Protecting Your Media Player at the Pool and Beach

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Despite your summertime affinity for water and sand, such elements are year-round enemies of personal electronics. If you want to enjoy your music, videos and photos out-of-doors, consider a seasonal accessory designed to defend the investment in your mobile gear.

Like a camera, a music player can be built to get wet and be submersible or it can be retrofitted with an airtight case or pouch. But unlike a camera, an MP3 or video player requires an accessory that resides outside the fortress, namely earphones. And rather than being garden-variety buds, the earphones must be resilient enough to withstand water and connect to the player with a water-proof seal.

A prudent path to surfside or in-surf audio entertainment is a watertight music system such as the Intova H2O Man Duo MP3 Player. You transfer music from your computer to the player’s microSD card using the included card reader/writer and USB cable. A 512MB card is supplied, but the player accepts cards with as much as 8GB of capacity. Complete with two styles of headphones, the system is completely immersible so, for example, if you’re training for a swim meet or traversing the English Channel, you can be inspired to go further and faster through the accompaniment of uplifting music. Or whale songs. A low-profile headset attaches to your goggles’ strap. On the other hand, if you’re simply stretched out on a lounge chair by the pool and the kids cause a mighty splash, the music will keep playing. The rechargeable lithium ion battery provides up to 13 hours of playing time.

Needless to say, not everyone will want to acquire a dedicated player for water-park use. If you’d like to use an iPod or other media player you already own, there are key accessories to take along. The most versatile waterproof cases offer either exterior buttons that match the configuration of a particular player model or a transparent surface that enables touch control. For example, the H2O Audio Interval 4G Waterproof Headphone System for iPod shuffle allows you to take a 4th-generation iPod shuffle loaded with Springsteen into up to 12 feet of water, where you can spontaneously skip “Queen of the Supermarket” but replay “Thunder Road.” Similarly, the H2O Audio Amphibx Fit (Small) Waterproof Armband offers a ClearTouch panel that allows for full function control of a variety of small MP3 players with touch screens.

While a regular pair of earphones will work if you plan to stay dry, using them when stepping into liquid would be a mistake. It’s important that the earphones be waterproof and the connection to the player be sealed with a rubberized o-ring or something equivalent. Unlike a “water-resistant” type system, a “waterproof” system comes with the seals and is made to be used in water. Some have integrated or included waterproof earphones, but others make them an optional but crucial accessory for taking a dip. The following accessory chart geared toward accommodating a pre-existing MP3 player compares several systems for in-water use:

iPod Model

Recommended Waterproof System

Waterproof Earphones

4th Generation iPod shuffle

H2O Audio Interval 4G Waterproof Headphone System for iPod shuffle

Integrated

iPod nano 6th Gen, iPod shuffle 2nd & 4th Gen

H2O Audio Amphibx Fit (Small) Waterproof Armband

H2O Audio Flex In-Ear Waterproof Headphones

iPhone, iPod Touch

H20 Audio Amphibx Fit (Large) Waterproof Armband

H2O Audio Surge 2G In-Ear Waterproof Headphones

Most iPod models

Overboard Pro-Sport MP3 Case

OverBoard Waterproof In-Ear Stereo Headphones

iPod classic, iPod touch

DiCAPac WP-MS10 MP Pack Waterproof Case

Included

A more typical use than immersing your music in water is listening to it near the water. In such cases water resistant is more important than waterproof, particularly if the case also happens to be crush proof and might be run over by a dune buggy. Consider something like the Pelican i1010 Case, suitable for containing a variety of iPod touch, shuffle and nano models. It’s available in a variety of colors. You do have to start the music playing before shutting the high-impact polycarbonate shell (the longer the play list, the better), but a rubber liner doubles as an o-ring seal that accommodates a wire passing through from any earphones. So, you can rock on while your iPod wears body armor.

Then, there are waterproof bags for storing and carrying a media player—even if your mode of transportation happens to be windsurfing or snorkeling—but to use the player, you remove it from the bag only after you arrive. These include the Aquapac Stormproof iPod Case in gray or orange, the DiCAPac WPM40 Multi-Purpose Case and the Ewa-Marine BS SportSafe Beach Belt Pouch.

So, even if personal electronics and water sports don’t mix, they can at least co-exist.