best sound?

Discussion in 'Headphones, Earphones & Portable Music' started by sv1984, Mar 21, 2006.

  1. sv1984

    sv1984
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    Which mp3 player at present produces the best sound...

    i am after mp3 plaer with around £300 budget...nice n slim would do great but im also after nice sound

    any advice
     
  2. noshoulders

    noshoulders
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    I would of thought they're all pretty similar in sound output, bundled headphones are almost always poor quality so make sure you get a better set to compliment them!

    The headphones forum is very good and may be able to help you more.

    btw I'm always impressed by Ipod nano's. Battery life especially.
     
  3. Lewis123

    Lewis123
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    iRiver and Creative players are supposed to sounds much better than the iPod.
     
  4. Happytab

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    I am 'supposed' to be working - but I'm not !
     
  5. kevH

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    Whatever you decide to buy just make sure you have enough left or budget for a decent set of headphones as this is essential for good sound with just about every DAP :smashin:

    Depending upon what capacity your after i would recommend either the Ipod Video or the Vision M and check out the Shure range of phones you'll do a lot worse:smashin:

    Check out all the various threads here im sure theres plenty of advice you can listen to or ignore!!!!
     
  6. shadowritten

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    It's largely subjective and depends on too many variables, including type of headphones used and whether or not you opt to use EQ. Creative have a natural but slightly warm tone; Sony have a more 'forward' (some say 'aggressive') sound; the iPod is meant to sound quite natural, though paired with the wrong sort of phones will appear to lack bass and emphasise treble; iRiver ... no idea, sorry!
     
  7. extremelydodgy

    extremelydodgy
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    From the players I've had, the current batch from mainstream manufacturers seem to be far more homogenised than the previous generation. The differences are definitely smaller than it used to be.


    The perception of sound quality does also depend on what sort of headgear you'll be using. It also depends on your interpretation of "sound quality". For me it is the purity of reproduction in the recording, and as far as a portable is concerned the practical measure of sound quality is how close it gets to my high-end CD players. I do understand though that for some, that can differ... some regard maximum bass as highest "sound quality", and others regard a jacked-up treble as high "sound quality"... and some also respond to a combination of the two.


    If you're at the low-end as far as phones are concerned (sub ~£50 for open headphones, sub ~£140 for in-earphones, sub ~£90 for closed headphones) then they're far more likely to have sonic kinks that need EQ to straighten out. EQ degrades sound quality so it is not appropriate for decent phones, but if your headphones are POS to begin with, a bit of EQ might actually be beneficial. Some headphone amplifier circuits on these portables also have a slight problem with bass handling with phones of very low impedance. If you're using such phones with the likes of the iAudio X5, Creative Zen Vision M and the iPod Video, you may notice a slight lack of bass.


    So all that said...


    For crappy headphones, the Sony A3000 / HD5 wins as the EQ is very usable and quite musical.

    If you love processing your sound and making it sound like you're stuck in a bass bin, the iAudio X5 is your player as Mach3Bass will churn out as much ultra-boosted bass as practically any portable will allow... although if you do turn all the crap off, the X5 is actually quite decent.

    If you like a neutral sound, the Creative Zen Vision M is a decent choice and I like the Vision M sound a good deal.

    If you want something that sounds slightly more overtly defined than the Creative (although it's not actually better IMO), pick the iPod Video.

    IMO, the last two benefit most from higher-end headphones. I haven't included the iRiver as the current H10-series players are IMO substandard in function and operation. If you can get hold of an H300-series player, it's on a par qualitywise as the latter two mentioned above.


    The iPod would be the slimmest of the lot by quite a margin.
     
  8. eyeballKid

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    I would also argue that gapless playback ability is a sound quality issue (but only if you listen to albums more than zero percent of your time). Which obviously favours Rio and Sony.

    Everything else (especially where compressed music on the move is concerned) can probably be solved with your selection of headphones, bitrates, formats and equaliser preferences.
     
  9. extremelydodgy

    extremelydodgy
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    The iPod with the rapidly-completing Rockbox firmware also delivers gapless, but with MP3 among other codecs like the Rio. It is not limited to ATRAC like the Sony. So does the iRiver H300 series with the same firmware. Not my favourite player OS since it IMO takes away a significant amount of the usability that makes the iPod an iPod, but nevertheless it does give you the option of having either a drag-&-drop player with gapless or a 'normal' iPod in the same physical box. Development for all iPods (Nano, 4G, Video) has been astonishingly quick, although there seems to have been no work on a GUI installer as of yet. It is at least worth a try, although fans of Rockbox are a bit rabid about it, citing 'gapless gapless' like some sort of quasi-religious mantra (actually, rather like the Sony fanboys).


    As I've said at other times gapless is not a big deal for me personally, even though I do listen to complete albums for the most part. Some PlaysforSure machines when playing back DRM music have very noticeable gaps (~2 seconds!) and THAT is a problem. But anywhere along the iPod, iAudio or the Creative with unsecured files is not an issue on most occasions I have to say, and at worst it's an occasional irritation... and certainly not worth relatively crippling myself with a Sony purely to gain that feature.
     

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