I’ve wanted to get a Clip+ for absolutely ages, I’d heard loads of great things about them, and when my iPod died at the start of summer I had an excuse to get one. Unfortunately, the price for the 8GB version did get as low as £30 but has now gone up to about £45, I waited ages for it to drop again but I had some Amazon vouchers so decided to take the plunge at the higher price. I really like it, it’s small, about the size of a matchbox, but is well designed and feels solid. The sound quality is great and it has a microSD card slot so you can expand the memory, I immediately put a 16GB one in mine, to bring the total memory up to 24GB, four more than my six year old forth generation iPod. I have quite a large collection of relativity high bitrate MP3s, so I’ve almost filled it already. Unfortunately, the stock firmware couldn’t deal with some of it, the internal database seems to have quite a small limit on the number of characters allowed in an album’s name, and if you go beyond this it just cuts them off. So if you have your songs from a two disc album tagged as being from “Long Album Name (Disc 1)” and “Long Album Name (Disc 2)” it may cut the end off and place all the songs under “Long Album Name”. When you come to trying to play this album it would play as: Disc 1 Track 1, Disc 2 Track 1, Disc 1 Track 2, Disc 2 Track 2, etc. So to get around this without having to re-tag 100s of MP3s, I decided to install the open source Rockbox firmware. I’d considered doing this on my ageing iPod before it died, but I had a few protected AAC files I’d bought off iTunes years ago (I would never make such a mistake now), and I didn’t want to lose the ability to play them. But now that isn’t a problem, as the stock Clip+ wouldn’t play them anyway, and it’s stuff I don’t really listen to any more. Using the Rockbox install utility I managed to install it very easily, and happily the database it uses doesn’t have the same limitations as the stock firmware. It also has a whole bunch of very advanced options which, frankly, I’m a little bit scared of touching in case I mess it up. The range of equaliser and sound processing options is quite baffling and overwhelming. It also adds a whole bunch of little games to it, but I’ve probably done serious damage to my eyesight trying to play Sudoku on the tiny OLED screen the Clip+ has. Ideally I’d like something which has a much larger storage capacity than the Clip+, something over 100GB, as I could then use FLAC more often. But no one seems to make a large capacity hard disk based player any more, the iPod classic is about the only one of note, everything else available is flash based. As such, the highest capacity you can get at the moment is usually 64GB and the ones that are that big usually come at a ridiculously high price. They also tend to be designed for showing video as well, so have large screens that don’t make them particularly pocket friendly, and make them easy to scratch. Why does no one make proper MP3 players any more? It’s all the fault of the iPhone and the iPod Touch I suppose, but that’s a rant for another time. All in all I’d recommend the Clip+ and if you have one, or one of the other supported players, I’d recommend trying Rockbox as well, you can always uninstall it if you don’t like it.