Ok I have an iPod (the shame I Know .. I needed high capacity in a relatively small form factor) I hate the default apple software ... sure it allows u to play video but it just doesn't support enough music formats (basically i have a large FLAC and OGG Collection).
So I applied the formula iPod + Rockbox == Competent player
"What is Rockbox?"
An Open Source Music Jukebox Firmware with an emphasis on AUDIO QUALITY and format support.
"What Can It Do?"
It Can Run on all These Players:
- Apple: 1st through 5.5th generation iPod, iPod Mini and 1st generation iPod Nano
- (not the Shuffle, 2nd/3rd gen Nano, Classic or Touch)
- Archos: Jukebox 5000, 6000, Studio, Recorder, FM Recorder, Recorder V2 and Ondio
- Cowon: iAudio X5, X5V, X5L, M5 and M5L
- iriver: H100, H300 and H10 series
- SanDisk: Sansa c200, e200 and e200R series
- Toshiba: Gigabeat X and F series (not the S series)
And Can Play All these Formats:
- MPEG (2,3)
- OGG Vorbis
- AC3 | A/52 | Dolby Digital (not on 3rd Gen iPod)
- AAC |MP4 (not on 3rd Gen iPod)
- SPEEX (Only on Gigabeat)
[Official Rockbox Site]
"Is it Hard To Install?"
- ALAC (not on 3rd Gen iPod)
- Monkeys Audio | APE (currently playback is too slow on iPod)
Speaking from my experience with the iPod , NO its extremely easy to install
Select the related manual for your device [Here]
and follow the instructions
But the basic steps for my iPod were:
- Install Bootloader (read the manual for the location)
- Install a Build (latest [Here])
"What Sort Of Fun Does It Bring?"
- A proper file manager
- Games (including freeDoom)
- Gapless Playback
- 5-band fully-parametric equalizer, and crossfeed
- High-resolution volume control, 64-100 levels (model-dependant)
- Abilty to create your own themes or use user-uploaded ones
- Advanced crossfading
- ReplayGain support (volume normalization)
- Cuesheet support
- JPEG image and text-file viewing
- MPEG video support
- Customizable Tag Database
- Unicode support
- Advanced On-The-Go playlist creation
- Multilingual Interface - 30 supported languages and counting
- Optional fully voice-driven interface
- Mass Storage Support and an independant song DB So you are not tied to any Sync Software (drag and drop)
"Any Issues ?"
My Experience was one of Nirvana, except 1 niggling issue:
- After transferring songs to the device you need to update the database on the device , but you have to option of using the device database or file manager for playlist management -- if you use the file manager (like myself) this is a non issue
potential areas include:
- Long term iPod users may regress to the apple way of doing things (eg adding to playlists) -- but the geekier methods in rockbox are actually IMHO more intuitive
- After a Sleep Timer shuts it down the previous Dynamic playlist is cleared (probably an issue with my needs to be updated old daily build)
Example Screen Shot (iPhone Theme "crashbox" -- taken from the rockbox.org site )
Note This is a rapidly evolving Open Source project -- and has probably advanced since this post