Please help me find the right mp3 player


I’m interested in buying an mp3 player that’s inexpensive, has good sound quality and is compatible with a Mac computer. I would like to download music to it (either mp3 files or directly from iTunes) from my Mac, then plug its audio out into my amp, and play my electric bass along with the music.

I have no previous experience with any mp3 players. Hopefully, some of you folks could provide me with some tips on which models could work for me.

I thank you in advance.

How much music do you want to put on the player? What is your budget? 

The Sandisk Clip Sport and Clip Jam are limited in how many songs their databases can hold. Do you want to put over 2,000 songs on the player?

1,000 is going to be more than enough.

What’s the difference between the Sandisk Clip Sport and Clip Jam ?

How would they both compare with the Clip+ ?

The Clip Sport and the Clip Jam have the same processor. The Clip+ and Clip zip have the same processor. The processor in the Clip+ and Clip Zip has greater capabilities, however it also consumes much more power than the processor in the Clip Jam or Clip Sport. The Clip+ and Clip Zip have battery life listed as 15 hours, while for the Clip Sport it is 25 hours, and the Clip Jam 18 hours. I have the Clip+, Clip Zip, and Clip Sport. my Clip+

and Clip Zip have Rockbox installed. Rockbox is a free alternative firmware(operating system) for the player that offers many more features and settings. It is not available for the Clip Sport or Clip Jam, due to the less powerful processor they have. The Clip Sport is rather similar to the Clip Jam except that the Clip sport is slightly larger and has a larger display. 

The Clip Sport and Clip Jam keep the contents of internal memory in a separate database from that of the songs on the card. Playlists can only contain songs from one or the other and not both. The Clip+ and Clip Zip integrate the songs from internal memory and card memory. Those who want to have 2,000 songs on a Clip Sport or Clip Jam and shuffle all the songs would put all the songs on a card in the player. There is a new experimental firmware for the Clip Sport that raises the database limits to 4,000 songs for each. 

The Clip+ and Clip Zip can play protected WMA files which the Clip Sport and Clip Jam can’t play. 

Of the Clip+, Clip Zip, and Clip Sport, my favorite is the Clip Zip. The extra battery life on the Clip Sport is nice though. For those who don’t plan to put over 2,000 songs(or perhaps 4,000 using the new exprimental firmare)  on the player, the Clip Sport is likely to be good enough. I wouldn’t get the Clip Jam though as it is basically a Sport with a smaller display and less battery life.

Thank you for all the detail.

I’m assuming that all the models that you have mentioned are Mac compatible.

What are some of the preferred places to buy these players?

Thank you for your kind help.

You didn’t say where you are. The Clip+ and Clip Zip are available on Ebay. New ones might be a bit expensive. 

Refurbished ones might be much cheaper. The Clip Sport and Clip Jam can be bought at Amazon or B&H.

All other things being equal, you’ll probably want the Clip Zip for Mac compatibility. 

The Clip Zip will play .m4a files from iTunes. If you have bought songs on iTunes and haven’t changed the default format, that’s what you’ve got in your library. 

I’m fond of my Clip+, but the Clip+  does not play .m4a files.  You would have to convert them to mp3. You can do that in iTunes–highlight, right-click,  Create mp3 version—but you’ll double the number of files you are storing and you’ll have to make sure you are transferring the right files from iTunes’ goofy folder system.

Frankly, the most Mac-compatible players are those players I call doPi. Sure, they’re overpriced and lack external storage and features like radio and recording  but…Apple likes to keep you in its walled garden. 

Standalone players are a disappearing breed. Why not play the music from your phone? 

I like the clip+ but I don’t like ebay. I didn’t realize that they were not being manufactured anymore. I live in upstate NY. I may try Target or Walmart so see if they have some overstock. I’m trying to stay around or below the $50 mark.

I realize that standalone players become increasingly more difficult to find. Hopefully I can get one to serve my needs. I don’t have a cell phone and I appreciate the freedom.

I doubt you will find a Clip+ in a store. it is more likely that you will find a Clip Zip, although even that isn’t so likely to find now. 

I just bought a Clip+ on for $67.

Hoping I’ll be happy.

Thanks for all your time and patience.

@odedbenami wrote:

I just bought a Clip+ on for $67.

Hoping I’ll be happy.

Thanks for all your time and patience.

Good for you–hopefully, you will love it!    :slight_smile: