Question on sound quality

Discussion in 'iPod touch' started by RiCEADDiCTBOY, Mar 1, 2008.

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  1. RiCEADDiCTBOY macrumors 6502a

    RiCEADDiCTBOY

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    #1
    Ok, heres my situation...

    I have some unused Amazon.com credit and I want to purchase a new MP3 player...why? Simply because my daughter lost one of my ipods and broke another. Egh.

    I am actually wanting to get the new Sony Walkman MP3 player coming out later this month or in April. However, my credit expires end of this month.

    I am contemplating the 32 gig Ipod Touch...however, I am quite nervous from reading reviews on the sound quality and the sub-par or lack of EQ on the touch. Is the bass and fidelity of sound really barely above average?

    I am not knocking the product or else I wouldn't be considering a purchase. I am merely wanting (as much unbiased - realizing this IS a apple forum) opinion and feedback on the sound quality of the touch.
     
  2. Bowlerguy10 macrumors 6502

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  3. aethelbert macrumors 601

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    #3
    The device itself projects good sound, although there were some early cases of bad quality and crackling sound. Those have been resolved by now. However the supplied headphones are pretty bad and if you really want good quality, invest in some other ones (you don't have to spend that much). I got some sony earbuds for like $30 and the sound quality is eaisly 5-10x better than the apple headphones.
     
  4. RiCEADDiCTBOY thread starter macrumors 6502a

    RiCEADDiCTBOY

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  5. aethelbert macrumors 601

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    #5
    It's gone for the most part, the problem has been fixed in the sweatshop production lines of China.
     
  6. Sesshi macrumors G3

    Sesshi

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    #6
    The EQ is crap. It is broken, and many of the bass increasing presets distort. You can play around with MP3 levels but it's just an additional hassle. The basic sound quality though is fine, although the general iPod sound quality has stayed pretty much the same since the 5G while some other players have moved on - and all of the other players have working EQ's.

    The iPods have always had a lean sound, a slight reduction in bass. I don't really see it as a problem, but people moving over from Sony players, etc do really notice it. The real problem is of course that there are no good ways to recover that bass if you want to. You've got the Latin preset which is about the only usable (most of the time) bass-rounding preset, that's it - and still not fixed. 2-3 years I can understand. After 5 years of iPod mass adoption? A little pathetic IMO.

    Where the iPods really score is the convenience. You have to make a few compromises in the sound area for that. If you're looking at the Sony's, bear in mind that they are not Mac compatible. Whatever we say about the iPod's sound quality though I really wouldn't recommend anything but an iPod on a Mac, because the other options of attaching a non-iPod player to the Mac range from a quite limiting to completely crud.
     
  7. RiCEADDiCTBOY thread starter macrumors 6502a

    RiCEADDiCTBOY

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    #7
    what about on a pc then?
     
  8. RiCEADDiCTBOY thread starter macrumors 6502a

    RiCEADDiCTBOY

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    #8
    and what are the chances of a price drop? i heard the 8gig was going to be taken out and 16 takes that slot and so forth...
     
  9. aethelbert macrumors 601

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    #9
    100% chance of a price drop/line reconfiguration. The question is when. Probably not until September, so you're safe now.
     
  10. Sesshi macrumors G3

    Sesshi

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    #10
    You can pick up Mediamonkey / j.River Media Center and a whole host of supported players - MTP (Like the Sonys / iRivers / Samsungs / Creatives), UMS (Like the Cowons), etc, and of course the Zune.

    It all depends on what you want. For me, at this moment in time convenience outweighs the last few percent of sound quality, I don't ever use the EQ and I don't mind the iPod's default sound signature with high-end head/earphones, so I use the Touch most of the time. But I have a Sony and iRiver I use occasionally for different reasons.
     
  11. Quasiportnoy macrumors regular

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    #11
    I have a friend who has his Touch on a PC and he's never had problems. Some people have, and some people have also had problems with the iPod on a Mac. It's just the luck of the draw in many cases. That being said, many problems have been resolved since the initial launch.

    Provided you have decent headphones or earbuds and decent quality audio files, the sound is fine. I haven't had any complaints about the sound quality with mine, though I do agree that the included earbuds aren't the greatest (you've owned iPods so you know what they're like).

    I like my Touch and wouldn't change my mind if I had another shot at getting one. Maybe check out the Classic, too? For $50 less than the Touch you get 50 GB more, and I'm not sure about the sound quality.

    Good luck.
     
  12. great high wolf macrumors regular

    great high wolf

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    #12
    I'm sitting here with my touch playing Pink Floyd's "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" in 160kbps AAC through a pair of Bose Companion 2 speakers and I have no complaints whatsoever about the quality.
     
  13. digitalnicotine macrumors 65816

    digitalnicotine

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    #13
    I thought it was just me when I noticed the 3G nano doesn't seem to sound as good as my 4G 20gig iPod photo. It's not so much of a difference that I was upset or anything, it just seemed slightly less, but understandably so considering how compact the nano is. As far as good sound, I ended up getting a portable amp to power my AKG-K240's because the sound on a portable MP3 player was just way too weak on studio grade headphones. Now I have no complaints whatsoever on any of my iPods (including the Touch). Granted it's more to carry, but when I'm on the go I just use my Shure SE310's which are ear canal headphones, and they work great. The headphones included with iPods have never worked for me as I have freakishly small ears hehehe.

    On the other hand, you may want to consider calling Amazon and seeing if they will extend the date on your credit so you can get what you want, or possibly allowing you to place a preorder? Good luck whatever you decide to do. :)
     
  14. Sesshi macrumors G3

    Sesshi

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    #14
    Preorder - that's a good idea.

    The current Sonys are excellent and do beat out the nano in most respects, the new Sonys might be bordering on awesome. Worth a try?
     
  15. Fuchal macrumors 68020

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    #15
    I've never found any reason to use an EQ with any of my headphones or speakers.
     
  16. JAT macrumors 603

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    #16
    There never should be. An eq is meant to fix problems introduced by your room or equipment. And buying non-shoddy equipment was always a better answer than an eq. Room issues probably don't come up much for portable players, so unless they are doing something funky, eq should be unnecessary.

    I have noticed no great issues with my iPod video or Touch. I haven't compared to other mp3 players, instead I compare to my audio system. I would hazard a guess that some people prefer to over-eq their bass. Because they don't know what bass is supposed to sound like. Every car that manages to rattle my windows as it drives by is proof of just how many knowledgeless people there are.

    (never compared a Nano, no comment)
     
  17. Sesshi macrumors G3

    Sesshi

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    #17
    Ah... the predictable arguments of the experienceless self-proclaimed audiophile railing against the knowledgeless :p

    What is a portable environment but a badly uncorrected room whose interaction with the music is always shifting? Not everyone buys highly isolated phones to negate this effect, and not even everyone uses highly isolating foam tips on phones which are capable of accepting them.

    e.g I use the Shure SE530's as my beater phones for commutes but I use the silicone tips which isolate less than the foamies, because they're much more practical to use in the situation. So yes, even though I do mainly rely on phones like the UE-10/11 and SE530, I still would like a working EQ to correct holes in the response of the audio in some enviroments / equipment combos. And that's with phones which isolate quite a bit whatever tips you use - what about users of more 'regular' phones?

    The problem with the iPod is that sonically it's not got a jump on current players from other manufacturers while having problems that the rest of the field doesn't. At best it's in the median for sound quality - respectable, but not a standout - and practically all other manufacturers have addressed EQ issues. Some of them even implement DSP modes which enhance intelligibility of music in the very situations where the player will be used - portable. And EQ's are pretty well developed on other players. Earlier MP3-player EQ's like the Rio Karma had a whole bunch of features but a notable impact on the sound quality. These days more manufacturers can EQ without as big an impact on SQ - Sony is one which does very musical EQ's.

    It wouldn't perhaps be such a big deal and more of an asset for audiophiles if the core audio stage of the iPod was better than others. There was a short time when it was, but not now - starting about three years back almost every other maker has been raising their audio game. There isn't really an excuse for the iPod right now to be the way it is in terms of sound.
     
  18. JAT macrumors 603

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    #18
    You said audiophile, not me. But you sound suspiciously similar to one yourself, maybe they aren't all that bad?

    I've never seen a built-in eq on anything that wasn't a glorified tone control with zero documentation about what exactly it is modifying. Assuming the recording is accurate (since there isn't any other choice) is about all we can do. And then the least altering is always the best choice.

    As I mentioned, I don't have much mp3 experience (out of thousands of songs, only 2 are mp3), but I have plenty of experience with a variety of music types and players. Still haven't found a reason to apply my "audiophileness" to portable, it just never matches up. Maybe if I was riding a bus or train every day I'd be able to shut out the world with headphones like yours and then I would care more. But as you said, portable generally means an ever-changing "room", how can you keep up on eq-ing?
     
  19. Sesshi macrumors G3

    Sesshi

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    #19
    Before I get onto anything else, the two statements seem to be contradictory, even if we are taking the nit-picking route and assigning 'mp3 players' to mean 'players which decode the MP3 codec' instead of the more popular 'players which aren't the iPod' meaning. Would you like to correct that first?
     
  20. JAT macrumors 603

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    #20
    Audio in general is what I meant. Not so much mp3. Vinyl, 3 kinds of tape (which suck, of course), CD, SACD, DVD-A. Receivers, portable CD, boomboxes, etc. for the players. 3 iPods, but I don't use mp3, even in these. I just bought my daughter 2 songs from ITMS, the only such in my collection, other than recorded speeches, which are probably even less relevant than the rest of this. I've tried mp3 for music, found it distasteful.

    I really fail to see the point, though. I've been talking about equalization, not mp3.
     
  21. Sesshi macrumors G3

    Sesshi

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    #21
    So you have no experience of digital audio portable players apart from the iPod while making the above comments? Seems inconsistent.
     
  22. bloodycape macrumors 65816

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    #22
    Correction Sony is ums(via a menu option), same with iriver, and Samsung with a Korea firmware(something about a law requiring it, wish they did that here).

    One of my net buddies has 200 dap, and one of them being the iTouch, iphone and the Sony A810 series. He says always say, that his Sony is easily the best sounding mp3 player he owns.He says the itouch/iphone is just average, and Apple has been going down just a bit in sound. I could easily say my Cowon A2 a device, a more video oriented device, has better sound(EQ on flat) than my Mini non-rockbox. The Mini comes closer rockboxed once I set the EQ the way I want it, but looses a little ground when I set my Cowon's EQ to the way I want it.
     
  23. JAT macrumors 603

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    #23
    Maybe you should read my first comment again. It wasn't about mp3, it was about equalization, which is, has been, and always will be a bad idea. Frankly, I don't know why we've spent so much time on my comment, aren't you supposed to be railing against anything made by Apple?
     
  24. Sesshi macrumors G3

    Sesshi

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    #24
    I think the reason why we're spending so much time on it is probably because the statement 'eq always will be a bad idea' is unproven and is a typical stance taken by a sort of inexperienced internet-peer-group-driven audiophile, and is in portable situations as I've pointed out more likely to be false given most people's choice of headgear.

    And no, I rail against anything which doesn't do what it's supposed to. Such as Macbooks with the laughable 'Pro' moniker... or indeed, the broken EQ on the iPod.
     
  25. Mr Skills macrumors 6502a

    Mr Skills

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    #25
    I haven't used the iPod Touch yet, but hopefully it will match the excellent sound quality of the other iPods. One of the best things about iPods is that they do not hype top/bottom - a classic trick which sounds more sexy and impressive to the uninitiated, but actually makes the sound more fatiguing and less detailed (often known as the "Japanese HiFi trick").

    I absolutely recommend good headphones, rather than using the EQ which - in common with all digital hifi EQs I've tried, is brittle and awful. I would recommend the Shures I use, but unfortunately they are discontinued - but if the new ones are the same, then they are very good.

    I can't think off-hand of any music engineer/producer I've worked with who uses another brand of player, nor any artist other than those making their debut record. (Of course, that could equally show the ubiquity of Apple in the industry, and the predominance of iPods generally, but if they sounded crap, people would not be referencing from them all the time.)
    Cue predictable person saying "I work in the industry and I use a.......
     
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