I really started this blog to write about MP3 players and headphones and in the recent past, I have just written about everything else. And that's the only excuse I am going to offer for this post.
1) Sony Walkman 1986
Dad got it back for me from a trip to Japan and for the life of me I cannot remember the model but it looked like this more or less (image from Audiogold UK)
2) Sony CD Player (1998)
This came much later, after I started earning on my first job. I remember buying this as a birthday gift for myself. Here is the nearest picture to what I owned. Again, I can't remember the model, but I payed nearly Rs. 5000 at Sony World Chennai for this one. Image from Engadget;
uselog and I am using a quote referenced by Jasper in his post about the design of the headphones
Kazuo Ichikawa began to focus on a newer, more casual style of headphone that would fit behind the neck rather than over the head or directly in the ear. [...] His inspiration came from the way people use conventional headphones in the street (allowing them to drop behind the neck), how people wear baseball caps (often with the visor pointing backwards), and the apparatus that folk-singer Bob Dylan used to support his harmonica while performing in concert.
"A critical issue when designing headphones is to make them fit properly," says Mr. Ichikawa. "Yet there is a huge difference from one person to another in the distance from one ear, over the top of the head to the other ear. When you factor in hair styles and the possibility of a cap or hat, you realize that the traditional headphone is no good" (Digital Dreams, The Work of the Sony Design Center, by Paul Kunkel.)
3) Creative MuVo V200 (2005)
I'm not the type who can survive without portable music for long and on a business trip to Bangkok I seized the opportunity to pick up a Creative MuVo V200 from the famous Panthip Plaza. I paid nearly Rs. 5000 for a 1 GB player without a rechargeable battery.(image from The Register review (2005)
I used to hang it round my neck :) when I travelled in Mumbai locals to work. I finally sold it to a colleague for Rs. 3500 after 2 years. She tells me it is still working fine, though she now uses it purely as a 1 GB pen drive.
And I sold it because something new and exciting was compelling my attention totally. Like, Creative, Apple and everyone else did not exist.
4) IRiver H320 (2006)
The decision to purchase this player rather than an iPod, made me recognise the geek in me. For the first time, I browsed forums and sites for reviews to make an informed choice. And I decided in favor of open source firmware (rockbox), drag and drop functionality and fantastic sound quality. After a couple of hiccups, I procured the unit of eBay India for Rs. 13000. It was not officially available in India, but I wanted it at any cost.
I quote with pride from Andreas Odegards fantastic write up on ABI about the 10th anniversary of MP3 players (it's an old article but a must read):
"If there ever was a cult mp3 player in the audiophile community, this would be it. Even today - 3.5 years after its release - it's used by people everywhere and sell for a decent price on sites such as eBay.
The H320 and H340 players natively support OGG along with MP3 and WMA, and are are also capable of playing back video - though this feature is very limited. Rockbox expanded the H300's features to include 15 audio codecs - among them FLAC - and that combined with the excellent audio quality has made this player the audiophile legend that it is."
'Nuff said, now look at the player itself; image from Tim Andersen's IT Writing
5) Cowon D2 (2008- date)
My current player is the famous Cowon D2 (16 GB) which is also a classic 'best' MP3 player from iAudio. I have an 8 GB version with Indian warranty.(image from techtree). Among the many things that I love about this player are that I charge it once in 2 weeks though I play it all the time, I get fantastic playback either through my headphones or when I plug it to powered speakers, and a vibrant support community at www.iaudiophile.net
I would love to hear about your MP3 player nostalgia too!