Pros & Cons of MP3 Players

by Spanner Spencer
An MP3 recorded at 128kbit/s will take up 11 times less storage space than the same file on a CD.

An MP3 recorded at 128kbit/s will take up 11 times less storage space than the same file on a CD.

An MP3 player is a solid-state device that stores music digitally in flash memory, rather than using a removable medium such as a tape or CD. There are many different makes and models of MP3 player, with a wide variety of available memory capacities and many different functions available beyond playback of music. Despite the proliferation and popularity of the MP3 player, there are advantages and disadvantages to the platform in comparison to removable media such as CDs.

Construction

One of the major benefits of an MP3 player as a portable music device is that it requires no moving parts, so it does not jump or suffer from shock damage. The use of motors and servos in devices such as cassette tape players and CD players takes a significant toll on battery life, and is subject to mechanical failure simply through the action of being carried around by the user. However, most MP3 players are built with an internal, non-removable battery, which cannot be readily replaced while out and about.

Content

Without the necessary computer equipment or knowledge of CD ripping software, it can be challenging to put new music onto an MP3 player. Making legal backups of CDs is one method of transferring music to a digital player, but this requires a degree of expertise, specialist software and a computer to perform the conversion between platforms. The music industry now accepts the idea of digital music more so than in the past, and record companies now release songs and albums for digital download from a number of online vendors.

Capacity

MP3 players vary greatly in their memory capacities, but even those considered to be small -- beginning at 1 GB -- can still hold more music than a single CD or cassette tape. With larger memory capacities, users can fit entire CD collections on a single MP3 player. However, reducing the "bit rate," or audio quality, of an MP3 is often required to fit large amounts of songs on the player, and the quality of the audio degrades significantly as the bit rate is reduced.

Transfer

Transferring music files to an MP3 player must be accomplished using a computer, usually through its USB connection. This limits the option to buy music directly from a high street store and listen to it straight away on the MP3 player. Understanding how to connect and transfer music to and from an MP3 player can be an obstacle for some users, making it challenging to sporadically change the content on the device's playlists. With proper research and organization, users may deploy media library software to reduce this drawback -- some software even offers fast and efficient ways to change a player's content with very few mouse clicks once the process has been set up.

About the Author

Spanner Spencer has been writing since 2005 for a variety of print and online publications. Focusing on entertainment, gaming and technology, his work has been published by Eurogamer.net, "The Escapist," "GamesTM," "Retro Gamer," "Empire," "Total PC Gaming" "The Guardian," among others. Spencer is a qualified medical electronics engineer with a Business and Technology Education Council certificate in technical writing from Huddersfield Technical College.

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