Saturday, December 05, 2009


Edit: Yes, this post needs to be updated slightly. I now possess the world's greatest PMP, the incredible Cowon S9. Magnificent.

Moving onto the post as originally written (will update it... Eventually)
Many people have asked me for PMP (Portable Music Player) recommendations. Well, I'd like to think that starting off with a crappy Mitashi, working my way up to a Creative Neeon and now a Cowon D2, having listened using crappy bundled earphones, Sony, Grado, Sennheiser and Klipsch, I've got a fair idea of which PMP to pick up.

I also realise that requirements are different - a college student can't ask his dad for the money for a iPod Touch 32GB (most college students, anyway), nor will a frequent traveller want just 2 GB of music at a time. Below, based on a couple of years of scouring the player market, I've come up with five PMP recommendations for the five classes of music listeners I've been able to come up with.

(PS: I insist on using the term 'PMP' instead of 'MP3 player' because, well... JPEGs, AVI and FLAC are not MP3s, really)

1. I just want a player da!
Player: Transcend TSonic
eBay Price: 4 GB for INR 2099
Pros: Cheap, functional, FM. Perfect for the beginners
Cons: Extremely basic, iffy construction, only ok-ok sound
An alternative: Ivo Moserbaer 2GB for INR 1490 at Croma

2. I want good sound, but don't have enough money!
Player: Philips GoGear
eBay Price: 2 GB for 3500
Croma Price: 4 GB for 5999
Pros: Good sound, nice screen, superb value for money
Cons: None I can think of, really!
3. I want good music, and a sexy screen. Money no limit.
Player: iPod Touch
eBay Price: 8 GB for 12000
Croma Price: 8 GB for 12400
Pros: Super sound, droolworthy screen, superb for video, photos and WiFi
Cons: Can't play FLAC, non-expandable memory, have to use iTunes (douche!)

4. I want superb sound, and the ability to play FLAC files. And expandable memory and the ability to tweak a lot!
Player: Cowon D2
eBay price: 8 GB for 8000
Croma price: 16 GB for 9999
Pros: Fantastic sound, incredible battery life, can tweak sound like crazy, useful stylus-stand, can play Flash games (!) and of course... Plays FLAC files!
Cons: UI might take a little while to get used to, not as sexy as the iPod touch.

5. I want to carry all my music with me! Player: iPod Classic
eBay price: 160 GB for 14000
Croma price: 160 GB for 15200
Pros: The storage space, period. And of course that nice wheel. And many accessories available.
Cons: No FLAC. A little heavy, too. And of course, iTunes.
Word of advice: Throw away the bundled earphones for whichever player you buy. And get a decent pair of Sennheisers / Philips / Sony if you're on a budget. Trust me, a Transcend with a 1000-buck pair of Sennheisers sounds WAY better than an iPod Touch with the bundled earphones.

My player: The Cowon D2. A fantastic player, it's never let me down. Everything from music to videos to recording to FM. I listen to it using the brilliant Grado SR80 at home, and Klipsch Image S4 while travelling. At home, I use the Altec Lansing MX5021. I use an 8GB Sandisk SD card, giving me a total capacity of 12 GB.

My dream player: the incredible Cowon S9, rated by many people as the best player on the market currently, costs around INR 12000. Update: I'll be buying this baby soon, for $260 from Amazon, USA.Headphone recommendations:

First recommendation: Get rid of the stock earphones that came with your player. I said it once, I'll say it again.

I'll keep this simple. Go to Croma's earphone section and pick up anything as long as it ain't crap. All Sennheisers are excellent bets (MX160 is excellent value for money at INR 470, the PX100 for 2400 is legendary and the HD201 for home use is superb value at 900 bucks. CX300 is one of the best in-ear headphones I've used, perfect for portable, it's at 2400).
If you want a little more, and have money, and have an uncle going to the US, get a Grado, but they're strictly for home use (I got my SR80s for USD 99.99). Other brands to consider: Klipsch (I love my S4s, came at a price though), Shure (if you have a legacy left behind or something). But pretty much anything over 1000 bucks is safe. If you want Bluetooth (like for the iPod Touch or Cowon S9), try Sony's DR-BT22 (bought them for a friend for INR 2400)

eBay vs Croma: Truth be told, it's really not too much of a difference. Like the Touch, for instance - I'd rather pick it up from Croma and have peace of mind than from some shady place in Lamington Road.

There you go, I hope this helps. And of course, share this list if you like it.


Cow-Herd said...

My PMP is an iPod Classic 80GB version. And yes, the Sony DR-BT22A's rock :) Thank you! I also use a Nokia E-63 with a 4GB card for everyday use, Radio, Online Radio, YouTube on the move and various other things that the iPod cant do.

clever indian said...

Your blog is stylish.

NRkey Menon said...

Any idea about Creative(TM)??

Anirudh said...

I wish you had posted this earlier :D Would've saved me some looking around. I had posted a question on Yahoo Answers long back - . Ended up buying Creative Zen (didn't get the X-Fi) and no earphones (no cash!). Anyways, it's time to replace my earphones so this guide should come in handy. Thanks bro :)

Gurdit said...

I don't normally bookmark pages, but I did this one because I intend to come back and check out those MP3 players.

I would have liked to have had your opinions on the creative zen, and other alternatives for the iPod 160GB. I would like to be able to carry around a good amount of music, but I'm hesitant as far as iPods are concerned.

Deepak Gopalakrishnan said...

@Arjun: I know you look for convenience and all, but the E63's music quality sucks, really. Some Sonys comes with Bluetooth. Cowon S9 does, but then... *aaah*

@CleverIndian: Thank you! But the layout is not mine, I just used a template!

@NRKey: Creative is pretty good, dude. I used one for a long time. You can't go wrong with those. I feel kinda lame now, in hindsight, for not putting up a Creative on the list. Or a Samsung Yepp. But then, this is just a list of my preferences!

@Anirudh: Really wish you'd got the X-Fi, heard many good things about it. Including the fact that it's probably the only PMP to come with good bundled earphones - the Creative EP630.

@Gurdit: Thanks for the bookmark :) Zen is a very nice player. Maybe I should find some more 'categories' to fit it in :) Go for the X-Fi, very good player. iPods per se are not too bad. And if you want 80+ GB, only the iPod can give you that, I don't think there are any other PMPs that will deliver that capacity. And 60 GB versions of Creative and Cowon are sexy, but shit expensive! iPod classic offers superb bang for INR/GB :)

Thanks for reading and commenting, everyone.

Anonymous said...

Saw your blog with this post first and thought, someone is marketing stuff. Nevertheless owing to the looks, started reading. And then wow. It is really good. Even for a person, who think listening with earphones will make a dumb me deaf too by the age of 30,and restrict listening to music only to keep from falling asleep while working, it was so good. The flow and the humour. Yeah, you rock :)

வெங்கிராஜா | Venkiraja said...

IMO, The Zune is the sexiest thing amongst PMPs. With full HD output, an improved touch and a relatively better UI - Zune Media sync's. All the more features (+8 gigs!) for the same price of an iTouch.

I own an 80 gig iClassic and ain't disppointed which is a different issue. Why is the idiotic Apple stock earphone overhyped? Because it is ONLY white, I believe. Creative Ep-635 is relatively far better!

JanuskieZ said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Deepak Gopalakrishnan said...

@Gayathri: I never market anything through the blog. These are out of personal preferences. And yes - earphones. Use them properly. Many people recommend not going above 6/10 on the volume scale, and that's a fair thumb rule.

Also, get in-ear headphones. They automatically block off most outside noise and you will be less tempted to turn the volume up.

@Venkiraja: I used a first generation Zune for a while (a friend has it) and the process of transferring songs to the player was more painful than getting root canal work done.

And yes, Apple earbuds KILL the iPod experience. Creative makes excellent value-for-money earphones, EP630 is probably the best thing you can pick up for below a grand.

rapdas said...

What about these?

Heard quite a bit about these...

Deepak Gopalakrishnan said...

@Rapdas: Me too. Problem is, I haven't tried too much stuff like Audio Technicas and Denons and all. So can't vouch for them! So just giving my recos based on my experience!

portable music players said...

Music is the main part of entertainment now a days. There are lots of music players for playing latest musics. You can choose the best music player from all of the mp3 players in india.

awesome Earphones for your Journey said...

Those are pretty cool, Thanks for sharing

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