MP3 and Portable Media

Music and media on the go

These days we take for granted that we can take our entire music collection with us wherever we go. Whether we strap 'em to our belt or carry one around our neck, the electronics behind the MP3 player has become so pervasive that we don't even think about it anymore. But mobile entertainment is nothing new; we've been hooking our music up to our belts since the early 80s.

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When Sony came out with the Walkman it was a revolution in your own personal jam session. At that time few people had ever even listened to headphones let alone to a pair attached to a fully portable, wearable device. This gave kids of the early 80s their first taste of fully mobile entertainment. The true separation and unencumbered fidelity of headphones were appreciated and soon many highly efficient models that could run from a battery powered device grew in popularity. You should hear this on my Walkman! became the mantra of music fans in the early 80s when addressing a fantastic Collins drum-solo on a Genesis album.

Today we have digital music but no longer need to lug around boxes with optics and mechanics for spinning up a CD. As the Walkman faded away a new generation of digital audio players emerged and took over. Soon the Apple iPod became king of the MP3 player hill. Since getting into the sub Gigabyte models like the Shuffle, iPod is as wearable as a piece of jewelry that happens to hold over 500 Megs of digital music. Now Sony has become a serious player in the portable music industry with their new digital Walkman line that promises to give Apple a run for their money.

Don't shirk on your headphones. So many people are wrongly willing to spend hundreds on an MP3 player only to balk at spending 1/3rd that sum on a pair of headphones. If you're satisfied with the ear buds that come with most digital players you simply haven't heard what a real set of headphones can do. There are some who must have certain headphones by certain hi-fi headphone manufacturers, they'll accept nothing less because they've learned to groove to their sound on a fine set of cans that bring out the details in the music and exploit the near perfect fidelity to be had through the format. There are even portable amps you can get to power up your headphones so you can take larger high current headphones on the go. There's no reason to sacrifice sound quality just because you want your music portable. A good set of headphones powered up just right can rival the most expensive hi-fi system for pennies on the dollar.