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dankec

Sony vs. Ipod concerning sound quality

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:lol:

I went for the Sony because the iPod mini (with the supplied earphones) sounded distorted when playing electronic music (the genre I listen to the most), despite the fact that the volume was less than half of the maximum volume.

But, with new Sony MP3 players and new iPods (not to mention different kinds of earphones), guess it's all down to individual taste.

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There is no question - all of sony's new and 1-2 year old devices beat any ipod model hands down. iPods do not have any sound detail, no bass, no nothing.. just sounds like you're listening to a cheap radio. The old ipods i have to admit sounded a lot worse than the new ones in terms of distortion, and even though the new ones sound more clean, they are not even close a match to sony or samsung or any other competing dap's at the same price range.

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You're right, this forum might be a bit biased - and here's my unabashedly biased 2 cents! I chipped in for my ex-girlfriend's Nano and got to play around with it a bit. It definitely didn't sound bad - depending on how sensitive you are to sound quality, it might be just fine. To me, it did sound a little muffled, not as crisp and open as the Sony. But in the end, you have to listen to it yourself. For all the trouble of owning a Sony player - the buggy software and glitch-eriffic surprises - I'm still glad I got one because it sounds crisp and clean. You just have to weigh those things out.

Some things to keep in mind if you're thinking of buying: apparently, Sony's got something new up their sleeve for early next year; and also, iPods can play lossless files on the device whereas Sony ones can't.

-nav

Edited by navsimpson

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Soundquality is the absolute NO. 1 concern for me. I've been stuck to minidisc for a very long time due to this.

When sony realeased it's NW-HD5, I almost gave up MD, but decided to leave it for a while (I compared the shit out of the two) and go for a PSP. But then, earlier tis year, sony came up with the nw-a series. I heard them and decided to go for one of these, and no regret ever since! The sound quality is absolutely awsome!

Compared to any other DAP I've heard (except MD) this has got the best soundquality! I've owned an Ipod Nano myself for a while, and when you listen quikly between things you can't really notice the big difference. But if you, like me, own an ipod AND a walkman you really begin to notice the difference.

off course it's all subjective, but there are many people who say that Sony DAP's just sound the best.

so if you're all about sound quality, my advice is to buy a sony DAP.

I didn't say this because I'm a big sony fan, but just because it's true.

greetz

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What do you think which is generally better concerning sound quality: sony or ipod?

I would not worry about the output quality on the devices. Help yourself and stop worrying about that. Buy yourself a nice set of headphones, and enjoy your music. Most SQ of current portable devices are on par with each other. The most common bottleneck is the headphone/earphone.

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I would say the Sony's sounds better overall as well. Certian music types (electronic/trance/some jpop) just sound very metallic even o the new iPod nanos. The only iPod I was impressed with was the original iPod shuffle. The new one I know nothing about. It is too bad Apple didn't use the chipset from the Shuffle in their other products!

My collection (all sold off but one and it is on ebay now) of MD/HiMD sounded very good. Also, my Sony HD5 (also sold off - why why why) sounded as nice as my MD units.

Currently I use a Sony PSP for my light music enjoyment and it sound great too.

The only real weakness to the Sony equipment is the software we are forced to use!!! No unicode support, limited capabilities, and god forbid the database from SS gets wonky!!!

Why Sony can allow music files to be drag-drop-play on the PSP but not on their other audio devices is beyond me. If Sony would allow such a thing, their units would sell so much better.

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I would not worry about the output quality on the devices. Help yourself and stop worrying about that. Buy yourself a nice set of headphones, and enjoy your music. Most SQ of current portable devices are on par with each other. The most common bottleneck is the headphone/earphone.

I'd disagree with that (which you probably already know :D )

Same mp3 file (192kbps) be it orchestral or rock, same ear phones (typically JVC ear canal phones), no EQ: NWHD1, NWE407, NWE99... outsound iPod Nano by a 10:1 margin. The difference between the Sony devices and the Nano is just huge. Instrumental separation, 3-dimensionality & width of sound stage, upper end clarity, depth of bass line, presence of mid range... in terms of sound, the Sony thingies just take the Nano and mop the floor with its scrawny carcass. The Nano lacks the depth of sound the Sony provides, upper ends sound metallic and edgy, bass is a joke: if you push up the volume on the Nano, you'll get a decent amount of bass, but it's just a shallow bass line - the Sony gives you that reverberating "boom" that good home speakers do - it's a blooming sound. The Nano sounds more like a portable boom box you bring to the beach.

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I totally agree with Dinko. Nice way of expressing yourself btw!

I couldn't have said it better myself!

greetz

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I agree with Dinko. Owning now an iPod, I think it sounds noticeably duller than the Walkman, though still pretty decent. Some hard-core audiophiles talk about how the Walkmans are not entirely faithful to the source, since their output curve is not as flat as the iPod's etc., but not being into those things, I can only say the Walkmans sound fuller, with a rounder sound. Having many recordings of music I've seen performed live by the same orchestras and conductors, I can say the Walkmans get me closer to the thrill of the original performance than the iPods. The iPods have less hiss, though (even though they also have it, and it's quite noticeable).

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I would not worry about the output quality on the devices. Help yourself and stop worrying about that. Buy yourself a nice set of headphones, and enjoy your music. Most SQ of current portable devices are on par with each other. The most common bottleneck is the headphone/earphone.

Pata is absolutely right on the nose. As far as MP3 sound output is concerned, outside of the cheap $5 chinese MP3 players, most reputable DAPs will use a recognized part from SigmaTel, PortalPlayer, Samsung, Panasonic, Sony, etc. Because of this, most DAPS in the end will sound very similar to one another (provided they use quality Caps, headphone out, etc.) with some variation on its general signature.

Having listened to Sony's, iPods, and various Sigmatel powered DAPs, the Sigmatels and the Sonys offer that pleasing fuller bass and a bit brightish treble, probably to compensate for cheaper pack ins. iPods have that "flat sound" upto 4th Gen. and the Nanos. The Shuffle (powered by Sigmatel) is often declared the best sounding DAP, so take that for what's its worth (remember that upto the 5th Gen and the newer Nanos, all of the iPods were driven by PortalPlayer)...

So, we're at a point where most DAPs will sound very similar to one another (and fungible with EQ). The biggest stumbling block is now then the delivery device. For most, the Bose Triports will be as high a end as they're willing to go. And if that's the way they want to go, that's fine. After all, $150 is still a substantial amount, and not everyone is willing to pay more for headphones than the actual unit itself (I myself included). With judicious shopping, you can find good alternatives like the SA1000s (~$125), Grado SR60s, MDR-V6s, Senn HD555s, etc.

The new Sony NW-S70X series is I think where DAPs has to go to differentiate itself - Premiums. What sets the NW-S70Xs apart from all others? By including noise cancelling headphones as pack ins, you've just gave someone an incentive to buy the S70X rather than a cheaper DAP and a Bose QC2s, perhaps. And you know there are market for NC phones...

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I don't agree with the above.

I think real soundquality is dependant on more that just the audio chip. If it did, they should indeed sound all the same. But they don't.

I've listened to many DAPs. I thought for a long time MiniDisc was unbeatable, but the nw-a series do a good job.

greetz

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I think philips DAP´s can give very decent SQ. But I don´t know if you guys have much eperience with those.

I live in The Netherlands, and since it´s philips´ origin country, their DAP´s are widely available here. I also know that Philips´ marketing is absolutely awfull, so dunno if their DAP´s are coming to you too.

I was just reading some post wich named some names and manufcturers of audio chips (DSP´s) like sigmatel (very decent stuff) and portalplayer (awfull Imho), samsung panasonic and sony. But the chips sony DAP´s use, are they developped by sony themselves or did they got a helping hand from yamaha? I´ve picked this up somewhere, dunno where.

and does yamaha make soundchips for DAP´s too? ´cause yamaha can make very decent audio products, apart from bikes etc. :P

I do know my samsung D600 cell-phone is powered with a yamaha sound chip, and the sharp 903 is powered with a yamaha chip too. so they provide soundchips to phones, but that re no real DAP´s.

So just wondering if their chips power some DAP´s too?

greetz

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Hi DSP,well as far as i know,sony designs and builds most of its stuff by itself.

CRTs,LCD panels,audio hardware,MD and HI-MD and so on were all designed by Sony for its products and made by Sony too.

Regarding DAPs checkout Virtual Media Engine on sony DAPs which is one of the reason they sound good and last long.I reckon that the fact that they design and build thier own chips is the reason they sound better than other players irrespective of what some apple fanboys say that they have the same chips and shit and sound similar.They probably forgot that putting together something involves engineering and quality too.Not all DAPs are same.

Afetrall the best way to do anything is to do it yourself.(and not buy off the shelf from sigmatel)

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By no standards am I a wealthy individual. Quite the contrary. However, to set the record straight on this, because of how much it annoyed me, I decided to go out and buy a dreaded iPod Nano second generation just to see if it could match my NW A1200 in SQ or battery life terms.

What did I find when I used that piece of trash? The SQ is not that bad, but when compared to the 1200 or the PSP, it sounds as if I am listening to the music on really cheap and nasty earphones - which I'm not. I am using PX200s, which cost $100 where I come from. Also, the battery life is no where near the claimed 24 hours. I get about 10 to 15 hours at best, if that.

What I will praise is the menu system. Apple have really nipped that one in the bud. However, the click wheel is really really annoying. When I get into a lift and want to turn the sound down, my cold fingers dont always hit the wheel right, and I end up turning the volume up too much rather than down.

In the end, I am not an Apple convert, and the experience has only confirmed my belief in Sony as the no.1 DAP manufacturer for those who know what SQ is and enjoy their music rather than wanting to look "hip" with white ear buds sticking out of their ears. My belief is that those who traditionally had walkman will always buy Sony and so-called newbies to this market will only ever buy iPod because their friend's mother's sister's boyfriend's dog has one!

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I became a Son fan after owning an ipod mini for two weeks; I really wanted to love it and I hought the design, screen and sofware was great; I hated the short batterylife but the absolute dealbreaker was soundkwality; the sharp and flat sound was impossible to enjoy. So, after some other experiments I ended up with the Sony NW-HD1. At least a musical sound that was a pleasure to listen too. And so is the sound coming from my A3000. As long a the sound is this good (and the builtquality is good too) I can life with the other imperfections.

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I have owned every iPod since the 2nd gen mini except for the 2nd gen shuffle. These pods have been passed on to brothers and sisters as well to parents so they are all available to me for testing purposes.

Baseline audio quality on the iPod in general is good, not great, good. Truth be told the 1st gen shuffle surpasses all other pods by a considerable margin. It´s a farce Apple hasn´t included this audio hardware in the more expensive lines.

Compared to S7 or Samsung T9 the current iPod lineups falls way short in terms of audio quality with the 2nd gen shuffle at the sorry end. This device is a true failure with horrific sound quality. When you compare an S7 or T9 with any actual iPod you immediately notice a much more powerful and broader sound stage with explosive - not muddy base foundation, great stereo channel separation and instrumental clarity that is immediately, demonstrably superior to the iPod lineup. It´s like day and night on some tracks such as Wasted State of Mind - ...Trail of Dead or In the Backseat - Arcade Fire.

I own quite an assortment of phones such as Pana HJE 70 (great deal from Japan/UK), Sony MX 90, Super Fi 5Pro and any of these phones exhibit a pronouncedly better sound reproduction on T9 and S7. On the iPod the step up in audio quality from HJE70 to SuperFi5 is there but marginal in comparison to what one experiences on S7 and T9. Of course 2nd gen Nano is rumored to use Samsung chips. It doesn´t show.

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samsung T9???

does it have decent SQ??

I have onwed a samung DAP and must say SQ did disappoint me...

greetz

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I have owned every iPod since the 2nd gen mini except for the 2nd gen shuffle. These pods have been passed on to brothers and sisters as well to parents so they are all available to me for testing purposes.

Baseline audio quality on the iPod in general is good, not great, good. Truth be told the 1st gen shuffle surpasses all other pods by a considerable margin. It´s a farce Apple hasn´t included this audio hardware in the more expensive lines.

Compared to S7 or Samsung T9 the current iPod lineups falls way short in terms of audio quality with the 2nd gen shuffle at the sorry end. This device is a true failure with horrific sound quality. When you compare an S7 or T9 with any actual iPod you immediately notice a much more powerful and broader sound stage with explosive - not muddy base foundation, great stereo channel separation and instrumental clarity that is immediately, demonstrably superior to the iPod lineup. It´s like day and night on some tracks such as Wasted State of Mind - ...Trail of Dead or In the Backseat - Arcade Fire.

I own quite an assortment of phones such as Pana HJE 70 (great deal from Japan/UK), Sony MX 90, Super Fi 5Pro and any of these phones exhibit a pronouncedly better sound reproduction on T9 and S7. On the iPod the step up in audio quality from HJE70 to SuperFi5 is there but marginal in comparison to what one experiences on S7 and T9. Of course 2nd gen Nano is rumored to use Samsung chips. It doesn´t show.

Supreme Audio and great UI. T9 is a winner.

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I can only talk about my experience with the iPod products so here goes.

I was first looking for an MP3 player in late 2004 and ended up buying an Ipod. Back then, they were using 4th generation models, so that's what I got.

When I first heard the player, I was underwhelmed. The premium price tag and impression I had got from other users - I just wasn't hearing the results. I bought better headphones than the ones I was already using (not the in box ones, those were unusable) but was still upset with the sound quality. Anything with bass would "crunch up" and distort which made listening to a lot of music subconsciously unpleasant to me. This wasn't all heavy bass stuff - sometimes even relatively light effects would produce nasty distortion.

The problem is, I was getting bass distortion despite the fact that the bass was weak sounding already! The Apple elite told me, "You must be using bad headphones". The headphones were of great quality (Etymotic er6i) and sounded great on everything else - the Ipod was to blame! The analog audio output of the players just isn't good enough. It's puny and lifeless.

Eventually I felt ashamed to actually own the Ipod. I felt like a complete and utter sucker for being fooled by their advertising. The almost total market dominance of the Ipod had fooled me into somehow believing that other manufacturer's players were flawed to the point of not being worth considering. The Sony players are flawed - they require the use of annoying software (SonicStage) but that's really the only slight annoyance I can think of.

I think about it this way. It takes almost no time at all to transfer music to the player (even using Sonicstage ;) ). Even if the software is annoying to use, you spend a lot more time listening to the excellent sound that most of the Sony players produce so you soon forget any software annoyances.

Back to the Ipod. I got sick of the thing freezing up and eventually eBayed it, and bought a Sony Network Walkman (NW-HD5) the next week. It sounds a HELL OF A LOT better. The only down side is that there's a slight hiss over the audio output, but other than that, I really can't fault it for what it is - a damn good sounding portable player.

The Ipod fans tell me that the problem has been solved with new Ipods, but I listened to my friend's new one and it sounded just as bad. HomeTheaterHiFi.com have graphical evidence of the bass distortion problem from one of the new models - see this blog post which contains a link: http://www.lyris-lite.net/2007/03/im_not_t...on_who_hat.html

All in all, I can't say if they're THE best audio players around, but I am very happy with the Sony ones. The sound quality really makes me smile.

Ask yourself this: if the sound quality wasn't good, do you think we would be putting up with Sonicstage? :)

(Interesting note: remember how I said i eBayed the Ipod? Well, a week after selling it, the buyer contacted me and told me that it had broken and would no longer turn on. Fortunately, this was only 5-6 months in to its warranty so he was able to get it repaired).

Edited by lyris

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It doesn't take the brains of a bkini model with a bachelor's degree in business (like my former high school classmate in L.A. in 1983-84, Cindy Margolis) to know that ever since Sony invented both the ATRAC compression system and the MiniDisc back in 1992 (and now Hi-MD) that Sony's SQ wins HANDS DOWN, although I have never owned an iPod (GOD AND THIS WEBSITE FORBID!!!) that I have never been one to go by hype, but rather through testing for the best sound quality, and I believe that the ATRAC compression system is better than MP3 ever could be, albeit the SonicStage software may not be to everyone's taste, but that is just MHO.

You have to match up the right kind of pipes (or cans or buds) with the EQ and the music you intend to play on it, I have to admit some music sounds better on it in one EQ setting and one set of phones while another genre sounds good with different phones/EQ criteria It's all a matter of (just like in golf for the right shot to the hole) matching it all up and getting it all "dialed in" for the task at hand., IMHO.

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