Dummies Guide to Using mp3 players & mp3 files FAQ

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A dummy’s guide to mp3 music file

What is an mp3?

mp3 – the file type of a piece of music compressed from its original format (CD etc).

mp3 compresses (Squeezes down or makes smaller) CD-quality sound by a factor of twelve, while still maintaining high quality.  This means that the music file will be approx 12 times smaller, without any noticeable loss of quality. 

mp3 music files are played via software (like media player, winamp, realplayer etc) or a handheld device (mp3 player, mobile phone etc). mp3 has made it feasible to download quality audio from the Web very quickly.  Another popular format is WMA (Windows Media Audio), which is virtually the same thing - it is just Microsoft’s version of mp3 and can contain licensing (copyright) restrictions.  Other similar file types include OGG Vorbis, AAC (Apple’s own itunes format)  and A-Trac (Sony’s own format).  These file types are all very similar but are designed to limit you to using equipment made by a certain manufacturer – if you want to be able to share music, the most all round compatible file type (and arguably the best quality) is mp3.

How do I turn a CD into an mp3?

To turn a CD or CD track into an mp3 file, you will need to use some 3rd party software.  We would recommend a program called 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).

How do I store and playback my mp3 files?

To make life easier, it is best to keep all your mp3 files in the same place and use the same format for naming them all, this will make it easier to find your music when you have built up your collection.  Create a folder called “mp3s” somewhere easy to find on your hard drive.  This will contain all your music files, so make sure there is plenty of room on your hard drive!
Within this folder, we would recommend the following format to keep your music organized:


Folder name = Artist – Album name (i.e.: Michael Jackson – Bad)

Track name = Track number – Track name (i.e.: 1 – Smooth Criminal)

This will ensure all albums by the same artist are grouped together and easy to find and within the folder, the tracks will remain in order, rather than alphabetical etc.

To playback your files, simply double click them to play in your default player (usually media player).

Common mistakes during this process include placing multiple folders inside other folders, which mp3 players will have problems understanding correctly.

How do I move my mp3 files onto my mp3 player?

This is very simple – either
Open a browser window for both your mp3 folder and your mp3 player and drag and drop the files between the two
Or
Right click the file you want to move, select “copy” from the list, then right click in your mp3 player’s folder and select “paste”.  This will copy your file from your hard drive to your mp3 player.
Once an mp3 file is on your computer it can be moved and copied in exactly the same way as any other type of file.
My mp3 player is faulty, where do I send it back?

In most cases, you will not need to return your mp3 player as a lot of problems can be resolved by simply formatting or re-setting the device.
Please format the device by following the below instructions (please ensure your device is plugged into the computer):
Click on START...
Select MY COMPUTER...
Right Click over REMOVABLE DRIVE/DISC...
Select FORMAT...
Select FAT32 as File System...
Select Start Formatting...
If you have an MP3 player that will not switch on, we would strongly suggest changing the battery to a tested battery that is known to be working.
If your mp3 player is not recognized by your computer, please could you test the device in a different computer to see if the problem persists.
 Please try this before contacting us.  We will not accept any faulty returns unless accompanied by the correct RMA (returns) form.

How do I use the Line-in encoding facility?

Line-in encoding means real time recording into mp3 format.  You will need to plug an audio device (CD player, walkman etc) into the line-in port of your mp3 player and select the line in record function of the mp3 player (see the supplied instruction manual).  When you are finished, an mp3 file will have been created for the audio you have recorded.  You can think of this as being like the “tape to tape” recording of old.
 
My mp3 player shows “no files” when I unplug it from my PC, why is this?

It is more than likely that the files are not of a compatible type (i.e. mp3, WMA etc).  Please refer to the “How do I turn a CD into an mp3” section if you are unsure about this.
 
How many mp3's will this mp3 player hold?
 
An mp3 can be created at different bit-rates (quality levels) so this can vary, but as a rough guide using the standard mp3 bit-rate of 128kbps, you can think of it as roughly 1MB per minute of music…therefore (as an approximate guide only):

128MB will hold 2 hours of music (2-3 albums)
256MB will hold 4 hours of music (4-5 albums)
512MB will hold 8 hours of music (8-9 albums)
1GB will hold 16 hours of music (16-18 albums)

How can I fit more mp3's on my player?
 
Most mp3 players have built in memory.  This means the only real way to fit more tracks onto your player is to reduce the bit-rate (quality) setting when converting your music files.

What is the disk for that came with my mp3 player?
 
In most cases, the CD will contain a Driver for windows98SE.  A DRIVER SHOULD NOT BE NEEDED FOR ANY OTHER OPERATING SYSTEM.  Other things you may find on the CD include electronic manuals and other software.  In most cases, you will not need to run the CD at all.

I have Windows 98SE, how do I install the driver?
 
The Windows98SE driver will be on the CD that came with your player.  Follow the instructions in the operating manual as to how to install it.

The sound quality is terrible, is the mp3 player broken?
 
It would be very unusual for an mp3 player to malfunction in this way.  It is much more likely a problem with the music file itself.  Try playing it on another device or computer to check if this is the case.  Another problem could be the earphones, try another pair to check.

I cannot get the mp3 player to be recognized by my computer, why is this?

Even if your computer is brand new, it does not necessarily have all the required updates for windows to recognize and operate some USB devices.  Make sure you visit the windows update site to bring your computer up to date with all the latest drivers.  These days, for Windows XP, Service Pack 2 (SP2) is essential for correctly operating a device like an mp3 player.
 
Will I be able to store other files on the player, like word documents and photos?
 
Yes!  ANY type of file can be stored, moved and copied in exactly the same way you would on your hard drive or a CDR.

The player says USB 2 on it... Will it work with my USB1.1 computer?

Yes it will work fine but the transfer speed will be slower than if your PC was enabled with USB 2.  Expansion cards to fit USB2 ports are cheap and readily available.

If you have not found your answer within these pages or if you have a question that has not been answered in this FAQ, please e-mail us

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