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is it possible to get a 'bad' ipod?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

i just bought a new ipod to replace my old one, and they appear to be the same model and everything but the sound difference between the two is hugeeeee.

 

my old one had a big sound stage and all sounded right.  within 20 seconds of this new one, i knew something was wrong.  everything was 2d, flat and undetailed.  ive checked and double checked all settings.

 

my question is - can there be large variation in sound quality between instances of the same model, or has something changed in the ipod componentry?

 

i need to know whether i should exchange this one as faulty, or just get my money back.  if i was to exchange it and get the same result, i would have a much harder time getting my money back.

 

thanks heaps head-fi!  this is very annoying and i appreciate the assist :)

merry xmas!

post #2 of 7

what's the model number of your two ipods? if you made sure that all the settings were the same, both ipods were updated with the latest drivers/firmware, and are using the same source files/headphones for both... and you can still hear a very noticeable different, I would recommend returning it.

 

double check to make sure the source files have been encoded at the same bitrate for both players. i know sometimes iTunes may convert your files to lower quality when transferring to your ipod.

post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 

I synced from the same computer, and tried the same song on the same headphone.  I'm sure it's the iPod as I noticed within 20 seconds of playing that everything sounded inferior.  The mid-bass is slightly tighter but everything else sounds bad.  When I listen in the car, the new one just falls apart when music gets going, whereas the older one still gives detail in heavy passages.

 

The model, part number and everything is the same.  The box is the same, but the serial suggests the good one was made in 2011 and the bad one was made in 2013.  Besides that, the old one only updates to 2.0.4 while the new one updates to 2.0.5.  It says 2.0.5 is incompatible on the old one, hinting at a hardware change?  Very sneaky of Apple to downgrade components within a generation.

 

I probably will just straight up return it and try to get my old one repaired, and hopefully Apple will start to make decent sounding iPods again for when my one really karks it.

 

Thanks for your help money4me247.

post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 

sorry to double post, but briefly - is it possible to get variations within a product line?  like would there be variations in quality between the new iphone 5s or similiar?

post #5 of 7

Apple did indeed "downgrade" their DAC chips within their iPod models, but the same model number iPods should have the same components. I believe the switch was made around in 2005-2007-ish perhaps (not 100% sure), so it really shouldn't be affecting you.

 

here are some links you can read about it:

http://macintoshhowto.com/itunes/which-ipod-has-the-best-audio-quality.html

http://www.teddypig.com/2012/03/apple-ipod-wolfson-dac-why-all-ipods-are-not-equal/

 

if you want to use the newer iPods/iPhones that may have inferior dac chips, you can try to find an external dac/amp... but with apple's proprietary connection, it seems kinda expensive. more info here:

http://www.head-fi.org/t/679677/portable-dac-for-ipod

http://www.head-fi.org/t/678765/ipods-and-external-dacs

 

If you use a non-apple product w/ a standard mini-usb plug that can do usb audio out (ex: some android smart phones), it's pretty cheap & easy to get a portable external dac that will help your sound quality (if that is the issue that you are experiencing); such as the Hifimediy usb dac ($35-60: ES9023 sabre dac chip) -> can use an adapter to convert usb to mini-usb.

 

$30 HiFimeDIY Sabre Android DAC: http://hifimediy.com/index.php?route=product/product&path=62&product_id=124

$150 Fiios E18 is a dac/amp combo for android.

 

Also, there many portable amp/dac combos like the Fiio E7 $70, E10 for $75, E70k for $90, E17 for $130 vs. iBasso d-zero for $100 vs. audioquest dragonfly 1.0 $99 vs dragonfly 1.2 $150... etc...

 

Finally, you can also get a different dedicated audio player such as the Fiio X3 vs. iBasso DX50 with a built-in amp/WM8740 dac chip for $200.

post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 

wow talk about detailed!  thanks mate :)  merry xmas btw

 

i have to say though, i'm addicted to itunes and it's rating/playlist system.  i don't think i could ever break away.  so alas, the ipod life it is for me.

 

i also agree that the same model number and part number should have the same components, but based on 1) my ears and 2) the fact only newer ones will update to latest software, would suggest that they are pulling a shifty.

 

at the moment i'm just gonna search for 2nd hand ipods and make sure they too can only update to 2.0.4, hence "hopefully" being free of this awful new dac they put in.

post #7 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by sancco View Post
 

wow talk about detailed!  thanks mate :)  merry xmas btw

 

i have to say though, i'm addicted to itunes and it's rating/playlist system.  i don't think i could ever break away.  so alas, the ipod life it is for me.

 

i also agree that the same model number and part number should have the same components, but based on 1) my ears and 2) the fact only newer ones will update to latest software, would suggest that they are pulling a shifty.

 

at the moment i'm just gonna search for 2nd hand ipods and make sure they too can only update to 2.0.4, hence "hopefully" being free of this awful new dac they put in.

hahaha... i was the same way until my itunes crashed & deleted all my stuff. i'm using spotify now & it's really ballerrr! they can even recover all your ratings & playlists if in some unlikely case you lose it.

 

you should talk to apple customer service about it rather than trying to figure it out yourself. see if they can tell exactly what's up & see if they have any refurbished products that will work the way you want. maybe you'll be able to get one of the iPods listed with the better wolfson dac chips direct from apple. 2nd hand products from random people aren't covered by warranty, so you'll get screwed if it fails. i had numerous ipods fail on me hahaha.

 

good luck

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