MP3 Player and iPod Buying Guide

Whether you're switching from CDs to digital music, or upgrading an existing iPod, there are important factors to consider. Our guide explains how to choose an MP3 player --- including iPod classic, nano and touch --- to suit you.

What Does MP3 Mean?

An MP3 is a digital sound file that's been compressed using the MP3 encoding system. This compression means you can store more songs and download them faster. However, the more you compress the file size, the more audio quality you will lose.

  • Audio source -- This can be a CD player, a radio, an iPod dock, cassette player or a turntable. Most Hi-Fi systems will contain two or more of these.
  • Amplifier -- This controls the volume and balance of the music.
  • Speakers -- Most Hi-Fi units will have two speakers -- to provide stereo sound -- but some more sophisticated systems can contain up to seven speakers, similar to a home theatre set-up.

Are There Other Formats I Should Know?

MP3 is the most recognised file format, but there are others. Most MP3 players support other file formats, so check this before buying. Other formats include:

  • WMA -- Windows Media Audio
  • WAV -- Waveform Audio
  • MIDI -- Music Instrument Digital Interface
  • AAC -- Advanced Audio Coding.

How Many Songs Can An MP3 Player Store?

  • MP3 player storage is measured in gigabytes (GB).
  • One GB equals 1024 megabytes (MB).
  • Depending on the size of the files, one hour of music will take up around 64MB, so 1GB will hold roughly 240 songs.

Which MP3 Player Will Suit My Lifestyle?

Most MP3 players will fit in your pocket and suit everyday use, like a train ride to work or a day at the park. Joggers and gym goers tend to choose a lighter MP3 player, with a clip or strap to secure it while exercising. Apple manufactures the iPod, including the classic, 8GB nano, shuffle and touch

Do They All Look The Same?

No. New MP3 players come in a range of sizes, shapes and colours. You should be able to find one to suit your individual style.

Can I Connect My MP3 Player With Other Audio Systems?

You don't always have to listen to an MP3 player through headphones. Many home systems and car stereos will connect with an MP3 player through cables or a dock.

Are MP3 Players Easy To Use?

It's important to check that the menu options are easy to follow, so you can find songs and create playlists easily. Consider the software as well -- will it be easy to load and organise your music?

Recommended Use

You don't always have to listen to an MP3 player through headphones. Many home systems and car stereos will connect with an MP3 player through cables or a dock.

The Jogger

Let inspirational tunes help you push past the pain barrier.

  • Portability: Choose the smallest and lightest possible.
  • Accessories: Choose a player that you can strap to your arm, or clip to your clothing.

The Entertainer

Party all night with playlists from your extensive music collection.

  • Storage: The more storage you have, the more music you can store - 120GB should fit almost anyone's CD collection.
  • Video: Enhance the experience by using the video function to play music, videos or movies.

The Commuter

Traveling is always easier with your favourite music and photos.

  • Portability: Look for an ultra-thin device that will fit in your pocket while remaining comfortable.
  • Photo: Load, store and view photos; perfect for a selection of holiday snaps.

Simple iPod/MP3 Player Choices

Portability: MP3 players come in all shapes and sizes, to suit all lifestyles.

Fit more songs: The more gigabytes (GB), the more songs you can store.

File type: Choose an MP3 player that supports multiple file types.

Please confirm your selection

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