Buying an MP3 Player off Ebay

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If  you type 'mp3 player' in to the search box on Ebay, you will be presented with over 1000 items for sale at any given time. When choosing an MP3, you should ensure the unit is able to accept WMA files (standard music format) for playing and comes with software that is compatible with your PC.

 Whether you choose to buy a branded or unbranded model, most, if not all MP3 players originate from Asia and in particular China. It may come as a surprise to you to know quite a few of the branded MP3 players actually contain the same mechanism as unbranded MP3 players. Therefore, as long as you buy from a seller with good feedback, you should hopefully be able to pick up a bargain.

Audio Formats

Good MP3 players should be able to play one or more other compressed audio formats, that include AAC, OGG and WMA.

I have listed the differences in the file types below

    *  WMA: WMA (Windows Media Audio) files are roughly half the size of an MP3 file but offers comparable sound quality. WMA was launched after MP3 had become the best-known audio format.

 If you want to fit as many songs as possible onto your audio player, look for WMA compatibility. If you want to download music in WMA format, try the Internet music store Napster (Napster only charge 79p per song downloaded).

    * Although MP3Pro produces better audio quality than MP3, the format has not been widely adopted by manufacturers.

    * OGG: Ogg Vorbis format has excellent sound quality and is gaining popularity.

    * AAC: Dolby's Advanced Audio Coding format is only used in Apple iPods and can be dowloaded from Apple's Internet music store, iTunes.

    * WAV: Uncompressed audio, just as you'd hear on a standard CD.

Storage Types


Flash Memory

The advantage of flash MP3 players is that they contain no moving parts, ie, they are ideal for jogging, walking etc. You should be able to pick up a flash memory MP3 player to meet your individual demands as they are readily available with up to 6GB of storage. If the MP3 players contains a memory card slot, you can easily upgrade the storage capacity with a removable memory Compact Flash card.

Hard Disc

• Those of you with serious large amounts of music, should consider a hard disc player, as it is not uncommon to find a hard disc player with 60GB of storage, that is enough to hold on average 30,000 songs in WMA formant! MP3 player hard disks are re-usable, so you can add or delete songs as often as you like.

Battery

Hard disk MP3 players have a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, which typically last up to four years, though this varies from make to make. Other types of player use AA or AAA batteries, and some have an internal rechargeable cell.

Display

Most MP3 players display title and artist information about the song that's playing. Most have a backlit LCD for reading in the dark.

 Connection

All new MP3 players use a USB connection for data high-speed data transfer to and from your computer. Old MP3 players do use the serial port connection which I would not personally recommend buying.

Computer Compatibility

Do you own a Mac? If so, please check with the seller before bddign on any MP3 players, as most will not work on Mac's. If you own a Apple Mac, you may be better off buying an Ipod.

How do I turn my favourite CD into an mp3?

To turn a CD or CD track into an mp3 file is actually quite simple. You will need to use some 3rd party software.  I use audiograbber. It is free to download (Freeware) and once installed, is very easy to use.  If you use a certain software ie Microsoft Media Player, when converting the music, it may add Copyright protection, which will limit the use of the music file thereafter.  (We do not condone breach of copyright in any way although if you have purchased the CD, you are entitled to make a copy for your own listening, not hire or reward).

Ebay is full of bargains, that's why you want to buy from Ebay right?

Are they always a bargain though? Is that digital camera, mp3 player, or other electrical item going to work out cheap if you buy it from Hong Kong, Singapore or elsewhere and have it shipped to the UK?

IMPORTANT - Please ensure you ask the following questions before buying, or you may get burnt.

MAINS SUPPLY

Will it be compatible with the UK mains supply? Does it need a different power supply adapter, or mains plug adapter? Remember the USA and some other countries do NOT use our 3 pin 240v mains, they use other standards. CHECK before buying.

UNEXPECTED CHARGES

The seller may proclaim NO VAT, but make sure you wont get hit by a big charge from customs. As a ligitamate importor of electrical goods, I can assure you there is no way of avoiding import duty or tax. The courier company is legally bound to provide details of all goods bought from oversees to customes and excise. As a rule of thumb, I always add 30% on top of the purchased item to cover such costs.

Also, what if the seller lies on the customs form, if they put the item down as USED and don't provide a receipt, what proof of purchase do you have?

WARRANTY

Often warranties are ONLY valid in the same country the item was purchased from, so unless you fancy a trip to Hong Kong to hand over your mp3 player for repair, do your research, and ask the seller first - get it in writing if possible.

SHIPPING

Will it take weeks to arrive? If buying from Hong Kong, China, or Asia in general, as a rule of thumb you should allow 14 days for delivery.

Is it insured on route?

More importantly, watch out for sellers that have a really low starting price, and use shipping costs to avoid eBay fees. Whilst this may still mean you get a bargain, watch the small print - often they say in case of a problem they will only refund the item cost, NOT the shipping. So that 1p camera with 99 pound shipping, if it develops a fault, will mean only a 1p refund... PLEASE BE CAREFUL- YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

DOCUMENTATION

Will you get a proof of purchase/receipt, and will the instructions be in English? Check before buying.

I hope the above information has been of some use to you. Eitherway, I wish you good luck in your search and happy bidding in whatever you choose to buy

Pari
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