As readers will know, I travel frequently on the train to Karmiel which is a three hour journey going there and three and a half back (there is a twenty minute wait coming back). Less frequently I travel to Tel Aviv or Haifa; during all of these journeys I listen to music so the topic of a good mp3 player is frequently on my mind. For these trips I use the Sony noise cancelling headphones which I bought at the beginning of the year; these provide excellent sound (and I don't hear my fellow travellers) but there is no built in mp3 player, so I need an external one.
The venerable Sansa Clip is well designed but keeps on starting from the beginning; as I have slightly over 1700 songs on the memory card, it is very annoying at the beginning of each journey to find the song which I last heard. Supposedly this player can start from where it left off the previous time, but when I turn it on, I am presented with a menu which begins "Play all songs". Maybe I should restore the factory defaults and see what happens then.
The cheap ones which I bought in May are ... cheap. At least they continue playing from the last song heard, but their battery capacity is two hours at most. This means that on the trip to Karmiel, I have to extract the memory card from one player and insert it into another. I've given up with these.
I have ordered yet another player from Ebay but this has yet to arrive so I can't comment on it.
For walking around the kibbutz, I have a pair of headphones with a built in player; these are good, the player continues from the last song played (which normally is good, but problematic if the 'song' is a complete album). The headphones themselves aren't as good as the Sony ones, which is not surprising; these barely cover the ears and don't fold, so I don't take them on the train.
What I would like is an mp3 player which continues from exactly where it was when it was turned off (as opposed to playing from the last song heard or from the beginning) and which I can connect, either via cable or Bluetooth to the Sony headphones. I still haven't found what I'm looking for, as Bono once sang.
On the other hand ... one summer activity of mine is swimming. I find this very boring, especially when my stamina builds up and I can swim 20+ lengths. Whilst browsing for mp3 players, I came across an intriguing entry: an mp3 player for swimmers with built in earbuds! As they don't cost very much, I thought that I would take the plunge and order a set. They arrived today and I've been playing with them all afternoon (I'll test them in the pool tomorrow).
As opposed to the other players, these have no external memory card; the songs are stored on internal memory. They supposedly have a capacity of 8GB, but actually have about 7GB - this is still enough for about 1400 songs which would take a very long time to listen to - much longer than I swim all summer long - so this isn't really a problem. On the other hand, having earbuds means that I can use this player whilst wearing my Italian straw hat. This is a definite plus. The sound quality is not bad at all, provided that one doesn't listen too loud.
The main problem with this player which I have already established is that accessing the controls is very difficult: the player is supposed to be worn around the neck with the controls at the back of the neck and the leads connecting the earbuds to the player are very short. On the other hand, one is hardly likely to start fiddling with the controls when one is swimming. I imagine that I will turn the player on when I get to the pool, swim then turn it off at some stage. The controls themselves are slightly confusing.
One has to 'break the player in half' in order to extract the player itself in order to load songs and charge it. It's easy to take the player out but slightly harder to replace it. I only hope that replacing it frequently does not ruin the water-tight seal: this player won't be any good if it doesn't survive its first swimming session!
I have yet to establish its behaviour with regard to song order and from where it starts. It seems so far that the player doesn't handle directories, meaning that all songs have to be in the root directory. I seem to recall that a root directory can have at most 512 files; as these players use the FAT system, this may be a problem. At least all (or at least, most) of the files have their playing number incorporated both in the filename (e.g. 2105 Cottonwood) and in the mp3 tag, so this shouldn't cause a problem. I can sort the files to be in physical according to their names, which overcomes another problem. So far, the songs are playing in order. I've only copied about fifty songs which should be enough for the time being.