MP3 player accessories buying guide

This MP3 player accessories guide includes cases, cars accessories, ipod docking stations, headphones, alarm docks, as well as a shopping checklist, jargon buster and FAQs.

FAQs: MP3 player accessories

Q: Why do I need a case for my iPod or MP3 player? A: This comes down purely to personal preference, but a case will provide protection from scratches, drops and general wear and tear. It may also change the appearance of your MP3 player, or add additional functionality like an armband or a flip-out stand to watch videos.

Q: What different types of cases are available for my iPod or MP3 player? A: Many basic cases are made from silicone, a rubber-like material that will stretch slightly to fit around a player. Other options include leather cases, hard shell plastic or metal cases, while some less common cases may even be made of materials like wood or wool.

Q: My MP3 player/iPod already comes with headphones in the box. Why would I want another pair? A: A new pair of headphones will enhance your music listening experience and provide much better sound quality. A quality set of headphones will allow you to hear more elements of your music.

Q: I regularly travel. Is there a particular style of headphones that suit frequent flyers? A: Your best bet would be purchasing a set of active noise-cancelling headphones. These are designed for use in places with significant ambient noise, particularly aeroplanes.

Q: What are IEM headphones? A: IEM stands for in-ear monitors. It is a type of headphone that rests inside your ear rather than on top of it. Unlike regular earbuds (such as those bundled with iPods and MP3 players) IEMs sit inside your ear canal. IEMs can be little uncomfortable for first-time users, but often deliver excellent sound quality and good noise isolation.

Q: What is the benefit of a speaker system for my MP3 player or iPod? A: A dedicated iPod speaker system allows you to play your tunes to a wider audience. Many of these models offer plenty of incentives and extra features, such as the ability to control the iPod via a remote control or the ability to act as an alarm clock. In some cases, they will allow you to take your music on the road.

Q: I want a compact speaker system that I can fit into my bag for travelling. Do these exist? A: Yes! There is a wide range of small and compact iPod speaker systems and these usually run on replaceable alkaline batteries, making them ideal for travelling. The important thing to check is the battery life. Ensure that this is long enough for your convenience, and that you have spare batteries handy.

Q: What is an FM transmitter? A: An FM transmitter is a small, inexpensive device that allows you to wirelessly stream music from your iPod or MP3 player to your car stereo via FM transmission (the same technology used to allow you to listen to the radio in your car). The main benefits of an FM transmitter are its price and the fact that it doesn't need to be installed in your car, but the sound quality on offer is not the best.

Q: I catch public transport with friends and want to share my music. Is this possible without forcing everyone else to listen? A: Yes. A small device called a splitter allows multiple people to listen to your music simultaneously through separate headphones. The splitter plugs into your iPod or MP3 player, and then your headphones plug into separate jacks on the splitter. Splitters commonly have two headphone jacks, but some have up to five, meaning five separate pairs of headphones can be plugged in to a single MP3 player.

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