Zen Vision:M - Disparity Of Opinions Explained?
Apr 5, 2006 at 1:54 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 14

ILikeMusic

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I just had an experience that I think might explain the disparity of opinion we've been seeing regarding ZVM sound quality. I am one of those who is quite impressed with ZVM SQ and especially the effectiveness of the EQ... but there is another contingent that feels that ZVM audio (especially the bass) is lacking in definition and distorted. The two camps haven't been able to understand the difference in each other's impressions but I think I might have part of the answer.

Earlier this evening my sweet sounding Zen started to sound terrible... distorted bass and fuzzy-sounding EQ. Being used to its normal excellent audio the difference was immediately apparent to me and it had nothing to do with the tracks themselves... all were affected regardless of format or bitrate. I played around for a while, turned it on and off, even did a reset... no improvement. I was beginning to think that the final amp was dying and put it aside for a while. Now I just turned it in again and it sounds great! Crystal clear, strong bass, perfect EQ. This definitely had the feel of some sort of firmware bug and I've seen hints at it mentioned elsewhere but had never experienced it myself until now, even after two months of heavy use.

So far little appears to be known about this issue but if I was auditioning the player and it happened to be in this state then I would also have given it a poor review in terms of SQ, and if this is indeed what is going on with some of your players then I now understand your comments. Perhaps yours are somehow stuck in this mode?

Everything is working again now so I can't do any testing, but if it ever happens again I will try rolling back to the prior firmware revision and see if it makes any difference. My suspicion is that Creative knows about this and if so hopefully a permanent fix will be out soon. For those who have never heard this, it isn't subtle... if it happens you will know.

In the meantime I guess I will just hope it is another few months before it happens again...
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Apr 5, 2006 at 8:43 AM Post #2 of 14

scorpian007

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Hmm, thats quite an interesting theory. I personally haven't noticed any problems. When you turned your player back on, did it do the full boot or the quick boot?
 
Apr 5, 2006 at 11:30 AM Post #3 of 14

raduray

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Quote:

Originally Posted by scorpian007
Hmm, thats quite an interesting theory. I personally haven't noticed any problems. When you turned your player back on, did it do the full boot or the quick boot?


How do you like the Zen Vision M compared to your 4G ipod? I've got the Vision M on backorder and am getting tired of waiting and considering getting a 4G off ebay. My primary concern is the SQ. Don't really care about the color screen and video capability.
 
Apr 5, 2006 at 11:45 AM Post #5 of 14

Veggie_Musician

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Welcome to the other side Ilikemusic.... I got slated for saying what I said!

I find mine comes and goes too. Its software related... and you will get it with older firmware too... so stick with latest.

I find best way to get Zen to go normal again is to turn on and off smart volume a few times.... final time leaving it off.

I might take my Visiom:M back today - Its started to freeze a lot (2-3 times a day) if I used DRM WMA files (fine with normal mp3s).
 
Apr 5, 2006 at 11:52 AM Post #6 of 14

bangraman

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Quote:

Originally Posted by raduray
How do you like the Zen Vision M compared to your 4G ipod? I've got the Vision M on backorder and am getting tired of waiting and considering getting a 4G off ebay. My primary concern is the SQ. Don't really care about the color screen and video capability.



If you're amping or using high-impedance phones, the 4G (Mono) may be better. If not, best to go for the 5G / ZVM.


I have not come across variability in sound quality of the ZV:M, although perhaps this may be explainable by the fact that in normal use, I do not deply EQ. Having listened to EQ'd tracks in a variety of situations, I would say that the ZV:M EQ has by a small margin perhaps the worst impact on the sound out of all the current DAPs that I have listened to. The default sound is however fine.
 
Apr 5, 2006 at 3:00 PM Post #8 of 14

ILikeMusic

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Quote:

Hmm, thats quite an interesting theory. I personally haven't noticed any problems. When you turned your player back on, did it do the full boot or the quick boot?


It did the quick boot as it hadn't been off very long. I also found it very odd that a reset had no effect. I also played with Smart Volume as some had suggested but that didn't help either. Then I turned it off for about 15 minutes and took care of a chore and after turning it back on everything was fine again. Have used it for many hours since and all is OK. Very strange. I have to admit that if someone else was reporting this and I hadn't experienced it myself I would tend to doubt the claim... but as I mentioned the difference in the fault mode was quite obvious and I don't think it was even possibly subjective on my part. But my comments discussing whether this issue is affecting other users' reviews or not are only speculation of course.

Quote:

Welcome to the other side Ilikemusic....


Well, I'm not really on the other side as I still think that the ZVM is easily one of the best sounding players available right now. I'm also still a little confused as to negative comments about the EQ as I can find no flaw with it whatsoever, and additionally is about the only EQ I have ever used where boosting the low bass doesn't result in distortion (well, except for the instance above of course.) And it's certainly heads and shoulders above the iPod's Custom EQ functionality... oh, wait...
wink.gif
 
Apr 5, 2006 at 4:29 PM Post #9 of 14

nickd75

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Veggie_Musician
Its started to freeze a lot (2-3 times a day) if I used DRM WMA files (fine with normal mp3s).


DRM takes a hell of a lot of processing power, right? So is it perhaps falling over due to the processing power involved?

Not good, obviously, but a little more understandable.
 
Apr 5, 2006 at 11:40 PM Post #11 of 14

Veggie_Musician

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Quote:

Originally Posted by ILikeMusic
It did the quick boot as it hadn't been off very long. I also found it very odd that a reset had no effect. I also played with Smart Volume as some had suggested but that didn't help either. Then I turned it off for about 15 minutes and took care of a chore and after turning it back on everything was fine again. Have used it for many hours since and all is OK. Very strange. I have to admit that if someone else was reporting this and I hadn't experienced it myself I would tend to doubt the claim... but as I mentioned the difference in the fault mode was quite obvious and I don't think it was even possibly subjective on my part. But my comments discussing whether this issue is affecting other users' reviews or not are only speculation of course.

Well, I'm not really on the other side as I still think that the ZVM is easily one of the best sounding players available right now. I'm also still a little confused as to negative comments about the EQ as I can find no flaw with it whatsoever, and additionally is about the only EQ I have ever used where boosting the low bass doesn't result in distortion (well, except for the instance above of course.) And it's certainly heads and shoulders above the iPod's Custom EQ functionality... oh, wait...
wink.gif



Thing is if one has never tasted better then you cant possible think that something could be bettered!

My friend has an iPod mini. She thinks it has great sound. My Vision:M slaughters sound quallity - its sooo MUCH better. Once she heard it she was in aww! Could not think of how sound could get any better than the zen.

Same happened with my iPaq 4150 - there was as bigger SQ differance between ipod min and Zen as Zen to iPaq!
 
Apr 6, 2006 at 12:52 AM Post #13 of 14

scorpian007

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Quote:

Originally Posted by raduray
How do you like the Zen Vision M compared to your 4G ipod? I've got the Vision M on backorder and am getting tired of waiting and considering getting a 4G off ebay. My primary concern is the SQ. Don't really care about the color screen and video capability.



It's a whole lot better in terms of usability, sound quality, screen quality and features.

See if you can get a chance to play with one and you'll see why everyone is raving about why its so good.
580smile.gif
 
Apr 11, 2006 at 3:55 AM Post #14 of 14

InertKinesis

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I know this is a five day old thread so nobody get angry I'm bringing it up again.
tongue.gif


I'm another Zen Vision:M owner who has experienced the same "firmware bug" that causes the hiss and the lack of sound quality. I'm new to high quality sound and have fairly untrained ears, but I notice it very easily. For me, simply going back to the previous song for one or two seconds and then clicking forward again solves the problem. On the other hand, it happens fairly often, probably about once a day. (It gets used two-three hours a day.)

Here's something interesting: a few weeks ago I sent my ZV:M back to Creative to get a new screen (I was dumb and busted it by accident
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). In the little blurb I wrote to them about the "problem", I mentioned the weird sound quality issues. They didn't even respond to those remarks when I talked to them on the phone. So my guess is that Creative knows what we're talking about and is working on it. My ZV:M (a replacement, actually, not a repair) is on its way back to me as of this morning. I'll keep you updated as to whether the sound quality issues are resolved or different with the replacement.
 

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