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Disappointed with sound from new Nano

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Years ago, I acquired a dying 1st gen iPod mini (pre-Nano!) from my wife. I revived it by replacing the hard disk with a flash drive and installing a new battery. For the past few years, I've been using it only few times a month but it sounded reasonably good unamped with my earbuds: ATH-CM7ti, Sony Qualia MDR-EXQ1, ATH-EC7.

I recently started a new job with a long train commute and began using the iPod more, and my wife bought me a new 3rd gen Nano. First impressions, I was surprised at how much worse it sounds compared to the mini. The sound is thinner and less pleasing across the entire audio range. I suppose the Nano's smaller size yet much longer playing time would naturally compromise some sound quality. The Nano's output is definitely lower than the mini.

So this leaves me with the question of my options for improving the sound. Are there headphones that sound great unamped with a Nano? Otherwise, is there an ultra compact amp to recommend that can fit in a shirt pocket together with a Nano?
post #2 of 13
Get a MiniĀ³. Awesome little thing: The MiniĀ³ Portable Stereo Headphone Amplifier

post #3 of 13
If you can find a Xin SuperMini IV ( or a III) it is an almost perfect fit against a Nano 3G (the amp is a tad smaller). I just bought this combo from nc8000 and it is a very sweet little package. The two are an ideal match in terms of their sizes. Very good SQ, which you can adapt somewhat using the internal jumpers on the Xin. My Nano has a custom lo-rider Punnisher-made LOD which improves the form factor too....may be tricky to locate the Xin, but they do come up from time to time.
post #4 of 13
I thought the same thing and asked for recommendations for another MP3 on another (non-music) forum. It just happened that one of the members there was a studio mixer and song-writer, and he said it's not the Nano but 1) the bitrate the songs are imported at and 2) the headphones.

I bought the Etymotics ER-6i and they are excellent, but most serious IEMs will transform the sounds you hear from the Nano.

FYI I was in the Apple store today and asked if the SQ was better in the iPod Classic than the Nano, because it's bigger. Two advisors told me that the SQ should be the same. Using the equaliser might also make a difference....I keep mine on acoustic, which seems to give a better sound on most tracks I listen to.

Hope this helps.
post #5 of 13
Good luck. After all the negative comments I read on here about "Ipods" (which I happened to like), I bought a Sony 818 and returned it within 5 days. SQ wise AND user friendly wise the 3G Nano beat it like a red-headed step child. The ipod has a fuller bodied, stronger yet neutral sound to it. I found the Sony to sound like the weak sister of the Apple.

Many rave about the Cowon D2 but...no thanks.
post #6 of 13
I have an iPod Classic. I've run it through my home stereo (NAD amp and MB Quart speakers) and done A/B comparisons with CD's on a Sony CD player vs. high bitrate mp3's on the iPod, and it's VERY close; not sure I can tell the difference on many tracks. I haven't heard the Cowon or many other mp3 players but I am satisfied that the iPod is good enough.
post #7 of 13
Actually, other than being unable to really tailor the sound on an iPod Classic, I have no real complaints with the sound. I've owned every iPod since the 3rd Generation, and am happy with my Classic running lossless through an iQube.

Sound signature is an individual thing, and this generation's sound signature might not be for you.
post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 
Does the Classic use the same DAC and headamp as the Nano? This thread is specifically about the 3rd gen Nano, not iPods in general.
post #9 of 13
Good question. From memory, the classic sounded different to the nano.
post #10 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by rkw View Post
Does the Classic use the same DAC and headamp as the Nano? This thread is specifically about the 3rd gen Nano, not iPods in general.
I'm using the Classic as an example because people have the same criticism about the sound produced by the Classic and Nano.
post #11 of 13
I think the 3G Nano headphone out sounds a bit thin compared to my 1st gen. Shuffle and Touch. I use mine at work with a Headsix and it sounds great.
post #12 of 13
My iPod Touch has improved a lot since the equalizer has been switched off .
post #13 of 13
Strange, since the Mini is known to have the worst sound out of all the iPods.

The 1st and 2nd gen Nanos sounded quite good. I haven't heard the 3rd gen though.
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