WHAT MP3 2001


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Consistency is vitally important when testing MP3 players -- or any piece of audio equipment for that matter. That means assessing each player under as near identical conditions as possible, using the same routines and software each time. From our rapidly growing database of results we are able make meaningful comparisons between models, and spot any trends in the way the technology is developing.


We use the same selection of MP3 files and the same PCs for the file management software every time. For the record that includes a mixture of test tones sourced from a Reference CD and musical tracks, both from CDs and downloaded from the Internet, recorded at various bit-rates. The tracks were chosen to reflect as wide a range of styles as possible, from a spot of Saint Saens and the hummy bit from Elgarís Cello Concerto to Slade and Mel C.


You can hang a lot of teccy-looking numbers on audio performance but MP3 sound quality doesnít bear too much close scrutiny, in purist hi-fi terms at least. Ultimately what really matters is how good, or bad a player sounds and that has to be a subjective judgement, based on our experience and comments from the owners of several well trained pairs of ears. For good measure we also look at the knobs and buttons the supplied software and not forgetting the instructions.




R. Maybury 2000, 1210




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