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Need comments on Archos MP3 Recorder sound quality...

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Hello there, I am contemplating getting the Archos MP3 Recorder (the 20 GB version). Anybody here had any experience with it? Unfortunately, I don't have an opportunity to listen to it before I buy to assess the sound quality. The music I would primarily use it for is pop/rock/dance.

I have a pair of Sony MDR-888LP's that I am currently using with my Sharp MT832 MiniDisk recorder and I like the warm "analogue" sound that this combo provide. I've seen some comments from Archos users that the 888's are not the best headphones for this unit and that Koss portables provide a better sound with it. If that's the case and I will need a new set of headphones, I'd rather get the Ety ER6 as they would provide much better isolation than any other portables except ER4's of course.

To sum it up:

1. How's the sound quality on Archos?
2. Would ER6 be a good choice of headphones to use with it? (do I need an amp?)

post #2 of 17
I don't have the archos and have never heard it, but for this question you might want to check out http://msg.mp3.com/hardware/listnews

because there are people on that message board who own the archos and you can ask them about the sound quality.

I ordered the treo and according to the tracking order it should be here today
post #3 of 17
Check the forums out at http://www.funmp3players.com...there's a big community of archos users over there. I personally have the jukebox 6000 which I upgraded to a 12 gig drive. It works very well with my KSC-50s...I wouldn't recommend it with any Etys, though, just because of the inherent limitations of the mp3 format. Even with quality 320kb encodings, you'll easily be able to hear artifacts from the compression when you have earphones that both isolate you that much and are that revealing of the sound quality.

The archos is a nice unit...just don't expect mp3s to give you cd-quality sound, regardless of the quality of the amplification in the player.
post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks for feedback guys.

I am considering the ER6 because my Sony 888's don't provide the isolation I am looking for. I have to turn volume way up while listening to music on the bus or walking in the street - even though it starts getting harsh rolls off the bass. Aside from the ER6, are there any other portable (can't wear big isolation cans though) headphones that provide good sound quality with good isolation? I know that the Plug supposedly sucks but I am not aware of any other models.

Someone mentioned that the ER6 are not very good for listening to music on the go (while walking) since you hear the thumping of your own steps and the EP4 have the same problem plus microphonic effect on the cables rubbing against closing, can somebody who owns the ER6 comment on that?

The other thing - if I get the ER6, should I get the Airhead? What sort of improvement should I expect while using the ER6 with the Airhead? Worth the extra money?

Edit: I am aware of the MP3 format limitations but I have about 25-30 GB already most of which are downloads from the net so I'll have to live with it. I usually record mood playlists onto my MiniDisk and listen to the music while commuting. Until now the poor sound quality was definetely annoying on some files but it was masked by background noise and the 888's ability to "drown" imperfections in the warm, very analogue-like sound (I do use bass boost, please forgive me oh the Pure Ones). Perhaps the ER6 will change my perception of music, but I do like deep powerful bass (not thumping) and I hope they provide that.
post #5 of 17
I wasn't suggesting not using mp3s...just that using them with er6s will probably disappoint you because the inherent quality gap between mp3s and cd music will leave you very unsatisfied once you hear them through er-6s. I would suggest getting a headphone that's not so revealing for use with an mp3 player. Koss ksc50/ksc35/ksc55/portapro/sportapro models seem to work very well with the archos.
post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 
beni, I agree with you, I'll probably be less satified with the quality of the source while using more revealing headphones but I am just hoping that the overall better sound quality and sonic isolation will still justify the trade off.
post #7 of 17

The er6 doesn't suffer as much "microphonic" effect as the other etys. In other words, if you touch the cord, the sound is not transmitted to your ears near as much as with the 4s/p.

However, there is a significant "occlusion" effect or "isolation" effect. That is, when you block out the outside noise as well as these do, then your body's sounds are amplified, ie. your breathing. This is particularly prominent with walking, where the "thud" of your shoes on the pavement is transmitted to your ears. It is not as much as with the 4s/p, but it is definitely there, and it is prominent with quiet music on. That said, if you walk a few blocks and spend the rest of the time sitting on the train, bus, etc., the couple of blocks are usually a small price to pay for having the improved sound quality for the rest of the trip. Also, using rubber soled shoes decreases this phenomenon alot for me.

As for mp3, the er6 might be too revealing. But you can try them out...
post #8 of 17
Well, if your mp3 files are well encoded the artifacts are almost unaudible. I'm using a terratec ewx 24/96, X-Can and AKG 501 with mp3 and can't complain at all with files encoded by myself (lame with --alt-preset extreme). VERY good sound. It's a hardware solution with a really detailed sound. But with 20 gb you don't need to use mp3 if you don't want.
post #9 of 17
Guys you ming find this strange...but this is how I feel about my Etys-4P...I feel that they are extremely neutral...and they accurately represent the quality of your source.

Fine, thats understandable....but what I mean by source is the quality of the line out jack or the headphone out.

Now when I first purcahsed them I purposely listened to them out of the headphone jack of my Sony MZR-900 MD player in LP2 which is quite similar to an mp3 recorded between 192 and 256kbps and frankly it sounded good and I enjoyed it a whole lot.

Now here comes the problem...I then went back to listening to normal SP recordings that are extremely close to cd and I also listened to normal cds and thats when I got spoilt.

I couldnt go back to LP2 anymore but with time I manage to adjust between the two.

So strictly IMO I feel that as long as you dont spoil yourself with higher quality sound you will enjoy your mp3s for sure on the etys.

Well youll need to get a good seal...to be correct a good fitting...not an airtight seal in the process of enjoying your etys.
Wether it be the er-6 or er-4 series.

However, I cant vouch for the quality of the Archos Line out//headphone jack which plays an important role in how etys will sound here....but I hope this helps a little in understanding how the etys represent sound.
post #10 of 17
The archos jukebox has a good headphone out and line out. I just don't use it with my main system because so many of my mp3s came from the internet and were obviously not encoded very well, so it bugs the poop out of me to listen on a high-quality headphone setup. I agree that 192-256kb files can be enjoyable if you encoded them yourself and used a high-quality method...but you'll still easily notice the difference between these and cd quality. I also got too spoiled by listening to actual CDs through my cosmic to Ety 4Ss, so now there's no way I'd be able to go back to mp3s for critical or "personal" listening (i.e. when I'm alone and listening to music I really care about and want it to sound its best). However, for sticking in a coat pocket and use while between classes or waiting for the bus, nothing beats the archos and a pair of ksc35s or ksc50s. I'm thinking of trying out a pair of mx-500s just because they'd make the whole package just that little bit more compact, but after living with the ksc50s for a few days, I'd be surprised if hte mx500s could stand up to them.
post #11 of 17
Just my 2 cents worth. And that is about what an Archos is worth!!!!! I had one..past tense.

They are a French company, and over "there" they had no warranty. Here, they wanted to do without a warranty, and no customer service. With this attitude, nobody would work for them.

So they added those things to their USA operation.

Not impressed with them, or their product.

This info is from one of their employees I talked to on the phone.
Take it for what it's worth.

post #12 of 17

Re: Need comments on Archos MP3 Recorder sound quality...

Originally posted by Igor01

To sum it up:

1. How's the sound quality on Archos?
2. Would ER6 be a good choice of headphones to use with it? (do I need an amp?)

No idea on the ER6, but I've been happy with my Archos so far. Its sound quality is quite good, much better than my Del laptop's or my sister's Compaq laptop's. I have only used the line out though, passing the signal to a Total AirHead.
post #13 of 17
Thread Starter 
What kind of headphones do you use with your setup? How does the Airhead affect the sound quality? I am still undecided between the Ety ER6 or 4P and possibly the Airhead amp, would appreciate your feedback.

Oh, is your Archos the Studio or the Recorder? I hear the Recorder has better sound quality and controls?
post #14 of 17
Originally posted by Igor01
What kind of headphones do you use with your setup? How does the Airhead affect the sound quality? I am still undecided between the Ety ER6 or 4P and possibly the Airhead amp, would appreciate your feedback.

Oh, is your Archos the Studio or the Recorder? I hear the Recorder has better sound quality and controls?
Mine is the Archos 6000. I have a 18.6GB HDD that'll soon be going into it, but I might just wait until the end of the warranty period. I looked at both, ended up buying both, and listened to both (using the line-out to the TAH and Sennheiser '580s), and found that for my needs, I couldn't justify the extra c-note. The SQ was really no different, and the output voltage of the line out was the same. I'll never use the record feature, although it would be neat with those "end of glasses" microphones Corey Greenberg wrote about in Audio a while back. The controls on the Recorder are a very little bit better, but I usually just leave Winamp on my computer on shuffle, and I've been doing the same with the MP3 player. So, on my way to the airport, the Recorder went back, and the Jukebox flew with me.

I usually use my Archos with Koss KSC-50's. It has never occurred to me to listen to the thing through the headphone jack. Even if it were easy to adjust, I just don't trust the volume control. Digital volume controls do their business by truncating bits, essentially, so at lower volume levels you will lose fidelity

Besides, the Airhead is a bit of a litmus test. A system consisting of a decent source, a TAH, and Sennheiser '580s will embarass most professionally-installed six-figure US$ stereo systems in every aspect except for the tactilicity of the bass. Everyone who loves music needs one, I think.

The Ety 4's are probably perfect, but keep in mind how and where you're going to use the MP3 player. If hearing what's happening around you is remotely desireable, go for a lesser quality small headphone, such as the Koss KSC-35 or KSC-50.
post #15 of 17
I've had an Archos 6000 for 6 mo or so. The sound quality from the built in headphone jack is horrible. I couldn't use it in that mode.

On the positive side it has a line out. Fed through an airhead amp to my ER4S it was quite pleasant.

I have had battery problems with the unit. It draws a LOT of current when it spins up the hard drive. If the battery contacts get a bit cruddy, it resets or shuts off in mid-song.

All that said, I no longer have a need for the Archos or Airhead, and was thinking of selling them together for something like $150. Any interest?
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