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Speakers for MP3 players--Ask the Editors

CNET editor Jasmine France answers a question about MP3 players with integrated speakers.

Get stereo separation with the Sony SRS-M50

Q: I've recently started looking for either a small MP3 player with a good speaker on it, or a small portable speaker that I can travel with that will work with my Zune and other players. I prefer a nonfolding one. I tried to look for a recent review of either category, but didn't find any. Can you help?--Jeremy, via e-mail

A: Right off the bat, I recommend checking out our top 10 portable speakers product roundup. Any of those speakers come with a high recommendation.

However, if you're looking for something ultracompact, pay particular attention to the Soundmatters FoxL, the Samsung BS300, and the iMainGo 2 (this last one does double duty as a protective case for your player).

One other option that did not make the top 10 but still might be a good choice for you is the Sony SRS-M50. It's plenty compact and the two speakers can actually be separated for wider sound.

Samsung S5 sounds sweet.

If it's between purchasing a separate speaker or getting an MP3 player with a speaker built-in, I would definitely go with the first option. Although many portable speakers don't offer great sound quality, it's still going to be better than what you would get from one that's integrated into an MP3 player.

I have tested one device in my day that included a pretty impressive built-in speaker and that was the Samsung S5. One of the more recent products with this feature is the Creative Zen Mozaic, but it has a single speaker with mono audio so you can imagine what the sound is like. However, the player is an incredible value given the features.

MP3 Mailbox Monday is a recurring feature where I answer a selection of questions about MP3 players and accessories, such as headphones, speakers, and music services and software. Check back often to see if the advice presented here might be of some use to you, or send your questions directly to me. (Note: We never include last names, but if you prefer to remain completely anonymous, please state as much in your e-mail.)