Really, really basic questions about using an MP3 player and speakers

I’m thinking about getting an MP3 player and speakers for my bedroom. I’ve never owned an MP3 player, so I’m trying to figure things out. I need to keep it below $200.

I’m thinking about getting this speaker system and a Sansa clip MP3 player. I like the Sansa, because I can add and switch out memory cards. (I have hundreds of CDs.)

I’d appreciate any advice. You know how it is when you don’t even know what questions to ask. To start off:

  1. Am I thinking clearly, that all MP3 players are the same when using speakers? Or will a better MP3 player provide better sound?

  2. What kind of sound should I expect?

  3. Does the Sansa work the way I think? Plug in a 32 MB card, and I can have 36 MB of MP3s?

The speakers you’re considering look as if they have a dock connector for the iPod and iPhone only and don’t seem likely to work with anything else. If you’re looking for speakers to go with a Sansa, you should look for a pair with a 3.5 mm input jack that you can connect to the Sansa’s headphone jack with a cable. Many iPod speakers have such a jack, but it seems to be missing from the Logitech S715i, and from the description, it doesn’t seem as if you can connect a non-Apple player to it.

Also, 32 mb isn’t a lot of memory these days. You could only probably fit one album onto a 32 mb card, so you’d be constantly be transferring music on and off it. You should be considering something that holds a few gb of music. Maybe not enough for all of your CDs, but I’d say at least 4 gb. At least you’d have a good variety of music on your card before you started getting tired of it.

Oops, just saw your reply. The reviews say it comes with a 3.5 jack.

Thought of another question - How easy will it be to play a particular album? I just noticed the speaker system says you can “Shuffle/repeat/next track/previous track.” Will I have to get up and fiddle with the MP3 player itself to select an album?

I see it has a remote control, but that would only work if you connect an iPod, because it physically docks in the speakers through the sync connector. If you use another type of player connected through the 3.5 mm jack, the remote won’t work.

Any standard amplified computer speakers should have a 3.5 mm plug and work with mp3 players.

I use an old set from a Dell computer with my mp3 player at work.

Sansa Clip comes with either 4 or 8 GB base memory and you can get micro SD cards at least 32 GB, maybe bigger, so I don’t think memory will be an issue.

While it has a 3.5mm jack, you’ll still need a male-to-male cable to hook up the Clip.

I agree with cochrane that the remote probably won’t work (except for volume, power, and function) with anything other than an iPod; you won’t be able to skip songs.

I own a 4GB Sansa Clip that’s just a few months old, and it’s not all that hard to use. You will have to manually select albums, though you can also have it go through all your music if you want. It usually plays the next track when done; it may play the next album but I’m not sure about that. I actually rarely use it for music; mostly it’s for podcasts and audiobooks.

I have no problem running it into computer speakers. Often I keep it plugged in to power so it’s charged when I want to move. Note you’d need to use a dedicated USB charger, as the controls are locked when plugged into a computer.

Files/memory cards:
On the Mac side, you simply copy the files. Any MicroSD card shows up as a separately mounted volume. Anything on the SD card will show up when you play it as long as it’s in the right folder. (e.g. put it in the MUSIC folder on the memory card, and it shows up with all other music, put it in PODCASTS and it shows up there).

I haven’t yet had to use it on Windows, but when it’s plugged in it seems like it hides the file system for some reason. I’d guess you have to use their software to transfer to it.

On occasion I find it has missed updating the files. Normally when you unplug it from the computer or insert a memory card, it will say “Refreshing” with a progress bar. If you don’t see that, most likely you have to plug it in and unplug or insert the memory card again.

Thanks for all the information. I see I have a lot to consider. I’m used to having a 300 CD player and a 200 CD player hooked together, which can both be controlled with one remote. The 300 CD player broke, and the 200 is about to die, so I need a replacement. With only $200 I still think the MP3 player route is the way to go, but it may not be as simple as I thought.

Could you get a really cheap computer just for playing music? Install iTunes or whatever your program of choice is, hook it up to speakers, and you have as much space as you want.

with mp3 files there is room in the file contents to specify things like song title, artist, album, year, genre, track number for that song. if that data is filled in then the mp3 player will display those choices when you go to that selector in the submenu. so you could pick an artist, album, year or type of music and play it straight through or random pick within that selection.

any amplified speakers made for computer or mp3 player speakers should be fine as long as it has a 3.5mm plug or jack (in which case you would need a cord with two 3.5mm plugs on it).

Anybody have a lead on an mp3 player with a remote control? Searching Amazon is driving me nuts, since it seems to just come up with speakers with a remote that can connect to an mp3 player (the remote only controls volume, and possibly ipod/iphone storage devices). That would solve the OP’s problem pretty easily.

Do you have a computer that you can rip the CDs to, or a wi-fi connection?

If so, you might consider the Squeezebox radio. You can stream the music you ripped from the CDs (the computer needs to be on, but doesn’t have to be in the same room), plus you can also stream internet radio, Pandora, Spotify, etc. without having the computer on (just need the wi-fi connection).

It’s a little different that what you originally thought about getting, but these devices are really neat.
Edit: Sonos also makes a similar device but I think they are out of your price range.

Along the lines of the Squeezebox, there’s also the similar Apple Airport Express (it’s a small wireless base station with an audio jack), and the Roku Soundbridge (now discontinued, but you may find a cheap used one). Both would require speakers.

If it’s staying in your bedroom, there’s no need to get a portable mp3 player like the Sansa. And especially no need for battery-powered speakers. The Sansa Clip’s main feature is portability, though granted it is fairly cheap and carrying it with you might be something you want. Although unless you carry around a couple cards all the time it won’t have your full library on the go.

Also, I checked on my Sansa Clip and it does not go from album to album if you only choose one. Basically it can play everything at a particular ‘folder level’. Levels above the album have a ‘play all’ option, and that’s what is used. The total number of songs to be played (or shuffled from) will appear at the top of the screen.

Do you have a computer? Because that’s definitely a necessary part of the package here. And you’re talking hours and hours to rip all those CDs to the computer before you can put them onto the mp3 player. But you can always do that gradually and start out with your favorite stuff.

i don’t have a Sansa Clip+

i have a Sansa Clip and that supports playlists using Windows Media Player. i don’t use that method because i don’t use Windows Media Player.

if you select artist for play then i think it might play things in order sorted by album name and track number.