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Which iPod?


rickmoen

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I'm not very happy with the performance of XM SkyFi (see XM Signal? thread), so I will probably replace it with an iPod and play through installed Autocom. Just curious as to which type of iPod riders are using - Hard Drive or Flash Memory? The hard drive models have larger storage, but are physically larger and may be susceptible to vibration and shorter battery life. The flash models don't have as much storage but handle vibration better with long battery life and are much smaller. Do you mount your iPod on the bike (ala CycleGadgets RAM mounts) or carry it in a pocket or tank bag? How about power? The flash models should be able go all day, or at least as long as your butt will allow, on battery power. Hard drive models? As always, thanks in advance. Rick

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I'd suggest an iPod Nano with flash memory -- no vibration to worry about. They now have an 8GB version. I've got a 4GB version, which is all I'll ever need (it seems). I have it attached, by velcro, to a ZTechnik mount that fits in the mirror holes on my R12RT handlebars. If it rains, I can just throw it in the tank bag. It's plugged into my Autocom, and runs off its own internal battery.

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I would recommend the iPod Nano series. For the exact reason of it is flash memory. I had a gen4 30gig iPod before and with normal use in an auto, never on a motorcycle, I trashed 3 hard drives. Now on the flip side my dad's gen3 30 gig has been every where! In the car, airplane, dropped and to Alaska and back on his GL1800. So with that said, I think the gen4s were kind of flaky. Now the gen5s (color screen), I have a few friends with them, but when they see my Nano they like the size much more. No hard drive failure so far within my friends.

 

As for mounting one the bike, I use mine with a Chatterbox unit and keep the Nano in my Stitch. My father keeps his iPod in either his Stitch or the left glove box of his GL. No wrong way to do it, just personal preference. I think my dad does have a hard mount via a RAM mount for the iPod. However, I know it is not on his bike now. I can’t remember why. I will get back to you.

 

Snowy.

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I'd say that it depends on the size of your music collection. If it will fit into 8gb then definitely go solid state if you can, but if not a hard drive unit will work OK if you provide some vibration isolation, I have been using a 60gb hard drive unit (Creative Vision:M) for some time without problems. I keep it in a soft camera case in the fairing pocket on my RT and use a remote control on the handlebar to control it... works great and completely waterproof. Battery life isn't an issue as the unit will run all day between charges, or for many days doing commute duty... I'm not sure that one of the tiny flash units would do any better. I tried to see if I could pare down to a subset of my library to something that would fit into 8gb but I couldn't even come close so looks like I'm going to be using a hard drive unit for the foreseeable future, but for a smaller library a flash unit would probably be the best way to go.

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+1 for what smiller said...depends on your overall useage pattern AND musical tastes/collection. My 80GB 5th gen is half full with high sample rate music from my own collection. I travel internationally for business several times per year and LOVE having the majority of my music collection available for listening vs. foreign language news channels. crazy.gif On the bike, I simply put it into my jacket slash pocket (upper chest on my jacket). If weather looks "iffy", I'll keep a spare heavy duty ziplock OR kayaking dry bag handy.

 

While there are other quality digital players, I'm a real fan of Apple and their customer support. (I've had to use it... blush.gif ) Check out their refub deals at http://store.apple.com/1-800-MY-APPLE/We...ecialdeals/ipod

 

Two other significant issues to do a search on are: (1) Etymotic ER6i IEC phones (or Shures or ArizonAls) and (2) an iJet remote control.

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A few thots...

 

Solid state is MUCH more reliable than a hard disk drive (HDD) in a high vibration environment such as being mounted to a bike or placed in a tank bag. If you REALLY-REALLY need the xtra storage of a HDD unit, then consider keeping it in a jacket (shirt?) pocket. One's body absorbs a lot of vibration! blush.gif

 

The HDD models tend to use more power than flash. In fact run time seems to be a primay advantage of competing units over iPods.

 

Key disadvantage of the Nano versus HDD iPods is the display size. For those of us with aging eyes, size matters! dopeslap.gif

 

It is widely anticipated that the next generation of iPods will move to SSD's (Solid State Drives which use flash instead of rotating disks). SSD's would not only provide the reliability of the Nano, but also use much less power so battery life would be extended several times.

 

For speculation purposes only - retail for 32MB SSD's is expected to be around $600 but Apple would be able to acquire these at a significant discount. 16MB and 12MB models should be available for 50% to 60% less...

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I've used an iPod Nano (2 gig flash); a CD/FM radio player and now have a Creative Zen hooked in to my Autocom.

 

All of them were hard wire the player into the bike's power and I stored everything (except the remote) under the seat.

 

The key for me is the ability to attach a remote.

 

With the Nano I tried using an iJet wireless. Never could get it to work consistently. The other two options had wired remotes which always work. The Zen is a HDD-based player. With the wired remote, it's proven to be the most reliable set-up.

 

YMMV

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We are also using the Creative Zen M 60Gb. It rides in the tail space under the luggage rack on a 1/2" thick piece of foam. We set it on random play and forget it. So far I think the longest we've run is about 4 to 5 hours and it was still showing half charge. We haven't had it long enough to comment on reliability.

 

I have essentially my entire CD collection on it, about 6000 songs. Although the product seems to work well, I have a great deal of issue with the product: Non-intuitive controls, poor manual, have never been able to get it to play an album of my choice (it will be happy to let you think you've selected an album and then play a random one instead), battery not user replaceable, comes with idiot dongle. The only way to charge it "as packaged" is with a USB cable, a computer in full on mode, and the dongle and supposedly you must install their software on the computer first (license limits you to one install). It takes 5 hours to charge this way, so the computer must stay on (not standby) for 5 hours. I think this is brown (opposite of green perhaps). You can buy wall and car charger units. List price from creative is about $50 ea. Amazon sells for about $30 ea. You can also get non-OEM units. We did this. The car charger is unusable (and we got also the BMW outlet to cigarette lighter outlet converter, thinking we would keep it charged on the bike), makes a loud high pitched whine, and creates so much electrical interference that you can't use other electronics around it. The wall charger works nicely, but was delivered with a broken case.

 

Has lots of little quirks that are annoying.

 

I hadn't heard of remote controls for it. Smiller, can you comment more on that or post a link to something?

 

Jan

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I hadn't heard of remote controls for it. Smiller, can you comment more on that or post a link to something?
You can buy one at the Creative web site, and usually Fry's Electronics if you have one nearby. The face of the remote is flat so if you place some clear lamination (clear Contact' paper or something) over the front it becomes completely waterproof with no affect to usability.

 

I haven't had any problems with mine BTW. The user interface isn't going to steal any awards away from the iPod but it works fine and overall the unit has been flawless in operation. The internal Li-Ion battery isn't user-replaceable and they did cheap out by not including a DC adapter, but that is pretty common these days and you will find the exact same things to be true with the iPod as well. What the Vision:M does have is better video and audio quality and I tend to weigh those factors more heavily than others, plus I must have the ability to set custom EQ settings and curiously enough Apple has not included this feature in the iPod even after all this time. Also the battery life of the ZVM is better by several hours when playing audio and fully double that of the iPod when playing video. It is thicker than the iPod though, to accommodate the larger battery. Just depends on your priorities.

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If a flash-based player will have enough capacity, and the features you want, that would be the preferred way to go, for durability and battery life. But, the other side of the coin isn't so bad. I like my setup just fine.

 

I recently replaced the battery in my 4th generation iPod, and it now gets ~12+ hours of playing time, which is more time than I'll usually spend in the saddle. My tank bag is electrified and I can power or recharge the iPod there if I need to. I don't have an Autocom (yet), so I carry the iPod in an interior jacket pocket. I listen through ER6is (excellent product, IMO, with very good wind noise isolation), with the cord kept inside my jacket. I control the iPod with an iJet RF remote that is velcroed next to the switchgear near my left hand. So, I'm not tethered to the bike, unless I'm charging/powering the iPod with my tankbag. I don't exactly seek out the smoothest surfaces to ride on, and (knocking on wood) I've never had the iPod freeze or skip when it is in my pocket. YMMV.

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I have the Creative Zen Vision:M 30GB and haven't had any of the problems you describe, mine charges form the car charger just fine, from the wall and in about 3 hours from the computer, I think you have a bad unit. If you put the switch in the Lock position it shuts down the screen after a couple of minutes and battery life is then 20+ hours playing audio. It doesn't have any specific features for podcasts which would be on my wish list, it thinks they are music and tries to treat them as albums and artists which doesn't really work, especially on random track play! Otherwise it has been great.

 

edit:

Oh yes, Apple is once again trying to achieve world domination by inventing proprietary formats, the Zen doesn't know how to play m4a files, there is a way to convert them but I just boycott (and inform) the people who produce them.

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I just got back yesterday from a month-long, 6000 mile trip Out West. I have an 8-gig Ipod Nano that I loaded up with music. I had it in my 'stich (inside pocket), and it was coupled to the Koss Earplug speakers matched with Etymotic ER 20 earplugs. (A guy at Rider's Warehouse told me about the combo, and how to modify the Koss plugs to work with the Etymotics.) The combination was great on the trip -- really good sound for about $35. But the coolest part was picking up an I-Jet controller unit -- the Nano slips into it, and you mount the remote control on your handlebars to provide a host of functions, even with gloves on, at speed. You can change volume, fast forward and back, skip tracks ("Why in hell did I put the Beach Boys on my unit?"), and even play through your car's fm radio. I mounted mine with velcro onto a ram-ball, using a clutch-reservoir cover ball. It was handy, and great for quickly reducing volume when I slowed down coming into towns. The whole system performed flawlessly.

 

Not affiliated with any of the above!

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bakerzdosen

Well, my 20gb iPod has served me well. It's one of the 2nd gen models purchased in 2002. I've replaced the battery ($30 and a sliced thumb later...) but otherwise have had very few problems with it (and since it's so thick, the newer battery gives me 24-26 hours of playback). The problem I have had (three times) was on a bike. It doesn't like cold temps. I always have the thing on me in my jacket pocket outside my Gerbing jacket. However, when I've been riding in cold temps (think low 30's or lower) for long stretches, the hard drive tends to just not want to start up. But, I warm it up when I arrive and it just keeps on ticking.

 

Next iPod will be flash based for that reason. Actually, I'll probably just get a cheaper flash based one (or iPhone depending on the price at the time) and then I'll have a HD based video one for plane rides.

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Oh yes, Apple is once again trying to achieve world domination by inventing proprietary formats, the Zen doesn't know how to play m4a files, there is a way to convert them but I just boycott (and inform) the people who produce them.

 

Sheesh. Will this nonsense never end? Apple didn't invent AAC. AAC is no more proprietary than MP3; in fact, it is less encumbered and less expensively licensed.

 

But since you hate proprietary format, I presume you're swearing off all Microsoft products right now.

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Apple didn't invent AAC. AAC is no more proprietary than MP3; in fact, it is less encumbered and less expensively licensed.
So which non Apple 'MP3' players can play this format? (It's a genuine question - I don't know the answer)
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Yes, AAC and MP4 aren't proprietary in themselves, just the DRM (digital rights management) locks that are applied by the vendor (although it would nice if iPods supported some more common video formats (DivX, Xvid, etc.) rather than just MP4 and H.264.) As a result of DRM most tracks and videos purchased via iTunes can only be played on Apple products and Apple has developed a bad jacket over this practice, but mostly because they just happen to be the biggest target as the practice is widespread. Microsoft has its own DRM format (MTP) which was getting to be universal for a while as it was supported by most other player brands other than Apple, but then Microsoft had to go and screw its customers by introducing yet another DRM format for the Zune (obsoleting their prior music purchases.) DRM just flat sucks, regardless of the perpetrator. I will give Apple some credit in at least they have shown a desire to get rid of DRM (guess they figured that they don't have much to worry about since they nearly own the market anyway), but have had to fight against most of the music industry. iTunes and Amazon will soon be offering DRM-free tracks (AAC format on iTunes, MP3 on Amazon) for a higher charge, but only for the EMI catalog so it's of limited value thus far, although hopefully other labels will eventually follow suit. Anyway, it probably won't be long before Steve Jobs makes these decisions rather than the recording industry, and I hate to say it but we may be the better for it. Microsoft is following, albeit very begrudgingly. BTW, note that even the DRM-free tracks that you purchase via iTunes have your name and email address embedded in the file... not sure if this is Apple's idea or a licensing requirement that they operate under.

 

Of course you can always just buy your music from Russia, providing access to the full catalog and at low cost and with no DRM restrictions. Yeah, it's illegal but given that the RIAA's practices so strongly incents their customers towards this option I guess this is what they want you to do.

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Of course you can always just buy your music from Russia, providing access to the full catalog and at low cost and with no DRM restrictions. Yeah, it's illegal but given that the RIAA's practices so strongly incents their customers towards this option I guess this is what they want you to do.

 

I never understood why the recording industry allowed such a hare brained scheme to start with. It would have made gobs more sense for the labels to have come up with the DRM lock format so all the players would support all the files no matter where you purchased it. All the competing formats does is encourage even more of the ripping and sharing they were to reduce.

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Apple didn't invent AAC. AAC is no more proprietary than MP3; in fact, it is less encumbered and less expensively licensed.
So which non Apple 'MP3' players can play this format? (It's a genuine question - I don't know the answer)

 

An incomplete list.

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bakerzdosen
So which non Apple 'MP3' players can play this format? (It's a genuine question - I don't know the answer)
(Before Mitch gets here, here's this link smile.gif )

 

Sony's a big one. The PS3 uses AAC as its default sound format. So, the PSP as well as all of their recent players supports the format.

 

Microsoft (gasp) Zune

Sandisk Sansa

 

Bunches of cell phones including those from Sony/Ericsson, Nokia, Blackberry, Samsung, and Palm.

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