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Q: Music Players ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   3 Comments )
Subject: Music Players
Category: Computers
Asked by: mammajamma-ga
List Price: $20.00
Posted: 24 Nov 2004 07:02 PST
Expires: 24 Dec 2004 07:02 PST
Question ID: 433405
My 14 year old daughter wants a portable CD player.  In doing some
looking around, I see more of the MP3s, digital players, and ipods
being advertised.  I do not quite understand the differences and what
I need to be buying for her.  Is the regular ole CD player becoming
obsolete?  She also has a new laptop and has been downloading music
from Napster.  So would it be better to get her something other than a
standard CD player?  I read something that indicated MP3s do not have
the quality of sound as a CD...Thanks for your help!!
Subject: Re: Music Players
Answered By: kriswrite-ga on 24 Nov 2004 08:46 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hello mammajamma~

If your daughter is downloading music off Napster, then she'll
probably want something that can play MP3s. (The quality of those MP3s
depends entirely upon what bit rate she?s downloading them at. Most
downloads, however, aren?t *quite* up to CD quality...although most
ears don?t hear the difference.)

You *could* buy her an MP3 player, which would allow her to transfer
those music files on her laptop into a small machine and play them at
will--but it would not play CDs, as well. With current technology, you
are probably better off buying her a CD player that will allow her to
listen to her downloaded music files, too.

To accomplish this, you?ll want a CD player that reads
computer-created CDs. If your daughter?s computer has a CD burner, she
can burn the music onto a CD. If she does this in what?s called ?data?
format, she can put many hours of music onto a single disk...but some
CD players aren?t able to read data disks, so read the product
description carefully. It should mention something about being able to
read CD-Rs. Better yet, it reads CD-Rs and CD-RWs. (CD-Rs are
computer-created disks that may only be burned once. CD-RWs are
"re-writeable;" you can burn them, then re-record them many
times--much like a cassette tape.)

She could also burn music onto a CD in MP3 format; not all CD players
can read this, either, so check for this when you?re shopping. The
packaging should say the product is a CD-MP3 player.

For a bit more about these features, see ?MP3s on CD-R and CD-RW:?

As you can imagine, portable CD players vary considerably in price,
depending on the features and brand name you choose. Inexpensive
players tend to skip, have poor sound, and may not play MP3s reliably
(or at all). In addition to the MP3 features mentioned above, better
quality CD players should feature:

* Anti-skipping (preferably in the form of memory; the machine scans
ahead and memorizes what?s coming next, thereby eliminating skipping
if the machine is jarred).

* Mega Bass. Most young people want this feature, which uses digital
technology to create deep, clear bass.

* Radio. To make the CD player even more versatile, you might look for
one that also has a built in radio tuner.

In addition, it may be helpful to sort through the options online, at
a place where customer reviews are allowed. You might visit:

* (
* CNet ( )
* (

Even if you decide not to buy the CD player online, reading the
customer reviews will likely help you decide which player you want to
buy elsewhere.

You might also check out ?Personal CD Player Buyer Guide:?

I hope this makes your shopping a little easier, but if anything is
unclear, please don?t hesitate to request a clarification before you
rate this Answer.

Kind regards,

Buying CD player
Buying CD player MP3s
buying MP3 player
consumer CD player* MP3s

Request for Answer Clarification by mammajamma-ga on 24 Nov 2004 09:33 PST
Great information about the CD player and what to look for.  Gave me
more info than I thought I needed and didn't know to ask!  Didn't know
about the CD-Rs and CD-Ws!!  This really helps and is what I will buy
for my daughter!  But...just really curious as to the difference
between MP3, digital players, ipod...are they all the same thing just
different brand names?  Probably a quick and easy answer and I'll be
totally happy!!


Clarification of Answer by kriswrite-ga on 24 Nov 2004 09:48 PST
Hi mammajamma~

Yes, that *can* be confusing! :)

MP3s are a format. It's kind of like the difference between a
Microsoft Word document and a WordPerfect document. Both are used for
text (like typing letters), but they are in different formats and not
every computer will be able to read them. Or, you might think of it
this way: It's a bit akin to CDs vs. LPs. Both play music, but they
are in different formats.

Digital players are machines that only play MP3s. 

An iPod is a brand of MP3 player or digital player.

I hope that clears things up!

mammajamma-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Great answers, and a perfectly understandable, clear clarification on
one issue!  This info has helped tremendously and the quick response
was unexpected.  I'll definitely use Google Answers again.

Subject: Re: Music Players
From: davidavid237-ga on 24 Nov 2004 10:45 PST
I (respectfully) completely disagree with the answer given.  CD
players are largely obsolete and have several downsides when compared
to other forms of music players.

It's important for the customer to know the different types of music
players out there.  Right now, there are primarily two different types
of mp3 players widely sold - "flash memory" and "hard drive".  Flash
players capture data (in this case mp3 music files) on a computer
chip.  These players are "solid state", meaning they have essentially
no mechanical moving parts.  Solid state electronics are far, far more
reliable and less apt to break than are mechanical devices.

A CD player is a mechanical device - a motor spins the CD and a laser
reads the data from the CD.  Motors can break.  Lasers can fail.

Additionally, CD players tend to be much bigger than flash players
(they must  be at least slightly bigger than a CD, whereas flash
players are about the size of a cigarette lighter), and CD players
require more batteries, more often.  It takes much more energy to run
that motor than it does to read a computer chip in a flash player. 
Those extra batteries translate into added expense, as well as added

One downside to flash music players is they tend to be more expensive
than CD players, though not substantially more.

The Ipod is an example of a hard drive player (there are several
others also).  These devices have a hard drive (like a computer, only
much smaller), and the music files are saved on this drive.  These are
not solid state as the hard drive spins and is read by a laser.  Hard
drives can hold substantially more data (songs) than can either a CD
or a flash drive.  The downside to hard drive players is that they are
approximately 3-4 times (or more) as expensive as flash players.

As for the buyer's daughter being able to play her existing mp3 as
well as any CDs she already owns, her laptop probably already has a
program that will allow her to "rip" her CDs into mp3 format, which
can then be moved to her mp3 player.  There are many free programs
that do this process that can be downloaded from various websites.

My recommendation - get your daughter a flash drive mp3 player.  They
come in several price categories, mostly corrallated to their volume
of memory.  A 128 megabyte player will hold about 30 songs, and a 256
MB player will hold about 60 songs.  I'd go with a 256 MB player, and
you can expect to pay in the $75 - $150 range.

Good luck.

Subject: Re: Music Players
From: cartmanqb-ga on 24 Nov 2004 13:13 PST
In fairness to the researcher, the question was posed by mammajamma
with the beginning line "My 14 year old daughter wants a portable CD
player." Thus, although you say CD players are "largely obsolete,"
that is what the questioner requested.
Subject: Re: Music Players
From: sage_shaman-ga on 24 Nov 2004 20:58 PST
Though the topic appears to be closed, I could not let one particular
portion your (David) reply go without being corrected. There are no
"hard drives" of which I am aware, whose data is read off the platter
using a laser. Indeed, within the hard drive is a small armature (and
in the case of multiple platters, several) fitted with a tiny magnetic
head which both reads and writes data to and from the magnetic disc.

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