Before investing in an expensive piece of audio equipment you’ll want to ask yourself a handful of questions to determine if digital music technology is right for you.
A digital audio player (DAP) is a device that stores, organizes and plays digital music files. It is more commonly referred to as a MP3 player but it can play other formats such as Windows Media Audio (WMA), and Advanced Audio Codec (AAC). Be sure you find out if the player you are interested in buying is compatible with the formats that you will be using.
1. Which model is the right one for me? To answer this question you will need to determine how much music you have now and how much you plan to acquire in the future. If you plan to digitize your large CD collection then you might want to invest in a 30-60 GB model. Just to give you a general idea, 30 GB will hold approximately 7500. If you plan to download selected favorite songs then a shuffle or nano is better for you.
2. How much can I afford to spend? Be honest with yourself about how much you are willing to spend on a MP3 player. They can range in price from $69 for a shuffle to $399 for a 60 GB iPod. If you know that you won’t be using it daily or that you don’t have a lot of music to add to it, go with the less expensive models. However, if you know that you have an extensive music collection you should invest in the model with more gigs than tend to be more expensive than shuffles and nanos. Sometimes you can cut the costs by taking advantage of student and educator discounts by some manufactors. Ask before you buy what discounts are available. Remember to consider the cost of accessories in the final cost. More than likely you will want to add a protective cover or external speakers to your product.
3. When and where will I be using it? Do you travel a lot? Then you need something that can hold more music and offer a longer battery life. Are you just taking it out on a jog or to the gym? Then you will need a smaller, more compact model that will hold only your workout music. Do you use public transportation or do you drive? If you drive then you won’t get as much use as someone who commutes on the bus or train. These are all considerations to factor in before swiping your card at the register for your new MP3.
4. What are my current computer capabilities? If you have a slow, outdated computer you will want to upgrade your hardware to support the software you will need to install in order to support your new MP3 player and add the music you will be downloading. If you plan to download music from the internet then you will want to invest in DSL or cable for faster and more reliable internet connections during downloads. Take these financial considerations into account before you decide to buy an MP3 player. Are you computer savvy or will you depend on another person to help you add music files and set up your music player? Go into the store prepared to answer all of these questions.
5. Is an iPod the right piece of equipment for me? Although Apple iPods are the most popular players on the market they are not your only choice for digital music players. Most digital audio players function the same way but each manufacturer likes to add a unique spin to their company’s product. Some are simply more user friendly than others. Try to purchase your new player from a reputable retailer with a liberal return policy in case the first MP3 player is not a good fit for your needs. Circuit City and the Apple Store both offer reasonable trial periods for their products, if you do not get them customized, but most people will know within the first week whether the product is the best choice for them. Just because the iPod is not your cup of tea doesn’t mean that a Creative Zen or a Dell DJ won’t be a better choice. Comparison shop for the best deals but also make sure that the product you purchase is best suited to your lifestyle.