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The difference between MP3, Ipod and all these other systems? I am a techno-idiot, and need all the help I can get. Anyone with a reccomendation? I just want to easily store all my tunes, and get others off the net. Anyone?
 

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It is diffenent formats. Atrac(something like this) is Sonys, .wav files can be played on most cd players, they are not compacted like an mp3. WMA is windows format. Apple uses some sort of proprietary junk so you have to have Itunes or an apple product to listen to them.
For basic mp3 usage, and other file storage, look at creatives line. The apple stuff will work great, but you will have to convert everything you already have to the Itunes format, and it can be a pain. Good luck
http://www.howstuffworks.com/search.php?terms=mp3

Matt
 

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a brief discussion of digital music

el_chupo_ said:
...Apple uses some sort of proprietary junk so you have to have Itunes or an apple product to listen to them...
...you will have to convert everything you already have to the Itunes format, and it can be a pain...
This is a common misconceptions that is simply not true.

These days, there are quite a few different file formats for digital audio. For converting music you already own, the most common is MP3, and almost any digital music player you buy today will support MP3, the most notable exception being some Sony players. (yes, an iPod will play MP3 files). There are several other "open" audio formats, that offer various advantages over MP3, these include things like Ogg-vorbis and AAC, which offer higher quality for the same file size, and things like FLAC, which offers full CD-quality, but at the cost of a significantly larger file size.

A note about AAC, cause this is where a lot of the confusion about the iPod comes from. It is comonly (mis)understood that AAC stands for Apple Audio Codec, and is propriatary to apple and the ipod. This is untrue. AAC is the Advanced Audio Codec, and it is a part of the MPEG-4 standard set (MP3 is part of the MPEG-3 standard set), so it's really just the next generation MP3 standard, from the same standards body that gave us MP3. At the moment, the iPod is one of the few digital music players that supports AAC, but that is changing.

There are also several propriatary formats around for music, these include ATRAC (Sony), WMA (although it's microsoft, it's not truly an open specification), and Protected-AAC (Apple uses a propriatary version of AAC for songs bought through the iTunes music store). All three of these formats use some sort of Digital Rights Management(DRM) in order to prevent you from sending copies of music you purchased online to any or all of your friends.

This is where you realy have to make a choice. if you buy a sony ATRAC based player, you can only buy online at the sony store. If you buy an iPod, you can only buy music online from the iTunes store. If you buy a WMA player, you can only buy from stores that support WMA (which includes most of the online music stores except those previously mentioned). WMA based players also allow a subscription based model, where you pay a flat monthly fee to download as much music as you want. Keep in mind though that with these services, as soon as you stop paying, you loose access to all the music you have already downloaded.

The final thing to look at is what you are allowed to do with music you have purchased. As far as I know, iTunes is the ONLY service that will allow you to burn your music to a normal audio CD if you want to play it in your car/home stereo/wherever.

This got a little longer than I intended, but I hope it answers your questions.

oh, one more thing. None of the WMA based players support the Mac, so if you are a Mac user, your only choice is the iPod

Doug
 

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JAL67 said:
The difference between MP3, Ipod and all these other systems? I am a techno-idiot, and need all the help I can get. Anyone with a reccomendation? I just want to easily store all my tunes, and get others off the net. Anyone?
All the formats are in reality are just compression schemes to make the files smaller. The original files are usually pretty big in size so the different formats being used like MP3 or .wma or whatever are ways to compress the original file without taking away from the quality of the music. MP3 is pretty ingenius in the way it works. What they do with MP3 is remove all the sounds that are outside the range of human ears to hear. Makes sense right? If you can't hear it then why have it there? With this format they are able to make the files much smaller. So that said, MP3 is much more popular and widely used than the other formats. Going with any MP3 player would be good. The Ipod always gets very high marks in the reviews and there are many many other devices that are made to work with the ipod.
 

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The final thing to look at is what you are allowed to do with music you have purchased. As far as I know, iTunes is the ONLY service that will allow you to burn your music to a normal audio CD if you want to play it in your car/home stereo/wherever.


Napster allows for burning music to CD once purchased.
 

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If you buy a non Ipod player, you cannot download Itunes purchased music to that player, or at least it aint easy to do (I heard that you can record to a CD and then to the MP3 player, but who wants to do that).

I am not sure if you can download non-Itunes purchased music to an Ipod. Ipod and non-Ipod players will take downloads from your CD music collection.

You basically have two real choices. Ipod or non Ipod. If going Ipod, plan on purchasing music from the internet from Itunes. If going non-Ipod player, be prepared to use other music sites and not Itunes.

Also, I use Napster and you can burn to CD.
 

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Dirdir said:
If you buy a non Ipod player, you cannot download Itunes purchased music to that player, or at least it aint easy to do (I heard that you can record to a CD and then to the MP3 player, but who wants to do that).

I am not sure if you can download non-Itunes purchased music to an Ipod. Ipod and non-Ipod players will take downloads from your CD music collection.

You basically have two real choices. Ipod or non Ipod. If going Ipod, plan on purchasing music from the internet from Itunes. If going non-Ipod player, be prepared to use other music sites and not Itunes.

Also, I use Napster and you can burn to CD.
You can buy from I-Tunes and play on any non-Ipod. When you purchase from I-Tunes you ise the download as mp3 option. Works great. I was leary as well, but I wanted more options than an Ipod had (ie radio tuner, voice recording & user replaceable battery). Oh yeah, I have the Zen Micro ---- and it's awesome!!!

mbb
 

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Zen Micro

I have the zen micro (6gig) as well and have had great luck with it! simple to use compact and has satisfactory battery life.
 
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