Consider yourself warned: The following post is not for the squeamish. It's time to clean the wax out of your earbuds. Yes, it's gross, but if you have the style of earbud that gets inserted into the ear canal, it must be done. Otherwise, wax can build up on the outer speaker and affect sound quality, and it may actually seep in and damage the inner workings of the earpieces. It's also not a bad idea to disinfect the sleeves from time to time. Find out how to do both below. Also this week: Your iPod isn'… Read more
Is it just me, or do tech gadgets break down way too quickly and easily? I swear every cell phone I've ever owned starts petering out about the 372 day mark with sharply declining call quality. Then, there's the screen and processor problems with MP3 players after about two years. One reader said that even some expensive headphones are calling it quits way too early. I may as well start driving a Fiat (again) and get it over with. Also: I may not be the FCC's biggest fan, but I'm not one to encourage illegal activity … Read more
Although there are plenty of fabulous MP3 players out there, no one device is perfect. For years, I've kept a list of dream features, many of which remain unchecked. One of these is support for every single audio codec, from Apple Lossless all the way down to WMA Lossless. A tall order, but one that would not be unappreciated by others, such as one reader who would like a non-iPod MP3 player that supports Apple Lossless. Also this week: do lanyard-style headphones for the later-generation iPod Shuffle exist?
Q: I'm looking for a new MP3 player. I use … Read more
Yes, the name of this column is changing once again, but don't hate me because I'm fickle! Because, well...I'm not. In fact, CNET's all-encompassing Ask the Editors feature is moving to Crave, meaning we're standardizing the naming and format across categories. But don't worry: it's still MP3 Mailbox in my head. That means you can still expect to see this column every Monday (that I am in the office), and it will continue to be packed full of digital music tidbits. Also, the "MP3 Mailbox Monday" keyword linking at the … Read more
After enjoying a brief hiatus, MP3 Mailbox Monday is back--and back to basics. Perhaps one of the most confusing things about portable music devices is audio format compatibility, and yet this is an elemental feature of any player. So which format works best? It all depends on the user, but one of the answers below will help you sort it out. Also, learn how to burn MP3 CDs in iTunes and find out possible reasons for your MP3 player only playing tracks in alphabetical order.
Q: I'm sure that you've answered this question many times, but I'll … Read more
A question about a free digital music player download makes me miss the days when JetAudio would have sufficed for all of my digital music needs. Also, what's with iPods and Zunes trying to take over your entire music library? One family needs a way for its many computers and music players to all get along.
Q: Which free digital music player would you recommend? I know it can't have all the bell and whistles, but I would like one that has all the features that a person normally uses. -- Carmen, via e-mail
A: If you're … Read more
Believe it or not, there are iPod owners out there who don't like to use iTunes. Luckily, you're not stuck with Apple's own software if you have the player. Read on for some alternatives. Also this week, MP3 Insider fans from Europe need new MP3 players.
Q: Do you have any recommendations for alternative programs to iTunes to use with the iPod? I have a iPod Classic after using the Creative software (which wasn't great by any stretch of imagination) and cannot stand the fact that iTunes tries to do everything for me.--John, via e-mail… Read more
Interoperability between stereo headphones and music cell phones is a popular concern, but how about using your cell phone headset with other, standard audio sources? At least one person wonders how to make this happen with no sound issues. Also on deck today: a sports fan wants an MP3 player with AM radio built in, and a discerning listener is curious about file quality and compatibility.
It's software-mania this week, and I'm all for it. First up, we have a question about veering off the iPod path and onto something new, but anxieties about non-iTunes software abound. Then, find out about managing music for the Zune, and get a chance to check out some great podcast managing software for the Creative Zen.
Q: I enjoy MP3 Monday Mailbox and thought I'd send along a question. I've got a 3-year-old iPod that has bit the bullet and is heading off into retirement. I have been looking at players comparable with the 8GB Nano, … Read more
Welcome to MP3 Mailbox Monday, a recurring feature where I answer a selection of questions about MP3 players and accessories, such as headphones, speakers, and music services and software. Each week, my in-box is flooded with questions from around the world, and while a handful of them are very particular to the individual asking, most apply more generally to a certain use or scenario to which many people can relate. Check back often to see if the advice presented here might be of some use to you, or send your questions directly to me. (Note: We never include last names, … Read more