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The Ten Most Common Mistakes When Buying an MP3 Player (and How to Avoid Them)

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Selected Audio Reviews :: Ten Common Mistakes

The Ten Most Common Mistakes When Buying an MP3 Player (and How to Avoid Them)

One of the most common reactions after buying a new MP3 player is "GEE! My player doesn't have X!” Substitute “X” for FM radio, microphone, or enough memory and you get an idea of some of the options which are available on MP3 players. Everybody has different requirements for an MP3 player, so avoid the first common mistake --

1. Not considering how the MP3 player will be used.

Sure, everybody (or almost everybody) wants a portable player to listen to music. Every MP3 player does that! What else do you need it for? Do you need a microphone for recording lectures or business meetings? Do you need an FM radio for keeping up-to-date on the weather reports or traffic conditions?

2. Not getting enough memory.

You can pick up an MP3 player for less than $50. What a bargain! The trouble is, you don't get very much memory for $50, and if you have a sizable music collection you will need to transfer music to the player almost every day.

3. Not getting a powerful battery.

Check out the battery life when you buy a new player. Flash based devices should last for more than 20 hours on a single charge, and hard drive based players should run for at least 15 hours. This is enough power to keep you in music for several days before recharging.

4. The player doesn’t handle "X" format.

What kind of files can be played? If you have a sizeable MP3 collection and discover that your new player only plays WMA files you will have to convert all your music to that format.

5. The sound is not great.

Some players have less-than-ideal sound for music. Look for a signal to noise ratio of at least 90dB.

6. Low (or high) bitrates are not supported.

If you want to use the player to record voice, look for a player that supports a range of bitrates. Voice recordings do not need a high bitrate and lower bitrates will give you more storage capacity.

7. There isn’t an equalizer.

If you wish to customize the sound of your music you need to have an equalizer which allows you to adjust individual sound spectrums.

8. Not getting a line input.

If you wish to record sources like cassette decks or TV shows you should get a player that allows you to connect these devices with a line input.

9. Not getting a big enough display screen.

Some players come with tiny or non-existent screens. It’s hard to see what song is being played or to change the settings.

10. Not being firmware upgradeable.

MP3 players are driven by software and this software can have bugs – especially if the player was rushed to market. There should be a way to upgrade the player’s operating system.

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