Monday, April 3, 2017

Portable music redux

As mentioned Friday, something of mine did die on me a week ago that I  wrote about in January 2013 Here
This Sandisk Clip Zip  music player developed a couple of faults one being being unable to recharge the internal battery from a charger and the second being over 70% of the time it would not be recognized by my Windows Laptop so I could neither charge it from that nor add music to it. 😒
Bit of a problem, what?
I was looking at possible replacements as that manufacture has in many ways lost real interest in new players plus as no longer use exclusively Windows computers (Up with Linux!) something that doesn't reply on a Windows or Apple program to use it.
Recently the Chinese company Fiio discontinued its 2014 X1 player for the X1 Mark ii with blue tooth and a different round scrolling wheel which meant there were  number of the older players on the market both new and some used  and I was able to find one used in excellent condition  for little more than what I paid for the Clip Zip in late December 2012 which is quite a step up from that model.
Removed from its rubberized protective jacket, you can see a bigish 2.4 inch screen showing the menus you navigate using a scrolling wheel, an okay/confirm button in the centre and a back key on the top right. It may be a little old-fashioned in an age of touch screens but hey! it works and is easy to understand.
The bigger screen helps with album art often included in commercial downloads or those you might have on anything you've copied from cd yourself without the size and format restrictions that were trying.
Talking of formats without getting super technical, it'll play Mp3's from the likes of Amazon, AAC files as loved by iTunes and also used by 7digital and lossless "full cd quality" ones in Flac (Free Lossless Audio Codec) and Alac (the same thing but by Apple) other stores supply.
It also includes the ability to play 24 bit so-called High Resolution audio files some stores and artists offer should you have any which as it happens I do as they can sound better than regular cds even.
The headphone output is noticeably better, able to go louder easily when the music requires it without sounding strained and will drive most headphones very well as is.
The real beauty of this is by selecting it on the menu, it can output a very high quality 'line level output' to connect to a stereo system as if it was a audio component so you could use this like cd player except for playing your music files you might of bought from iTunes from instead without having your computer on.
On the right side of the case is a Micro SD card slot because this play has no internal memory but uses these popular and ever cheaper memory cards which means you can make a series of cards up by music types for example and just swap them over.
In Fiio's players you insert the card writing side toward the back of the player rather than the front. Presently it can take upto 128gb cards although cards over 32gb need to be 'formatted' using the formatting tool in the player before first using them to put your music on by just dragging and dropping the folders to the card.
Although it lacks a FM radio, something I do like for listening to shows like BBC Radio 4's "The World at One", this is a really good replacement for that no longer working Sandisk player.

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