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Topic: Sound quality: Iriver IHP 20 versus Classic?

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Old 01-03-2008, 01:00 PM
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Sound quality: Iriver IHP 20 versus Classic?

Hello, this is my first post on this forum. Also apologies if this has been posted but I tried to join a related link and failed.

I have a question for any classic user whoís used an Iriver IHP 20 or comparable models.

I want to upgrade, having used the IHP 20 for about 4 years. I am emphatically not an audiophile but I can say the Iriver has been the best piece of equipment of any kind I have owned: simple to operate, amazing sound quality, totally stable, great line-in recording options and still rocking battery life. Admittedly it is long in the tooth now but Iím loath to replace it with anything that compromises on audio quality and I certainly need more capacity. After endlessly comparing possible replacements the only one that meets my requirements (and not more) is the classic.

I do have a MacBookPro, and like Itunes to play music (though not to download ĖI avoid DRM like the plague even though all my music is legal).

I visited the Apple Store twice to check it out, sound quality being my chief concern. Using the same cheap-but-decent Sennheiser PX10 headphones,I listened each time to two different tracks my Iriver and the Classic had in common: The Doors: Changeling and Diplo: Big Lost. Almost all my music on my Iriver is recorded at 128, nothing higher than 196:

To my untutored ears, the Iriver produced a sound that was markedly, markedly bolder, warmer and clearer. I was absolutely gutted I couldnít bring a classic to the till.

Please spare me the attacks regarding subjectivity, ad hominem attacks for not being an audiophile etc.: I make no claim to expertise nor exhaustiveness, it was simply my very strong impression. I wouldnít expect two different manufacturers with models years apart to produce equivalent aural experiences, but I canít very well disregard the fact that the sound quality of the Iriver appears to blow the Classic away, at least in so far as the characteristics that matter to me.

Is there anyone who can comment on whether my impression, given what Iím coming from, is justified and is there any workaround, such as increasing the volume on tracks in Itunes before transfer that would create a possible compromise?

Many thanks for your time.
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Old 01-03-2008, 01:20 PM
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Chief Nanny-Boo-Boo
 
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I replaced an iRiver H320 with the Classic after I couldn't take the horrible battery life anymore and the ext. warranty was about to run out. I think we share the same approach to digital music: picky listeners, but hardly audiophiles, so compromising on sound Q for me was not an option, either. The iRiver's sound Q was top-notch.

On my iRiver, nearly all my tracks were ripped from CDs I own at a pretty hi-Q setting (VBR, min 192-max 320, if memory serves). I listened to it through the home and car stereos and Shure e2c canal-phones, generally using the custom EQ setting. On the Classic, I use the "flat" setting (the EQ pre-sets are offensively useless--don't bother with 'em)) and the sound Q is very comparable to my ears, though the bass is somewhat less punchy (but still clear and accurate). I'm well-satisfied with it in the sound Q department.

Did you compare the tracks on the flat setting? It's entirely possible the track pre-loaded on the Classic at the store was not at a comparable bitrate for a fair comparison. It's also possible the volume limit was set lower than you might be accustomed to hearing.



Idiot: n. One who owns an 80GB Classic and claims, despite overwhelming and contrary evidence from the Flying Spaghetti Monster, that his unit works just fine. See also: BBD.

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