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Music while riding or exercising: finally bought a personal MP3 player.

Saturday, April 20, 2013 by  
Filed under Daily Blog


I know, I know… I’m waaaay late to the personal MP3 player game. The reason I’ve avoided MP3 players (and pretty much anything that requires headphones or earbuds) is because I’ve got tinnitus. I developed tinnitus in my 20s–partially from listening to my music at insane volumes, and partially from spending thousands of hours in front of guitar amps turned up to eleven. Kids, don’t do those things. I’m serious. It’s stupid, and you’ll regret it.

Lately I’ve grown tired of training and riding without my music. I decided to purchase a personal MP3 player and a comfortable set of earbuds. Before buying this stuff, I made myself commit to one strict rule: never listen to the music at high volume.

Disclaimer: If I’m mountain biking on a fairly low-traffic trail, I’m OK with using earbuds. This is a personal choice, and legal in my state. Florida is one of the few states, however, that does not allow the use of headphones or earbuds when cycling on public streets (it’s OK to wear them on dedicated paved bike trails and dirt trails). Always be safe and obey the laws in your area.

My SanDisk Sansa Clip Zip and Panasonic  RP HJE355R earbuds. Quarter shown for scale.

My SanDisk Sansa Clip Zip and Panasonic RP HJE355R earbuds. Quarter shown for scale.

I wanted an MP3 player that was very small, ultra-light and easy to use while exercising. My research led me to the SanDisk Sansa Clip Zip MP3 Player, and so far I’m very pleased with it.

There is an 8 GB version, and a 4 GB version. Both allow the use of an external micro SD card (up to 32 GB), so it seemed silly to pay the big price premium for the 8 GB model. I bought the 4 GB model for just $34.99, and popped in a SanDisk 32GB microSDHC Memory Card.

The Sansa Clip Zip seamlessly combines the contents of the internal storage with the contents stored on the external micro SD card, which is very cool. Right now I have more than 5,200 songs on the Sansa (almost all at 320 kbps bit rate), and there’s still over 8 GB of unused storage space.

The Sansa supports just about every audio format under the sun, including FLAC.

The rechargeable battery is said to last 15 hours on a single charge (while playing music), but I’ve not tested that.

The Sansa supports custom playlists, and you can easily find your music by song, artist or album. There are lots of other features, so check out the SanDisk Sansa Clip Zip MP3 Player Amazon page for more information and reviews.

One thing I really like about the Sansa is that I can pause, skip ahead to the next song (or back a song) and adjust the volume purely by feel and without having to take my eyes off of what I’m doing.

There’s a strong clip on the back of the unit, which makes attaching it to your clothes really easy. It’s so light you don’t even know it’s there.

36 GB of storage, a full color 1.1″ screen, built-in radio tuner, stop watch, voice memo recorder and much more… all in a device that is about the size of two quarters, weighs just 26 grams (verified) and costs less than 40 bucks.

The earbuds that come with the Sansa are horrible, so give them to someone you dislike and invest in a better pair. I picked up the Panasonic RP HJE355R High Fidelity Ergo-Fit Inner Ear Earbuds (in Red, if you care), and I love them. The earbuds come with three different sized pairs of soft ear pads, and they are very comfortable. I put them in and forget I’m wearing them. The sound quality is excellent, way better than I expected for such an inexpensive pair of earbuds.

If you’re looking for an ultra-light MP3 player that is packed with features, low cost and perfect for exercising, definitely give the SanDisk Sansa Clip Zip MP3 Player a look.

Last day of the massive 3-day AtLarge sale! Don’t miss out, get the details and coupon codes here.

I’m heading out to ride. Big day today, looking to set a new all-dirt MTB distance personal record… looks like I’m going to do it in the rain, too. 🙂

John Stone Fitness Comments

5 Responses to “Music while riding or exercising: finally bought a personal MP3 player.”
  1. This might be just the sort of thing I’ve been looking for. Does this MP3 player work with regular headphones for those times when you’re not out riding? I’m assuming the sound quality is better with regular headphones, which may not be the case.

    GD Star Rating
    • I think the Sansa can drive most headphones, but there are almost certainly ohm limitations. If you have high impedance headphones, it might be a problem. I’d try a search or hit up SanDisk support if in doubt.

      GD Star Rating
  2. Very capable, inexpensive player. I bought one for my wife not long ago, and she likes it quite a bit.

    I thought about getting one for me, but since I have my phone with me anyway, I’ve been pretty happy using that for now.

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