We all enjoy using our MP3 players with headphones, but what are the options if we want to connect some speakers and fill the room with music? Those iPod users are spoilt for choice with docking stations, letting them slot their players into little speaker systems without the need for extra wires and cables. For those of us who've embraced other types of MP3 player, what are the options? Will our device be able to enjoy sitting in the dock, or will its ship never come in?

The Knowhow

The majority of docking stations are designed for Apple devices. There's a limited number of dedicated docks for other MP3 players. Examples include:

  • Creative Labs Zen travel docks
  • Archos mini dock, which improves connectivity but doesn't have speakers
  • Sony's Xperia Play smartphone has a multimedia dock which lets it be connected to external devices and speakers

Other options include:

Mini Speakers:

These are small speakers that plug directly into the headphone socket of your MP3 player. Many require charging before use, but can hold enough power for eight or more hours of use. Despite their small size, sound quality can be impressive and loud.

Popular examples include:

  • X-Mi mini II 2nd generation capsule
  • iRock portable mini speakers
  • TeckNeck Egg tumbling mini speakers

Connecting to an iPod dock or a Hi-fi:

Although you can't slot your MP3 player into the dock as you would an iPod, you may still be able to connect.

  • Some docks have standard audio sockets in addition to the dedicated iPod station
  • These sockets let you connect your MP3 player using an audio lead

To connect your device to the dock or a Hi-fi, use the following steps:

  • Check to see what sort of input the dock or Hi-fi has – these are often dual phono sockets; if you are unsure, the user guide may give you more information
  • Alternatively, take a digital photo of the input sockets for reference
  • Purchase a cable to connect your MP3 player to the dock or Hi-fi
  • This should have a mini-jack at one end to connect to your MP3 player
  • For example, you may need a mini-jack to dual phono cable
  • Your photo or instruction book can help the shop identify what you need

You may need to switch the dock or Hi-fi to AUX mode in order to hear your MP3 player when everything is connected. We recommend you leave the volume setting on your MP3 player at about 75% to avoid distorted sound.

Even if there's no dedicated dock for your device, that doesn't mean your MP3 player needs to sit in silence. Connect to your existing device or a mini speaker and you can pump up the volume to get the party started.

Updated On:

Oct 18, 2011

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