A Farewell To Zen

It’s been about three years now since I finally gave up on MiniDisc (in 2003) as my primary provider of portable music…despite the advent of long play, my music collection had simply grown too large for the use of removable media to be practical. I was carting around a bag full of discs, and though far more practical than CDs, the numbers involved made it a cumbersome solution.

Although I miss the high-quality recording capabilities, for general listening a hard drive player is a far better option for those of us who have absurdly large music collections – and when I feel like recording a gig, I can easily fish out my MD unit for the occasion.

Anyway, there were two main reasons I chose the Zen over the iPod – 1) it was cheaper, and 2) it had a removable/replaceable battery.

The lack of a removable battery means that most mp3 players will inevitably become nothing more than expensive paperweights – unless you send your player away to have the battery replaced, although it would probably be more cost-effective to simply buy a new player altogether. At any rate, I bought a backup battery for the player last year, which is useful to have when the playback life of the original battery deteriorates – or if you simply forget to charge it.

Now, three years later, my Zen is working as perfectly as the day it was bought. Although the jog dial/button can be a bit awkward to use, the interface is simple and intuitive. Creating playlists is easy, and even browsing through thousands of songs takes very little time.

However, I have now reached the point where 30GB simply doesn’t even come close to storing all my mp3 files – I have over 100GB of music now, so I inevitably have to decide what music goes on the player and what doesn’t. Bearing this in mind, the actual amount of music I might want to listen to over any given month can easily be contained in 4GB – which is much easier to dynamically manage than 30GB.

So, I bought a 4GB memory stick for my Sony Ericsson K750i, and this has now become my primary portable music player. Although the sound quality is not as good as the Zen, I tend to listen to it on the bus or in the car, where differences in sound quality are completely overwhelmed by the levels of ambient noise anyway…


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