I am still using my old iPhone 3GS while waiting for the release of the new iPhone later this year, and have been using it as my mp3 player. I bought the new iPad earlier this year, but I have not been listening to much music on it until recently. I found that although the new iPad produces clean, clear music without hiss, I found that I do not enjoy the music and my ears get tired very quickly listening on it. The way I would describe it is that the music produced is "computationally accurate", but it sounded harsh and lacked warmth. When compared to my iPhone 3GS, the same music with the same set of ear buds sounded much warmer, and I am able to get thoroughly immersed in the music. I have tested with mp3s, AACs and Apple Lossless files but the result is still the same. I have turned off all the EQ settings as I prefer listening without them.
Initially I thought I am imagining the differences, but apparently there are people who feels that the new Cirrus Logic chipset used by Apple might be the problem. The CNET thread below talks about the iPhone 4s, which uses exactly the same audio chipset as the new iPad:
Now I am worried that the new iPhone will use exactly the same Cirrus Logic chipset as the 4s and iPad. If so, I am really having 2nd thoughts purchasing it. Music quality is very important to me, and this is the reason why I "dumped" the Samsung Galaxy Note after using it for a month because it did not sound as good as the 3GS.
Does anyone also feel that the new iPad or iPhone 4s does not sound as good as the 3GS? Also, is the new Samsung Galaxy S3 worth considering in terms of audio quality, since it uses the Wolfson chipset? I am considering trying the S3 if it indeed turns out that the new iPhone is using the same chipset as the 4s and new iPad.