My little (non professional) sound test. 6 ipods v.s. 1st gen shuffle

Discussion in 'iPod' started by 840quadra, Sep 21, 2010.

  1. 840quadra Moderator

    840quadra

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    Twin Cities Minnesota
    #1
    Reading a quote on this thread, I decided to post up my little sound quality results from using my iPod devices within my household.


    I too read that article a couple years ago, and was recently reminded of it when i got my iPhone 4, and realized how good it sounded as an iPod. It made me think of that article (linked in the previous post), and I decided to hit up ebay for a 512mb iPod shuffle.

    Now a proud owner of this little white piece of trident (I don't recommend chewing on your ipod shuffle though), I too am blown away by the sound quality as compared to the rest of my iPods. The overall richness of the sound, is quite good, despite it lacking many of the modern features all of us expect on current iPods.

    The biggest draw to this iPod to me is the deep rich bass. I am not talking bone shattering ghetto base (no offense intended), but crisp, clear, rich sound, that makes any well recorded song sound amazing.

    I used a song that may seem a bit strange, but works well as it is a digitally recorded song that has rich crisp digital highs, and sub woofer level lows that accompany some rich mids and vocals. The song is Crazy by Seal, and I used the last 58 seconds (or around there since the shuffle has no screen) of the song. It is a small portion that eventually has deep lows, crisp highs, and vocals. It (for me) has been a great song to test stereo systems, speakers, and headphones for over a decade as it seems to be hard for many systems to reproduce correctly without sounding too tinny, boomy, or otherwise bad.

    I do use other songs (classical, electronic, and some jazz) to test audio systems (for my taste) too, but I find this song to be really hard to sound right to my ears, on many devices! I used Apple's in ear headphones (yes I know not the best out there), but it is what I have, and I actually like them for the cost.


    My Personal results (based on my opinion of little value)

    photo.JPG


    - 15gb iPod 3rd generation

    The first true touch only iPod, but never called the iPod Touch. This was also my first ever iPod, and got me hooked on the entire ecosystem. As far as sound, it has great clarity overall, however has really weak lows when compared to the first generation Shuffle. I do like how bright the overall sound quality and clairity is, but it suffers at higher volume.

    I used this iPod religiously until the drive started to go bad. Currently have kit on order to make it a Compact Flash ipod.

    - 30gb iPod 5th Generation [with video]
    I love this device, first time I was able to bring video with me almost anyplace. Got addicted to video podcasts, and bringing Movies / TV shows with me anyplace.

    How does it sound compared to the shuffle? With it's version of the Wolfson chipset, it actually comes quite close in highs and mids, but lows are still subtle compared to the shuffle. This iPod is much better than the 3rd generation iPod in sound reproduction on lows.

    iPod shuffle 2nd generation
    Flat and weak is the only way to describe this device. I still use it often due to the fact that it can clip onto my riding gear (I ride / race Motocross), and it is actually quite a durable little device. Without the clip, I think I would leave it home indefinitely.

    The sound is that bad.

    - ipod Touch 2nd Generation
    Similar overall sound quality to the shuffle, actually comes far closer than any other iPod I have tested (even beating out my 5th gen Nano). While the lows are really good on the Touch, it lacks the ability of producing a super rich deep low that the Shuffle is somehow a master at.

    - iPod Nano 5th Generation
    A good device, has great mids and good highs, but the lows are not quite at the level of the shuffle still!

    As far as iPods go, this is my favorite "true" iPod. While the video camera is a neat little toy, it isn't what won me over with this iPod. It has great sound, lots of music related features, built in mic, speaker, plays video, voiceover, and supports headphone controls. if you want a good affordable full featured iPod with good sound quality, I strongly suggest getting this one.

    It is loaded with features no other iPod has, and sounds quite good to boot!

    - iPhone 4
    I honestly think this matches the sound quality of the 1st gen shuffle, possibly outperforming it in both clarity, and overall bass output. While not a true iPod, it does the job better than any other iPod / iPhone I have tested before with regards to sound quality. That being said, it isn't the best music player, as the internal radios do interfere with some audio equipment when the phone feels the need to send or receive data.

    While I LOVE the sound quality in this , it can't replace my iPods for pure music. I simply can't stand the Morris codeish "da da dot, da da dot, da da dot" sound coming through my audio devices while the phone is sending cellular data. Granted, you don't hear this with headphones or well built audio equipment, it does come through with many amplified speakers, or low to mid range stereo equipment.
    _____________________________________

    What iPods have you used, and really liked? I don't claim to be an expert, but would love to see other's user experiences as I may have to go out and try some of the other iPods I don't currently own :) .
     
  2. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

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    #2
    What were you using to actually listen to the music in order to make your comparison?
     
  3. 840quadra thread starter Moderator

    840quadra

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    #3
    sorry if I wasn't clear, but I used the currently available (dual driver) Apple in ear headphones for this comparison. I have Eytemotic HF3 headphones too, however I felt that very few on here would have those headphones to compare with.

    The Apple headphones have a relatively high impedance, so require a little juice to power them correctly too.
     
  4. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

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    #4
    Ah, ok. I must have missed that. Interesting comparison. I have a bad habit of buying 5th/5.5th generation iPod videos and using those whenever I can; I still think they are the best-sounding iPods available. When paired with a set of good, over-ear headphones like the MDR-V6s, there's enough frequency response across the spectrum for me to be able to listen to Classical Music without cringing and/or throwing away the headphones in disgust.
     
  5. 840quadra thread starter Moderator

    840quadra

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    #5
    I will have to listen to this and the 5th gen nano a bit more closely. I still use my 5th gen iPod quite a bit, so much that the battery is starting to get a little weak. I have read that the 5th gen is the audiophile iPod of choice, but those appear to be with people using the line out (through the dock connector), and some with modified circuitry. I usually just use the headphone jack.

    I just got the 5th generation nano, and could be giving it too much "new ipod" credit. :eek:
     
  6. theLimit macrumors 6502a

    theLimit

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    up tha holler, acrost tha crick
    #6
    My first iPod was the 3rd gen with the 4 buttons above the scroll wheel. That was many years ago. I got a 1st gen shuffle when they came out and was absolutely amazed at the sound quality, so much so that it's the only iPod that I haven't sold.

    I had a 5.5 gen iPod, but sold it to buy a 1st gen iPhone. I regret it to this day, as that was the best sounding and most functional portable media player I've ever used. The original iPhone doesn't come close in sound quality. I really want to pick up another one soon.

    I've used 3rd and 4th gen nanos, and a 1st gen iPod touch, but they weren't worth keeping.

    I'm glad to hear positive things about the 5th gen nano and the iPhone 4. It's time to upgrade my phone, and my daughter needs an iPod, and the new nano doesn't play video. She also loves making music videos with her toys, so she wants the video camera.
     
  7. 840quadra thread starter Moderator

    840quadra

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    #7
    Thanks!

    Honestly, after closer listening I have to say, the iPod 5g is actually better sounding than the 5th generation Nano. That said, it is quite close in sound on both my eytimotics and the Apple in ear headphones.

    I still think the iPhone 4 sounds amazing as an iPod, I just don't like carrying a cellular radio with me all the time, and it is honestly kinda heavy.
     
  8. motulist macrumors 601

    motulist

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    Dec 2, 2003
    #8
    Did the Touch 3rd gen change anything audio-wise from the 2nd gen Touch? I have a new (previous gen) Touch that I got for free when I bought my mbp and I have yet to really give it substantial listen.
     
  9. kmj2318 macrumors 68000

    kmj2318

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    Naples, FL
    #9
    I've compared the 4th gen nano and the 2nd gen touch. With my nano I always notice bass getting heavily distorted with my Denon headphones. Compared to my touch, which it doesn't happen on.
     

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