What is an MP3 Boombox?

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  • Written By: R. Kayne
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 06 October 2019
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A MP3 boombox is a portable stereo system that, among other functions, will play compact disks (CDs) recorded with MP3 audio files. The MP3 boombox has a built-in decoder for recognizing the popular digital file format. There are a wide variety of boomboxes available, but not all have high quality decoders. A poor MP3 decoder might not recognize all MP3 CDs. Other factors can also impact MP3 recognition on the MP3 boombox, including the media used.

If the MP3 boombox comes with an instruction manual, it might recommend specific brand name media for burning MP3 CDs. Less expensive models might exclude rewritable CDs. This is due to different types of CDs having proprietary formatting schemes. If the decoder is not written to recognize all schemes, some media might not be recognized.

Aside from MP3 CDs, the MP3 boombox will also play standard CDs and might include a cassette player and AM/FM tuner. Standard features commonly include random play, repeat, and some form of enhanced bass. For a little more money, one can get advanced features such as an equalizer; deeper, richer bass; programmable ability; and remote control. A programmable MP3 boombox will allow you to create a custom play list. This feature is especially nice if the MP3 boombox comes with a CD carousel, or the ability to load more than a single CD at once.


If the most important factor is sound, be sure to listen to the MP3 boombox before purchasing. Prices range from less than 30 US dollars (USD) to 200 USD and more. Some models have detachable speakers for creating a better stereo effect. While more money doesn’t necessarily equal better quality, the least expensive models won’t likely please the discriminating listener. In some cases, the old adage you get what you pay for is true, and investing a little more cash can result in better sound.

Many boomboxes can run on batteries or electricity. If using the MP3 boombox in the yard, on the beach, at a picnic, or on a boat, batteries can come in handy. However, you might find they don’t last longer than a few hours and electricity is less expensive when available. In either case, a MP3 boombox is a very handy way to keep your MP3 library available, portable, and ready for any occasion.


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Post 6

@indigomoth - I would just get a slightly more expensive MP3 player boombox so that it would play any format I wanted it to. I know you can get ones that will play from a USB port, so you can put MP3s into them that way.

I think it's a good idea just because people still buy music on CD. I know younger folk might find it old fashioned, but there is still something about owning the CD, along with the cover art, and the hidden tracks and so forth that I enjoy.

And it's nicer to be able to play a bunch of them on a boombox than one at a time on my PC.

Post 5

A friend of mine is a total whiz with electronics and he was able to convert a classic 80s boombox into an mp3 boombox.

You would probably recognize this boombox if you saw it. It is the kind that people used to carry on their shoulder as they walked down the street. It was a really popular thing with some of the early pioneers of hip hop.

My buddy found one in a thrift store and was able to build an mp3 jack right into. I am terrible with that kind of stuff and have no idea how he was able to build it but it totally works. We rock out to it all the time. Its like a blast from the past transported into the future.

Post 4

I have a really small portable mp3 boombox. It is really not much more than a set of speakers with a jack to plug your mp3 player into but it gets great sound. The whole thing fits into my purse but you can soundtrack a whole party using it.

I love it because I can have music anywhere I go. MP3 players are great but if you only have headphones you can't share the music with your friends. I like to have a beat at pretty much all times in my life so this mp3 boombox is great for me.

Post 3

I love to skateboard and when I go out with my friends we like to listen to music. One of my buddies has an MP3 boombox and its great because we can listen to just about anything we want. Literally, we can choose from hundreds of thousands of songs because we pretty much all have out own MP3 players with all of our music on them.

Imagine if we were trying to play cds. We would have to carry a wagon behind us to haul all of them. It is so much better having the MP3 boombox. We can skate to anything we want.

Post 2

I think most people nowadays would get a speaker system that works through their MP3 player, rather than one that will play CDs.

However, I think it's a good idea to get a CD player that will play MP3s as well as other formats. Electronics can fail quite easily, but a CD still makes a good, solid backup.

You need to keep the CD in good condition though and make sure that you rerecord it every few years.

And if possible, I would get an MP3 boombox player that will play DVDs or even blu-ray (I don't know if these exist though!), as you would be able to fit a lot more music onto one of those.

Post 1

I had no previous knowledge of MP3. I found your MP3 boombox very helpful in my particular situation

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