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Horribly harsh treble, is it the iPod's fault?

Discussion in 'Portable Source Gear' started by orel, Sep 24, 2012.
  1. Orel
    So I have an iPod Touch 8GB 2nd generation. With my AKG Q350 and Sennheiser PX200-II (even though theyre are a demo model for a store and had their jacks replaced) connected to the iPod, the treble sounds horribly harsh, the letter S and drums are especially awful. When connected to my computer (which has a pretty bad sound card), the treble is less painful. Do you think buying a player like the Sansa Clip+ will improve the sound?
    Thanks in advance :)
  2. antberg
    Orel,if the sound is that "horrible" there should be some kind of malfunctioning in some part of your device.
    Anyway the Clip+ and the Clip Zip are great devices for the price,i wont start to list all their positive features,try one with Rockbox an then make your one decision,good luck!
  3. Orel
    Thanks for the reply :)
    My sister has a 4th Gen iPod Touch, I should try putting songs in there to see if it's a malfunction or just the iPod's sound. Anyway, I guess I'll be buying the Clip+ :)
    Mind explaining to me a little about Rockbox? What it does and how does it make the sound better?
    Just did a little test comparing the sound to a 4th gen iPod. I may be imagining, but I think the 4th Gen sounds a little better. The treble is still pretty painful though. The difference is bigger on the Q350 than on the PX200-II, though still pretty small.
    Is it possible that it's just the headphone's problem? It would be a shame to buy the Clip+ and find out it won't go away. Well at least the sound should be generally better, right? :p
  4. JK1
    It might be your music files. Harsh treble might be caused by having low bitrate files. What bitrate are you using? For good sound quality, Imo 256 kbps makes sense. Lower bitrate files, especially those under 128kbps  can sound horrible, with horrible treble and compression artifacts. Take a CD and rip it in your pc at 256 kbps mp3. Listen to this on the player and judge the sound quality. Many ripping programs default to 128 kbps. Some might even default to less than this though.
  5. lostmage
    +1, I noticed that my Ipod Touch 3rd gen has more treble than my computer or laptop, but not anywhere near sibilant or harsh. It's a slight boost, which sounds pretty nice on my V-Modas since their treble is rolled off a bit, but I've never had a problem with highs on it even using my Q701s.
  6. jz9chen
    Use at least 320kbps on portable players w/ no external dac and such (unless ur headphones are bad to begin with)
  7. JK1
    I don't know about you, however I did some tests and found out that I can't hear the difference between mp3 files at 256kbps and those at 320kbps.
  8. antberg
    Depending on the quality of the recordings i am not able to tell the difference neither.
    By the way Orel,Rockbox is a firmware program that let you personalize almost everything in you mp3 device,although not all mp3 are "Rockboxeables".Most of the time with Rockbox you can have even a good achievement in sound quality too.  
  9. kmhaynes
    OP, you should also check to see if you (or someone else) turn on an EQ setting on your iPod that is boosting the treble.  Could be simple as that.
  10. BillsonChang007
    Yes, iPod do have horrible treble... Never tried the iTouch 2nd Gen, but I tried the iClassic 80GB, lows are great, others, bad specially treble... It might be a bit awful to change from Touch 2 to Sansa Clip+. How about a portable AMP? Or you might as well consider a Creative player or Sony Walkman. They both have good sound. Or maybe you can try convert all your music to WAV using iTunes like what I did fixed harshing treble on my iPod Nano 3...

    I used to have the same problem as you... After converting to WAV, all fixed...
  11. H20Fidelity Contributor

    I can. :smile:

    @~ OP

    By purchasing a Clip+ you're opening a world of EQ settings, especially installing rockbox. May I suggest you EQ the treble down slightly if this bothers you? I have a 2G touch here and a Clip+ I just did some testing for you. Yes, the 2G comes across rather harsh with no EQ, it's a little bright in the upper mids, treble regions. however, changing the EQ to rock completely fixes the issue for me as I'm sure many other presets would. The Clip+ alone on stock firmware reacts completely different, it's quite flat across the board and there's no harshness. (No EQ)

    Simply with the quick test I did the 2G on rock EQ blows the Clip+ away in SQ. Unless you cannot fix the issue you're having when changing presets I would recommend Clip+ as a last option. For the price though of $15? or what ever they cost, I'm sure you can't go wrong trying.
  12. JK1
    Have you done proper ABX testing?The vast majority of people who claim that they can hear the difference between 256kbps and 320kbps mp3 files fail a proper ABX test.
  13. H20Fidelity Contributor

    Nope, pure mind power and concentration. :wink: You'll find with lower grade headphones / IEM's it's harder to tell a difference.
  14. Orel
    Thanks alot to everyone for responding!
    I have at almost all my music 320kbps, some are loseless and very few are low quality (the lowest is 180kbps, but there really aren't many like that).
    Changing the EQ makes it sound more confined which I don't really like, but thanks for the tip anyway :) Even with rock the treble still bothers me. Treble reducer does make it a little better but I don't really like the overall sound, having the EQ on off feels cleaner and wider. Things like Jazz that don't have harsh or sharp treble in them sound excellent though.
    I'd love to try the WAV thing BilsonChang007 mentioned, though I don't really understand how and what you meant :p
    I kinda think it's the headphone's fault, today I got a chance for like 2 mintues with the HD428 and the treble sounded pretty good. I also got a chance at trying headphones like the Shure SRH440 and the HD25-1 II with the iPod and the treble sounded fine. I think I should just buy new headphones ^^"
    Do you think I should buy something like the Fiio E6? Will it help?
  15. JK1
    The Fiio E6 will help with high impedance headphones. It makes my old 150 ohm and 300 ohm  Sennheiser headphones usable with my Clip+. The E6 isn't that great with the 300 ohm headphones, but does a nice job with the 150 ohm ones.

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