iPod kicks butt
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aos

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I'm kind of surprised that I haven't seen more threads about iPod. I got one of them 2 weeks ago and am still in awe. I think I can understand now the Apple appeal. This thing is designed for USE, not for geek show-off. Therefore, it has ease of use and intuitive interface - it does what it's supposed to do without much effort from the user, having both slender learning curve and low hassle factor afterwards - and it looks really cool. Furthermore, while one can certainly argue that Mac computers don't quite have the raw power of a good PC, that argument is much harder
to use here as iPod doesn't yield ground to anything.

It is exactly what it's supposed to be - a portable music player - and it behaves as such, a hassle-free low-maintenance unit that does its job and lets you enjoy the music instead of worrying about how to use it.

There are many small touches that show the class of this product. These days there aren't that many electronics (or otherwise) products that are thoroughly well engineered, designed and implemented. iPod on the other hand doesn't leave impression that there was skimping in choosing its parts to keep the cost down. It has a very small and quite light case yet very large capacity. Screen is large and high resolution - probably better than my Palm Pilot. Back light is way cool. Jog dial - now non-mechanic - works splendidly to reduce time spent on operating the device.

And as an audiophile myself, I am quite surprised at the sound quality provided by the iPod. Earphones are certainly the best I've ever heard (a 10 year old Aiwa earphone is the only left in good memory so far) , so in many cases you won't need to carry anything else. You want to be able to just grab the thing and store it in the pocket or clip on the belt, and anything larger than earphones or perhaps Ety's kills the portability factor. There doesn't seem to be much coloration - which is the thing I hate the most - and some instruments sound pretty amazing. I can't recall too many headphones, even expensive ones, that make a solo violin sound good but this earphone does.

But in the end, the biggest draw for me was convenience - I don't carry PCDP's around these days, as the amount of space needed in my bag to stuff a PCDP, along with headphones and perhaps an amp or PDAC into it, plus the massive weight, puts it off too much without even considering the most important factor of them all - music selection. So often I had trouble choosing CDs in the morning that it delays my departure to work, and then when you're there you don't feel like listening to any of those 3-4 CDs that you took 10 minutes to choose.

Also, if you want to go out for a walk outside or just go shopping, preparing the same above equipment in its own bag often gets too frustrating, so it happens less and less until it doesn't happen at all.

No such problems with iPod. As long as it's charged, it can store enough of different kinds of music that you'll always find some suiting your current mood. And all you need to do is clip it on your belt, stuff earphones into your pocket or - hell - right into the ears, and off you go.

And while iPod can't replace my massive speakers and custom DACs, and mp3's are not really CD quality, we so often get lost in seeking that ultimate sound that we forget the reason for doing so - and that's enjoyment of the music. This is an abused phrase, I know, but so are many others in life; people claim that this or that is what really matters, yet still ignore it in daily lives.
 
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kelly

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aos
I am a fan of the iPod also, even though I don't own one. I only wish with it supported more codecs and had a digital out.

Have you taken a look inside yet to see how difficult adding a digital out might be?
 
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aos

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I don't have a need for that - as I've said I am very big on portability factor here.

I do know what DAC chip is used inside - WM8721 - and so yes, digital out could be added. But the sound is great as it is, really.

Using -r3_mix switch in Lame, mp3's sound just fine with stock iPod and stock earphones. More than fine actually. And you can store tons of them.

Well, I suppose digital out would be useful if I wanted to connect iPod to my main stereo speaker system - which I probably will want to often. But bying iPod was a financially unwise decision; opening it would be a really careless thing. I mean, I could buy 3 (three) Sony 775 SACD players for the price of single 10G iPod. Now, those SACDs, I opened up before even listening to them stock
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Taphil

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That DAC chip features and integraded headphone amp also supports line-out signal, so the iPod could have had a line-out if the headphone amp were bypassed, probably with software, but the last I heard the pins for the line-out weren't soldered onto the board.
 
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aos

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Actually no, the chip used does not have line out. There's another chip - probably pin compatible - that does. But there's likely a price difference and so Apple has choosen the cheaper one (if you don't want a line out, why pay more?).
 
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kelly

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Surely the great aos is not telling me he lacks confidence to improve the iiPod?


Besdies, I think you could easily fit an iPod and a portable DAC in the same Traveler bag.
 
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aos

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Actually the DAC inside iPod sounds REALLY good. That's one of the reasons I'm so impressed with it. I don't think there's that much potential gain, especially if using mp3's. So, I have no desire to open, drill and solder in that nice, little, cute, (mine, all MINE, my precious) package.
 
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kelly

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aos
Maybe I'll have to convince you privately to do some ABing with wav files on the iPod vs say... a CD on that Sony 725 CDP and an ouboard DAC. Should be interesting.
 
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MacDEF

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aos, nice thread. For all the reasons you listed, I'm also a big fan. I've admired it since it first came out, and finally bought one of my own (20GB version) about a month ago. It's only half full, but I'm making progress on that
I've gone through about 900 CDs so far, ripping my favorite tracks (over 2000 and counting). I'm consistently surprised how good the sound quality is, despite my well-publicized distaste for MP3s. In fact, the iPod as a package sounds better than the exact same MP3s being played back through my computer, which is generally known for having good sound output.
 
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kelly

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macdef
How about you: wanna take the pepsi challenge?
Your home CDP vs the same track in wav format on your iPod? Both using the same headphone and amp of course.
 
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Taphil

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aos

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You're right taphil, it does have line out. I've seen those links before and I even printed out the .pdf but looked only at electrical specs, not features.

Regardles, I'm not going to drill a hole in mine. As I said, I don't want to look at it as a geek toy. I have enough of those already
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aos

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Kelly, I just did a test with a few wav files, and I have to say that for me it's hard to notice much difference between iPod and outboard DAC. But it was only a 20 minutes test and I am not very good at comparisons anymore due to tinnitus. I had cases where friends noticed big differences and so did I... in the opposite direction. You'll need someone with better ears to do the test...
 
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Taphil

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I've done testing with the iPod headphone out and NJB3 line-out using the same test files with META42->Senn HD600. There is a clear difference between the two, but it's not by a huge amount considering that mp3's are the source, and not enough to warrant getting a NJB3 if convenience and size are more important. (This doesn't really relate to DAC comparisons though.)
 
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richpjr

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But it might warrant getting a Zen. Same good sound as NJB3 in a package just a hair bigger than the iPod.
 
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