Easy fixes for MP3 and media players

June 30, 2015

MP3 and media players are small, but that doesn't mean they should be considered easily replaceable. Try the simple tricks below for a malfunctioning MP3 to get new life out of an older device.

Easy fixes for MP3 and media players

My MP3 player won’t turn on

Try a sharp tap to free the hard disk

If you have an MP3 player that uses a hard disk rather than flash memory to store music and video files, you can sometimes bring it back to life with a sharp tap from a magazine. Before trying any of the following, charge the player for three to four hours.

  • To find out if your MP3 player has a hard disk, search its make and model on the Internet. If you're still not sure, place it close up to your ear. If you can hear a whirring or clicking sound, it almost certainly contains a hard disk.
  • Place the player face down on a towel on a flat surface, and give it a few sharp taps with a rolled-up magazine or newspaper; this is sometimes enough to temporarily free a stuck hard disk.
  • Try resetting the player. This usually involves toggling a switch or pressing and holding a combination of buttons. If this doesn't work, you may need to reformat the hard disk of your MP3 player by connecting it to your computer. How you carry out resets and formats depends on the exact make and model — consult your user's manual or seek advice online. Be warned that reformatting will erase the disk, so you'll need to reload your songs, videos and images afterwards.

The sound I get from my MP3 player is poor

Try changing file format

If you're unhappy with the quality of sound delivered by your tablet, MP3 player or phone, there are a few steps you can take.

  • Most audio players have a built-in equalizer, which allows you to balance the audio frequencies that occur in music — enhancing or reducing bass and treble, as well as tones in between. Most players also have a number of presets suited to different genres of music. The equalizer is usually found in the "Settings" menu — it's worth spending a little time experimenting with it.
  • Invest in better quality headphones — those supplied with media players are usually not the highest quality. A good retailer will let you try before you buy.
  • If you have a high-end stereo system, you may find that music fed into it from your MP3 player sounds dull compared to when it is played directly from a CD. The process of copying music from a CD to your computer, and then onto your MP3 player, is called "ripping." Changing some settings in your ripping software (iTunes or Windows Media Player, for example) will let you create cleaner files, close in quality to the originals on the CD.
  • If you use iTunes, navigate to Preferences -> General -> Import settings, then select the "Apple Lossless Encoder." If using Windows, click on the arrow on the "Import CD" tab that appears when you insert a CD into your computer. Select the "Import Using" option from the menu and choose the "Apple Lossless Encoder" option. Bear in mind that the music files made from ripping your CD will be higher quality, but up to 10 times larger than those made using the default setting, so you'll be able to fit far fewer onto your audio player.
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