Bluetooth Compatible MP3 Players

By Nicole Martinez

Bluetooth headphones, when paired with a compatible MP3 player, remove the complications of wires.
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Although headphones have become increasingly smaller, with earbuds fitting nearly completely inside the ear, these devices have long relied upon cords that can become tangled or caught up on items. Bluetooth-enabled devices offer an alternative to wired headphones. Athletes, drivers and other mobile users may especially appreciate the freedom that Bluetooth technology offers when they are on the move.


Bluetooth is a wireless technology that allows devices such as computers, telephones, MP3 players and other electronics to connect via signals sent through the air instead of physical cables. Users can rely on Bluetooth to send files between their devices or, as in the case of Bluetooth headsets, transmit and receive audio data. MP3 players that are Bluetooth compatible can use external speakers and headphones to play music and audio content without requiring a corded headphone or earbud set.


Apple offers Bluetooth technology with the second, third and fourth generation iPod Touch. The user can enable this function and manage paired devices from the "Settings" screen. When enabled, a Bluetooth icon will appear along the top of the player's screen. Both the YP-P2 and P3 MP3 players by Samsung incorporate Bluetooth technology with full-color touchscreens. The eight gigabyte Spinn from lesser-known company iRiver also includes this feature, along with an FM tuner. Furthermore, consumers may consider Ibiza's 30-gigabyte Rhapsody player, the design of which takes a cue from classic iPods. Rhapsody users can enjoy their music on this player as well as podcast subscriptions.


In order to use Bluetooth-enabled MP3 players with other devices, the user must first pair the devices. The user must enable Bluetooth technology on both devices and set at least one of them to be discoverable (otherwise, other devices will not be able to detect the device, even if Bluetooth is on). The user will then perform a search with the MP3 player to locate the Bluetooth device and enter a password or key to initiate the pairing. Typically, Bluetooth-enabled players such as the iPod will remember previous pairings, unless the user instructs the player otherwise.


Although not all MP3 players include integrated Bluetooth, you can purchase a device to add this functionality to your player. For example, Sony creates Bluetooth adapters that plug into the headphone jack of MP3 players while Sony, JayBird and other manufacturers offer iPod specific adapters, which plug into the dock/cable port on iPod models without Bluetooth. The simplest adapters include a button for quick pairing with a Bluetooth speaker system. Some adapters are intended for use with audio devices from the same manufacturer, as is the case with the JayBird Bluetooth Adapter for MP3 Players.


Although personal digital audio players such as the iPod touch support Bluetooth technology, the default software only allows this connection to transmit audio between the player and a Bluetooth-enabled device such as a laptop computer (which can then play the music through its speakers and control the player with on-screen software). Furthermore, not all Bluetooth headphones (or devices) are compatible with Bluetooth-enabled MP3 players. Consumers should verify compatibility before purchasing any device intended specifically for Bluetooth connectivity.