I have several iPods ranging from 1st and 2nd gen Mini to 5th and 6th gen Classics. I always use "Manually manage music" and have no trouble connecting my iPods to any of my 3 computers. It lets me connect to iTunes and add music from any of the 3 computers to the iPods.
As I understand it, the iPod is supposed to be a 'one-way' street for music. You can add music, but not get it off. You're not really supposed to be using your iPod to move music from one computer to another.
If your iPod is set to 'Enable disk use,' you can use it as a removable disk drive. It should show in My Computer and you can copy files to it like it was a USB thumb drive, then connect to the other computer an copy them off. When they're on the other computer, you can just add them to iTunes.
When it comes to which iPod to get and also just wanting to play music and have a good amount of space, I understand what you mean. I think an iPod Mini that's had its 4gb microdrive replaced with a Compact Flash card is a GREAT option.
They can use most of the common sizes of CF cards and they work GREAT. I've done several of them and feel the best value is the 32gb size, but 16gb, 8gb and 4gb would work. 32gb still a ton of space in a small package and will have plenty of room for four or five thousand of your favorite songs. (and I'm only adding this as a direct response to what iPod to get, but it just happens that I have a 32gb Mini listed on ebay right now.)
For me now, a 32gb Mini is my every day carry iPods, then my iPhone 5 gets to do everything else.
Great. I love the Mini, but remember that they are all from 2004 and 2005 and came with either a 4gb or 6gb mechanical harddrive (microdrive). You should be able to find a good working 'stock' mini on eBay for about $25 if your patient and careful. Someone like me would have had to have upgraded a Mini to give it the kind of storage I'm referring to (32gb). But then you'll have Flash storage instead of a breakable harddrive.
You should easily be able to find a good, working 6th gen 120gb Classic for $120 and less.
If you take your time, you should be able to find a bargin on just about every version of iPod that's been made, but be sure to read the descriptions and look out for "broken - for parts only."
I do not think the answer is as as straightforward as bwhite62 mentioned as far as which iPod to purchase. In his/her situation it might have worked fine but this is mainly because it happens to have the appropriate good quality sound chip in this iPod version. If you want some decent sound quality, the older iPods containing the Wolfson chip is a better indication, I prefer the iPod Video 5.5 gen as this iPod can me moded more easily than the Mini and can be upgraded to 240GB if you so desire. I like the 64gb or even 128Gb flash drive upgrade, leaves you with ample space. The display is much better in color, it also has the search feature which the mini does not, just my taste. If you still want the Mini, go for the 2nd generation, it has a brigther display and better battery management, therefore lasting you longer. Be careful if you mod the Mini, the clickwheel connector can be easily ruptured if not removed properly. Also, it can be a little tricky getting it out of its metal shell. I like the vintage iPods because of the better sound quality, wish Apple would have stayed with the Wolfson instead of the Cirrus Logic chip as used in most latest models including the latest Classic. As far as backing up or even extracting songs from your pods and even iPhones, I prefer using this tool which will extract everything from it including picture and also with appropriate naming conventions for the songs which make them easily recognizeable instead of those coded Apple file names, the tool is called Touch Copy, now at version 12. It will work with any Apple devices including iPads. Just google it and you'll get to their website. It costs money but makes your backup life much more easier than the standrard move and copy. I hope this will give you more information. Don't hesitate to ask if you want to know more.
I agree. Trying to pick from the massive variety of iPods isn’t straightforward and I admit to giving my opinion.
There are SO many permutations and combinations of iPods that it really comes down to what you want, what you want to do and how much you want to spend. The Mini DOESN'T like 64gb CF or bigger, so the Video 5.5 is a great way to go for the bigger CF mods.
I also agree about iPods with the Wolfson DAC. It’s tough to say why, but there’s some quality about them that I just prefer.