000? Import 4,000 songs and make individual playlists for each year's 100 songs? Yeah, have fun with that.

    It's not up to you to tell me what's inferior or what's superior if it's in somebody's music collection. iTunes is inflexible and won't deal with other formats. So if someone has a mixed collection, they are out of luck with iTunes. I'm a nut and I've re-ripped my CDs 2 or 3 times, but the average person just has what he has, and that's it.

    Further, there are plenty of formats that are superior to MP3. Apple only supports MP3, AAC, and ALAC. There are dozens of other formats out there -- OGG, FLAC, Monkey, Musepack, etc. You can't even PLAY those on iTunes. Again another weakness against something like WinAmp, that just plays pretty much everything.

    Finally, on WMA, I wouldn't say it's significantly worse than MP3, at some bitrates it's been shown to be better, but I'd lump them in the same "class" of codec. Further you are ignoring the newer high quality and lossless versions. WMA has evolved from 2001.

    But anyway the point isn't to argue which codecs are better at what bitrates. The point is if it's in someone's collection, iTunes should play it.

    As for "what professionals use", I'm a media processing/codec professional software engineer. Naturally a lossless format is preferable and I use ALAC (or FLAC) for my CD rips, which also took great pains to re-rip several hundred CDs. And further, CD quality itself is less than ideal. One would prefer at least 48k sampling over CD's 44.1k, at least. CD is not a perfect audio format. Unfortunately, formats that do better like DVD-Audio and SuperAudio CD are dead (up to 192k sampling, 24-bit samples instead of 16-bit like CD, more than 2 channels of audio). The last refuge is the lossless audio on Blu-Ray.

    If you know an exact title, it's arguable through search/spotlight in iTunes. But if you're the least bit fuzzy, no. Especially when an album name isn't tagged exactly the way you remember -- for example, in iTunes it doesn't tag "The Matrix Reloaded" soundtrack properly so it isn't in the album list where it should be and isn't located in the Album order near the other Matrix soundtracks. Whereas in my self-organized file system, I know EXACTLY where it is. If the tagging is the least bit off/ambiguous, the system falls apart. Whereas on the filesystem, it's where *I* put it.

    Another problem with iTunes is its inability to deal with "free range" logic. For example, I group "White Zombie" and "Rob Zombie" albums together as the same artist. Technically it's not, but I like to think of it as a progression from one band to the other. iTunes? My only refuge is a smart playlist where artist = a or b. Blech. Filesystem? No problem.

    Smart playlists are a cheap copout for people who don't have a lot of media. Sorry. They're great and all and they excite my inner geek, but it doesn't work and it's a giant pain in the ass to use this as a "solution".

    And in my case, smart playlists don't help a bit. I have too much media to fit on my iPod in its native state. Smart playlists would get me PART of my collection and I'd have to keep re syncing. I bought a 160 GB iPod to have my ENTIRE collection with me at all times, not to have to resync like it's a Shuffle.

    Anyway, my point is that iTunes isn't smart enough to resample and fit my collection onto the iPod. So now I have another problem I didn't get into. Now I would need TWO libraries (which you already can't do in iTunes). One with my master 300+ GB mostly lossless collection, and a SECOND one with that collection downsampled to fit onto a 160 GB iPod. So now I need TWO copies of my music (that can go out of sync), TWO copies of iTunes on TWO computers (since, you know, I can't have two libraries), and almost 500 GB of disk space.

    So after all this, you have the same problem I do.

    I don't need a 2nd copy of my downconverted music. If it's on my iPod, I'm done with it. It lives on the iPod. But I guess you present a workable solution.

    Well, first, my entire collection (all media including video, music, photos) on a FW 800 external RAID array as the master and it is unplugged and kept off the grid until new content gets absorbed. That is backed up to a RAID 5 NAS for use as the "working" copy. So the important things are backed up.

    A "shadow" downsampled version of my music that's meant only for my iPod, well, if I lose my iPod so be it I can regenerate it from the master.

    I'm curious to learn more, I only knew about XPlay on the PC.

    iTunes is the most popular music player on OSX because Apple paid MusicMatch to stop developing their player and give Apple their traditional closed one-choice-only stand with iTunes. On OSX you really have no choice... That's sort of the original intent of this thread, what's the alternative to iTunes -- there is none. On Windows it's because people have iPods and that's the only way to get music on your iPod (* out of the box). Well, and all the other music players do suck for the most part and for most people with a relatively small collection, it works well enough.

    Why do I think iTunes is slow? Do you have 25,000-35,000 songs loaded into your iTunes database? It takes iTunes a while to start up, and then find the song in iTunes, and the UI is somewhat sluggish (though not bad, considering). And of course I always update to the latest, thus my comment about iTunes getting bigger, fatter, and slower.

    If I want to listen to ONE SONG:
    - iTunes -- start iTunes, wait for it to load my gigantic library database, now navigate to the song I want to hear.
    - Filesystem -- find the song (a couple of clicks), right click, open in WinAmp (very light, small application). With iTunes I'm still looking at "loading library.xml".

    Ugh, I guess VLC is an option, maybe I need to give it a chance.

    And your last statement is another bone of contention I have. What if I don't *WANT* something to get added to the iTunes library?

    This is another huge flaw with iTunes in my view. Let's say my friend lends me an album, or I download something (legally or not) to just listen to and dispose. A podcast would be a good example. I download TWiT and then dispose of it. I don't want it added to my goddamned library! Let's say I download an MP3 of a cymbol crash or a sound effect clip, say a 5 second joke from the Simpsons linked to on a website. Do I really want that added to my iTunes library?
  19. janstett macrumors 65816

    Jan 13, 2006
    Chester, NJ
    I don't neccessarily want OGG itself. I want the ability to play anything. You know, like dropping any random format of audio file onto WinAmp, it just plays it.

    Naturally my default choice for myself is one of the lossless codecs such as ALAC or FLAC. If they make a 300 GB iPod classic, I'm set.
  20. bloodycape macrumors 65816

    Jun 18, 2005
    I always applaud Samsung for including OGG. However, player from let say Cowon, also support OGG, Flac, and a few other formats, for audio alone. Then add rockbox to it APE and a few other formats are supported also.

    BTW rockbox, on an ipod device(except for the Classic) give you OGG and Flac support, along with APE, Wavpack and a few others.
  21. macbattle macrumors member

    Nov 21, 2007
    Exactly. That should be the default firmware Apple includes with out ipod. It gives us way more features than the stock crap.
  22. MagnusVonMagnum macrumors 601


    Jun 18, 2007
    I own an iPod Touch and I'd still like to know why most Mac people can't answer simple questions without trying to force an Apple product down their proverbial throats in the process. The guy is asking if there are OTHER MP3 players out there that can use iTunes (in any fashion) and most of you are telling him to go buy an iPod. It's none of my business why he doesn't want an iPod. Why do so many think it's theirs? Why do people discourage 3rd party development on the Mac platform anyway? Choice is good.

    My mother asked me just the other night about an MP3 or other music player she could use at work that's very portable and preferably under $100. She has a PC that her late husband bought, but doesn't really know how to do very much on it and has been hard to teach. She's too cheap to buy a Mac and would only use it for e-mail and web browsing anyway.

    Well, that leaves exactly one model from Apple in that price range and that's the Nano. The problem is 1-2GB doesn't hold a lot of CDs, especially if encoded at 256kbit like my portable library is (my home library is Apple Lossless and takes up over 120GB). So I'd either have to teach her how import her music and also then how to erase and change the music on the Nano due to its small storage space or tell her to buy a larger iPod that can hold more. The problem there is the remaining iPods get expensive FAST. The next model up is only 4 and 8GB and goes to $150-200 range. Neither option are even CLOSE to what my iPod Touch holds and it's considered TINY compared to the iPod Classic. The problem with the Classic is it's in the same price range as an iPod Touch. It's well away from her $100 price range. So, I might have to look into other MP3 style players myself.

    I would imagine the ideal for someone like my mother is something that can use something like SDRam cards for storage. You can get a 16GB SDHC ram card for $49. So if I can find a player for $50 that uses those, I'd meet her $100 price range and have just the right amount of storage for her needs. SDRam is also easy to load music onto from iTunes (just drag the music files to the drive icon or directory from the playlists or whatever and they're copied automatically.
  23. bloodycape macrumors 65816

    Jun 18, 2005
    You will be hard pressed to find a good quality device that supports SD(not micro/miniSD, as there a few good quality products that support micro and micsd for under $100) for even under $100. There are a lot of knock off Chinese(with a poorly made touch screen), and other poorly made devices out on the market. Most of them are decent at best and can be actually kind of hard to use for some.
    The best for your mothers needs would be either the Panasonic D-snap series mp3 players(not sure if SDHC is supported) but that cost around $130 on ebay direct from Japan. It is small and easy to use. There is also the Cowon D2, which does more than what she may want, not to mention it is a touch screen. But it does support SDHC, is one of the best sounding devices on the market, and it can be had for $120 off amazon for a 4gb.
    There is also the Creative Zen but the SD files are not integrated with the main files, and this product is decent(they are know for making good products but this one has one to many flaws). There is also the Archos 05 series devices. Their flash models also have SD card slot(with SDHC support), but their devices are more dedicated video devices and more than what you want to pay at a mini of $100 for a 405 model.
    There is also the simple but dated Motorola M25. It has an SD slot, but I did read there is a hack you can do to make it run SDHC cards but not sure if it works or not. On the plus side it uses AAA batteries.
  24. MacUser2525 macrumors 68000


    Mar 17, 2007
    Another Rush fan nice to see I have all their music as well as to your genre point you made somewhere in this post at the beginning I would say they were Progressive Rock now mostly Popish so bands do have different genres over their lifetime.
    Exactly that is just an example of Apple trying to lock everyone into to their own desired format the only reason they ever supported mp3 was hardly anyone would have ever bought an iPod without it. Although you can get an addon component to allow you to play ogg, all my files are encoded this way and other than not showing the track number the play fine.

    I have just under 20,000 in mine iTunes takes like 5-6 seconds at most from a cold start if I have had it open already it is almost instantaneous for the next start. Now my songs are not imported/converted into the library itself I turned off the management for that so they are just in a large playlist from having dragged and dropped the directories onto iTunes so that may have something to do with the start times.

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