Hello freaks and some questions

hello everybody, i’m new to the site and have some probably dumb questions.
and if this isn’t the right forum for these type of questions please let me know.
and this is a great site, this stuff is kinda confusing and being able to get real world info without a slant is the way it should be, thanks to the site producers and everybody participating.
first let me say that i’m also new music downloading and just bought a portable mp3 player, a centon 1 gig with fm, voice recording and recording from fm, for 29.00 from tiger, it seems somewhat buggy but if i can figure it out seems like a lot of player for the $.
so now the questions

  1. is there any difference in the quality of sound from the different mp3 players, or is mp3, mp3, wma, is wma, etc, the only difference in sound quality is in the speakers or earphones
  2. i have a trial premium subscription with bearshare, to get their ‘gold/yellow icon’ quality songs. again is there any difference in the song quality from different sites, or again is mp3 from site x, just the same as mp3 from site y, again because mp3 is mp3, period.
  3. last, the songs i have downloaded and played so far, both mp3, and wma don’t seem to have the same quality that songs from cd’s i have?

i’m not an audiophile by any means, (even tho i keep asking all these quality questions) my only thing is, since it seems so easy and similar price to chose one service over another, and so easy to chose one format over another (mp3 vs wma, etc), and so easy to chose 1 player over another, why not get the best combination anyway.
i hope this is answerable, thanks, bbxrider

Sound quality is most likely dependent on the headphones. Might want to look at this:

http://news.com.com/BearShare+P2P+service+sold+following+settlement/2100-1030_3-6069167.html

Sound quality is determined by bitrate and format.

You can have the highest bitrate in the best format and if you are listening to them with a pair of junky headphones, it still won’t sound good.

thanks for the replies zaz and metal, that news.com bearshare news is from may, so i’m not sure what to make of it since bearshare seems to still be in business. i’m hoping since i’m paying for the service and it hasn’t been shut down that its all legal. like i said in the original post, much of the drm seems complicated with different types of subscriptions allowing only 1 pc, up the 3 pcs, ability to copy a song to a mp3 player, etc.
as to the bitrate, since none of the 3 mp3 players i looked at closely talk anything about bitrate, i’m guessing its the density present in the file, and there doesn’t seem any good way to find that out. i don’t see any services announcing what their rates are. so its probably best not to worry about it, just get and play it, and hopefully it sounds good to my ears.

Its not the bitrate of the mp3 players, but of the mp3 files. Recording at 256kb stereo is seen as near CD quality and good for portable players - for voice (e.g. audio books) you can have much lower and down to 64kb is common.

Do you have winamp? As you can see what bitrate a file is in the fileinfo part. Other apps also offer this feature.

Good headphones are essential, and you may like to consider the noise-cancelling type (those with inbuilt earplugs) as they allow you to have volume much lower - its amazing how noisy the outside world is, which is both better for your hearing and the devices battery life.