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Wired.com Readers' Favorite Portable Music Players

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Wired.com Readers' Favorite Portable Music Players
: When Sony released the first Walkman in 1979, it changed the way music lovers saw the world. Suddenly everything around us played to whatever soundtrack we created, emotionally augmenting otherwise mundane experiences.
The iPod in 2001 brought more headphone wanderers into the fold with its monolithic success, but for many, it's not the musical companion of choice. Some of our readers' submissions took the 'portable music player' topic a little loosely, but here are some of our favorites.
Left:Archos Jukebox
Submitted by Brad Hodges
Photographer's comment:
"In preparation for several years in Central Africa, I bought this device long before MP3 players were commonplace. Boasting one of the first internal hard drives (20 GB) and a built-in recorder, it was a source of entertainment for an entire African village during three years in the tropical rainforest. I returned to the U.S., then spent a cold winter in Canada with it. Back in the U.S. again, it's still my favorite MP3 player, despite its small screen and amazing simplicity.”
: Sony D-88
Submitted by Jason Sewell
Photographer's comment:
"The Sony D-88 blew my mind when I first saw it. As far as I know, this is the only CD player with a footprint smaller than a compact disc. Two-thirds of the disc stuck out of the player. And if you could find any of the smaller CDs, you could actually reposition the spindle so that the entire disc fit inside the player."
: "The first" portable music player, early 30s
Submitted by PAOMAG
Photographer's comment:
"Early Columbia portable with 'automatic' louvres. There is a further subdivision of portable machines, which takes in the many novelty miniature and folding gramophones, particularly popular in the late 1920s, but still being made in the 1950s. Some collectors collect nothing but these novelties, of which there are dozens of variations."
: AM/FM Headphone Radio
Submitted by Ian
Photographer's comment:
"Remember these? I guess lightning-risk awareness was not an issue at that time."
: DataPlay Mini-DVD Player by iRiver iDP-100
Submitted by Jacquie Dutton
Photographer's comment:
"It coulda been someone … it coulda been a contender ... there were two devices and two dozen albums ready to ship to stores. Then DataPlay went bankrupt. Everyone ran. Flash memory came down in price. And Apple did something unthinkable: It incorporated nearly obsolete small form-factor hard drives — a commodity — into something HOT. But the secret sauce is always the software, and iTunes had the winning recipe.”
: mobiBLU b153
Submitted by Jake
Photographer's comment:
"It wasn't pretty, but it got the job done. The mobiBLU b153 had voice recording, a customizable equalizer, an FM radio and more. It was cheap at the time, too: 2 GB for only $120. The kicker, though, was its 153 hours of battery life."
: Boom Box
Submitted by Sam
Photographer's comment:
"Eight D-cell batteries guaranteed three hours of use on or off the basketball courts!"
: Diamond Rio PMP300
Submitted by Anonymous
Photographer's comment:
"You kids and your flash players with USB ports and SD slots … this is the great granddaddy of all of your new small players, the original 32-MB Diamond Rio. Connected through the parallel port, ran on one AA, and if you had the money for some flash, could be expanded with SmartMedia.Who cares about the 17th anniversary of the iPod? We should be more concerned about the 10th anniversary of the first portable MP3 player to see any success at all.”
: Portable music in a big way
Submitted by Not Anon
Photographer's comment:
"Seriously, the thing was the size of a brick. Owned one before my Zune. Loved the thing. Still miss the Rio DJ feature."
: XM Helix by Samsung
Submitted by Anonymous
Photographer's comment:
"It's like a self-loading iPod and I'm not paying $1/song. I have a home cradle to listen through my surround system, and set it to record overnight. Next day, I put it in my car cradle, and listen to live tunes w/o ads; buh-bye FM. At work, I listen to saved music on 15 hrs battery. I edit the stuff recorded the night before, lock in the good and skip the bad. Cap: ~850 songs. When I hear something good on live broadcast, I hit REC and it's mine!"
: Sansa slotMusic Player
Submitted by Mike Kabala
Photographer's comment:
"Even though most people are calling it a doomed format, I love my Sansa slotMusic player, shown here with an optional cover that lets me carry up to three additional micro SD or slotMusic cards. I enjoy being able to create custom playlists that I can listen to by simply plugging in a card and pressing 'Play,' rather than having to mess with menus or even look at a screen."
: Sony MPD-AP20U, the CD/DVD player and CD writer that played MP3 DVDs!!
Submitted by Anonymous
Photographer's comment:
"Supported media: DVD-ROM, DVD-Video, DVD-R, DVD+R, DVD-RW, DVD+RW, CD-ROM, CD-ROM XA, Photo CD, CD Text, Video CD, CD-DA, CD Extra, CD-R, CD-RW. Additional media: Memory Stick Reader/Writer (Purple Stick). Write methods: Track-at-once, Disk-at-once, Session-at-once, Fixed packet writing. Write speed: CD-R Write: 4X, 8X, 8~24X Z-CLV max.; CD-RW Write: 4X, 8X, 10X max. Memory Stick: 1.5MB/s."
: Sony Walkman Sports Edition (radio and cassette player)
Submitted by Michael
Photographer's comment:
"It might be missing a few dials and buttons, but it's been with me for a long time (through art school and my many travels) and still works.... (Sony really missed the bus on the MP3 player, IMO.)"
: Soundwagon: Smallest Record Player Ever
Submitted by Martin
Photographer's comment:
"I used to carry this (soundwagon) around with me so I could drop it on a record in weird, dusty old record shops that didn't let you listen to the goods. I'm sure it's the worst ever for a record ... but it works."
: Toshiba XR-P9 Portable/Dockable CD Player, circa 1986
Submitted by Anonymous
Photographer's comment:

"When I saw this page, I went to the basement and dug out my original XR-P9 (long non-functional). Seems I have the full kit: original leather-ette carry case with battery pack (6 C cells!), IR receiver and remote.The power wedge slides off for use with the case.
My first CD player, chosen and loved for its versatility. Found this pic on eBay, but you get the idea...."
: Xclef
Submitted by Jon
Photographer's comment:
"The Xclef is a dream for those of us who know how to build our own systems. I put my own 100-GB drive in there (standard laptop-sized drive), and can swap it out if I want. I can offload it and load onto it from Mac and PC, and the built-in equalizer sounds so much better than anything else I've heard. I wish they didn't stop making this because it truly is an amazing player."
: The original Zen Touch
Submitted by Anonymous
Photographer's comment:
"The coolest MP3 player at the time, better sound quality then the iPod, etc...."


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