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iPod audio quality

 
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gigaguy
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2007 6:31 pm    Post subject: iPod audio quality Reply with quote

I love the iPod design and interface, no one beats it.
Listening to a friend's 1gen nano, I was dismayed at the sound, I actually got fatigued after a few songs. It sounded too compressed and rough.
I've always used Sony mp3 players and they have an amazingly full & rich sound I like. I actually used a higher bitrate encoding songs from CD for the ipod than the Sony had. I used mp3 encoding.
My friends agreed the Sony sounded better.

I'm not trying to bash the iPod. I'd like to get one to use with my new Mac Mini but to me the sound is disappointing. Is there a way to make it sound better? I used some pretty good Sony in-ear phones. The iPod equalizer did not improve the sound but actually showed how limited the sound is. To me the ipod is an Audi in design, but a Yugo in sound.
Anybody else hear the difference between a Sony and an iPod?
Maybe it's telling that the Apple web pages do not mention any of the sound attributes or audio features. come on, it's an audio player!
Not a basher... just disappointed.
Maybe they improved the audio aspects, but don't mention anything about it? too bad, it's a beautiful design and interface.
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JohnnyBoy
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2007 1:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As a Mac owner it's difficult to compare. Whereas some MP3 player manufacturers simply don't mention whether their products work with OS X, Sony make it clear that their's don't.
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Pleiades
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2007 12:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A couple of questions for you --

Did you use the exact same MP3 file on each player? If not, did you encode the one for the iPod using iTunes and it's MP3 encoder? If so, the problem may lie in the area that iTunes' MP3 encoder isn't terribly good, as compared to it's AAC encoder. Personally, I encode MP3s using LAME, and just import it to my iPod, as Apple's MP3 encoder quality is apparent to even my "too many concerts" eardrums. I'd also suggest some blind tests, see if you can eliminate any unintentional feelings from one player to another.

From what I've read on the web, audiophiles say that the best quality player (in terms of sound quality) that Apple makes is the shuffles. I have a 1G shuffle, and I can tell a slight difference in the quality of sound it produces versus my 30GB 5G, but it's something I have to really concentrate to find, and I can only hear it on certain tracks.
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gigaguy
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2007 2:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wow, I'm surprised the lower cost shuffles are considered better sounding.
I did encode @ 160 using itunes from CD to mp3 for the Nano, it sounded like compressed FM radio. Files on my Sony @ 128 sounded better. I did wonder if encoding to mp3 on itunes was why it sounded worse than my non-itunes mp3s I had on the Sony.

I'll try different encoding tests. What encoder do you recommend? Is it free and easy to dowwnload and use?

I'm getting a new Nano delivered next week.
I want to try Apple lossless too.
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Cypher
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2007 2:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

have a look at MAX

http://sbooth.org/Max/
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Pleiades
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2007 2:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As Cypher recommended, Max. Max is what I use to rip MP3s using LAME.

I'd also take a look at Apple's default encoder, AAC.
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JohnnyBoy
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2007 3:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

gigaguy wrote:
I'm getting a new Nano delivered next week.

Hey, gigaguy, if you're trying to make me jealous.........it's working. Wink
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gigaguy
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2007 3:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well you should get one, you deserve it! do they not sell them in the UK yet?
I got the entry 4gb silver, and with an employee discount. I really like the Touch models but a little e$travagant for my needs right now. I also hope to upgrade my 1.66 MacMini in Oct to the 2.0 too so I can't splurge on the pricier Touch player.
I just hope I can get the Nano to sound good. I'm spoiled by my Sony player that really sounds sweet.
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