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The player is built with a full version of Android, complete with Wi-Fi connectivity and the Google Play Store, which results in it being kind of like an Android version of the iPod touch, able to do much more than just play music. However, the Onkyo DP-X1A is built for super-high-quality audio, and it's an absolute dream. It supports a range of music formats, including FLAC, OGG, WAV, MP3, ALAC, and more. In terms of hardware, the device has two chipsets, one to power the overall device, and one to handle the DAC and amplifier – resulting in a noise-free experience. There are also none of the neat extra bits you get in one of Apple’s players. The Clip Sport won’t work with earphone remote controls, it won’t remember where you were navigating in your music library should you leave the player for quite a while, and it won’t pause music when you unplug your earphones. And there's style to match the substance, with manufacturers also competing on design to deliver players that look as good as they sound. Fan of brutalist architecture? Astell & Kern is the name for you. Something a bit more colorful? See SanDisk or Sony. Want something about the size of a matchbox? Cowon's Plenue D3 is the one – see them all in our guide above. Why do people still use MP3 players? However, presentation of the mid-range is different. The Clip Sport has much more up-front, harder mids, making vocals sound closer to your ears. The softer, more diffuse mids of the iPod Classic are a little easier on the ear, and the Clip Sport can sound a little harsh at times. However, in pure sound quality terms they are roughly comparable – not great, but decent. But it’s not bad. It’s a full colour display, and the interface makes good use of the colour palette. It’s bright, it’s colourful and quite simple too, with none of the fiddliness of some other budget players.

These days a small cheap player doesn’t need to mean a compromise in sound quality. The SanDisk Clip Sport offers decent sound quality and – as long as you don’t select Europe as your region – masses of volume. It’s a 1-inch 128 x 128 pixel LCD display. That’s slightly higher-res than the 96 x 96 pixel screen of the Clip Zip, but it’s still pretty low-res compared with today’s phones, and the 240 x 432 pixel screen of the iPod nano. As we saw with the Clip Sport’s build, it’s not quite Apple-grade. The panel quality is just OK, with pretty severe contrast shift should you turn the screen at the wrong angle. You get a pair of earphones in the box, and they’re of reasonable quality. They’re IEM-type isolating earphones – a bit bassy and with just entry-level sound, but not terrible.Another reason is that not everything you might want to listen to is available on the various streaming services –and not everything that's there today might be there tomorrow, because songs and even artists come and go. By synchronising an MP3 player with your desktop music collection you can always be sure that you can hear what you want to hear. A big bonus for many people is that with your own music collection, you don't need to pay a monthly subscription to listen to it, or to listen to it without advertising. As the name suggests, Lossless Audio doesn't sacrifice any of the musical information: the successors to the WAV format used in CDs, which is also lossless, use more advanced technology to take the audio information and make the file smaller without compromising on quality. There are several versions of Lossless Audio including Apple Lossless, FLAC and WMA Lossless, and as you'll see from our guide above you'll often find that the best MP3 players support at least some of those formats.

The M11S is insightful enough to make minor or transient information apparent, and it can describe the most nuanced dynamic variations in a solo instrument with ease. It has more than enough headroom to dispatch the big dynamic shifts with no difficulty, and it can also describe a big, wide and properly defined soundstage. The treble is perhaps a little on the bright side, but not so much that we'd consider it a deal breaker. Some people enjoy listening to MP3 players when they work out, so they don't have their phone with them. Whether that's also to keep calls and messages at bay or keep their phone safe. You don’t have to listen long, hard, or through especially accomplished headphones to realise the M11S is the real deal. In every meaningful music-making respect, it has skills – and in some areas, it’s a genuine expert. IEC 60529 IPX5: Tested to withstand water flow (12.5L/min) at 3 min. Must be clean and dry before use. The Fiio M11S does an excellent job of gently undercutting its closest rival, the Astell & Kern a&norma SR25 Mk II. You've got so many great options, such great sound, and such high-spec parts that it's very easy to look at the saving and decide it's worth putting into a nice high-capacity microSD card instead of its higher-priced rival.MP3 players won't suit everyone, many prefer the convenience of having all of their music on their phones, but there are plenty of reasons why an MP3 player is a great idea for some people. Is MP3 quality as good as CD? The SanDisk Clip Sport is a small, fairly cheap MP3 player. It doesn’t have the gloss of Apple and there are few improvements over old models, but it is better.

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