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Help! MP3 virgin!!!

(12 Posts)
pugsandseals Wed 03-Nov-10 15:06:17

Ok - this is what I need it for:-

1 have around 200 cd's I would like to convert into mp3 files to play on upto 3 different mp3 players. (I can then put all the cd's in the loft!)

2 mainly to be played through the in-car system or using speakers - never headphones so it needs to be loud

3 must be easy to use (not a very techy person)

4 have about 50 of these cd's already loaded onto media player on laptop so it would help hugely if I didin't need to convert these files into a different format

5 must be quick to convert the rest of the cd's into the right format or it may take me weeks!

Can anyone recommend me something?

Oh, I will also need some very loud but very compact speakers to carry around & use in school/village halls.

Where do I start???

lilystar Wed 03-Nov-10 17:13:45

Ok. You need to decide what MP3 player(s) you want to use first, as this will influence the software you use on the laptop.

Ipods are easy to use, but you are then restricted to using iTunes if you want to keep things simple. If you choose an ipod it may also affect the speakers you buy to use out and about, as they have a different connector to many other types of mp3 player.

With regards to the files you already have, you need to check if these have been saved as mp3 files, or wma, or wav, all of which are possible if you used Windows Media Player. If they are already in mp3 format, they will play on any mp3 player without any further conversion.

Basically, your first decision needs to be iPod or not, as I wouldn't recommend using iTunes if you don't need to, but at the same time, I wouldn't recommend trying to figure out ways to manage your iPod without iTunes, unless you want to invest a lot of time. Once you've made that decision, the rest of it gets easier, as there are less choices.

pugsandseals Wed 03-Nov-10 18:34:30

I heard on the gadget show a long time ago that sound quality wasn't that great on the ipod. And that modern ones have turned down their volume for health & safety which kind of puts me off of them completely! You seem to imply that other brands are easier to use with media player, so as I am familiar with it I would like to stick with it if possible. Again, I presume this wouldn't be possible with ipod so would like to look elsewhere.

Hope that made sense!

lilystar Wed 03-Nov-10 20:41:58

Yes, the sound isn't great on the iPods, I had a Creative before which had a far richer sound. It doesn't matter to me so much anymore as I mostly listen to speech podcasts, which are fine on most players.

If sound quality and loudness is important, I'd definitely look at something like a Creative Zen or a Samsung, which also have the advantage of being quite a bit cheaper than iPods. Both have good reputations and a good variety of models. Sansa and Philips could also be an option.

You can continue to use Media Player to import your cds, and it will create mp3 versions for you, if it isn't already. There is a very good 'how to' here - there's also an article on that site on converting existing WMA tracks to mp3 using Media Player.

I'd also recommend a browse around the Anythingbutipod site, for reviews of just about any player you can name. There are forums too, for people's actual experiences.

As far as portable speakers go, I am no expert, as I don't use them, but for any of the above brands you will need to look for ones with an aux in connection, and you'll need an aux cable, which costs about £4. I use this as the connector in my car too - does your car/car stereo have an aux connector?

ToothpasteMakesMeGag Thu 04-Nov-10 13:43:15

I've got a Creative Zen mx, it comes in 2,4,8,16GB and it also has a SD/SDHC card slot so you can plug in an extra 1/2/4/8 Gb of space. It's super easy to use, syncs brilliantly with Windows Media Player or you can just drag and drop files using your pc. ie plug in mp3 player and put the cd in. Then copy the cd straight into the mp3 player folder. It recognizes mp3 and wma formats. Used it on hol in our hire car with a double-ended jack plugged into the AUX socket.

Another thing you may wish to consider is to buy an external hard drive and store all your cds on that. Then just plug that into the pc and transfer whatever files you want onto the storage device of choice! Again, it all works on the fil/folder system like windows.

Itunes is good but quite fiddly to transfer lots of stuff from windows into itunes (it all has to be converted into mp3 format which takes ages.

HTH

pugsandseals Thu 04-Nov-10 17:53:22

Right, so Zen & Samsung are good (makes notes). Thank you all so much guys! You have helped hugely. Off to browse now...

BadgersPaws Thu 04-Nov-10 19:48:07

"Itunes is good but quite fiddly to transfer lots of stuff from windows into itunes (it all has to be converted into mp3 format which takes ages."

I'm reasonably sure that the PC version of iTunes will import WMA files into itself just by dragging and dropping them. So it's not very fiddly, but it does take a bit of time.

And that's presuming that the music in media player is actually in WMA format, which it may very well not be.

So don't discount the iPod flat out, but I'm not saying to get one either

pugsandseals Mon 08-Nov-10 19:01:10

Right, I've been checking my computer and many of the CD's I use everyday are stored as WMA files. Is there any player that will copy these over as they are?

That would be far easier for me that having to convert the whole lot to mp3 format!!! Up until now, I have stored much of the music I use day to day on SD cards for use with my very old ipaq. It is because this is dying that I am looking at mp3 players at all you see. So would be great to carry on using these wma files without conversion [lazy emoticon]

Great idea about keeping everything on external hard drive btw, I started doing this at the weekend and have done about 40 cd's so far grin

BadgersPaws Tue 09-Nov-10 09:30:11

The PC version of iTunes should import WMA files, when you drag them it it should convert them to MP3 format. You can download iTunes for free so you could give that a go right now, and that will also let you take it for a test drive and if you just don't like it then you'll know to get something else.

Some players do support the WMA format, if you are considering another player then check it out to see if it does.

lilystar Tue 09-Nov-10 13:14:38

Sony players are WMA compatible, and really quite good. You may pay a little more than some other brands, but they are still usually less than iPods.

NetworkGuy Wed 10-Nov-10 14:47:27

Ripstation Lite (free) offers CD ripping and can do more than one format at once (so you could save a set of lossless copies and a set of MP3s).

See http://www.ripstation.com/rsmicro.html

(On the right hand side are software downloads. NB you do need to register so it can identify tracks from some DB.)

NetworkGuy Wed 10-Nov-10 14:48:43

Sorry - the software may be called Ripstation Micro - I just spent a while hunting for it (I have the software on a Windows laptop upstairs, not this linux laptop).

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