iPods - do they really sound that good?
Disclaimer - if you like your iPod, you might not want to read this. I tested on music alone, discounting any other features each one may have.
So, I've done some listening tests, using a variety of fairly cheap (around £30) 'phones, both on ear and in ear, then my hifi system. I tried an iPod Nano 8Gb, iPod Touch 8Gb, and my Samsung YP-K3 (a £50 MP3 player), played at roughly the same level, with the same tracks and the same bitrates.
The iPod Touch was the worst, easily. It was nearing unlistenable, then I played with the eq settings (Jazz sounded about the best). It got to a point where I could listen to it, but not seriously. The midrange was all wrong, the bass and treble were detail-less, but still managed to be fatiguing. Sure, you could get thuds, but there was no texture to the bass guitar in Sultans of Swing by Dire Straits, for example.
Next was the Nano. Playing Put Your Lights On, by Satana, it could've impressed - the midrange was far smoother than that of the Touch, the bass had more detailed, and the timbre of cymbals etc were getting there. Stereo imaging was wide, with instruments placed with reasonable aaccuracy
Put on my MP3 player, and it was clear what was missing from the Nano - the vocals sounded much nicer, and the different frequencies of the voices were more coherant. The bass carried more texture, but still wasn't completely right (referenced to my PC). The treble was similar. The stereo imaging was a little narrower, but the positioning was a little better.
I know that the Nano has far more features than mine, but surely, for that sort of money, they could get the music spot on? The iPod touch... well, I'm not sure how it's managed to pick up any awards for multimedia. Sure, it plays videos, but if it's noticably fatiguing to listen to, what's the point? Even my sister, who loathes my obsession with hifi, had to mess with the eq to make it sound better.
Anyone else with similar experiences?
Test tracks were:
Stanley Road album, by Paul Weller
Money for Nothing album, Dire Straits
Supernatural, Carlos Santana