So my folks! Are you in the market to find a dedicated portable media player?
Yes, there are some bums who still do that. I am one of those. My phone hasn’t yet replaced my music player and there are reasons for that.
1. Too many interruptions with too many notifications.
2. Battery drains faster.
3. Lastly – maybe not for everyone, but whenever I am on my motorbike and my phone is playing the music, if I get a call I have to hear the whole ringtone playing in my ear before if goes off.

So I like to carry around a separate music player to ENJOY my music UNINTERRUPTED. Now when you are in the market looking for one, the best and the most obvious option you have is the – iKnew that iWon’t be iSsappointed – ya there is no “D” cause nothing can come before “i”. Now however cool the iDevices are – they are not cheap and they are not for everybody. I am one of those people who have a couple of them lying around – yes I tried – but just can’t use them. I am iDumb.
Well if you are one of those who suffer from the same iLLNESS as I do, you have very limited “GOOD” options. To name a few – Fiio, iBasso, Cowon, SanDisk, Creative etc. Well most of these are not cheap and again some of them do not have the iNtuitive UI. Some of them are downright cumbersome to use. I tried all named above except iBasso. Right now one of my drawers look like a PMP graveyard.

Now I realized late and after spending a chunk of hard earned money that the same can be achieved for a little cheaper. Ok the solution is not going to have all the boast-able features of inbuilt Wolfson DAC and the other Fancies but trust me, it will be a solution that turns out to be the simplest and cheapest. This is what I did:
1. Take an old phone – preferably android, but others work as well. I am using an old Sony Experia.
2. Remove you SIM, remove your SD Card. Factory reset it. Make sure to remove all the apps from it, remember you have a phone with all the apps in it. Now update it to the latest OS. Go back and “Disable” the apps that you can from the settings. Put it on Flight Mode.
3. Now get a massive memory card – 64GB class 10/SDXC etc. they are really cheap, fraction of what you will pay for the inbuilt memory on any of the PMPs.
4. Now go ahead and install any of these – PowerAmp, Shuttle, PlayerPro, Double Twist, N7Player and many more. Choose your style, choose your UI, and choose the way you want your music to show up. If you like the sync features with your Windows/Mac library, I have always found the media monkey player to work the best, though I have only ever tried these on Android devices.

Why I like this setup?
1. Very cost effective, everyone has an old backup phone. If not you can pick one up for peanuts, or I am sure your friends or family will be happy to just give away one of their old ones.
2. You can choose your UI. I love the combination of simplicity and features that media monkey gives me on the go, but then I found PowerAmp to be the one most capable in terms of sound quality equalization.
3. The option of installing apps. If you have access to and want to install 8tracks, Saavn, Pandora, Spotify, Soundcloud, You Tube – not many players other than the iDevices give you the option to have fully compatible and tested apps.
4. To work things on the go you can just get yourself a SIM with a data plan, they are cheap too. I have one with 3 GB/month and that is more than enough to keep all the music streaming apps running on the go.
5. For me the most exciting bit is that you can play anything, any file format. You are not bound by what the manufacturer wants you to listen to. If you have it, you can play it. I have media in many formats, FLAC, APE, ALAC, MP3, WMA plenty. I do not have to convert file formats anymore. Well, that feels good.
So next time you are on the lookout for a new PMP and before you iBlewmymoney yourself, give this a try, if you have all the required gadgets just lying around. Even if it is not for you, it is not going to cost you a penny to try.

This is second in series by Chander, our resident self-proclaimed music expert. Please feel free to reach out to him on all queries and suggestions regarding anything music! Email: chander.mohan@sourcefuse.com