Staying off the grid with MP3 Player Headphones
| Reuben Howe
There was a time, not so long ago, that an MP3 player was the height of portable entertainment and sure to wow in the school playground, work break room, even on the bus! The digital format is still around, of course, but the familiar and retro bricks that we called MP3 players have slowly shifted out of fashion.
In no small part that’s due to Smartphones having all the same features just upgraded, but is that true?
Let’s look at the humble MP3 player and how, in 2023, the technology has been miniaturised to be even more compact even than your mobile phone…
Local Files vs Streamed Music
The decline in MP3 player hardware gave rise to the always-online solution. Streaming became the new best way to access music and files, since the device itself doesn’t need any storage space (Except the few hundred Mb’s that the App takes). Say goodbye to 40 GB of uncompressed music files as Spotify and other music streaming services brought millions of songs with no storage space or download times needed.
It certainly sounds appealing, but as we saw when we compared Spotify quality to a real-life CD, most of Spotify’s appeal is an illusion.
At its inception, storage was a huge concern. However, local files being stored has become a non-issue for most of us. Even something like a smartphone can have 128GB of internal storage. To put that in to perspective, you can run a Windows PC off of an SSD that big!
So, if we don’t need to shy away from having our own, completely offline music files downloaded then suddenly music streaming loses part of its edge…
Physical Storage of Digital Media, Without the Internet
The crux of the issue now arises. Without the need for music streaming to save our precious storage space, we can simply download the files locally. Once this change is made, we can begin to rediscover the appeal of the humble MP3 player.
From creating custom lists and using an actual file structure, not an app, to including mixed media like audiobooks and personal recordings there are lots of benefits to MP3 local files.
The chief benefit, however, is the disconnection from the internet. The huge rush to get everything online, and connected to the cloud (and now we’re being told, the Metaverse) is starting to be countered by a drive for the exact opposite!
People are realising that being always online and always connected has drawbacks, and that many of the problems with old MP3 players are solved now. This leads to some new innovations in older tech, creating a beautiful combination of past and future where we have access to all the music we want, but without relying on pesky Wifi or 4G connections.
Bone Conduction Headphones with Built in MP3 Player
One result of this fusion are Bone Conduction headphones. These light, unconventional headsets rest gently on your ears and don’t need to cover them or be inside them! The sound tech is great, and is explained in our Showcase.
It’s the on-board MP3 player that is most exciting to us for this article though. Remember the internal storage of phones reaching 128 GB? Well, with technology like that a pair of headphones could have its own internal storage too…
The EP400 Bone Conduction headphones were born, a combination of cutting-edge audio transmission methods and reliable, local storage from MP3 players of old. By incorporating internal storage and bone conduction into one device, the unit can be thin and light. The connection to your phone if Bluetooth, so only reliant on the device being near and no bouncing signals to servers and back.
On top of that, the Bluetooth connection allows you to use apps and streaming if you choose, but the internal MP3 headphones provide a solid, reliable backup alternative that will never suffer from disconnects or compression (OR artists removing their music from your device like they can with streaming…).
The Past and the Future Working Together
It’s been exciting to see this audio tech develop, all the way from shoulder-borne Boomboxes to always-online cloud-based music and back to reliable local files. By combining the best of every era, we can create some truly unique products that are built around quality-of-life improvements and functionality rather than branding and internet use.
For the people wanting to escape the internet, get reliable music while camping, work out / go to the gym without interference or even simply do office / home working these EP400 headphones for MP3 files are exquisitely useful and adaptive.
Happy listening, readers!