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ipod against sony nw-hd1/3 - Sound Quality

Discussion in 'Headphones, Earphones & Portable Music' started by mcfarfs, Mar 12, 2005.

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  1. mcfarfs

    mcfarfs
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    Has anyone else experienced the difference in sound quality between the sony and the iPod?

    I was at my mates house a couple of days ago, and he has a soundproof music studio in his garden. I plugged my hd1 into his cd player (separates/floor standing speakers etc.) and cranked up the volume. This was playing at atrac3 132 kb/s.

    It sounded outstanding. This was on line-out. You could really feel the bass, it just sounded "there", if that makes sense!

    When he plugged in his mini ipod and turned it to full volume (ipods don't have line out) it sounded good. To be honest, it sounded very good. But it was no where near the Sony. Playing the same song ("You Get What You Give" - The New Radicals), the sony produced really strong bass and treble, whereas the ipod sounded slightly tinny.

    Don't get me wrong, the ipod sounded great. But it had nothing on the sony.

    I havn't compared them with headphones. But I know the sony also sounds great in this respect! I have Sennheiser PX100s (great affordable headphones,
    about £20), and, having unlocked the volume limiter, If I listen to the right song (eg. Yeah - Usher), I swear I can feel them vibrating on my head with bass!

    If you like quality music, particularly if you are likely to be listening on speakers through an amp rather than through headphones, I honestly suggest the Sony!

    Chris. :thumbsup:
     
  2. watchinthewheel

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    ill second that thought, at the risk of falming i think 99% of ipod owners bought it because it was an ipod, a fashion statement. 99% of people who bought the sony bought it for its technical aspects and sound quality.
     
  3. extremelydodgy

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    Through the Line Out (and I have both), the Sony and iPod are roughly comparable until you start using the higher lossless formats that the iPod is capable of. Through the headphones... there is abslutely no contest. If you actually use headphones where quality is emphasised (and funnily one of them that I have is made by Sony) then the iPod takes it by the proverbial mile. And let's not load the dice: the UK iPod can be 'unlocked' too, to far greater effect.
     
  4. mcfarfs

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    Sorry but I have to disagree. I have had no experience of the ipod with headphones, but from my experience through the line-out into a quality sound system the sony was far better. Even my mate agreed, and he is an avid ipod fan!

    The sony is capable of supporting lossless formats (wav?) as well.
     
  5. combustion

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    I also have to disagree, having both, my hd3 sounds significantly better using the same phones and same track... anyone wanna buy a used ipod?

    j/k already gave it to my girl. :)
     
  6. watchinthewheel

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    really? i didnt think it could, excellent if it can though!
     
  7. alancolledge

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    One mans bass is another mans boom... :)

    I thought the line out through the docking plug gives a better connection in this respect as it bypasses the headphone amp.

    I have never used the Sony so I am certainly not knocking what you are saying in your test. More to the point it shows that the sound coming from these units can be as subjective as the speakers we buy.
     
  8. extremelydodgy

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    Care to tell me how? I'm stupid that way. I've not been able to get the HD3 to play lossless or even OMG PCM / WAV.


    Care to also tell me your comparison basis? I compared the Line Out of the HD3 / iPod going into a custom-built integrated amp through a pair of Wilson Benesch Arc speakers, as well as both switched through a Stax Omega II headphone system among others. The comparison for 256K material were pretty much equal I'd say. The LO of the HD3 isn't bad for the codecs it supports... it's just that the iPod is capable of going that much further on a better phone/amp/speaker. The real difference with even MP3's is in the headphone out with premium headphones.


    BTW, WAV is not lossless in the lossless compression context.
     
  9. mcfarfs

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    Sorry I think i was wrong, it appears the hd3 does not support wav. I had assumed it does because when ripping cds to the pc via sonicstage in the settings you can rip it in wav. format (which according to sonicstage IS lossless "Offers the highest quality, but no compression". Im assuming no compression means lossless?).

    Actually it is my understanding that all ripped music is lossless to a degree, if only slight. Is that correct?

    extremelydodgy, just out of curiousity what can you unlock on the ipod? (referring to your original post).

    There seem to be loads of options on the hd3 in the hidden menu, I don't really want to mess about with it though!
     
  10. mcfarfs

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    alancolledge, just noticed your photos of your setup. That is f**king nice! JEALOUS!
     
  11. alancolledge

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    Thanks it will be better when I have the doors made to hide the shiny boxes with lights on to stop the little one 'adjusting things'!
     
  12. aund

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    My Mate has am IPOd from the States and it is nice and loud but still sounds dodgy when put through an amp. My HD3 is European and is not loud enough even with reasonably good headphones, sounds like a transister radio in my Cambridge amp. What am I doing wrong?

    I know I can unlock the low sound, but I am reluctant to do that. I was thinking about the SHure E2 earphones that block out ouside traffic etc. Anyone else use this or similar?
     
  13. mcfarfs

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    1) I really wouldn't worry about unlocking the sound limiter, I have done it to mine and the only effect is to make it go louder! The quality is fine. In the States and Japan the player is shipped without the volume cap on, so you are only setting it to what they have it like! Just remember that it sets the backlight off so you need to switch it back on in the menu.

    2)When plugged into a sound system, you should set it to "Line Out". This is under "Audio Out", which is 6th down on the menu on the player itself. :thumbsup:
     
  14. aund

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    Thanks! It sounds great. Ive only has it 2 weeks and need to read instructions. Next headache is converting Vinyl (records not flooring as some younger friends think I am refering to) to digital. Any suggestions?
     
  15. mcfarfs

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  16. combustion

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    some will argue vinyl is the best.. if you have a $10,000 record player. :)
     
  17. Radiohead

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    What a load of absolute nonsense.

    This sort of "I didn't buy an iPod because I'm too cool for school" mentality is beyond me.
     
  18. mcfarfs

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    What are you talking about? It is certainly not an "I didn't buy an iPod because I'm too school" mentality, as you put it.

    The reason why people such as watchinthewheel and myself have bought other players is because of technical superiority. I bought my HD1 (later upgraded to an HD3), primarily because it has twice and in many cases three times the battery life of the iPod: something which is important to me.

    If you bothered to read watchinthewheel's post, you will notice he is not neglecting the iPod because of, as you put it, an "I'm too cool for school mentality". He is merely stating that, in his opinion, he and most other HD1/HD3 owners bought their player for reasons of sound quality, battery life etc. whereas many iPod owners chose them over other players because they are the latest, must have fashion accessory.

    I suggest that in the future you take the effort to read posts properly.
     
  19. Radiohead

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    I did thanks - what you actually did was try and claim some sort of tecnical superiority over iPod owners by buying an HD3. Your statement " i think 99% of ipod owners bought it because it was an ipod, a fashion statement" shows exactly what you meant.

    Lots of people have bought an HD because it's not an iPod - IMO that makes the reasons no different from buying something because it is an iPod.

    And last time I looked battery life alone didn't make a player technically superior. The ability to play true lossless formats certainly does though. As far as sound quality goes - from comparing my 4G iPod with my friends HD3 both with headphones (3 types) and line-out there's absolutely nothing in it.
     
  20. mcfarfs

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    Evidently you are still not reading posts fully, it was not me who said 99% of iPod owners bought it because its a fashion accessory, that was watchinthewheel.

    I agree with you, that some people bought the HD3 because it's NOT an iPod, therefore being no different from people who bought the iPod because it IS an iPod. But as watchinthewheel and I both said, most HD3 owners have it because they prefere the player itself, and its advantages.

    Perhaps battery life alone doesn't make a player technically superior, but 2 or 3 times the battery life coupled with a smaller harddrive (making a smaller player) and the other features of the HD3, such as G-Protection, does.

    And of course the Sony supports Atrac3/Atrac3plus, which is arguably the best compression format available. So what if it doesn't support "lossless" (true lossless doesn't exist, other than on CD)? Do you really think the average user is going to transfer music at 700+mb per album?

    Of course the quality of playback is debateable, but the majority of people I have spoken too agree that the Sony sounds better, both through headphones and through an amp and speakers.
     
  21. Ekko Star

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    If the ipod was technically better, then most peeps would be buying it and nothing else. The fact of the matter is many peeps are buying alternative product on the strength of technical advantages of battery, size, weight and quality.

    Whilst they not be enough of a reason for some to not buy an Ipod. Those reasons do carry a lot of signifcance in the DAP market and the sales of products other than Ipod's bear that out to be the case.

    Lossless format is an advantage. In real world day to day usage though why would you want to carry your music in that format ? When you talk DAP in the vast majority of cases that is synonymous with MP3 or another compressed format
     
  22. Radiohead

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    My mistake.

    No - but it's there if it's needed. Apple are often accused of skimping on feature, but is that actually the case?
     
  23. Radiohead

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    As Apple's market share isn't decreasing I'd contend that simply more people are buying DAP's full-stop. Hardly a surprise.

    We saw the same with Sony's Walkman didn't we? They were first to market and rode on the back of that for years. Lots of competitors came along with decent product, but for many consumers it had to be a Walkman.
     
  24. mcfarfs

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    Sorry, what do you mean by this? :confused:
     
  25. Radiohead

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    An oft-touted criticism of Apple is that the iPod lacks features - I'm simply pointing out that this is one feature they do have that is missing from some players claiming more features. Whether people use it is entirely up to them.

    I didn't think it was an especially confusing point.
     
  26. mcfarfs

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    Lol I certainly would'nt say the iPod lacks features. It has games, a calander, slideshow (for the iPod photo) and all the rest of it.

    In comparision the NW-HD3 is very basic, but then thats what I like about it.

    I think the Sony Vaio pocket music player has quite a lot of features.

    No it wasn't a confusing point, i was just being a dumbass, lol.
     
  27. Radiohead

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    :thumbsup:
     
  28. mcfarfs

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    Actually does the iPod have a calender? What I meant to say was it has a contact list. :oops:
     
  29. alancolledge

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    Cor! We do get passionate about our choices!

    No one will say they backed a wrong horse but for the majority of us, including me, I wouldn't antisipate a shocking deal of difference in the 2 players. I am certainly not talented enough to hear the differences. I have Children by Robert Miles ripped in different bitrates and I fail to differentiate between them in AAC or MP3.

    It would be nice to conduct some true 3rd party blind testing for some of you who are that sure....

    On a Gadget show recently a band of musicians failed to identify Vinyl from MP3 (on an IPOD :) ) or CD on a blind test.
     
  30. mick's cat

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    You're not kidding. There's often a lot of subjective nonsense voiced in the guise of objectivity in this part of the forum. I have to say that some other forums monitor such subjectivity and police it sensibly, whereas this one tends to get waylaid, with nobody rapping the knuckles of wrongdoers. Unfortunately, that diminishes the usefulness. Pity really - a good general-purpose UK AV forum would have been worth having.
     

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