New iPod Touch Sound Quality

Discussion in 'iPod touch' started by petitfez, Sep 10, 2008.

  1. petitfez macrumors newbie

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    Sep 10, 2008
    #1
    I am really interested in comparisons of sound quality between the various generations of iPod.

    Unquestionably, compression method and headphones play a critical factor, but taking these aside, I would be interested in people’s comments on particularly the 2nd Generation iPod Touch, and if anybody is aware of any technical analysis to compliment their listening views.

    Has the sound quality changed over this last year with new software releases for the iPod touch in general?

    I am aware of Mark Heijliger’s excellent analysis up to the 6G iPod at http://homepage.mac.com/marc.heijligers/audio/ipod/comparison/measurements/measurements.html, and was wondering if anybody was aware of a similar analysis for the iPod Touchs.

    Finally (sorry!), with the new 120GB iPod Classic, does this have the same Cirrus Logic audio codec chip as the older 80GB and 160GB versions. I.e. can I presume that the sound quality (which has been questioned by a number of posters on this forum) is going to be the same?
     
  2. California King macrumors 65816

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    Sep 20, 2007
    #2
    All iPods and iPhones sound pretty damn similar if not the same to me. I don't think the average person will be able to tell the difference.
     
  3. telf22 macrumors regular

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    Sep 2, 2007
    #3
    Its very good. I use V-Moda Vibe Headphones. Much better than the 1st gen imo. i took my 1st gen back as that was one of the reasons - the audio (hissing).
     
  4. madmaxmedia macrumors 68030

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    Dec 17, 2003
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #4
    When did you have your original Touch? I think there was a firmware update at some point that significantly reduced the hiss (compared to when they were originally launched.)
     
  5. petitfez thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Sep 10, 2008
    #5

    Has anybody else noticed an improvement in the sound quality over the last year with firmware updates? Internet searches only seem to come up with people's opinion on the sound quality of iPod touchs at the beginning of this year. Often these opinions are critical. I'd like to understand if Apple have done anything to address views..... or indeed if sound quality is now less of a priority to them....
     
  6. angels lust macrumors member

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    Sep 11, 2008
    #6
    Apparently no one cares about SQ with these. As I would like to know as well.
     
  7. hogfaninga macrumors 65816

    hogfaninga

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    #7

    Use the search and you will get your answer. It isn't that hard.
     
  8. Philz macrumors member

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    Jun 12, 2008
    #8
    Using the various outputs at my disposal, and comparing to other devices, it's pretty good the gen 2. I just took back my gen 1 I got a couple of weeks ago to costco, so I got to do some side-by-side listening. I love the hiss free though :D. IDK why there has to be hiss in anything... A818's are hiss free too... Anyways long version:

    With my Sony MDR-V900HD headphones, not good with terminology, but there a bit bright and I like it like that, otherwise it's a near perfect representation when listening to anything electronic/dance/obscure/classical. Not bassy, natural. Also plugged it into my B&o Pentas (circa 1990). My "regular" jogging headphones. Lastly my walk around B&o's (I think there called A2's now? they have the pneumatic hook thingy)

    My only complaint is it sounds "closed" in, even on my 900HD's, it's good, no hiss at all, which is amazing for an apple product (even new macbook pros can range from a little hiss to omfg hiss...). It's also a bit bassy. Like extra punchy, probably to compensate for the crappy headphones they come with. However you can easily tell details you wouldn't in most PC sound cards and portable devices.

    B&o's sounded good, it wasn't the best to drive it (comparing to plugging my A818 and airport express). It could, but you had to kick B&o sound above normal, and iPod at max. Sounded great, it's tendency to extra bass showed more with the bigger floor standing speakers (each has there own amp/sub woofer).

    My Jogging set was odd. Their in ear headphones, it was just odd. Not sure if I liked it. Might just be that one "combo" that's... Odd. Wasn't bad, but lacked something. Then again there not the best headphones ANYWAYS lol.

    B&o headphones were a treat like usual. Nothing to complain. I still say those headphones are one of the best non-in ears out there. *maybe* a $400 audio technica pair, but I hear they easily break. These haven't had a problem in the 2 years of hell, dropping, dragging, light drizzles, they've been threw LOL.

    The only device that is better in recent memory (which I hold as a gold standard) is my Sony A818 8gb Walkman. That thing is unbelievable, i've never heard such level perfect sound, plus it must have an AMP in it as it can blow my ears out if I had it all the way (In perspective, ipod touch needs volume little less than half way to listen comfortably, the sony I almost never go above 10, and comfortably at 6-8, out of 30).



    Simple version:
    It's better than Gen 1 iPod Touch. Not best in my opinion. However it is definetly above average, and considering everything else the touch does, is not a reason to go with another device. Unless all you care about is the music, and go around with a portable amp like some audiophile, in which case, borrow someones and listen to it.



    Again, I'm no expert.


    -Philz

    P.S.
    Anyone else notice after about 4 days the sound of the gen 2's seems to be clearer? As I swore there was a bit of hiss first couple of days, but then it's now completely gone, almost as if the circuitry actually got a burn in o_0?
     
  9. angels lust macrumors member

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    Sep 11, 2008
  10. angels lust macrumors member

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    Sep 11, 2008
    #10
    Alright so I in no way consider myself an audiophile. However, going from a 5.5 Gen. 80GB iPod to this iPod Touch 2G the sound quality improvement was immediately noticeable for me. I wouldn't consider it the best, the Zune 80 I had takes that award, however I still preferred my iPod to it and sold it.

    But I'm amazed really, I was expecting a degrade in sound quality, but I was okay with that considering all the other features I'm getting. I'm getting very little clipping with bass booster on. Which is a first, because before I updated my library all my songs were MP3Gained to prevent that. But even without any EQ the bass feels improved if only just slightly.

    I have the Shure SE530s (In-Ears) FYI, as well as a Sennheiser HD-25-1, and both show an improvement. Your results may vary though. All I know is my music collection sounds better (most of which was FLAC converted to MP3 using LAME at 320 CBR).
     
  11. angels lust macrumors member

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    Sep 11, 2008
    #11
    ok so upon further review there is noticeable clipping with any eq settings

    However flat sounds great to me so overall I'm pleased
     
  12. petitfez thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Sep 10, 2008
    #12
    For those interested, I have had a reply in another website forum that the "7th Generation" iPod Classic continues to use the Cirrus Logic audio codec chip.
    Sorry that this part of my original question really belonged in a non-iPod Touch thread.
     
  13. Rizvi1 macrumors 6502a

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    Laurel, MD (Baltimore, MD / Washington, DC area)
    #13
    What's the easiest way to go about converting music to MP3 via LAME? I want to start getting rid of my CDs and was thinking of converting everything to Apple Lossless (since I'm not too familiar with FLAC). And then I'd like to keep that on an external HD and keep only mp3s on my computer and (as a result) my synced iTunes library.
     
  14. madmaxmedia macrumors 68030

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    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #14
    The new iPod Touch supposedly uses the same DAC as the Classic (Cirrus), and sounds pretty close to the Classic (based on ilounge.com review.) Actually, the new Nano uses the same DAC now too.

    I actually like the sound of the Classic, better than previous 5G/5/5G iPods. But at this point most of the iPods are close enough in general sound quality that IMO personal preference is more important- they have different sound 'signatures' so it just depends on what's a better fit for you (and your particular headphones.)

    I'm getting a new Touch, will post back when I check it out.
     
  15. Muncher macrumors 65816

    Muncher

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    California
    #15
    Get rid of your CDs? Then you'd probably want lossless copies, so you don't lose anything.
     
  16. iPod user macrumors newbie

    iPod user

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    Scotland
  17. Mystic Eddy macrumors regular

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    Sep 19, 2008
    Location:
    Staffordshire, UK
    #17
    I've been comparing my old 5G to the Touch 2G and, even with the Euro limiter turned off on the 5G, the Touch is a lot louder and the sound is crisper. It also doesn't sound muffled like it does through my 5G.
    I used a pair of Sennheiser CX300s for my comparison:).
     
  18. insicor macrumors newbie

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    Sep 13, 2008
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    Vancouver, BC
    #18
    Sounds good flat, but EQ is garbage. Adds a large amount of distortion and static to many of my tracks.
     
  19. shigzeo macrumors 6502a

    shigzeo

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    Dec 14, 2005
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    Japan
    #19
    with westone um2 (118 db sensitivity: hiss appears in a vacuum of space with these)

    ive had MD - that started my search for good portable sources - no hiss

    iriver h320 - great bass performance: lousy hiss performance
    meizu m6 - lovely but hissed almost as bad as iriver
    cowon d2 - bass performance is rubbish but hiss is low
    sony s615 - good bass performance but hiss is massive
    sony s828 - same
    sony a818 - same.
    touch 16 - bass roll off but good stereo image but hisses: but lowest hiss outside of nano 3g and d2
    nano 3g - bass roll off but great hiss and separation performance
    touch 16 2g - does everything well but i have sold my um2 as i really am bothered by hiss. with my audio technica ck10, there is no hiss at all and no feedback from the amp.

    this player has impressed me very much - bass detail is phenomenal. shuffle 1g was my favourite sounding ipod but now with the update, i think the touch may take my rating another direction. shuffle only problem was the severely phase changing hiss.

    by the way: a818 hisses like mad
     
  20. Vigilante macrumors 6502a

    Vigilante

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    Florida.
    #20
    I have tested both back to back with high quality earbuds-- the sound is identical.
     
  21. shigzeo macrumors 6502a

    shigzeo

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    Dec 14, 2005
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    Japan
    #21
    you mean except for this hissing and bass rolloff issue which is absent, right? that is a huge difference.

    hiss; you will not hear with insensitive phones. you need probably 100db sensitivity at less than 32ohm to hear it. for instance, my yuin ok2 can hear it but barely but all of my 16ohm canalphones hear it even though it is not terrible. with the um2, it sounds like a jet engine on 1g but 2g not much at all.
     
  22. RHeidenreich572 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2007
    #22
    touch is better.

    If the touch is exactly like the iphone in respect to the audio chip then yes it's better. I use my iphone to carry my favorite songs where there can be no sacrifice in audio. I have also a 160 GB Ipod set to the same EQ and my headphones distort with the same song at much less volume. Don't listen to the nay sayers who don't compare and just say. For this test I use my Shure 530 PTH to sample (best earbuds money can buy $500) and the ipod always sounds muddy and distorted while the iphone sounds pristine and the bass and sounds like woofers in a car (excellent and what I would expect.). This really makes me mad and from what I read this might be a firmware upgrade that possibly might be fixed (hopefully with the genius update to the classic) if this is even possible. I have a 160 GB ipod fully loaded with music with 15 gigs still sitting on my computer (no video or podcasts), trust me when I say that I always go for flac or lossless and always buy from amazon mp3 instead of itunes because their downloads are cheaper, higher bit rate (at least 232 kb as opposed to apple's 128 which is well below cd quality, and it's DRM free so you are free to copy it and burn as many CD's as you want . Itunes charges you a nominal fee for Itunes Plus for these features which of should been used in the first place. I would assume ipod touch and iphone are the same. If you want quality over quantity then go for the touch or the iphone. Classic sounds horrible compared to it, and I am not biased as I have recently spent 7,000 on apple products. I love the company, but when they say that they build quality products and spare no expense in doing so and remain competitive. I beg to differ buy saying what the hell happened to the beloved ipod then, The product that put you on the map.
     
  23. Muncher macrumors 65816

    Muncher

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    California
    #23
    *Ahem* You mean put them on the map again. But I agree with you.
     
  24. Impulses macrumors newbie

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    Oct 23, 2008
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    Puerto Rico
    #24
    I dunno what's the easiest way using Apple Lossless (iTunes I guess? I dunno what other programs convert to that)... I do know Media Monkey will convert music from FLAC to MP3 just fine and real easily, and if you're ripping a decent CD collection then Exact Audio Copy is THE standard for secure reliable rips. You can Google it.

    http://wiki.hydrogenaudio.org/index.php?title=Exact_Audio_Copy

    There's several guides linked there on how to properly configure EAC though. The program will actually take into account the particulars of your specific optical drive, and it'll compare your ripped files to a database of other rips of the same CD, so it's very comprehensive. It might take longer than other ripping programs but you'll never get a bad rip. It's worth reading a guide or two to set it up properly, it's a piece of cake to use it after that.

    You can also set it to convert the songs automatically to FLAC, it's pretty easy, and from there you can convert 'em to MP3 w/Media Monkey or any other library manager type program (though probably not iTunes). Or you can just have it output the raw WAV files or whatever you want in order to convert those to Apple Lossless elsewhere.

    MM now syncs the iPod touch too btw. I haven't tried it myself (I've only had the touch for a week or two) but I will soon, I don't really like iTunes (will probably have to keep using it for app/photo syncs though). It's sluggish on my computer (admittely I'm due for an upgrade, an OC'd AMD A64 @2.3GHz w/1GB DDR), and I just find the way it syncs rather unintuitive in general, always have...

    I've always loathed having to work with a client's computer (doing repair services) and having to back up their libraries or transfer them along w/licenses etc.
     
  25. jrnewhouse macrumors member

    jrnewhouse

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    Aug 4, 2007
    #25
    I have the first generation 32 GB Touch, and I have never noticed any hiss, even in very quiet passages of music and using good earbuds. I bought my Touch last spring.
     

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