Merging Shure and Sony
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vranswer

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OK. This is probably some sort of HeadFi heresy, and I'm not really sure which forum to post this in. But I just got through with an experiment which yielded interesting/startling results. On a lark and out of curiosity, I re-ripped one of my CDs using Sony's ATRAC3Plus codec, for listening with my new NW-E507 flash player. Was interested in the gapless aspect of ATRAC, and wanted to see how ATRAC3Plus (256Kbps) measured up against EAC LAME APS, using my new Shure E4Cs.

WELL......very interesting indeed. First of all, gapless playback is not so insignificant a thing as I thought it to be - especially with the many prog rock CDs I listen to. Many of them feature transitions from one song to the next, and while I previously believed, "eh, no big deal", it is in fact quite a deal. Gapless provides a flow to the CD which was intended (I think) by the artist...and which is missing using anything other than a codec which can provide true gapless playback. Since mp3 does not, I immediately noticed a "WOW" reaction listening to albums benefitting from the feature using ATRAC3Plus.

But to the crux of my post: With my Shure E4s, the NW-E507, using ATRAC3Plus, rips APART LAME APS. To these ears it's not really very close. I was hearing essential elements to songs which LAME (I guess) decided needed to be tossed out. Plus song transitions remained intact, which was a treat in and of itself. I got to wondering if maybe Sony's philosophy of 'boomy bass' and 'excessive highs' (as witnessed by their headphone line-up) might be an advantage when being used with Shure phones. i.e., could there be this tremendous synergy achieved if one matches Shure (E4C) canalphones {big midrange, OK treble, expandable bass} with a Sony player which is playing ATRAC3Plus compressed files {little to no midrange, shrieky highs, Sony sound}. Is that what's happening here? Don't know, but getting ready to ditch all my other stuff and go with this combination, 'cause it's freakin' awesome. Lightweight, battery NEVER needs charged and kicks butt with the Shure phones. Don't hate me for liking ATRAC3Plus
 
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bangraman

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ATRAC3+ 256K is fine, and it is better than 192K MP3. It's around the 256K range (i.e when you're playing like for like) that it becomes difficult to tell the difference.
 
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omendelovitz

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Quote:

Originally Posted by vranswer
OK. This is probably some sort of HeadFi heresy, and I'm not really sure which forum to post this in. But I just got through with an experiment which yielded interesting/startling results. On a lark and out of curiosity, I re-ripped one of my CDs using Sony's ATRAC3Plus codec, for listening with my new NW-E507 flash player. Was interested in the gapless aspect of ATRAC, and wanted to see how ATRAC3Plus (256Kbps) measured up against EAC LAME APS, using my new Shure E4Cs.

WELL......very interesting indeed. First of all, gapless playback is not so insignificant a thing as I thought it to be - especially with the many prog rock CDs I listen to. Many of them feature transitions from one song to the next, and while I previously believed, "eh, no big deal", it is in fact quite a deal. Gapless provides a flow to the CD which was intended (I think) by the artist...and which is missing using anything other than a codec which can provide true gapless playback. Since mp3 does not, I immediately noticed a "WOW" reaction listening to albums benefitting from the feature using ATRAC3Plus.

But to the crux of my post: With my Shure E4s, the NW-E507, using ATRAC3Plus, rips APART LAME APS. To these ears it's not really very close. I was hearing essential elements to songs which LAME (I guess) decided needed to be tossed out. Plus song transitions remained intact, which was a treat in and of itself. I got to wondering if maybe Sony's philosophy of 'boomy bass' and 'excessive highs' (as witnessed by their headphone line-up) might be an advantage when being used with Shure phones. i.e., could there be this tremendous synergy achieved if one matches Shure (E4C) canalphones {big midrange, OK treble, expandable bass} with a Sony player which is playing ATRAC3Plus compressed files {little to no midrange, shrieky highs, Sony sound}. Is that what's happening here? Don't know, but getting ready to ditch all my other stuff and go with this combination, 'cause it's freakin' awesome. Lightweight, battery NEVER needs charged and kicks butt with the Shure phones. Don't hate me for liking ATRAC3Plus



I agree w/ Bangraman. I've only heard good things about ATRAC 3 and although LAME APS standard is SUPPOSED to be indistinguishable from lossless to the masses (in double-blind comparison tests), I still find a minor difference when going up to the extreme (not fast) LAME encoding. That said, I think what is important to realize here is that you have found a magic mix, and I think you should stay with it, but test it out on a few more genres and see if the quality holds. Also, keep in mind that if you re-rip your music in ATRAC 3 format, you will need to hold onto more than one copy of each of your songs for listening on your PC or home stereo, or for listening on different headphones...

In the meanwhile, enjoy the kick ass new sound you've found!

Oriel
 
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bangraman

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These days, I usually talk after new toy fever has passed.






Well that and I do tend to go on and on about other stuff... but you know what I mean
 
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gshan

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Dangit vranswer, I bought the NW-E505 (FM, 512mb) at the Metreon today because of you.
 
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vranswer

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Quote:

Originally Posted by gshan
Dangit vranswer, I bought the NW-E505 (FM, 512mb) at the Metreon today because of you.



Awesome!
What, no comments or impressions?? Another thing I've been noticing which is real cool - you never really have to charge the thing! Battery is so musclebound that the only charging needed is the occasional plug-in to the computer during normal use. If you delete or transfer a few albums now and then, that's about all you need. Thing charges enough to not even have to worry about it.
 
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gshan

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Heh, alright comments so far:

-SonicStage 3.0 is fine with me. All I do is import album folders and singles.
-Instant start up time- My Iriver flash player takes maybe 3-5 seconds to go from hitting on button to playing the song.
-All the buttons and features are very easy to figure out. The little words next to the buttons on the player are instructions in themselves. I doubt I'll ever have to look at the manual.
-vranswer, you're right on about battery life. I have the feeling that the same thing will happen to me. Going to have enough juice from song xferring alone.
-Although I will baby it, the device feels pretty sturdy. Besides the solid feeling plastic screen, everything else seems to be metal.
-Headphone out isn't noticeably weak or anything. Seems to be at least as powerful as my IFP-7xx? I'll have to test it later on.

--

Some more comments:

The player is recognized as a removable drive for file xfer out of the box. You can transfer misc. files including mp3s onto it. The latter won't be listed in the player's playable songlist - As someone had mentioned before, it appears that mp3s and atracs receive some special code from SS during upload, and then they can be viewed and played. Hopefully Sony's exe/firmware update to disable the need for this encoding for mp3s will arrive soon.

If you want an extremely easy to use player with just the simplest functions, this is it. If you want voice recording, 5-band EQ, and other functions, you're looking at IRiver and IAudio imo.
 
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