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Topic: Purchase based on sound quality

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Old 06-02-2003, 12:58 AM
#1
 
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Purchase based on sound quality

Hi guys,
This is my first post here but ive been reading here for a while. I really am in two minds about whether to go for the ipod gen 3 or the creative zen.
I have a nice pair of high quality grado 125's headphones so i want a really good sound quality from what ever i buy. Sound quality means more to me than aesthetics, size etc.... Im buying a jukebox to listen to my music collection at high quality sound. I know the zen has a snr of 98db , and a lot of its competitors seam to have a snr of 90 or there abouts. What snr does the ipod gen3 have... i couldn't find it on apples site. Being a logarithmic scale this should be quite a difference. Now if iwere to record a 192 kbit mp3 on a zen and the same on the ipod.... play both through my grado headphones, would the sound quality of the ipod be better considering the price????? Im asking this because i know there are many factors to sound quality, snr, headphones used, codec, bitrate, DSP precision used by jukebox etc...
Please can i get an honest opinion since this is a lot of money to spend, and i really really appreciate decent quality sound.

Kind Regards,
i_wolf
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Old 06-02-2003, 01:01 AM
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iPod isn't much known for the sound quality area. However, as long as you encode your songs at a very high bit rate, you should be happy with your music.
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Old 06-02-2003, 01:06 AM
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Re: Purchase based on sound quality

Quote:
Originally posted by i_wolf
Hi guys,
This is my first post here but ive been reading here for a while. I really am in two minds about whether to go for the ipod gen 3 or the creative zen.
I have a nice pair of high quality grado 125's headphones so i want a really good sound quality from what ever i buy. Sound quality means more to me than aesthetics, size etc.... Im buying a jukebox to listen to my music collection at high quality sound. I know the zen has a snr of 98db , and a lot of its competitors seam to have a snr of 90 or there abouts. What snr does the ipod gen3 have... i couldn't find it on apples site. Being a logarithmic scale this should be quite a difference. Now if iwere to record a 192 kbit mp3 on a zen and the same on the ipod.... play both through my grado headphones, would the sound quality of the ipod be better considering the price????? Im asking this because i know there are many factors to sound quality, snr, headphones used, codec, bitrate, DSP precision used by jukebox etc...
Please can i get an honest opinion since this is a lot of money to spend, and i really really appreciate decent quality sound.

Kind Regards,
i_wolf
I have both the 15gb ipod and Creative Zen 2.0. The Zen has the S/N around 98, but I honestly can't tell the difference between the two. I encode most songs at CBR 192 using EAC/LAME. Also ipod supports AAC format which is suppose to be superior at equal mp3 bitrate.

Read this old post to find out more on ipod's sound quality.
http://www.xsorbit1.com/users/dennx/...num=1052032544
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Old 06-02-2003, 02:05 AM
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Re: Purchase based on sound quality

Quote:
Originally posted by i_wolf
Hi guys,
This is my first post here but ive been reading here for a while. I really am in two minds about whether to go for the ipod gen 3 or the creative zen.
I have a nice pair of high quality grado 125's headphones so i want a really good sound quality from what ever i buy. Sound quality means more to me than aesthetics, size etc.... Im buying a jukebox to listen to my music collection at high quality sound. I know the zen has a snr of 98db , and a lot of its competitors seam to have a snr of 90 or there abouts. What snr does the ipod gen3 have... i couldn't find it on apples site. Being a logarithmic scale this should be quite a difference. Now if iwere to record a 192 kbit mp3 on a zen and the same on the ipod.... play both through my grado headphones, would the sound quality of the ipod be better considering the price????? Im asking this because i know there are many factors to sound quality, snr, headphones used, codec, bitrate, DSP precision used by jukebox etc...
Please can i get an honest opinion since this is a lot of money to spend, and i really really appreciate decent quality sound.

Kind Regards,
i_wolf
Welcome to the lounge, i_wolf! I have a pair of Sony MDR 7506 (pro headphones), they are fantastic (and fantastically expensive) headphones and listening to my music ripped at 160-192 comp. rate (mp3) the sound is fantastic. I am not an audiophile but an avid audio listener. Hooked into my hi-fi sterio system it sounds wonderful as well (using line out). Of course this is all relative to the quality of your mp3 files.



~Nick - 24" C2D iMac
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Old 06-02-2003, 02:07 AM
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the zen is a brick, go with teh ipod, but if you do, ditch the musicmatch program and get lame(an mp3 encoder) here's the two websites that taught me how to install and use lame, which the sound quality is like day and night compare to musicmatch
http://www.ping.be/satcp/eac12.htm
http://www.chrismyden.com/nuke/modul...&file=painless



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Old 06-02-2003, 01:01 PM
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The iPod is very small. If it was any smaller it'd be a cough lozenge The Zen doesn't seem that much bigger on paper but once in hand it's huge in comparison. But the iPod is good rather than spectacular quality. The Zen isnt spectacular either but I suppose it could be better. I have considerably more fantastically expensive headphones than the MDR-7506 or the SR125 and they all sound OK to me from the iPod as long as you're not expecting a genuine audiophile experience.

The crux of good sound on the iPod is good encoding. LAME does well for this, but it's slow. Musicmatch on the other hand is blisteringly fast at encoding. Try the Musicmatch software first by installing it, then removing the iPod plug-in from Add/Remove software then installing Ephpod. This way you'll be able to use Musicmatch to encode and browse music and use Ephpod to sync. If you find the quality of the encoding OK, then use Musicmatch. If not, try LAME. I'm usually happy with 192K CBR.
The bad news is that the new iPod does some very annoying tics with the firmware. I'm sure they'll be fixed, but many of these problems are obvious 15 minutes after I turned it on the first time. One has to wonder which - Down The Throat Apple Evangelism, the promise of free Powerbooks or Steve Jobs brainwashing them by saying 'Isn't that beautiful? Isn't that cool?' a trillion times over - blinded the beta testers.
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Old 06-02-2003, 01:16 PM
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Essentially what you are saying is that they are much of a muchness! Basically what i am hopeing is that if i were to record in a cd in wav format that it would sound better than it does through my 150 euro sony discman with grado headphones. I know not to expect super high quality for that, if i want uber quality i will spend thousands on a top of the range denon but you get my drift, i just hope that the sound quality is better than what i am used to!
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Old 06-02-2003, 01:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by i_wolf
Essentially what you are saying is that they are much of a muchness! Basically what i am hopeing is that if i were to record in a cd in wav format that it would sound better than it does through my 150 euro sony discman with grado headphones. I know not to expect super high quality for that, if i want uber quality i will spend thousands on a top of the range denon but you get my drift, i just hope that the sound quality is better than what i am used to!
I think u need to judge that for yourself. Why not buy one from a store with a return policy and try out for yourself. Is there a Best Buy nearby?

Oops, you said euro so I guess Best Buy is out of the question. Also listening to wave files on ipod will drain the battery really fast.

Last edited by doboy; 06-02-2003 at 02:37 PM.
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Old 06-02-2003, 05:55 PM
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If you are interested in the tech specs of the DAC and audio amp, the chip used in the iPod is detailed at
http://www.wolfsonmicro.com/product.asp?pid=12

There's some more in-depth pdfs linked on the page.

As for a subjective perception of the iPod, it has a tight, controlled bright sound. I haven't heard a Zen. The only device I have at hand to compare is a marantz cd player which has a sort of sparkly but cosy sound which I have become attached to. The iPod compares very favourably with it as a portable device.
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Old 06-03-2003, 04:17 AM
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I doubt apart from the EQ problem that quality will be a problem. Were you aware even portable CD players compress the sound (to fill the anti-shock buffer)?
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Old 07-11-2003, 03:35 PM
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Return based on sound quality

My primary reason for getting a music player is to listen to music, and the iPod simply fails me on that account. I think it's universally agreed upon that the iPod EQ settings are not great, in fact I sound them horrible. My music never sounded so distorted.

Compared to previous music players I've owned (iRiver ChromeX, Rio sp90, Creative Nomad II flash player, and Sony minidisc MZN-505), the "flat" un-EQ'ed sound on the iPod sounds pretty much like those other players - not significantly better or worse. However, I like a fuller, more bassy sound.

I wouldn't call my sound preference "sonically accurate" or true to the original source material, but that's the way I like my music. Maybe it's just my expectation that since I've owned a fair amount of other players, the iPod could produce similar sound.

That (combined with those new touch-sensitive buttons which I kept accidentally hitting!) forced me to return the player after only one day of usage.
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Old 07-11-2003, 03:48 PM
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I am also not amazed with sound quality of iPod. The cheap Panasonic MP3 player give much deeper bass. Another bad thing that Apple is a computer company, so they have no idea how to do a good music reproduction, so I'd expect much better sound from companies who are in audio business.
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Old 07-11-2003, 04:33 PM
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Maybe my hearing isn't as exact as everybody elses, but I don't have a problem at all with the sound quality, whether it's coming through headphones, portable speakers, my car or home stereo.
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Old 07-11-2003, 04:58 PM
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Quote:
Maybe my hearing isn't as exact as everybody elses
I'm not saying that anyone's hearing it faulty! I was making a comment on the sound that came out of the iPod. It might be sonically accurate, but it isn't my preferred sound. It's totally a preference thing.

Interesting story: a friend of mine, who also has an iPod, used his iPod earbuds with some tv that had a earphone out at his gym, and he was simply amazed that the buds sounded so good. His thought to himself: "I've never heard these buds sound so good before!"

Try it for yourself: compare the sound output of the iPod to other devices. See which sound you prefer. I did. I returned my iPod.
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Old 07-11-2003, 06:38 PM
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I didn't take your comments as any kind of hearing insult. I was just commenting that mine sounds good to me thats all. I'm sorry that the ipod did not meet with your sonic approval. But to each his own. Whatever you decide to buy to take it's place, I hope that it meets your needs music wise, isn't that what it's all about, enjoying your favorite music, how, when and where you want to .
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