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  How Do Mp3 Players Work? Digital Audio Technology Revolutionizes
By W R Kirk, Fri Dec 9th

Millions have enjoyed recorded music since 1877 when ThomasEdison invented the phonograph. Then came radio, records, tapesand CD's. But today's digital audio players are a quantum leapforward in music technology. To understand what makes thesemusic players so revolutionary, let's explore the question, "Howdo mp3 players work?"

Until recently listening to music recordings involvedmechanically moving the media past an interface to pick up ananalog signal called a wave-form. This signal of vibrations wasamplified and sent to the speakers where we heard it as sounds.When digitized, the wave-form becomes a WAV file. It's a majorimprovement, but the file is very large and a CD disc is limitedto about 80 minutes of music.

So What is an iPod, and How does an work?

Apple's is the best known mp3 player. In answer to thequestion, How do iPods work, the next two paragraphs reallydescribe how all portable digital music players function.

Software converts the music to a small digital file, usually WAVto mp3, using a codec like MP3 or WMA. The codec compresses thefile by discarding sounds inaudible to the human ear.




Thedigital file is stored in the mp3 player's flash or micro-drivememory. Because the file is so small, a player no larger than adeck of cards can hold up to thousands of songs.

For play-back the mp3 player executes several functions.Embedded software reads the file, decompresses the encoding,converts it back to analog, amplifies the signal and sends it tothe headphones. And voilá, we have crystal clear sound withoutthe annoying cracks, pops and hisses particularly common torecords and tapes.

How We Do MP3 (Player Types, Functions & Features)

Even with a seemingly never-ending stream of new products, thereare basically three types of audio devices that work well foraudio CD duplication in a portable personal player.

  1. Flash Players - the smallest, least expensive,and most reliable. Using solid state memory with embeddedsoftware, they have no moving parts, so batteries last longerand skips are eliminated. They have limited memory, but willstill hold dozens of songs. Most players have search, shuffle,repeat and other popular features.
  2. Micro-Drive Players - the tiny hard drives in thesemp3 players have up to 60GB of memory and will hold thousands oftunes. Some also store and display photos. Anti-skip technologyhelps, but shock or vibration can still cause skips. Theytypically have more functions and features than flashplayers.
  3. CD MP3 Players - the new generation of portable CDplayers. Using formats like mp3, WMA and ATRAC, they play (somealso burn) CD's that hold 10 to 45 hours of music per disc. Theyplay standard and/or 3" MiniDisc CD's. Standard CD sized unitscost less than most mp3 players. MiniDisc player prices arehigher but they hold the most music, and they're about the samesize as a micro-drive mp3 player. Most play both pre-recordedand CD-R/RW discs. Features are similar to the otherplayers.

For more information, see Compare MP3 Players

About the author:MP3 players information from A to Z: player types & features,how they work, accessories, comparisons and more - plus freemusic download tips and info at A-Z MP3 Players.com,Your Complete A-Z Resource for MP3 Players, Accessories andInformation. This article may be re-printed in its entirety withthis resource box included. © 2005 www.a-z-mp3-players.com Allrights reserved










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