|Topic: Making the Switch to Digital
Date Written: March 18, 2004
Written By: Webmaster Christopher Beley
This article is for the person who
wants to or is interested in switching from their old CD, tape,
etc player to some sort of digital player. As you may have
noticed, there are so many different types of digital media to
choose from, and I am hoping by the end of this article I may be
able to solve most, if not all of the confusion you may have.
In general, digital media players have
some great advantages. First of all, most of the time you can
store a large sum of music, in a small space. Unlike CD players
where there are only 80 minutes of music on a disk. Additionally
the CDs and CD players themselves are bulky. Next, is the ability
to organize and title your music, so you can see what song is
playing on the device itself. Yet another advantage is that if you
ever download music off the internet (legally of course;-), you
will save a lot of CDs, since you can write and rewrite directly
onto the player itself. Finally, digital media players are just
THE MINIDISK FORMAT
Oh, the all popular MiniDisc format! Wait
a second, you say you have never heard of this format?! Well, you
have been missing out! MiniDisc players use, what do you know....MiniDiscs;-)
Each of these MiniDiscs can store about 80 minutes in SP mode, 2
hours in LP2 mode, and 5 hours in LP4 mode using a format called
Atrac3. However, there is a big disadvantage to the Atrac3 format.
When you use any of the LP modes there will be a downgrade in
quality, because of the conversion between formats. Additionally,
if you want to have more music on one disk, you are going to have
to sacrifice sound quality for space.
With all these problems with sound
quality, you are probably thinking, "Why in the world would I
get this format?" Well, for the person looking to not spend a
lot and wants to be able to carry a decent amount of music with
him or her self, MiniDiscs are for you. Through MiniDisc players
themselves may cost just as much as most solid state memory
players, the media is a lot cheaper. MiniDiscs cost around
$2 a disk, while a solid state memory card costs around $40.
However, if you have a little more money to spend, want to carry
large amounts of music, or want something super small, I would
SOLID STATE MEMORY BASED MP3 PLAYERS
Ahhhh, the all popular MP3 player (that
isn't hard drive bassed)! MP3 players are not perfect however...
The first good thing about MP3 players is
that they greatly vary in size, offering lot's of choices for you
(the consumer). There are MP3 players the size of your finger to
the size of your whole hand. Also, since you don't have to convert
your music to any special format, you won't get any downgrade in
The first major con is that memory cards are expensive. You are
going to want at least a 64MB card, and that is going to run you
around $40. Secondly, you won't be able to store that much music
on a 64MB card (maybe around 4 or 5 hours at a medium quality),
unless you want to spend the money on a 1gig card, which is going
to cost you around $400!
HARD DRIVE BASED MP3 PLAYERS
These, in my opinion are the best, but
the most expensive. They store music on hard drives, however, this
does cause a few annoyances
Since hard drives have moving parts, they
are sometimes skip, unlike solid state memory MP3 players which
have no moving parts. However most of them have very good skip
protection. The other thing is that a lot of times the hard
drive based MP3 players are bigger, and if you do want a hard
drive based MP3 player that is small, you are going to have a even
deeper hole in your pocket.
The major advantage hard drive based MP3
players have over the other digital music players is storage.
While you can get a 1 gig card for your solid state memory music
players, a hard drive player can have anywhere from 5 gigs to
20gigs of space. Additionally, you can hack an Ipod and some other
hard drive based players to have yet more memory. You would go
about this by replacing the hard drive in the player with one with
more memory. So what does this all mean? It means you can have
your entire music collection in your pocket wherever you go. You
have to admit that is pretty cool. The second advantage is
that a lot of the hard drive based players allow you to use them
as a portable hard drive. This means you can keep backups of all
your files and listen to your music all on the same device!
Well, I hope that this article has helped
give you a better understanding about the different digital music
devices. And that concludes my article, until next time...