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Getting Started with Music Downloads – Part 3

Adding a Portable Music Player


by Lance Wolak

Having my music entertainment system now on my laptop computer, I found that I was enjoying my entire collection of music. Compared to the days when I would carry only a small portion of my CD collection with me, I am now able to access any of my favorite songs with a few steps on my computer. The laptop connected into my home stereo system provides excellent quality sound and is indistinguishable from the former method using the CD player.

Taking my digital collection of music outside the house proved to be a little less convenient. I could burn a CD with a special compilation and take it in my car or boat and continue to enjoy it. The only problem was that I began to recreate the CD overflow that I was attempting to fix. My laptop was not portable enough to take in the car or boat and continue listening to music. Enter the portable music player. The new portable music players can hold thousands of songs, and they are small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. So now your entire music collection can go with you wherever you go, with the portable player tucked away in your pocket.

As I discussed in a prior article in this series on music downloads, I was looking forward to an easy hookup of a portable music player and would personally take the path of the Apple iPod. After receiving the iPod as a gift recently, I had thoughts of recreating my entire collection of music on this portable device. 

As I unpacked my new iPod, I found a CD with software to load on my laptop.  It was very easy to install and completed in a minute or two. The software enables the iPod to synchronize with my music collection in iTunes, the music downloading and organizing software I was already using on my laptop. Now as I add songs to my music collection, I simply plug my iPod into the laptop through a standard USB connector (included with the iPod), and the iPod automatically updates to include all of the music in my iTunes collection, including the new, recently added music. No need to struggle with multiple pieces of software, and doing manual updates to the portable music player.  It’s easy, it works, and the iPod is always ready to go. 

When you think of a portable music player, you probably picture someone listening to it though miniature headphones, or earbuds. While that is very convenient and offers private listening, you can also enjoy sharing the music with others from this device. You can play the songs on your portable player through your car or boat radio, or through your home stereo system.

You have the choice of using either a headphone to RCA-style plug adapter, or an FM modulator to connect.  Either adapter plugs into the portable music player’s headphone jack and will play the music through another system.  The RCA-style adapter enables a direct connection to your home stereo system, while the FM modulator allows you to hear the music on your radio’s FM tuner. The direct connect provides the best sound quality, so the FM modulator with its reduced sound quality should be used as a backup where a direct connect is not available.

Through the use of the portable music player, I have completely eliminated my use of CDs.  I now consider myself fully converted to a digital music system.


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