Many people ask me:
Why prefer a dedicated mp3 player to our smart-phone all-rounder?
The mobile phone by now it is a small computer that does so many things, but does not make them to the TOP.
Let me explain.
Why do people continue to buy bulky cameras for thousands of euros even though cell phones are now making very beautiful photographs?
The reason is simple: if you want the highest quality, if you love images, if you love music and you want it feel under-skin, as if it were part of us and not just a supermarket background, we need to dedicated appliances, in our case we need mp3 players that do excellent decoding of audio files and have excellent preamps.
Here is my favorite reader that I always carry in my pocket:
It is true that a mobile phone can act as an mp3 player, but given the construction materials and the fact that it has to be all in such a small space, the engineers who design these devices are forced to gigantic compromises regarding audio quality.
The two easy key concepts to understand are: digital-analog conversion is headphone preamp.
Digital to analog conversion and headphone preamp
Many believe that all the audio outputs are the same, and that the difference is simply between "jack" and "mini-jack".
Unfortunately it is not so simple, there is a reason why fans bleed to have audio systems that give away great emotions and goose bumps.
In fact there are two steps to consider before the audio comes to our ears starting from the audio file: or that of conversion is that of amplification.
Audio in format mp3, flac or wav is a simple sequence of 0 and 1 that must be converted into an analog signal, in sound waves.
Think of some so-called digital-to-analog converters FROM, they can also cost 3-4 thousand euros. And they serve only and exclusively for this purpose.
How can a 400 euro phone that has to fulfill other thousand functions compete with such audio conversion?
Once the signal becomes analog it must be amplified to be heard by our ears, through headphones or speakers, that's why the preamp is fundamental, because that's what it will provide character is pump at the sound. But also sound space and high fidelity of reproduction.
To have gods full bodied, defined, exciting, we need a good conversion and a good pre-amplification. And the smart-phone can't do miracles, of course.
Don't believe me?
Go to a serious audio store, and ask to listen to your favorite album with a good high-end preamp, a world will literally open up.
And you will never want to go back.
Here is the definitive Guide to the perfect portable mp3 player for any pocket:
9 Best MP3 Players 2019 (Reviews, Reviews)
Fiio X3 II, my favorite, fantastic sound quality
The Fiio in terms of audio quality breaks, you know, is a brand for audiophiles, but with very low costs.
The main feature of the Fiio is its really great digital to analog audio conversion, plus the quality of the headphone preamp.
It's like listening to music from a high-level headphone preamp, but with the convenience of always having it in your pocket.
This mp3 player is to be considered as my favorite, since it has an interface that I personally consider minimal but, at the same time, quite complete: you will find yourself navigating from one menu to another without wasting time and above all without risking finding yourself in sections that you are not interested in.
The audio quality is perfect since the player accepts the Flac format files, which allows you to remove every single inaccuracy that characterizes the mp3 format: with a nice pair of earphones I assure you that you will hear a perfect sound quality.
Here, right on the front of headphones I must warn you: these are not supplied and therefore you will necessarily have to go in search of the same model that is able to perfectly respond to your needs.
I also want to talk about the fact that you will also need a micro SD memory card, as this model does not have internal storage.
If you put these aspects in the background, just like I did, you will find yourself facing the best model of mp3 player on the market.
Transcend TS8GMP330W, excellent alternative pro
I also liked this model a lot and if it wasn't ruined after a bad fall, I probably would never have replaced it.
I can tell you right away that this model is equipped with an internal memory of 8 Giga: it seemed impossible to me to fill it completely and after the four gig of memory used by me, I had to wait for the release of new songs to insert others.
The display of this mp3 player, in Oled, has always fascinated me: few written but essential, which gave me all the basic information to make the most of the player.
The battery is one of the two main pitfalls: during my experience of use the battery was consumed after four hours of use, so I loaded it every night so as not to miss the opportunity to listen to my favorite music.
On the other hand, I also enjoyed the different radio stations and recorded the songs directly from the player: I always liked this feature and every time I heard a song I missed, I immediately activated the recorder.
Unfortunately I cannot conceal from you the other defect that I have always encountered, that is a considerable delay in the response to the commands, which often involved the loss of some parts of the song and some excessive seconds of waiting before moving from one track to another.
Apple iPod Shuffle
I can tell you that with this reader I spent whole days enjoying my favorite music, it was my first mp3 player, before entering the world of high fidelity.
Although the sound quality is not as perfect as the other model, with this a three-hour battery recharge gives you at least twelve hours of continuous listening to the music.
My experience with this player is very positive: the aluminum body is completely resistant and even if I fell several times, sometimes quite violently, both the keys and the body of the device have not found any damage.
I also tell you about the good internal memory of the fact that this player is small enough that it will seem like you don't have it in your pocket: I even locked it in the polo shirt when I had to listen to music, thanks to the practical rear hook.
The only thing that has always left me perplexed, or that has not convinced me, is the absence of the display.
Not knowing the title of the track, the residue of the battery and other aspects that they consider fundamental has always given me that feeling of incomplete mp3 player, of secondary importance compared to other instruments.
A real shame as I used this player for some time and above all the quality of the audio, with the supplied headphones, is not so different from the first model I told you about.
FiiO X1 2, great design and great sound
This mp3 player, object of the exchange with the previous model with my brother, left me very impressed, above all for the quality of the audio.
The songs, especially those extracted from the concerts then in live, were characterized by a perfect sound quality to the point that it seemed to me to attend a real concert.
Also in this case I must remind you that you must have excellent headphones in order to be able to enjoy the experience of a perfect sound from every point of view and avoid being disappointed.
The same goes for memory, totally absent: this model is essentially the same as the first one I described to you, with the substantial difference that you can also see the various videos you insert, as the model has a small screen that reproduces video content.
If I had to make a choice, however, prefer the previous model and this for the simple fact that the controls are too slow: sometimes the central controller is not so precise and so I happened to get into screens not of my interest, which it made me lose a lot of time, especially when the commands didn't respond perfectly to the directives I gave them consecutively.
SanDisk Clip Sport Plus 16GB, an inexpensive gem
During my brief experience as a sportsman, since the race has always fascinated me, listening to music during the training session seemed essential to me.
For this reason I got this model after seeing it from a friend of mine and I can tell you that if you practice physical activity, this reader will be your best friend.
16 GB of memory with the possibility of accessing the radio function in a very short time and quite good audio quality, with commands that respond immediately to key presses, have made my training sessions very pleasant to play.
I also tell you that this model is quite light, so if you keep it in your pocket you will not feel that excessive weight that often affects the ride and also the resistance of this player will far exceed all your expectations, as it happened to me.
If I have to find a flaw I can tell you that if you do not have a headset with a top quality antenna, the radio will not be received optimally and even the battery does not reach the degree of autonomy of the models I described to you before, another flaw not underestimate.
- Designed for high fidelity music reproduction and use in sports. Supports audio formats WMA, MP3, Flac, Ape and available in four colors;
- 8 GB of memory capacity, supports up to 64 GB Micro SD! (NB: In order to avoid incompatibility, it is recommended to use AGPTek memories) NB: To avoid incompatibility, it is recommended to use AGPTek memories;
This mp3 player was lent to me during a business trip by a colleague of mine and I can tell you that this instrument, besides being quite cheap, proved to be quite professional.
As a first aspect that I appreciated there is the integrated radio with the possibility of recording the songs you listen to from the same and at the same time I also talk about an 8 gig memory that allow you to memorize a large number of files.
As another rather positive aspect that I found during my experience of use is the resistance of the device itself, which is characterized by a body of first quality and very simple lines.
On the audio quality front I tell you that we are not at the highest levels, also because of the supplied headphones that are certainly not the best but, at the same time, I want to reward simple navigation in the different menus, which you will find quite simple to exploit.
But if I have to talk about the biggest flaw, then I tell you right away that this is represented by the display, which tends to be hardly visible especially if this instrument is used in front of the sun: the quality of the colors drops drastically and the same is true for visibility, so I do not recommend it if you love listening to music while you are in the garden or in the open air.
Sony Walkman NWA45N
Also this mp3 player was lent to me for a short time but I had the opportunity to be able to exploit it for a long time and understand that the quality of this instrument is quite good but not excellent.
As a first good enough aspect there is the internal sound equalization system: each musical track is calibrated in such a way that you can only and exclusively hear good music, whether it is tracks with many basses or songs that tend to be more balanced.
The body of this type of reader is quite durable and at the same time I also want to talk about the fact that the battery allows you to listen to medium duration.
As another kind of positive aspect I want to talk to you about the simplicity of menu navigation, which is not an aspect to be underestimated since many models tend to be slow or otherwise do not respond perfectly to the commands given to them.
But as with the other models, in this case too I must stress that even the Sony Walkman NW-A35L mp3 model has two flaws, the first of which is the lack of supplied headphones, while the second is that the menu tends to to be too simple and the absence of some options, which would have made it certainly better, assumes a quite considerable weight in terms of the final score of this instrument.
Philips GoGear Vibe
This was one of the first mp3 players that I had the pleasure of trying and for this I will try to talk to you about this model, which kept me company for some time.
The strength of the body and its rather contained dimensions transform this reader into a pleasant tool to exploit and able to keep you company for several hours.
The quality of the audio is average, so don't expect to hear a perfect sound like it does with the models of readers recently produced, but at the same time, with a good pair of headphones, you will be able to remedy this kind of problem.
Another kind of pretty good aspect is represented by the display, which allows you to know the title and album, as well as the artist, of the song you are listening to, as well as to know the same information and the name of the radio station you have selected.
To this aspect also add the possibility of being able to choose between thirty stations already set by default in the memory of the reader and a good longevity with regard to the battery.
Unfortunately this model is not equipped with a cable to charge the battery, which must be purchased separately and this particular absence, at the time, disappointed me a lot since I did not use the reader after removing it from the box.
This mp3 player also belongs to my time as an athlete and a team mate of mine, several times, he loaned me this little device whose rubber body represents the real winning feature that turns it into a proper tool just for training sessions sports.
The completely waterproof rubber structure is flanked by an oled screen that, in every situation, allowed me to read the different information contained in it.
I also add the fact that this small mp3 player is very simple to use, with menu items that can be accessed really quickly thanks to the fact that these require very few touches to be activated.
The good memory of the reader allows you to store various music files and you can also scroll through the different folders, which can be created using the player directly.
The only two things I didn't like are the headphones and the quality of the audio.
As far as the first aspect is concerned, the standard headphones are not very powerful, so even when the volume is turned up to maximum, the sound tends to be quite low.
With other, more powerful headphones, some too much distortion tends to be present while listening, which could ruin even a fairly linear musical track.
Therefore a particular mp3 player ideal for playing sports but not for listening to music while you are at rest.
SanDisk Clip, like the Shuffle, but with an extra gear
This is probably the only mp3 player that I have not personally owned but which I tried before buying.
Unfortunately the sound quality and the lack of some last generation features like the wireless connection, present in other models made in the same period and the price similar to that which distinguishes this model, unfortunately did not convince me at all.
On a positive note, I can tell you that the navigation menu is quite intuitive and will allow you to access the various items without great difficulty.
Even the screen is quite good as is the 8 gig memory, which will allow you to store several audio tracks in a simple and immediate way.
I also announce that this model is not equipped with a charger, another reason why I did not choose it.
A fairly simple mp3 that will be able to offer you good performances but that has a few too many flaws.
How to choose an MP3 player
If you are not convinced of the models that I have described to you or you want to know what are the technical aspects that must be present in an MP3 player and that allows it to be defined as better, continue reading so that you can get all the information you need to analyze better the different models that you will look for in the future.
The usability of the MP3 player
As the first fundamental parameter you need to take into consideration the usability factor of the reader you will be analyzing.
But what does this mean?
In the past I happened to use a device that, although it had excellent sound quality, turned out to be incredibly complex to use and therefore made me feel like it.
Always focus on simplicity: for my point of view, in fact, it is better to have an audio of 7 and a simplicity of use of 10 instead of an opposite situation, since in this circumstance you could find yourself not being able to make the most of all the potentialities offered to you by the reader himself.
The quality of the audio
I just talked to you about the quality of the audio, which seems secondary to the simplicity of use parameter.
Well, don't make this mistake in the evaluation phase, as you may not be able to fully appreciate the music you listen to.
Even the audio must be of first quality but above all your MP3 player must necessarily be equipped with an equalization function that allows you to set at maximum each individual aspect relating to listening.
If you want the bass to be very present while listening to the music track, your player should offer you the opportunity to fulfill your request, so that you don't get disappointed with the final result you get.
The same goes for the other sounds that characterize the different audio tracks: always remember that even the headphones must be of top quality and offer you good ear protection as well as the output of a clean sound even when you maximize the volume.
Combining all these particular aspects you will have the concrete possibility to let your choice fall on a type of mp3 player thanks to which every single musical track, regardless of the kind of music you listen to, can be heard by you in a perfect way and with great participation by your part.
The audio format
Consider a very important detail, namely the compatibility of the reader with the various audio formats.
Surely you will be aware of the fact that a musical track, or rather an audio file, is characterized by a final extension: mp3 indicates the type of format of that song you intend to insert in your player.
But be careful, because this type of audio file does not exist exclusively: you could in fact have a song that has a wav extension, avi or other types, depending on the type of program you used to copy the music to your computer.
When you need to select an mp3 player, your job is to evaluate which audio formats are compatible with the device so that you can avoid encountering an unpleasant situation, since the model you have chosen may not be able to read that music file.
The more different formats are compatible with that device, the lower the difficulty you will encounter when you have to insert a file in the reader itself, which will reproduce all your music without complications and you have to use programs to convert that format audio, with the risk of losing the quality of the song itself.
The storage method and the size of the memory
Now let's talk about another feature that allows you to easily choose your mp3 player, that is the type of storage and at the same time the storage capacity of the mp3 player.
As far as the first aspect is concerned, one gig will contain about 70 songs, as each audio file takes up very little space.
This means that with an mp3 player whose memory is superior, you will have the opportunity to insert a large number of songs but also keep in mind that the more capacious the storage will be, the higher the cost of your device.
In this case you can also opt for an mp3 player which has a memory that is not excessive but which, at the same time, allows you to use memory cards and then expand the same.
Just like your mobile phone, by taking advantage of these memory cards you will have the real possibility of inserting a fairly good number of music tracks into the player without having to search for a device whose internal storage is high on the capacity front.
Remember of course that the basic version tends to be the slightly better one in terms of practicality, since mp3 players with micro SD cards may require different steps to be exploited and to insert new music tracks into them, a detail that you should not absolutely put in second.
The battery, the type and duration
Now let's talk about an aspect that you need to keep well in mind, namely the battery of the mp3 player.
When we talk about this aspect you have to consider the fact that the lithium battery is fundamental, since the classic batteries would involve a small constant cost and above all some types may not have a high charge, so be consumed in a fairly quick time frame.
Therefore consider the possibility of letting your choice fall on that version of the mp3 player with lithium battery, which today should characterize most devices.
But even in this case I suggest to see the longevity of the battery: when you have to choose the reader you have to accurately evaluate how long you will use it consecutively, since once you get back home you will charge it.
From personal experience I advise you to focus on a tool that is characterized by a longevity of about 6 hours: if you then find the model that offers you a superior duration even better.
Also consider the battery charging times and the mode, so that you can actually have the opportunity to prevent an unpleasant situation, or find yourself with your unloaded reader after very few uses and having to wait hours before this tool is fully recharged .
The connection modes of the reader
When I talk about this, I refer to a series of aspects that need to be carefully evaluated thanks to which you can make the most of your reader.
With connectivity I am not referring only to the classic method of recharging the battery, or via USB cable, but on the contrary, I also turn to the possibility of exploiting devices that allow files to be transferred quickly enough, for example by using the wireless and Bluetooth connection .
By activating this option you will be able to transfer the music tracks from your mobile device to the reader in a fairly quick time frame, a detail that also allows you to lighten the memory of the smartphone, given that these devices, also because of updates to the operating system, enjoy a memory always less accessible.
Obviously it tries to carefully analyze every single aspect of the connectivity of the mp3 devices, as you must have the security that the same is read by the operating system of the smartphone.
Only in this way will you have the security of getting hold of a tool that can satisfy all your different needs without neglecting even one.
Audio recording via the player
Finally, as another fundamental aspect, you must also consider the possibility of being able to record with your mp3 player.
When I attended professional refresher courses, after which several exams were scheduled, I used this function to listen to the lesson again, trying to integrate the information in the informative material with the explanation of the teacher responsible for the course.
Obviously you have to choose a reader that registers in a clear and precise way, trying to exclude its environment to the maximum and avoiding that the element that interests you, as it could be a voice or a simple musical track listened to on the radio, can actually be ruined by certain external elements that are annoying and that may not be to your liking.
Therefore, thanks to this function, you will have the opportunity to obtain an optimal final result.
These are all the different tips I can give you regarding the choice of an mp3 player, if you wanted to go in search of a model not present in the ones I proposed to you and that can actually meet your different needs.
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