Sunday December 9 2012

HIS GADGETS : Accessorise tour MP3 player with a docking station

By Mustafa Ziraba

We all remember the boombox. That radio with one, two or more loudspeakers, a radio tuner, and a cassette and/or CD player component, all housed in a single plastic, or metal, case, often with a handle for portability. Most units could be powered by Umeme power as well as batteries. Here is the thing though. The level of personalisation and portability that digital music particularly MP3 players in their many forms including iPods, Sony Walkmans and mobile phones gives us is simply insane. Nonetheless, it is not every day that you would want those tunes playing away in your ears. This is the point where the MP3 docking station comes in.

A docking station is just one of many different accessories you can buy for your player. Though one may not be available for all brands and models, many do have compatible docking stations available. I’m talking Apple’s iPod range, Creative’s players, Sandisk, Sony etc. The mp3 docking station offers several user-friendly benefits. The primary advantage to an MP3 docking station is the ability to turn your portable music device into a home stereo system or a boom box as one might call it. It has speakers built into it that allows your stored music to be heard throughout the room.

Though there are many types of speakers sold for plugging directly into the lineout port on any music source, most docking stations house larger speakers with better sound quality. In addition, each docking station is designed to be compatible with specific players and generally requires only setting the player in its cradle, which eliminates the hassle of plugging and unplugging a cord directly into the player.

Another particularly advantageous feature of certain docks is their ability to recharge the player. Not every docking station has this feature, but some do. As the player rests in the docking cradle, the battery is simultaneously being recharged and thus is providing an added convenience.
The price for an mp3 docking station varies greatly. Most are sold separately, but occasionally a great package deal can be found. Apple’s range of products is the most popular with docks.

Some fully-fledged home stereos have iPod docks that come with the package. Before you invest in a docking station, make sure you are getting one that is compatible with your current player. Simple test is that an iPod dock is as its names states, uniquely manufactured for the iPod range, similarly a Creative Zen or Sony dock is also as its name states, uniquely made for the Creative Zen or Sony range respectively. If no docking station is available, you can still purchase separate speakers for most models, but keep in mind that sound quality may not be exceptional. Some docks have “AUX IN” this is a port where you can plug