Guide To Buying MP3’s
BLAST YOURSELF WITH INFO BEFORE PURCHASING
The MP3 player has bombarded the music industry more than any other electronic device in the last 20 years. Digital audio music and the assortment of choices of players that are on the market have become the standard of the industry in a reasonably short time. Audio Highway created the first digital audio player named The Listen Up player, which hit the market in 1997.
Being educated about how MP3 digital audio players work, will play a big role in helping you to make the right decision when you make your purchase.
Music is digitally recorded and then compressed so it reduces its size. The lesser bytes in the file, the player will then be able to carry more files and download them faster. This does reduce the original quality by a fraction, which most people will not notice. A CD is usually 40 megabytes, whereas compressed files like an MP3, is 4 MB.
The MP3 is essentially a data-storage device. You can think of it as a mini computer. If you connect it to your computer via a USB cable or other connection, you can download files directly to the player.
For the most part there are not any moving parts on the outside of an MP3. There are a few buttons on some models, otherwise nothing you have to worry about for damage purposes. Music is normally stored on a hard disk drive, or an internal flash drive. It all depends on your storage capacity, but there can be a range of a few hundred to many thousands of songs stored for you. There is unique software that comes with the digital players which permit them to transfer audio files from your computer. You can then listen to them through the player via headphones or built-in speakers (if your model has them). You can build what is called a playlist of all the songs you have stored on your MP3 if you choose to do so.
More up to date, high-end players will let you view videos, send text messages, even play games through a wireless network.
The majority of the music (maybe even videos) is downloaded from websites such as eMusic, iTunes, Rhapsody, and others, first to your main computer’s hard drive and then making the transfer over to your MP3. Some of the Apple iPod models will allow you to download the music straight to the player from the website with a wi-fi connection. Two Zune owners are allowed to share audio and video files, but some legal restrictions are put on certain types of files to share. CD files can be put onto your computer and then transferred to your audio player also.
Flash Drive MP3 Players: These are most often found in the lightest and smallest players. There are no moving parts, therefore they have the advantage of having a longer life than the hard drive players. It is normal for these media players to store 110 to 15,000 songs. It will depend whether they are 512 MB up to 64GB. Most of them have an additional card slot to add memory. Flash drive players are able to hold up to some rough handling due to not having any moving parts. They will not skip or stop completely if knocked around, therefore making them the perfect model for those who are active when using their media players. These are perfect for athletes.
Hard Drive MP3 Players: The hard drive models normally stores more data than the flash drives do for the same price. Flash drives run about $25 / gigabyte on an average basis, where the hard drive is about $5 / gigabyte. A gigabyte may sound like a lot of storage space for some people, but if you plan to store your entire music collection on your audio player, it may be worth getting the extra space. Hard drive players usually have larger screens to aid in playing videos and movies.
On the down side, hard drive players do have moving parts, which add to possibilities of problems. The disk inside spins (contains the memory) and there is a mechanical arm (reads data). These can be an issue if rustled around or dropped. There is a special case to absorb shock that is recommended for those who engage in physical activities when using their hard drive players. Hard drive players are normally larger in size than the flash drives due to the moving parts. They also use their battery much quicker than the flash drive players; again because of the moving parts. Most experts have determined that the battery life of a hard drive player is about 15 hours, whereas the flash drive battery will last about 50 hours. Keep in mind that the video feature could greatly cut back on the battery life, in addition to utilizing space on the memory. You have to decide if you prefer to have the space for your music, or videos.
Up & Coming Brands
Apple iPod: The Apples were not #1 on the market but the consumers have really taken a liking to them rapidly. They carry such models as iPod Nano with built-in FM radio, video camera, and a 2.2 inch display. There is the iPod shuffle which does not have a screen. They also carry the iPod Touch which boasts a 3.5 inch touch screen display in addition to wi-fi features. Prices vary from about $59 for the Shuffle to near $199 for the 8GB iPod Touch. Apple’s iPhone has a media player built into it for one of its features. These prices will vary from store to store and different times of year.
Apple® - iPod nano® 8GB Apple® - iPod touch® 8GB Apple® - iPod shuffle® 2GB
Microsoft Zune HD: The 3.3 inch high-def. touch screen is bringing in incredible reviews for the Zune HD. This has become iPod’s largest competitor. It features wi-fi, television connection and supplies high definition video output, and built-in FM radio, which the iPod Touch does not have. It is comparable to the iPod Touch with its sound quality. The price runs about $220 for a 16 GB Zune HD. Price are variable depending where you search.
Sony Series X Walkman: This brand will ring a bell to those audio fans who happen to remember the days of cassettes. “Walkman”. They have brought out a new MP3 player which is getting good reviews from the experts for the good sound quality. It has wi-fi built in for surfing the web and includes a touch screen. For about $290 you can snap up the 16GB model of the Walkman. Shop around, as prices always vary from vendor to vendor, including on line.
SanDisk Sansa Clip: This model seems to be what many think is the best MP3 out there for under $100. SanDisk Sansa Clip can be compared to the iPod Shuffle and is a flash drive player. It has space for a memory card and includes an FM radio. Experts give it high marks for its sound quality, which surprise them for a player of this size. An 8GB SanDisk Sansa Clip will run you around $65. Always shop around for a better deal.