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Portable Media Player
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Why Mp3 Player?
Portable Mp3 players have become more and more popular these days. But why people using them?
Smaller, lighter, more stylish: With the flash memory cards, a Mp3 player can be as small as a cigarette lighter. You can easily put it in your pockets. They also come with a broad selection of shape, color and design that fits your personality.
Sturdy, anti-shock: When using a Mp3 players using flash memory, you can run, jump and do anything you want without worrying about jolts that usually happens with your CD player.
Bring more songs with you without sacrificing the sound quality: Most CDs only have < 20 songs, but with the advanced compression technology, digital music players can easily store thousands of songs without sacrificing the music quality.
Most people think as long as there is compression, there should be loss of quality. But it is not true for human ear in the world of audio compression. Because of the way our ear works, we can't hear the weaker of 2 tones if they occur very close to each other in frequency and time. Good audio compression codec uses models of human hearing to determine what parts of a complex sound can be eliminated. If the removed parts are limited to those would have been masked anyway, according our ears, there will be no difference in sound quality. Just think about a fly bussing next to a jet engine, would you hear any difference if the fly was removed? So most of the times, you can still enjoy great music even it is only half the size of the CD file.
Things to consider when you buy a portable Mp3 Player
Size, weight, design: just get a mp3 player that fits your needs. Test them before you buy if possible.
Digital Music Formats it can play: All portable digital music players can play Mp3 files. But some of them also support other file formats. Most popular formats include Microsoft's WMA (Windows Media Audio), AAC (Advanced Audio Coding), and RA (RealAudio).
Digital Media it uses: Mp3 players use 4 types of media: Flash memory, hard drive, CD, or DataPlay discs. Some use one the media, some accepts 2 or 3 of them.
- Flash Memory: Including Secure Digital(SD), Memory Stick, CompactFlash(CF), SmartMedia, and MultiMediaCards(MMC). Players using the flash memories are smaller, more portable, and anti-shock by its own nature. The downside, though, is the media is pretty expensive and storage size if kind of small (upto around 1GB for now).
- Hard Drive: Players using hard drive as storage is becoming more and more popular these days. Most come with a 10GB storage space and cheaper than similar flash memory players. Popular Mp3 players in this category include Apples iPod and Creative Labs' Nomad Jukebox. They are usually a bit smaller than PDA.
- CD: now a lot of CD players can play Mp3 CDs too. If you plan to use these, make sure your computer have a CD writer. With the dirt cheap CDRs, you can make large number of mp3 CDs and carry your music library with you anywhere you go.
- DataPlay Discs: This new format comes on micro-optical discs about the size of a half dollar and hold about 500MB.
Built-in Memory: You won't need much add-on memory if enough is already on board.
Playing time per battery charge: The longer, the better.
Battery: whether or not removable, rechargable. Does it accept ordinary AAA or AA batteries?
Headphones: Does it come with headphone or earbuds? Are they sturdy and easy to use?
FM radio: If you want to listen to radios on the way, check this feature too.
Bulit-in Microphone, Microphone jack
Connections: All portable Mp3 players except iPod have USB connections, and a few also have firewire ports. A stereo analog input means you can rip music from boombox or CD player directly to mp3.
Work with your PC: Make sure the player and the rip software included in the box works with your computer.
Software upgrade: Whether or not you can upgrade the player's internal software to support more music formats, fix problems and enhance features.
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