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iPod Classic Sound Qualuity

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 

Update: Just received an 8GB Cowon X9 today - the sound quality is MUCH better than my ipod classic. It's actually on par with my Audioengine D1 (might even be better, but I'm trying to let the subjective stuff dissipate before reviewing)...

 

After picking up an iPod classic a few months ago, I'm coming to the conclusion that the sound quality is pretty abysmal. I expected it to be nothing special, especially after reading as much from doing research beforehand, but I didn't expect it to sound this flat and pallid.

 

It's nice to have the convenience and ability to play ALAC files natively, but I'm more interested in sound quality since I'll subconsciously use it less and less as time goes on because of the poor sound quality. I've been looking into the Cowon X9, since I can get the 8gb model for pretty cheap on amazon and just add an SD card later.

 

I've searched through all the threads about the sound quality, but I'm wondering how much of an improvement I'll see if I switch players. Is it worth it?

 

If it helps, I'm using VSonic GR06 most of the time, and occasionally will use Denon D5000s at home.

 

Thanks! smily_headphones1.gif


Edited by whereas - 11/3/12 at 8:18am
post #2 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by whereas View Post

After picking up an iPod classic a few months ago, I'm coming to the conclusion that the sound quality is pretty abysmal. I expected it to be nothing special, especially after reading as much from doing research beforehand, but I didn't expect it to sound this flat and pallid.

 

It's nice to have the convenience and ability to play ALAC files natively, but I'm more interested in sound quality since I'll subconsciously use it less and less as time goes on because of the poor sound quality. I've been looking into the Cowon X9, since I can get the 8gb model for pretty cheap on amazon and just add an SD card later.

 

I've search through all the threads about the sound quality, but I'm wondering how much of an improvement I'll see if I switch players. Is it worth it?

 

If it helps, I'm using VSonic GR06 most of the time, and occasionally will use Denon D5000s at home.

 

Thanks! smily_headphones1.gif

 

Believe it or not the difference can be quite a bit. Cowons are ok and are slightly better than an ipod unamped but not much better IMO. More so comparing it to my iphone4 with eQu I rather have the iphone4. Just no gain IMO. But there are other players out there that will get you a noticeable improvement in sound quality right off the bat and won't require an external amp. Hisound has some very nice products as does Colorfly. The UIs won't be the best in the world mind you but that has been the MO of DAPs made in China for the longet time....

post #3 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by whereas View Post

After picking up an iPod classic a few months ago, I'm coming to the conclusion that the sound quality is pretty abysmal. I expected it to be nothing special, especially after reading as much from doing research beforehand, but I didn't expect it to sound this flat and pallid.

It's nice to have the convenience and ability to play ALAC files natively, but I'm more interested in sound quality since I'll subconsciously use it less and less as time goes on because of the poor sound quality. I've been looking into the Cowon X9, since I can get the 8gb model for pretty cheap on amazon and just add an SD card later.

I've search through all the threads about the sound quality, but I'm wondering how much of an improvement I'll see if I switch players. Is it worth it?

If it helps, I'm using VSonic GR06 most of the time, and occasionally will use Denon D5000s at home.

Thanks! smily_headphones1.gif

Well, I feel great sources plays a major role in your experience, I don't see the point in using $300 IEM if you're feeding it with a mediocre player. I bang my head against the wall when people run Westone 4 with a $30 Clip Zip. redface.gif But that for another story. I know the differences between them as I have / had many sources. (check profile)

Going from my ipod touch to Cowon or Colorfly is a considerable upgrade. the differences may not be noticeable straight away, especially to everyday consumers, you must know what to listen for. Mainly to listen for improvments........soundstage, instrument separation, detail, dynamics, transparency also the amount of air, layering, distance, imaging a player displays. There's should be a black space behind the music, what you want is to find the music inside a bubble around your head working infront of that space.

The IEM is also questionable how much it benefits, synergy and pairing comes into play, for example a bright IEM or headphone will possibly be more suited to a warmer source, matching and linking is an important factor. I think Cowon X9 would be a good start, even C2 is a step up, but if you want a no fuss audiophile player I recommend Colorfly C3, it will show you everything an ipod isn't through it's headphone out.

I'm not a fan of ipods or touches,
Edited by H20Fidelity - 11/1/12 at 11:14pm
post #4 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by H20Fidelity View Post
Going from my ipod touch to Cowon or Colorfly is a considerable upgrade. the differences may not be noticeable straight away, especially to everyday consumers, you must know what to listen for. Mainly to listen for improvments........soundstage, instrument separation, detail, dynamics, transparency also the amount of air, layering, distance, imaging a player displays. There's should be a black space behind the music, what you want is to find the music inside a bubble around your head working infront of that space.
The IEM is also questionable how much it benefits, synergy and pairing comes into play, for example a bright IEM or headphone will possibly be more suited to a warmer source, matching and linking is an important factor. I think Cowon X9 would be a good start, even C2 is a step up, but if you want a no fuss audiophile player I recommend Colorfly C3, it will show you everything an ipod isn't through it's headphone out.
I'm not a fan of ipods or touches,

The Z2 did this really well... I ended up sending mine back due to it's poor wifi coverage, but may end up buying another in the near future. I do miss it.

Whearas...

The ipod classic has a very linear sound(not for everyone) so "flat" is a good term to use.  I really like mine, but have gotten to a place in this hobby where I really try to appreciate things for what they are...

With that said, why don't you try to rockbox it and play around with the EQ settings? Maybe you can squeeze a little more life out of it...

post #5 of 29
I picked up a 60gig ipod 5.5 so i could take advantage of the wolfson dac and be able to rockbox it. Using a lod cable over to my piddling ibasso t2 i get decent sound! I would like to try a sony f series walkman but there are other things i'd like more...

Sent using Tapatalk 2
post #6 of 29

ipod 5g rockboxed to play FLAC's made a HUGE difference to me and ever since I am addicted to it. Other sources I used ( and I still have) are iphone 4s and Cowon J3, but they can't compete with the rockboxed ipod 5g as far as I am concerned. But this is just me.

post #7 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by RingingEars View Post

The Z2 did this really well... I ended up sending mine back due to it's poor wifi coverage, but may end up buying another in the near future. I do miss it.
Whearas...
The ipod classic has a very linear sound(not for everyone) so "flat" is a good term to use.  I really like mine, but have gotten to a place in this hobby where I really try to appreciate things for what they are...
With that said, why don't you try to rockbox it and play around with the EQ settings? Maybe you can squeeze a little more life out of it...

I just feel all ipod models really lack in separation among other areas. Instrument separation and transparency are probably two of the most important area's a DAP needs to shine for me and even flat or rockboxed EQ won't improve those areas. It's about the player itself just under performing you can't add anything to fix it.

The problem is, well not really a problem the illusion a player gives is that it can sound great, often because that's all the owner knows not hearing anything else. But once you hear how a higher grade or better performing player reacts it all becomes clear what was lacking before. It takes using higher end gear to know what you're missing.

If you liked the Z2 for it's separation, check out, Colorfly C3 leaves any Cowon I've tried behind in separation and dynamics by a large margin.

Leaves my ipod touch for dead, no joke.
post #8 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by H20Fidelity View Post


I just feel all ipod models really lack in separation among other areas. Instrument separation and transparency are probably two of the most important area's a DAP needs to shine for me and even flat or rockboxed EQ won't improve those areas. It's about the player itself just under performing you can't add anything to fix it.
The problem is, well not really a problem the illusion a player gives is that it can sound great, often because that's all the owner knows not hearing anything else. But once you hear how a higher grade or better performing player reacts it all becomes clear what was lacking before. It takes using higher end gear to know what you're missing.
If you liked the Z2 for it's separation, check out, Colorfly C3 leaves any Cowon I've tried behind in separation and dynamics by a large margin.
Leaves my ipod touch for dead, no joke.


I think the iphone4 is the best I've heard in this regard even compared to my roomates ipod 5th gen. I wasn't very impressed by the rolled off treble and overly emphasized bass on it.

post #9 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by lee730 View Post


I think the iphone4 is the best I've heard in this regard even compared to my roomates ipod 5th gen. I wasn't very impressed by the rolled off treble and overly emphasized bass on it.

The ipod touch 2G I have here is ok for SQ, nothing I would write home about in any area, it performs better with the Equalizer app but still it's screams mainstream along with the other ipods I have. Even Cowon is still in the mainstream but at least it makes an effort in dynamics and separation. Very good black space behind the S9 and a good sense of imaging. I just don't get that with the ipods. It's all like "ting ting tong tong throw that here little bit of left bit of right going on"redface.gif
post #10 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by H20Fidelity View Post


The ipod touch 2G I have here is ok for SQ, nothing I would write home about in any area, it performs better with the Equalizer app but still it's screams mainstream along with the other ipods I have. Even Cowon is still in the mainstream but at least it makes an effort in dynamics and separation. Very good black space behind the S9 and a good sense of imaging. I just don't get that with the ipods. It's all like "ting ting tong tong throw that here little bit of left bit of right going on"redface.gif


My point is the iphone4 is even a noticeable upgrade over the comparable ipod touch from the same model generation. At least from what I gather the iphone4 was their best sounding DAP, followed by the 4S.

post #11 of 29
I haven't heard it, though hear you mention it a bit. Need to try one to confirm.
post #12 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by H20Fidelity View Post

I haven't heard it, though hear you mention it a bit. Need to try one to confirm.


If you love your rolled off treble and overly emphasized bass the 5g is quite nice ;).

post #13 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by H20Fidelity View Post


If you liked the Z2 for it's separation, check out, Colorfly C3 leaves any Cowon I've tried behind in separation and dynamics by a large margin.
Leaves my ipod touch for dead, no joke.

Hmmm. May have to give the C3 a try.

post #14 of 29

Here the problem guys: When is another one of these high-end players going to be ergonomic, simple, elegant, and most importantly, have a 160GB hard drive? I got the anwer. (Not anytime soon.)

post #15 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by davidhunternyc View Post

Here the problem guys: When is another one of these high-end players going to create a portable music player that is ergonomic, simple, elegant, and most importantly, have a 160GB hard drive? I got the anwer. (Not anytime soon.)

Well you're a downer...tongue_smile.gif

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