|MICRO CENTER: COMPUTERS & ELECTRONICS|
Music Player Guide
Another consideration is that there are several different music formats available and specific audio players are only compatible with one type. The term "MP3" is only one of several audio encoding formats and is commonly used for music or voice recordings. Some companies have developed their own digital music format compatible with only their software and hardware. For example, Apple iPods operate with AAC (Advanced Audio Coding) format which runs on iTunes software. Microsoft created the WMA (Windows Media Audio) format used with Windows Media Player. Generally, most digital music players and internet music services work with the WMA format, but some programs such as Apple's iTunes use AAC format only.
Digital audio players come in two different varieties: flash memory based and hard drive based. The flash memory players are usually smaller, lightweight and operate faster, but lack a large storage capacity. On the other hand, hard-drive based audio players can hold several gigabytes of personal information as well as music playlists. How much information you plan to store on your device will influence the type of device you need.
In addition, you may have to invest in additional
hardware or software. If you want to use your audio
player in your vehicle, you may need to purchase a
FM transmitter to listen to your playlists through
your car stereo. Or, if you plan to digitize your vinyl
records or cassettes, you may need a sound card and
audio editing software to change your recordings to
compatible files. The cost of accessories can exceed
your budget quickly when you add up all of the specialty
hardware and software.
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