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Frequently Asked Questions


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General MP3 Questions

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Q: What are MP3s?
A: MP3s are compressed sound files which can give near CD quality playback. MP3 is a shortened version of MPEG3 (pronounced M-Peg 3) which stands for Motion Picture Expert Group Layer III.
The MPEG part of the name refers to the Group of Experts from the Motion Picture industry that agreed to the standards for compressing (in this case) audio files. They had to reach an agreement because otherwise different software and hardware would be able to compress audio files, but you would have to use exactly the same program or box to listen to the sound that you had squashed.
i.e. the sound file would not be portable - you would not be able to listen to it on another program or using another player - so all the big experts had to agree how the file format would be standardised so that consumers, like your good self, could listen to files created in one program, on a different program. The conclusion that they reached was called MP3 for short, and files that fit that format are called MP3s. You can identify MP3 files because they will usually end in .mp3. The size of an MP3 file is typically 1 MB per minute of music.

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Q: So how do I play MP3 files?
A: You can either play them on you computer if it has a sound card, speakers and software capable of playing the MP3 Format or buy a portable MP3 Player.

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Q: What are MP3 Players?
A: They are the next generation of personal portable music players. They play MP3s and a variety of other sound files that can be downloaded cheaply or for free from the Internet and sometimes CDs.

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Q: So why would I want to buy one?
  • You can carry around an enormous (4-100s of hours) amount of music with you
  • You don't have to carry cassettes/CDs around with you - all the music is stored in the player's internal memory
  • You can compile your own compilations on the player - only listen to the tracks you want to hear
  • They are smaller and lighter than a portable CD player
  • Your friends will be dead jealous!

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Q: How come some jukeboxes have the ability to store 100s of hours of music and some store much less?
A: Because some jukeboxes store files on what is essentially a Hard Disk and some store them in what is essentially RAM. The RAM players go up to 128 MB in size, and because it is flash RAM memory there are no actual moving parts while your files are being played. This means that they have eliminated the annoyance of skipping, and shock-jumps (where your CD player seems to forget what it was saying when you land from a height).
Hard Disks, by their very nature, hold tons more data. They do have moving parts, however. Click here for a comparison of HD Vs RAM.

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Q: How do I get the MP3 files from the Internet onto my MP3 Player?
A: By using the software and cable which comes with the player. The cable is usually a Universal Serial Bus (USB) cable (check that your computer supports this if it's more than a couple of years old).

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Q: Where can I check out some of these MP3 players?
A: Here after selecting which Worldly region you're in.

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Q: Can I play an MP3 file on my computer?
A: Yes, provided it has a sound card and speakers. Modern operating systems such as Windows 98 come with the basic software required to play an MP3 file, usually just by double clicking its name. Look at the MP3 software page for more sophisticated programs which will allow you to manipulate the files and change file formats.

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Q: Are MP3 files Illegal?
A: Yes and no! They can be used either legally or illegally. Using an MP3 is legal if the song's copyright holder has granted permission to download and play the song. Also, it is legal to make copies from CD for personal use (Danish people click here). However, it is illegal to encode MP3s from CD and trade them with others unless you have the permission of the copyright holder.

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Q: Can I make MP3 files from an Audio CD?
A: Yes, using a piece of software called a 'CD Ripper' - go to the Dukebox software page here. Make sure you are not infringing any copyright though.

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Q: Can I make Audio CDs from MP3 files?
A: Yes, if you get hold of the right piece of software and have a recordable CD-ROM player - go to the Dukebox software page here. Make sure you are not infringing any copyright first though.

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Q: What is the difference between an MP3 and an MP3 Player?
A: MP3s, in their simplest description, could be described as songs - they can be any type of sound recording that you like, but lets think of them as songs. An MP3 Player, in its simplest description could be described as a 'stereo' - a box that plays music. The MP3 Player (the stereo), plays the MP3s (the songs).

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Q: What is the difference between an MP3 Player and a Jukebox?
A: An MP3 player can be any device that plays MP3s; Jukeboxes generally refer to Hard Drive (HD) type MP3 Players because they hold so many hours of music, it's like having a personal Jukebox in your hand. Click here for more on the difference between RAM players and HD players.

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Q: How much space are MP3s going to take up in my hard drive?
A: The generally accepted rule is that 1 minute of sound takes up 1 MB of storage space when the file type is MP3. So an normal song would take about 4 MB and a normal 1 hour album would take about 60 MB. 1 MB per 1 Min makes conversion easy though - you should be able to work it out from there.

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Q: Do I need any software to store MP3s on my hard drive?
A: No, you don't need any special software to store MP3 files. You do need special software if you want to make a song into an MP3 file, or if you want to play (listen to) the MP3, but you don't need any specialised software for just storing the MP3 files on your hard drive.

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Q: Will my portable MP3 player skip if I take it jogging?
A: If you have a Hard Drive MP3 Player, possibly. They are not really designed for jogging. If it is a RAM Player, you should be able to jog, no problem. (Click here for a more detailed comparison of HD Vs RAM players.) Cross-check the manufactures' claims for any device before purchase to avoid disappointment.

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Q: Is there a difference in sound quality between the two different types of MP3 players (RAM and HD)?
A: No, not really. HD players have some moving parts, but the technology involved for playing MP3s (i.e. the software) can be identical in both cases. The MP3 files are always the same for both too.

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Q: How many continuous hours of play can an MP3 player at full capacity give me?
A: You can listen to more than 330 hours of music without any repetition, if you so desire. That is if you have access to the mains power supply and one of the 20 GB Jukebox Players.

If you don't have access to the mains, battery life ranges from 4 - 16 hours, but its worth noting that all models come with rechargeable batteries (that can be recharged by plugging the jukebox into the mains) and several models come with a spare set of rechargeables, so you could have up to double the normal number of hours.

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Q: How do I send MP3s from my hard disk to my MP3 player?
A: Most of the Jukeboxes on this site connect to your computer using USB. USB stands for Universal Serial Bus, but that's not important. What is important is what it does: USB connections are 'plug and play'. That means that you can (theoretically) plug/ unplug the player into/out of your computer while your computer is on.

Sending MP3s from your hard disk to your MP3 Player is a simple 'drag and drop' or 'copy and paste' in most cases. You use programs like MusicMatch Jukebox (or other software that came with the player) to manage, move and copy your MP3s.

That is basically how you move or copy your songs to the player. For a more detailed (and accurate) description, please read the specific instructions for your type of Player.

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Q: What is 'real time'?
A: Real time is where 1 second = 1 second. 'Real time' is generally used when people are talking about recording. If a player can record in real time it means that the player can make an MP3 recording of someone's voice or a radio broadcast: something that happens 'live'. This is a good feature to have as recording MP3s in real time takes a lot of processing power.

Songs stored on an ordinary CD are encoded from audio to MP3s using super efficient methods of reading and writing. A CD that has 10 songs and 1 hour of music can be made into 10 MP3s within about 10 mins. That is not 'real time'. 1 hour into 10 minutes is not happening live, and so, in simple terms, it is not 'real time'.

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Q: What's the difference in capacity between a portable MP3 player and a jukebox MP3 player?
A: See our HD Vs RAM page.

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Q: What if MP3 technology moves ahead? How long will my MP3 player be relevant in terms of availability of MP3s that can play on it?
A: MP3s are just a type of file. MP3s happen to be the most common type of music file around at the moment, but most 'MP3 players' play other sound files, like WAV or AIFFs too. When technology moves on, the new types of files will have to be stored, just like MP3s, and they will need software to play them, just like MP3s. Unlike your tape player, which started to become obsolete with the advent of CDs, or your CD player, which started to become obsolete with the advent of DVDs, MP3 players store data on computer formatted disks. Theoretically the formatted disk can hold any appropriately formatted computer file. In fact that is something the Archos models boast - you can use the jukebox as a detachable and portable hard disk to store any type of computer file that your computer normally uses.

In the event of tapes or vinyl being surpassed by CDs, it was the medium on which the music was recorded which became obsolete. In the case of MP3 Players the medium is computer memory and as long as most of the computers in the world use the same kind of memory, there should be no danger of obsolescence of the medium.

Most of a player's features are governed by software and software can be upgraded to include new functions and features. The manufactures are keen to have all the people who own one of their models use the latest 'firmware' (software) - so that all the latest features are on your machine. This kind of constant upgrade facility was just not possible with older types of music player.

Physical features, like whether or not the machine can record in stereo, cannot be changed by software upgrades. Spend some time thinking about what is important for you - how do you plan to use your jukebox?

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Q: Do jukeboxes have any additional features to just playing MP3s such as mixing tunes or karaoke settings?
A: Not at the moment. If you want to mix tunes click here. If you're interested in MP3 karaoke, click here. You won't be disappointed, I don't think.

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Q: Are MP3 player car converters available?
A: They are included in some accessory kits.

About the Dukebox.com Website

For specific information on buying from Dukebox.com click here.

Q: What about Delivery and VAT (sales tax) costs?
A: The price you see is the price you pay - we don't believe in trying to hide essential costs from you such as sales tax (VAT) and delivery - these are included in the price you see. Remember this if you compare prices elsewhere. We will deliver the stock to your door for the price indicated. Traditionally, Internet retailers don't deliver everywhere in Britain, preferring to discriminate against people in Northern Ireland and Crown Dependencies. We don't deliver everywhere in the world, but if you live in one of the neglected outlying regions of the UK, click here.
Q: How long will it take to deliver my order?
A: It depends heavily on how well the card performs under the security checks. All other things being equal, this is the thing that causes delays.

If all the credit card security checks result in a full match for Billing Address and the card's Security Code (more information about these security checks on the purchase pages), then additional security checks required will be minimal. If a card passes all security checks before 15:30 on the same day as the order was placed it is possible for us to have the goods delivered anywhere in the UK by 12:30 the next working day.

All card purchases through Dukebox.com are processed manually. This helps us catch fraudsters and helps keep this site very safe. All cases of suspected fraud are reported to the police.

Occasionally during times of peak orders (when a product is just launched, for example) it may prove difficult to get a hold of the Jukeboxes we need to ship out to customers. In cases like these we will keep all our customers informed and updated with personalised e-mails about their orders.

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Q: Can I import any player product into my country?
A: Not any player, no. Different players and such have different features and different names in different countries - you may fall liable for importation duties and taxes, and not be able to use your native mains electricity because of electrical differences. You may also have difficulty in getting product support for a Jukebox bought in a different country.

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Q: How can I use this site to look for web sites or subjects unrelated to MP3s?
A: Clicking on Free MP3s will take you to the top of the search page. On the search page you have a choice of whether to search for sound files (such as MP3s) or just a general search of the web.

Answers to the general web search (at the bottom of the Free MP3s page) are restricted to more manageable sizes than the 400 result pages of Altavista that you never read. The results also incorporate matches found through 10 different search engines, so you can get several birds with one stone.

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Q: How secure is ordering on this site?
A: Ordering on this site is very secure. We have chosen the maximum amount of security available. We don't even process the card payments ourselves: we depend on a specialist firm, WorldPay.

All payment details are submitted through SSL (Secure Socket Layer) directly to the payment processor.

This site never sees your card details, neither do any site employees or directors or other workers. If you pay for any of the Jukeboxes on this site using plastic, our payment processor, WorldPay, handles the authorisation and processing - we only see the payment and the security results, not the card number and expiry date.

Not only do we take security in the process of buying a jukebox seriously, we also respect our customer's privacy.

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Q: Where can I find MP3s online?
A: You can search for MP3s here. Or you can join a subscription service like EMusic (more information here) that gives you a huge range (about 200,000) of legal MP3s to choose from.

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Q: I've typed in the name of my favourite band in the search, but nothing relevant came up. How do I improve my search?
A: If you searched for MP3s by your favourite band and you were disappointed with your results, try typing in the names of specific songs that they're famous for, or specific album names.

Alternatively, you could try a general search of the web for your favourite band and surf from there. Don't be afraid of searching for slightly different versions of the same thing: for example, searching for "U2 beautiful day" may turn up some different results than "beautiful day U2".

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Q: Is there a subscription fee for using this site?
A: At the moment we don't offer any services that require subscription. You can subscribe to EMusic (click here for more information) to get your hands on loads of legal MP3s, but Dukebox does not charge a subscription for use of this site's facilities.

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Q: What if I live in the Great Britain, but not on the 'Mainland'? Most other online consumer electronics retailers will not deliver to us!
A: Dukebox will sell these wonderful machines to anywhere with a valid postcode within Great Britain. That includes the province of Northern Ireland and the Crown Dependencies of Jersey, etc. And for the same price you see advertised on this site! Yes delivery is FREE even to all these places that traditionally take longer to deliver to, or common retailers don't deliver to because they are too remote.

For a sample list of of places that traditionally have difficulty getting deliveries, that we deliver too, click here.

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Q: What if I live outside of Great Britain, but still want to buy an MP3 player?
A: We don't sell MP3 players outside the UK at the moment, but we do incorporate links to other international retailers.

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Q: I don't see any Brand Names I recognise, who are the manufacturers that Dukebox use?
A: They are, in alphabetical order:

Apple. World famous manufacturer of the Apple Macintosh (Macs) range of computers

Archos. Archos has been making Hard Drives CD players, CD Re-Writers, DVD players, storage devices since last millennium. They developed the first commercially released 6GBHD player in 2000.

Creative. Creative Labs make the sound equipment that 80%+ of the world uses to power their computer audio. Creative have been making Sound Cards and computer audio products since last millennium. Creative labs commercially released their first HD Player in 2000.

Intel. We are sure that most people have heard of Intel. They are most famous for making the computer chips found in approximately 70% of PCs, particularly the trademark 'Pentium' range.

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Q: How easy will it be to find accessories that are compatible with my MP3 player?
A: Most of the manufacturers make some accessories for the players (click here for details of accessories you may buy from us). In general, however, the jacks and plugs used for the Jukeboxes are standard, so that you can use any type of headphones you like, for example. Just like you can with any kind of personal stereo.

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Q: Do you have any retail outlets?
A: We do not operate any shops or retail outlets. We are using the power of the Internet to bring you the lowest prices - we cut out masses of cost by not having the large overheads that go along with physical shops.

If you want to contact us click here.

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Q: Why do I pay VAT?
A: All 'luxury' goods (and quite a few non-luxury goods for that matter) are subject to Value Added Tax, and everything that we sell is subject to that tax. You would pay VAT on these items from any other UK retailer, either online or on the street. A lot of online stores try to make their prices appear lower by hiding the amount of VAT you must pay until the end of the buying process. Our UK prices are displayed including all VAT, delivery and delivery insurance charges. The price you see is the price you pay.

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Q: If my MP3 player breaks, who do I contact?
A: We try to test each jukebox before they leave: does it look intact; does it play? We realise that it will soon be your machine, so we don't spend too long pawing over it - the tests are done in a clean and safe environment. Its a waste of everyone's time if they are shipped out from us to you broken.

If you have any problem with your Jukebox click here. It will bring you to the support section of the site that has instructions for what to do in the event of a problem, along with contact details and addresses for dukebox.com and the various manufacturers.

Most of the manufactures prefer if you contact them with any support queries you have first (it's true! check your manual). They are the experts after all, and if anyone is able to solve your Jukebox problems it should be them.

If you have a problem that the manufacturer's support cannot fix and they tell you to get in touch with the retailer, click here. This will take you to a contact form that will help you.

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Q: Are there any guarantees for faulty or damaged goods?
A: Yes. First, there are your statutory rights that help guarantee you will get what you pay for. You can return any goods that appear to be faulty up to 30 days after receipt. That is the same for any product bought online.

All models come with manufacturer's warranties and they should be enough for most people. Our logistics partner guarantee that they will deliver the goods in the right condition. Any loss or damage suffered in transit will be compensated.

Several of the high street electronic retailers that have a sales force frequently try to push the shop's own additional warranties and insurance. We have had 'sales assistants' refuse to take no for an answer when we wanted to buy a VCR without buying their extended warranties and insurance.

Not only do we offer prices that are really low, we don't try and hustle our customers by selling them exorbitantly expensive insurance or warranties that they don't want or need.

Click here for more information about refunds.

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Q: How long are my card details kept on file?
A: Dukebox does not keep credit or debit card details. We are kept 'out of the loop' by our payment processor. We only know if you have paid or have not paid and what level of risk (if any) there is associated with your payment.

We do, however, keep customer and user information. None of this information is used on an individual basis unless it is for the purposes of assistance or information. Click here for more information on your privacy on this site.

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Q: Why do you want customers to pay by debit card instead of paying by credit card?

A: Credit cards are an unnecessary layer of cost for online retailers and shoppers alike. In effect you have to borrow the money that you spend on your credit card to pay back to the credit card company later. The consumer gets charged through the nose for this privilege. Retailers get heavily charged because there is a greater risk of fraud associated with a credit card.

The flip-side of the coin is that a customer has more redress if something goes drastically wrong if they buy with a credit card. If you bought goods from tesco.com with a credit card and then Tesco went 'belly up' the credit card company would become liable for Tesco's debts and responsibilities as a retailer.


Frequently, a consumer will have enough money in their bank account to pay for their purchases. If you do, there is no need to borrow the money to pay for the goods if you don't want to. Paying by debit card should be cheaper and more secure.

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Q: What is your privacy policy for my friends e-mail addresses if I recommend your site to them?
A: Click here for our privacy policy. This same policy covers you and your friends.
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