MP3 Users Guide

If you’re new to MP3 or digital audio, here are a few links to websites that give good information for beginners:

C/’s getting started with MP3>>>
FTP Planet >>> 
Alken’s MP3 Beginners Guide>>>

How many gigabytes do I need?

This depends on your current computer and how you will use it.  If you only have 20 gigs on your computer, you may find it difficult to manage a 30 gig MP3 player.  That doesn’t mean you can’t, it just means that you cannot auto syncronize your MP3 with, say iTunes (if you get an iPod).  You will have to do it manually, and the MP3 player will be the master storage device.

Personally, I get along fine with my 20 gig iPod.  It’s maxed and I have to unload content to load new content.  I also have a lot of music on it too.  If I were to get a new one it would be a 40 gig.

Just to give you an idea, I have on 23 gigs of audio on iTunes. The Max Mclean Listener’s MP3 ESV Bible is 75 hours and takes 2 gigs of MP3 data. I have almost 600 sermons which work out to almost 6 gigs (oddly enough).  I have 5 gigs of classical music and soundtracks, 2 gigs of Christian music, and 4 gigs of French language instruction (because I now live in Quebec). The rest are odd’s and ends.  I can only fit about 18.8 gigs on my 20 gig iPod.

I use my iPod daily (actually I don’t know how I ever lived without it) during my commute, walking downtown, shopping, running errands, etc. 

Determine how much audio you will consume.  If you will use 40 minutes or more a day I suggest a minimum of a 20 gig player.  The smaller the player, the more often you will have to rotate out audio.


In iTunes, make sure to select to view ‘Date Added’.  This will allow you to sort files to see the latest files added.  This helps you remember the latest MP3 files that were added, because it’s easy to forget. 

You will often find that you have to rename files that you’ve added to iTunes.  The tagged information embedded in MP3’s are often not very user-friendly.  A file named 09443-SunAM you will want to rename to something relevant such as ‘Dever_On Elders’.  For a series of messages you will want to start the name with a number, for example ’01_Scripture_Clarity’.  If you don’t the series of messages will not display or play in the proper order.

Other files may have names that are too long to read in the MP3 player window.  For example, the files of Max Mclean’s Listener’s ESV Bible are named ‘The Listener’s Bible ESV Isaiah 1’ in the artist or album category of iTunes.  This means as you scroll through the ‘The Listener’s Bible’ or ‘Max Mclean’ categories all you will see in the window is 66 occurances of ‘The Listener’s Bib…’  The only way to find Isaiah 10 is to scroll through the ‘Song’ category listing (which is the largest category)  until you see Isaiah 10.

Perhaps the newer MP3 Players have allow more text and/or smaller fonts in the screen. 

One final bit of advice.  Create a playlist for your iPod to discipline your listening habits.  I use the play list to do 2 things.  First, all my latest MP3 audio additions are placed in this playlist, particularly the single sermons and short series, which are easily overlooked in your iPod.  How often I have loaded a bunch of sermons only to forget the names and unable to find my latest uploads.   Second, I place a few chapters of the ESV Bible between the sermons so that I get a balance of Scripture and preaching.

Downloading Tools

There’s a few programs that help with downloading.  Mozilla Firefox is an excellent web browser that has good downloading tools built right into it’s browser.  It will resume interrupted downloads and shows a progress bar for each one.  This is the best solution.

If you’re in love with Internet Explorer, you can use Free Download Manager.

5 thoughts on “MP3 Users Guide

  1. Dear Mr. Shaffer,

    Thank you for this ministry. You must stay busy locating these messages. Not sure if our church site will make your list ever, but feel free to listen and advise. Also, I plan on thinking about a link on our site directing our listeners to this USERS GUIDE page as it beautiful answers FAQ. Thank you.

  2. Hello,
    I have enjoyed your website and so have our students. Our instructors have begun using your lectures to fill in certain subjects or to allow the students to listen to the author of their text book. I just wanted to make sure that it is Ok to use your material in this way for our curriculum and we would like to link you on our website with your permission. We would like to promote your worthy ministry in any way that we can!
    Until All Have Heard,
    Christy Smalley
    Tucson Theological Seminary

  3. Hi,

    I like your site, but I just wanted to let you know that your link on the side for:
    is actually sending me to: (which is an online gaming site… not the christian audio site).

    I figured I would just give you the heads up on the glitch 🙂 God Bless!

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