Technology
Low End Theory: Why Discmen Won’t Die

Jwincd Entertaining article on why most of us buy CD players…One of the great puzzles of gadgetry goes thusly: Why are portable CD players outselling digital audio players three-to-one? No, that’s not a misprint—for every American who bought an iPod or Dell Jukebox in 2004, three of their countrymen bought a descendant of the 21-year-old Discman… Link.

16 thoughts on “Low End Theory: Why Discmen Won’t Die

  1. I use a portable CD-MP3 player “discman” type thing. It’s by far the best value I’ve found for portable music. You can fit 10 hours worth of music on one CD at bitrates that sound just fine through average headphones. CDRs are what… free nowadays? Also, I bought this for $30 at some store. I can consolidate my CDs into MP3 CDs, and continue to use my CD-binders, and built-in car CD holders conveniently. My new car (2k5 Focus) has an CD-MP3 player built into the stock stereo, so I couldn’t be happier. I don’t have to mess with tape adapters, or the ever-absent line-in port that auto manufacturers seem to neglect (except on my last car, 92 Plymouth Laser rocked the house). No, I can’t fit n0 gigs in my pocket, but I can fit more than enough for a trip, and the rest of the CDs stay in the binder. The player does fit in my pockets too, but I have big pockets.

    -Jesse

  2. I’m with you, Jesse! If you’re looking for a $50 music solution, then a mp3-capable CD player is the way to go.

    What does $50 buy you with the digital audio player realm? A 128MB or if you’re lucky, a 256MB player.

    Do I really have to explain how a mp3-capable CD player is better than a 128MB digital audio player?

    A. 700 MB vs. 128MB.

    B. Easier to switch CDs in and out of CD player vs. fumbling with transfer process of 128MB digital audio player

    C. Versatility of playing mp3 CDs in other CD players

    Now, don’t get me wrong. I would love to have a $300 ipod. But I’m content with my mp3 capable CD player that i got for FREE when I bought my scanner about 4 years ago!

    Though it is a bit of annoyance trying to go jogging with my cd player. I have to hold it just a certain way to avoid skipping. That’s the only trade-off with my cd player. Otherwise, I’m happy with the variety i get from one cd’s worth of music (about 120 songs). When I get tired the cd, I pop in another cd with another 120 songs worth.

    -erik maldre

  3. I paid $13 for my CD player and it’s outlasted any MP3 I’ve gotten and it sounds better. I got an MP3 CD player off eBay for $20 and I’m left wonder what the fuss is all about. MP3 players are nice, but they’re not worth the price yet.

  4. Also the MP3 format has gaps in between tracks that absolutely ruin several of my CDs when they’re ripped to MP3 players. To date, I’m not aware that this has been fixed, although I’m sure a quick Google would provide more information.

  5. CDs beat MP3 every time when it comes to quality and price (the latter especially at the player, a top CD player comes at maybe €60 where a top MP3 player costs 8-10 times as much).
    I don’t need 10GB of MP3s to go cycling for an hour or two, one or maybe 2 CDs are more than enough.
    And if your trip is longer you have the room to take a few more CDs (and being who I am if the trip takes several days I end up buying CDs where I’m travelling anyway).

    MP3 players are all about hype, fashion, following the stampeding hurd to adopt the latest gadget.
    Portable CD players maybe used to be like that, 10 years ago. But they outgrew that, something I doubt MP3 players ever will.

  6. i use an ipod, but thats only cause i got it from freeipods.com. other than that, i probably wouldn’t take music with me. unless i’m on a trip, or my friend has a cd player in their car

  7. LAME: It’s not the MP3 format that has “gaps” between tracks, it’s the player that inserts gaps. Either through poor caching methods, or just downright neglegence. My portable CD-MP3 player will start caching the next song before the one it’s on is done, so it will seamlessly switch to the next track with no skip. When I’m playing two consecutive tracks that originally flowed-into one another, it does it perfectly. The CD-MP3 player that’s built into my car annoyingly has a .5 second skip between ANY songs, whether it’s MP3-CD or just regular CD. I hates it.

    -Jesse

  8. Jesse: LAME is right. He is talking about MP3 format itself (not players), which cannot handle seamless track joins. This is due to spectrum processing, in which an abrupt stop means a nearly infinite frequency spectrum. Formats like OGG successfully overcome this limitation, yet they are not widely used. Has anyone seen an OOG player yet? :)

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