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iPod 5.5th Gen vs. Zune 80/120 sound quality?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

So my Samsung Galaxy(Captivate) got crushed as I was moving a table(The headphone jack is messed up and the top part is loose) and now I am looking for a replacement, the captivate had a Wolfson dac which I absolutely loved, I had a 32gb card in it and it did alright.

 

I know that both the 5.5 and the Zune have the same type of chip(Both Wolfson right?) but was wondering if one sounded better then the other and also if it would sound as good as my captivate? I heard the 5.5 has to be modded to sound good but am unsure of how serious that is really(Something about the electronics being shoddy idk really?), both the 5.5 with a 120gb hardrive and the Zune 120 go for about the same on Ebay used it seems so I am stuck between them.

 

Any clue on which is better? Should I just jump on the best deal price wise, I am pretty picky about sound and wish I could try them both out first but doesn't seem possible...

 

I use Sennheiser HD 25-II's mostly if that matters for my portable headphones, sometimes the Koss DJ100's.

post #2 of 17

Can't speak to the sound of the Zune but if I were buying a new portable player I would not go with a 5.5 unless you upgrade the hard drive.  How long have these been out?  HD bound to eventually fail.  I bought my 5.5 from a guy on Ebay who does the compact flash mods but you can do it yourself as well.  Something to consider if you are looking at long term durability.  I do enjoy my Rockboxed 5.5 but most of the time I'm using my iP4s.  Spending more for the RWA iMods never really entered my mind but that's me.     


Edited by WNBC - 10/12/13 at 10:09pm
post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 

The ones I am looking at have new replaced hard drives, 120gb ones, so I am guessing they would be ok longativity wise hopefully, same goes for the Zune.

post #4 of 17

I've got a Zune 30, 80, 120 and HD. I got each one when they were first released and there have been zero problems with any of them. I still use them quite a lot, especially at work (music teacher). They sound very good although not as good as an AK100 but in terms UI they are super easy to use.

post #5 of 17

the good thing about ipod is that you can opt to go with a line out dock, where you cannot do with the zune. this is good if you go with a external amp. the 5.5 has wofson dac chip which is a pretty good chip among the ipod daps

post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mooses9 View Post
 

the good thing about ipod is that you can opt to go with a line out dock, where you cannot do with the zune. this is good if you go with a external amp. the 5.5 has wofson dac chip which is a pretty good chip among the ipod daps

Is it as good as the Zunes or the one in the Galaxy?

post #7 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spardasieg View Post
 

Is it as good as the Zunes or the one in the Galaxy?

 

Mid-2000s DACs generally weren't as good as newer devices (they tended to have nasty bass roll off), but then again Samsung has shipped some pretty low quality stuff more recently too.  You'd have to look and see if anyone has checked the output on your specific Galaxy (and keep in mind that Samsung often uses different DACs on the same phone variants sold in different regions).

 

Overall the attraction of the 5.5G IMO is mostly just that we optimized the heck out of the rockbox port, so battery life is pretty good and its generally quite stable.  

post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by saratoga View Post
 

 

Mid-2000s DACs generally weren't as good as newer devices (they tended to have nasty bass roll off), but then again Samsung has shipped some pretty low quality stuff more recently too.  You'd have to look and see if anyone has checked the output on your specific Galaxy (and keep in mind that Samsung often uses different DACs on the same phone variants sold in different regions).

 

Overall the attraction of the 5.5G IMO is mostly just that we optimized the heck out of the rockbox port, so battery life is pretty good and its generally quite stable.  

Apparently the Galaxy I have has one of the better dac's, hmm not sure what to do, I find it hard to find a decently priced MP3 player thats 120gb or above...thats not a Zune 120 or iPod, I would go for the 160gb iPod but I heard its not as warm and has a very narrow thin sound stage.

 

Wish more options were at my finger tips....

post #9 of 17

Hey Spardasieg,

 

I'm in a similar situation in which you find yourself.  I have a Verizon Note2 with the Wolfson chip and "like" the sound it but it has 2 limitations (for me) keeping it from being great.  1) Only 64gb of storage and no 128gb micro sdcx chips in the near, affordable future.  2) When I piggyback either of my 2 portable amps (Fiio E11 or C&C BH2) to the Note2, I get cell antenna interference that makes listening less than optimal :/

 

So, I am the original owner of a working 30gb 5.5Gen video iPod and have about 250gb of mostly FLAC and >192kbps mp3 files.  I really like the sound from the iPod (headphone out) but it is way too small and I have a like-hate relationship with iTunes.  After some research, it appears that the Toshiba MK1634GAL160gb zip HD made for the 7Gen iPod will fit in a 5.5Gen as it is a single platter, 5mm thick drive, the same as the original 30gb HD.  I thought about going with a 128gb CF card and the compact flash adapter instead of a platter drive because it is an attractive option battery-wise.  However, going the CF route will cost more than twice what the 160gb drive does, will still be ~30gb smaller in size, and the CF card is not compatible with my Note2 (minor point but it would be nice).

 

The only thing stopping me currently is that I don't know what the battery life will be like after making the swap to the 160gb HD.  The 60 and 80gb video iPods have a bigger battery so I think this may be an issue running a larger drive with the smaller 30gb version battery.  I personally think getting a used 5.5Gen iPod (for you), upgrading to the 160gb drive, and Rockboxing it is the best option for both of us.  I just want more than 4hrs of play time.  If anyone knows, I would love to have this answer :P 

 

Like you, I wish there were more reasonable (i.e. affordable) options out there for more than 100gb of storage but I don't see any now or expect to see any in the foreseeable future.  I may just take the plunge anyways and see how it goes.  If I do, I will post back here and let you know what I found :)


Edited by SpongeyOne - 10/13/13 at 10:14pm
post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpongeyOne View Post
 

Hey Spardasieg,

 

I'm in a similar situation in which you find yourself.  I have a Verizon Note2 with the Wolfson chip and "like" the sound it but it has 2 limitations (for me) keeping it from being great.  1) Only 64gb of storage and no 128gb micro sdcx chips in the near, affordable future.  2) When I piggyback either of my 2 portable amps (Fiio E11 or C&C BH2) to the Note2, I get cell antenna interference that makes listening less than optimal :/

 

So, I am the original owner of a working 30gb 5.5Gen video iPod and have about 250gb of mostly FLAC and >192kbps mp3 files.  I really like the sound from the iPod (headphone out) but it is way too small and I have a like-hate relationship with iTunes.  After some research, it appears that the Toshiba MK1634GAL160gb zip HD made for the 7Gen iPod will fit in a 5.5Gen as it is a single platter, 5mm thick drive, the same as the original 30gb HD.  I thought about going with a 128gb CF card and the compact flash adapter instead of a platter drive because it is an attractive option battery-wise.  However, going the CF route will cost more than twice what the 160gb drive does, will still be ~30gb smaller in size, and the CF card is not compatible with my Note2 (minor point but it would be nice).

 

The only thing stopping me currently is that I don't know what the battery life will be like after making the swap to the 160gb HD.  The 60 and 80gb video iPods have a bigger battery so I think this may be an issue running a larger drive with the smaller 30gb version battery.  I personally think getting a used 5.5Gen iPod (for you), upgrading to the 160gb drive, and Rockboxing it is the best option for both of us.  I just want more than 4hrs of play time.  If anyone knows, I would love to have this answer :P 

 

Like you, I wish there were more reasonable (i.e. affordable) options out there for more than 100gb of storage but I don't see any now or expect to see any in the foreseeable future.  I may just take the plunge anyways and see how it goes.  If I do, I will post back here and let you know what I found :)


So the 5.5 is actually up to the sound quality of the Note2? maybe I should go for it....Rockbox does look nice, I just heard that the electronics in the way of the Wolfson dap in the ipod make it less then stellar.

 

What do you mean by small? It needs an amp?

 

Also with a LOD amp like the FiiO E1(how much battery drain btw) or FiiO L11 + E5 make the Wolfson Dap sing basically by bypassing the shoddy headphone components(and amp) that apparently degrade the 5th gens Wolfson? Or am I missing something?


Edited by Spardasieg - 10/14/13 at 1:59am
post #11 of 17

All I can say is, with a mod to bypass the internal amp and some crazy caps and crazy LOD, the 5g/5.5g can really kick some asses. Believe me I have put lots of time and effort for all kinds of experiments to reach this conclusion. :)

 

The caps are not just for dc blocking (well some can't even block it completely) and they (the crazy ones) can make serious difference in sound. I am convinced the best LOD is not the one sold for $200 or even $300.

post #12 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DMinor View Post
 

All I can say is, with a mod to bypass the internal amp and some crazy caps and crazy LOD, the 5g/5.5g can really kick some asses. Believe me I have put lots of time and effort for all kinds of experiments to reach this conclusion. :)

 

The caps are not just for dc blocking (well some can't even block it completely) and they (the crazy ones) can make serious difference in sound. I am convinced the best LOD is not the one sold for $200 or even $300.


So I would need to spend big bucks to get the full quality of the dap in the 5.5, not something cheap like the FiiO L9? Hmmm...

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Toshiba-MK1626GCB-160GB-Internal-HDD1B01-Hard-Drive-/350486171224?pt=US_Internal_Hard_Disk_Drives&hash=item519a9a8e58

 

Will this work in a 5th gen(Not 5.5) also? The dimensions are the same right? Or should I be looking for another? It seems to say so here but on the ebay page it days no...

 

http://www.unionrepair.com/toshiba-mk1626gcb-160gb-hard-drive.html#.UlxGThwVlYM


Edited by Spardasieg - 10/14/13 at 12:31pm
post #13 of 17

Spardasieg,

 

To my untrained ears, I think the Note2 sounds slightly better than the 5.5Gen iPod when listening to either through the headphone out.  That said, it looks like I have to compromise slightly (for now) to get more capacity.  Through the LOD, I think the iPod sounds equal to or slightly better than the Note2 in terms of detail and extension.  I have not tested the Note2 via the OTG to a DAC/Amp, might sound better still!  I might go this route when 128gb micro sdxc cards become available and reasonably affordable.  Neither solution will surpass the dedicated DAC and amp and HD600s I have on order so I am not looking for ultimate performance from my portable setup (5.5Gen iPod or Note2 --> C&C BH2 amp --> UE7Pro CIEMs, for now ;) )

 

By small I meant the storage size for music. I like to take a good selection of FLACs with me so I really want >100gb of space.  That said, a good portable amp will make most IEMs come alive while keeping the noise floor nearly inaudible.

 

Last, both zip HDs you posted links to "appear" to be the same Toshiba MK1626GCB drive but each web site has very different specs.  The Union Repair site mixes both Samsung vs. Toshiba specs so I don't know if the info found there can be trusted.  The ebay ad indicates the MK1626GCB is 0.31 inches (7.87mm) in height and has a ATA / ATAPI, SATA interface.   If true, this is the wrong size and has the wrong interface for a 5.5Gen.  Sorry, I don't know it these specs differ from the 5.0Gen specs.  I also don't know if the 5.0Gen iPod can be diyMod'd or even Rockboxed, I have only read that the 5.5Gen is the one to get.  I would suggest more research to figure these items out before dropping the cash.

   
post #14 of 17
Thread Starter 

I am guessing I will end up with a Zune 120 or a 5.5 with a LOD attachment, pretty much whatever one I win first off Ebay for a decent price, I have been bidding like crazy on them but I am not the greatest at it haha.

 

I appreciate you explaining the sound to me, I do believe that my captivate has a very similar DAC as the one in the Note2 so thanks for comparing them, makes it easier for me to decide.

 

Will have to research HDD's I guess if I wind up with a smaller 5.5.

 

EDIT:

 

I just had a crazy idea, I have Sansa Fuze 4gb player...would a SD to MicroSD Converter Module and a 128gb SD card work with Rockbox on it?

 

This : http://dx.com/p/sd-to-microsd-transflash-card-converter-module-27001

 

and

 

This: http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/searchtools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=7609045&SRCCODE=WEBGOOPA&cm_mmc_o=mH4CjC7BBTkwCjCV1-CjCE&gclid=CJDq-IyxmroCFdSd4AodkmgA6A

 

Basically velcro it onto the back and put it in its normal silicone case? I think it would fit and honestly this seems almost amazing if it works because these players are cheap and have great SQ with a total of 132gb of space.


Edited by Spardasieg - 10/15/13 at 8:14pm
post #15 of 17

What did you decide in the end?

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