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MP3 / AAC what do you use? - Page 3

post #31 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Piobaire
I can agree about the standard being Ipod and that is why to pick it now. But back when this market was being created, there were vastly superior products. I think it all boils down to the Jeff Gold...berg? Bloom? commercial they ran endlessly! Things like the Archos were never advertised. No doubt the best auto-interface is for Ipod. However, my prediction is that within the next 2-3 years we will see vehicles with built in Wi-Fi and computers so you can just d/l straight from your home LAN to your vehicle hard-drive, making that particular Ipod application moot. It will probably go the same route as NAV and Bluetooth, starting with the high end and also the "trendy" cars, then work it's way down to ubiquity, which I usually define as being available on a Camry or Accord
The Zune has already made a push in this direction, allowing two zunes to swap songs wirelessly. I bet bluetooth will be the new standard in cars as well, that has been the whole point all along. Macs have been coming with bluetooth support for quite some time now. I think iPods will still reign supreme and bluetooth support will be relatively easy for them to add. You still need something to walk around with and iPods already have the market and aesthetics. With all things considered (more or less) equal, I'd rather have what looks better too. I'm kind of kicking myself for buying all this apple stuff because the company is total shit. Customer satisfaction isn't exactly #1 on their list but their software is really nice. I'm really looking forward to an OS X hack on the Intel hardware so I don't have to pay double for mac hardware.
post #32 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by tiecollector
If you wanted to be an uber asshole audiophile you would use a lossless compression like Apple Lossless format.

Hey, I resemble that remark! I used to encode in the default AAC bitrate, but I just started using Apple Lossless, because I have lots of space left on my iPod, and storage is getting cheaper all the time.

--Andre
post #33 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by tiecollector
If you wanted to be an uber asshole audiophile you would use a lossless compression like Apple Lossless format.

Well if you wanted to be an uber-audiophile asshole, you would probably ditch your mediocre sounding iPod for one of the many better sounding DAP's out there - like the Cowon iAudio U2, iRiver H320, Sony Walkman NW-HD3, Creative Zen Touch, or Rio Karma.

post #34 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tokyo Slim
Well if you wanted to be an uber-audiophile asshole, you would probably ditch your mediocre sounding iPod for one of the many better sounding DAP's out there - like the Cowon iAudio U2, iRiver H320, Sony Walkman NW-HD3, Creative Zen Touch, or Rio Karma.



I dunno, we hooked an ipod on battery to a pretty high end stereo system and the bass was through the roof. Notice the "asshole" part. If you wanted to be an uber-audiophile you'd still be using records, none of this digital blasphemy.

The other device I had considered getting was an iRiver, but the price was about the same and they were ugly. They played .ogg files but the vorbis project kinda fizzled. U-AA report odd phase shifting in the .ogg files, I wish my hearing were that good to even have it be an issue.
post #35 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tokyo Slim
Well if you wanted to be an uber-audiophile asshole, you would probably ditch your mediocre sounding iPod for one of the many better sounding DAP's out there - like the Cowon iAudio U2, iRiver H320, Sony Walkman NW-HD3, Creative Zen Touch, or Rio Karma.


UAAs know that the 4th gen iPod is the best-sounding one. Seriously, the iPod has a very good output section that needs no apology. I'm not sure how you're arriving at "mediocre sounding".

--Andre
post #36 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by tiecollector
I dunno, we hooked an ipod on battery to a pretty high end stereo system and the bass was through the roof. Notice the "asshole" part. If you wanted to be an uber-audiophile you'd still be using records, none of this digital blasphemy.


I love it that you are trying to use this argument to defend the audiophile quality of the iPod. Not only does the "high end" stereo's output levels and speakers have more to do with the "bass being through the roof" than your iPod, but too much bass is usually considered a bad thing.

And yes, uber audiophile nerds probably will never listen to any digitally recreated music, but the audiophile assholes that DO will tell you that the iPod is far from the best sounding unit available, and lacks the audio controls that audiophile nerds would like to play with and tweak.
post #37 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andre Yew
UAAs know that the 4th gen iPod is the best-sounding one. Seriously, the iPod has a very good output section that needs no apology. I'm not sure how you're arriving at "mediocre sounding". --Andre
I've never seen the iPod come in higher than 6th in a "showdown" style audio review in a comprehensive test that featured all the historically higher ranking brands. (Sony, Cowon, iRiver, Creative, Rio) Ever. That is a subjective SOUND QUALITY only test. If you can point me to one - I might believe its possible, but so far, its track record is as mediocre as its output.
post #38 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tokyo Slim
I love it that you are trying to use this argument to defend the audiophile quality of the iPod. Not only does the "high end" stereo's output levels and speakers have more to do with the "bass being through the roof" than your iPod, but too much bass is usually considered a bad thing.

And yes, uber audiophile nerds probably will never listen to any digitally recreated music, but the audiophile assholes that DO will tell you that the iPod is far from the best sounding unit available, and lacks the audio controls that audiophile nerds would like to play with and tweak.

Not trying to defend the sound quality of the ipod, just saying I was actually surprised by the result because I thought it would sound like crap. I'm sure there are much better devices, but the thread is about file format, not device playback. I never said that the ipod was the best device for playback, I only commented on the Apple Lossless format. I am quite happy with the performance I have received from the AAC codec.
post #39 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by tiecollector
I rip everything to 256kbps AAC, overkill for most things but I could pump them into a high end stereo system if I needed to. If you wanted to be an uber asshole audiophile you would use a lossless compression like Apple Lossless format. Right now I have a 300GB drive full and both a mini and a shuffle.

The iTunes AAC codec spits out .m4a files, which is the audio layer of the mp4 codec. I started doing AAC because I saw it as the next generation. Since my ipod is my car stereo system, it works fine, the only problem you might have with using AAC is if your car plays mp3s off a CD, this would be annoying to have to convert various songs off the fly.

IIRC, AAC is free to use while MP3 has some hefty royalty fees. If you do use mp3, do NOT use the iTunes codec, they deliberately made the mp3s sound like crap. The best for mp3 is to use LAME with a variable bitrate, AAC is VBR by default.

All in all, I think iTunes organizes the songs the best and is the easiest to use from Linux through Windoze.

If you want to compromise quality, filesize, ipod battery time, I would go with 128kbps AAC, I think that is the default that iTunes uses.
That's the bitch I have with AAC. Actually, it's with my stereo. I should have purchased a head unit for my car that was mp3/aac (since who still uses wma's???) playable instead of mp3/wma. Back then I wasn't too concerned with space on my ipod so everything was ripped to 192 mp3, back when I only had 18 gbs of the 34.5 today (mostly in AAC format).

I've purchased a few albums off itunes and I'm fine with it. The quality is usually better than what I find on bittorrent and I don't mind paying when it comes to an artist I know and love, not just one I'm checking out. I sell my cds back unless there's something super special about them because I could care less about the packaging or cd itself. All my music is digital and backed up and I really can't hear/don't care about the differences past 128 AAC.

It IS a bitch, however, to have to burn my itunes songs onto a cd and then rip them back if I want to change formats/share with friends. That's why I typically stay away from iTunes purchases.

I'm a Mac guy, have been a Mac guy since '90, and wasn't happy with the integration of other mp3 players with OSX. I guess they all give up on Mac users since they figure they'll only be wasting $$$ in development. The iPod, however, is simply an extension of iTunes and has worked flawlessly for me for the past 2 years.
post #40 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tokyo Slim
I've never seen the iPod come in higher than 6th in a "showdown" style audio review in a comprehensive test that featured all the historically higher ranking brands. (Sony, Cowon, iRiver, Creative, Rio) Ever.

So they were done double-blind, and levels matched to 0.1 dB?

--Andre
post #41 of 55
I believe that the iPod should be right up there with the Bose Wavemachine (and nearly every other piece of horid, overpriced shit they pump out) as the most over-rated, ubiqutous audio equiptment.
post #42 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andre Yew
So they were done double-blind, and levels matched to 0.1 dB?

--Andre

Would it really be that noticeable? In order to get some serious juice you'd have to hook it up to a good amp/speakers anyways. Even if you were just using some earbuds you would need some damn good earbuds too. An ipod alone cant even power some circumaular headphones. Like I said, I was more than happy with the sound I got from my ipod with my friend's setup.

BTW, how do you have a double blind study on devices? I guess you could have the device test itself against some ideal waveform. I would think that the tests were done single blind and hopefully with a human ear, not just electronic equipment.
post #43 of 55
Somewhat of an "audiophile" here. I use .OGG at quality 8 which should roughly sound like MP3s encoded at 512KBps. I don't use I-tunes. I buy my Cds (mostly classical) and rip them using EAC and OGG encoder. I used an Iriver IHP140 (40GB) untill recently when it was involved in an unfortunate accident with a bottle of white wine. I am now using a Samsung YP-F1 with my trusty Etymotics ER4P to tie me over untill I can fix/replace my Iriver.
post #44 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by tiecollector
In order to get some serious juice you'd have to hook it up to a good amp/speakers anyways. Even if you were just using some earbuds you would need some damn good earbuds too. An ipod alone cant even power some circumaular headphones.

I think my 4th gen iPod sounds very good driving a pair of Sennheiser HD-600s or 650s. It's very comparable to its line-out driving a 2nd-gen tweaked (Intersil buffers, stepped attenuator) HeadRoom Max driving those same headphones, so I think it can handle circumaural headphones just fine. It sounds very good driving the Ety 4Ps as well. I remembered wanting to listen more to its headphone outputs with the 600s when I first got it, because I couldn't believe how good it sounded.

Quote:
BTW, how do you have a double blind study on devices? I guess you could have the device test itself against some ideal waveform. I would think that the tests were done single blind and hopefully with a human ear, not just electronic equipment.

You'd do it against another device. For example, you could hook up an iPod and a Creative Zen to a switch box, make sure they're level matched and otherwise the same (eg. flat EQ settings), and then switch between them to see if you can tell a difference. Single-blind means you don't know which one is which. Double-blind means the person administrating the test doesn't know which is which --- it eliminates the possibility that he or she could communicate which is which to you. One way to set this up is for the person setting up the switcher to set everything up, and then leave the room before you show up.

There are many protocols for comparing the two: ABX, ABChr, etc. But basically you get to listen to each one for as long as you like and switch as many times as you like, and then you decide.

Level matching to 0.1 dB is easy: use a voltmeter, and make sure each device's output voltage is within 1 percent of each other. It eliminates any possibility that level mismatch led to identification of a device. It's actually a very common error.

--Andre
post #45 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andre Yew
I think my 4th gen iPod sounds very good driving a pair of Sennheiser HD-600s or 650s. It's very comparable to its line-out driving a 2nd-gen tweaked (Intersil buffers, stepped attenuator) HeadRoom Max driving those same headphones, so I think it can handle circumaural headphones just fine. It sounds very good driving the Ety 4Ps as well. I remembered wanting to listen more to its headphone outputs with the 600s when I first got it, because I couldn't believe how good it sounded.

Yes, they can power them actually, from what I have seen though, they don't get very loud. I'm not sure which headphones I tried, they were my friend's and he said they were some of the best headphones on the market. It might have been a 1/4" jack with an 1/8" converter. The volume wasn't very loud though, you can get little amplifier attachments for the ipod.

Here is a quick google that compares different devices.
http://members.chello.nl/~m.heijlige.../compared.html
http://members.chello.nl/~m.heijlige...surements.html

I have completely forgotten all I once knew about impedance and sound waves.



Quote:
You'd do it against another device. For example, you could hook up an iPod and a Creative Zen to a switch box, make sure they're level matched and otherwise the same (eg. flat EQ settings), and then switch between them to see if you can tell a difference. Single-blind means you don't know which one is which. Double-blind means the person administrating the test doesn't know which is which --- it eliminates the possibility that he or she could communicate which is which to you.

You're right, I guess I was assuming that there wouldn't actually be an administrator, per se, just a digital switch and a user in a sound proof room. But I guess there would need to be human interaction at some point.
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