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Digital Audio Essentials by Bruce Fries, Marty Fries

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Purchasing a Player: What to Look For

There are probably hundreds of devices out there that can play downloadable music. Other than support for certain formats, there is no standardization among players from different manufacturers. Everything from the layout of the menus and control buttons to support for ID3 tags and memory cards can vary vastly from brand to brand, and even among different models within the same brand.

Obviously, you should consider price and quality of manufacture, but there are many more key considerations when buying a player. For instance, you should compare the cost per hour of music stored, in addition to the total retail price, when evaluating a player (see Table 7-4).

Table 7-4. Considering the cost per hour of music stored

Player type

Typical capacity

Typical cost

Hours of music

Cost per hour

Flash memory

512 MB

$130

9

$14.40

Hard disk

20 GB

$60

365

$0.16

Dual-mode CD

700 MB

$100

12.5

$8

Don’t assume anything—always ...

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