SQ Review ZuneHD VS Zune30
Jan 23, 2010 at 2:49 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 23

swanlee

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So I got my wife a ZuneHD after her Zune8 was stolen a few months ago. I of course took took the opportunity to compare it with my trusty Zune30 which has had a 100Gb drive slapped in it.

So I was happy to see the EQ preset return after complaining for years that it was completely dumb that they removed them in the first place, this is what caused me to upgrade the hard drive in my Zune30 instead of just getting a Zune80 or Zune120.

Overall I'd say the total SQ of the ZuneHD is a tad below the Zune30 believe it or not. I use the acoustic EQ setting but played around with every setting and even turned it off on both.

The ZuneHD has a more natural warmer sound and a slight edge in higher end details and separation I prefer these qualities of the ZuneHD by a hair to the Zune30.

What kills the ZuneHD though is it lacks in bass compared to the Zune30. Actually the bass is fairly anemic compared to the Zune30 no matter which EQ setting you use. I'm using Atrio's with an XM5 amp with bass boost on to so to notice a lack of bass is a pretty big deal.

I sense the ZuneHD has the real potential to sound better if MS would just freaking open up the EQ to a 5 band user adjustable mode. That bass needs to be turned up a bit. Also of note the ZuneHD has a lower overall volume. For example the ZuneHD at 30 is the same volume as the Zune30 at 16

Seems the EQ presets are tuned very differently for each device the ZuneHD was actually louder with the EQ turned off which is also different than the Zune30.

I used only WMA lossless audio to compare and my Atrio M5's. I used my XM5 amp and also played both player with no amp.

So if my trusty zune30 ever died and they ever released a higher capacity ZuneHD I could live with and get used to the SQ but when comparing them side by side the Zune30 still meets more of my SQ preferences.

Seems I'll be stuck with this thing forever as no one has made a portable device that meets all my needs like it since i upgraded it to a 100GB hard drive.
 
Jan 23, 2010 at 3:20 AM Post #3 of 23

swanlee

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Quote:

Originally Posted by a_tumiwa /img/forum/go_quote.gif
wow i thought its only me that prefer zune 30 than zune hd. Yes, zune hd is too netral and lack of bass , then the vocal is not as forward as zune 30


Yep and it's a shame cause I think at it's core the ZuneHD could sound better but the EQ presets are better adjusted on the Zune30. A user adjustable EQ on the ZuneHD could compensate for the lack of bass.
 
Jan 23, 2010 at 9:00 AM Post #4 of 23

bjaardker

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Hmm... after hearing this I might just try and get the display on my zune 30 fixed. I cracked the display on my 30 over a year ago and decided to go with something a little smaller, so I got the Zune 8. Now that I've got audiophile level headphones (custom Trip.fi10s) I'm wondering if this Zune 8 just doesn't have enough guts to really make them shine.

I lament the complete lack of EQ on the 8. I also was sorely disappointed by the preset EQs on the HD as well. So my options are look outside of the Zune family at something like the Cowon S9, or get a replacement LCD for the 30.
 
Jan 23, 2010 at 9:32 AM Post #5 of 23

komi

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Quote:

Originally Posted by swanlee /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Seems I'll be stuck with this thing forever as no one has made a portable device that meets all my needs like it since i upgraded it to a 100GB hard drive.


Agree with you 100% ...

Would you tell me what HDD you put in 30 .. i want to upgrade mine , i got me 30 HALLO 3 edition and i am in love ...
 
Jan 23, 2010 at 12:20 PM Post #6 of 23

Hanafuda

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Considering that it is possible to swap in a higher capacity hdd (though it is a rather expensive operation), it's not too awfully difficult or risky to change the batterypack, and the headphone out signal is very clean ... yeah I love my Z30 too. And a big fat +1 as for the acoustic preset ... I'll own up to using it on just about everything but classical.

I do wish it would execute gapless playback a little more reliably though. I'm running all 320kbps mp3's, which the Zune seems to digest more easily than WMA or AAC files, and I still gets gaps between longer tracks.

I listened to the Zune HD once and while I didn't find it's SQ any worse than the Zune 30 with no EQ, as the OP notes the Z30 has the better sounding presets. I couldn't find a 'general purpose' preset on the HD that could do what the acoustic preset does on the 30.

My kid's got a Cowon S9 though, and if they made a 64GB version of that (I need more space) I'd be all over it. This is what's keeping me from spending money on upgrading my Z30.
 
Jan 23, 2010 at 10:35 PM Post #8 of 23

Hanafuda

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At the current prices I think the 80GB at rapidrepair is prolly the best bang for the buck, but even that is more than I'm willing to spend. As good as it may be I do think the S9 is the better performer (SQ, equalization options, batt life, other features) and for the money it would take to drop another hdd in the old Zune 30, you're getting into Cowon S9 territory. It is tempting though, because the Zune 30 is just damned bulletproof, or has been for me anyway.

Unfortunately I just learned a couple nights ago that the 80GB hdd from the Zune 80 will NOT work in the 1st gen Zune 30. That sucks. If it had worked I'd have had a free upgrade. Oh well.
 
Jan 23, 2010 at 11:03 PM Post #9 of 23

mesasone

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The price on the 100 gig drive on that site is crazy, for that price you could pop in a 64 GB compact flash. Sure you'd only have 2/3rds the capacity, but you'd gain in battery life and durability big time.

I actually picked up a pair of 4th iPods for diyMods and am looking at either replacing the hard drive on one of them or going flash with one or both of them. I'm wondering if we can't just use a comparable 1.8" (which is what the iPods use, dunno if the Zune uses 1.8" or 2.5" - probably 1.8") hard drives from a site like newegg instead of paying those inflated prices. I think it would mostly come down to the thickness of the drive, for example one of these iPods I have is the older monochrome that is slimmer and needs a 1.8" x 5mm drive while the second is a 60GB Photo and can take 1.8" x 8mm.

Here's an 80Gb toshiba for 85 dollars on buy.com. Measures just under 8mm thick:
Toshiba MK8025GAL Hard Drive - HDD1808 - Buy.com There's a reviewer on there that says that drive worked for an iPod video but I wonder if it wouldn't also work for the Zunes?
 
Jan 24, 2010 at 1:43 AM Post #10 of 23

swanlee

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Quote:

Originally Posted by mesasone /img/forum/go_quote.gif
The price on the 100 gig drive on that site is crazy, for that price you could pop in a 64 GB compact flash. Sure you'd only have 2/3rds the capacity, but you'd gain in battery life and durability big time.

I actually picked up a pair of 4th iPods for diyMods and am looking at either replacing the hard drive on one of them or going flash with one or both of them. I'm wondering if we can't just use a comparable 1.8" (which is what the iPods use, dunno if the Zune uses 1.8" or 2.5" - probably 1.8") hard drives from a site like newegg instead of paying those inflated prices. I think it would mostly come down to the thickness of the drive, for example one of these iPods I have is the older monochrome that is slimmer and needs a 1.8" x 5mm drive while the second is a 60GB Photo and can take 1.8" x 8mm.

Here's an 80Gb toshiba for 85 dollars on buy.com. Measures just under 8mm thick:
Toshiba MK8025GAL Hard Drive - HDD1808 - Buy.com There's a reviewer on there that says that drive worked for an iPod video but I wonder if it wouldn't also work for the Zunes?



Only a certain select few hard drives work in Zune30 has to have a Ziff connection and be single platter, you can't just slap in any 1.8 inch hard drive and I'm almost certain no compact flash drive would work.
 
Jan 24, 2010 at 2:30 AM Post #11 of 23

mesasone

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Yes, you would need an adapter for the compact flash just like the iPod does. They're pretty cheap. Are all Zunes the same size (thickness) and limited to the drives 5mm in thickness?
 
Jan 24, 2010 at 5:29 AM Post #13 of 23

swanlee

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Quote:

Originally Posted by a_tumiwa /img/forum/go_quote.gif
do u think Zune 30 with equalizer is better than zune 4/8/80/120?


Yes, my wife had the zune8 before it got stolen and the zune8 with no eq was bland, flat and also lacked bass compared to the zune30 with EQ
 
Jan 24, 2010 at 5:37 PM Post #15 of 23

tds101

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I'd get another Zune 30 if I can get a 64gb cf card to work, and I'd upgrade the battery as well (more room inside the dap - larger capacity battery will fit inside). And I agree, the Zune 30 has better sq than the Zune 80/120 & Z:HD models - I've owned all 4 models.
 

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