Seriously, get a 5g and 7g and do a comparison yourself and you will have a winner.
Personally what has impressed me with the 5g is the 3D imaging. I had and still have iphone4s and a Cowon J3, but it's the ipod 5g's that win hands down for me no doubt .
It also doesn't hurt you can rockbox the 5g's in less than a minute and upgrade the drives with many available options.
Putting aside the sound preference, the rockbox's drag-and-drop feature is something I greatly appreciate (shame on Apple for the iTunes - it sucks big time compared to rockbox). The search capability of Windows 7 is also amazing with the speed and accuracy. I really enjoy the experience of searching for my favorite music and then drag/drop them into the ipod like a charm.
I just got a new, unopened gen 5 on eBay. I had a ipod touch gen 4 for a few days.. I took it back. Also..The iphone 4s still doesn't sound as good as the Gen 5 ipod. Cirrus DAC's are used. Wolfson DAC's are in the Gen 5, 5.5 ipod and gen 1 ipod touch. I had gotten a ipod gen 5 from Gamestop a few days ago and could tell a big difference. The only problem was the headphone jack didn't work.So I took that one back.
You're wrong IMO. I like the solid state drive players more. There's more to it than DACs and the Wolfsons used aren't the same as home kit. You can prefer it but I don't. My fave is the touch 3g so far though it has a higher output impedance than I prefer so the 4g is better on some things. 3g is VG via LOD. Haven't heard a 5g yet.
Hope I'm not bringing up a dead horse here or committing a n00b error by resurrecting a dead thread. :o If I am you can beat me.
But I have just gotten into this topic of sound quality and have bee browsing the forum for the last few days. Decided to research some of my audio devices. While I don't consider myself an audiophile I can appreciate some good sound. I am currently on deployment and was debating which iPod to bring with me. I have an iPod 4th gen, and an iPod 5.5gen. Along with a newer nano for working out/running with.
Anyhow when I was listening to the 4th gen vs the 5.5gen, I realized the audio quality of the 5.5gen was much better. Didn't know it was due to the Wolfson chip.
Anyhow I was reading some of the peoples concerns here about wanting the 5th gen iPods for sound quality, but their reluctance at getting an iPod without solid state memory.
Well hopefully this will help solve some of these concerns. Here is what I did for both my 4th gen iPod and by 5.5 gen iPod when my HDDs started to die.
I ordered the following parts, and converted my HDD from an 80GB HDD, to a 128GB SD card.
CF to 50 Pin 1.8 IDE Adapter:
SD-CF II: SD to CF Type II Adapter (Supports SDHC MMC)
Komputerbay 128GB SDXC
This is the adaptor I used for my 4th Gen iPod to take it from 20GB HDD to a 128GB SD card.
~$100 and your iPod is much more reliable, more capacity and a lot faster. :D I'm still using the apple OS on the iPod but i'm sure with Rockbox you can have a totally custom iPod, the way apple should have released it. I also installed a higher capacity battery since my original one was dieing on me and I had the iPod disassembled.
Forgive me if this has been covered somewhere. :o Still a n00b :p