Best MP3 player for sound quality

subseastu

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Sep 12, 2007
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Help me please I'm going round in circles. My sony 20gb player has just given up the ghost so I'm in the market for a new player. I realise that the awards have just come out and the ipod classic got the top slot but I really don't want to jump on that band wagon if I can help it. My main critira for a player is sound quality and storage size. I'll be using Shure e2c head phones. I'm not bothered about video play back or radio or any of that, just good sounding music. I'll be mainly ripping straight from CD's aswell (not into this getting tunes off the net).

Also some advice on the best sounding format aswell please. Is there really a detectable difference in quality between the various formats?

Thanks for any help
 

Clare Newsome

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Jun 4, 2007
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Believe me, we're not especially Apple fans, but there's no escaping the fact that the latest iPods have reclaimed back the sonic ground their competitors were making....

I strongly suggest you opt for an 80- or even 160GB iPod Classic and rip all your CDs in uncompressed WAV format, or at least Apple Lossless - you'll hear far more of your music.

If you do opt for a different player - Creative's range is definitely worth listening to, as we've never heard a poor player from them - then i'd opt for as lossless a format as the player is compatible with: FLAC, WAV, WMA Lossless etc.
 

Anton90125

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Sep 1, 2007
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You could take a look at the Cowon range. This can play flac files as well. I have the iAudio X5. Using Flac it sounds superb. It also has FM which is a nice extra.
 

subseastu

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Sep 12, 2007
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Thanks for the quick replies. Both of you are confirming what I was leaning towards. Having looked at the cowon I think it maybe a bit small for my needs now so it'll have to be a ipod or creative (zen vision m, 60gb) I think. I've read in various other forums that WAV is about the best but haven't really seen anything about this FLAC format. I would really like to get a creative but will probably end up being a slave to the machine and get one of the new ipods. Saying that though I am abit concerned about hearing that apple only design these to last 12 months or so. Alot of money to keep spending every year!! Does anyone know the average size of an uncompressed song in WAV / FLAC?

Thanks again for helping this poor soul a little closer to a decision.
 

Anton90125

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Sep 1, 2007
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[quote user="subseastu"]Does anyone know the average size of an uncompressed song in WAV / FLAC?[/quote]

How long is a piece of string? The .wav file size will depend on how long your piece of music is. Flac files are typically 1/2 that of a .wav file though I have seen it on occasion go to nearly 1/3 (if you are lucky).

The version of Cowon player I have is 60 Gb. My sister had to hunt for it (xmas present last year).
 

subseastu

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Sep 12, 2007
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Anton

Really like the look of the cowon but I've been unable to find the 60gb model on the internet. Found various reviews on the 30gb with a brief mention of the 60 but no one seems to stock it. Have you any ideas? If not I think i'll look more indepth at the creative range. Anyway thanks for your previous help, cheers
 

Anton90125

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Sep 1, 2007
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I think the model may be discontinued in this country. On the cowon US site its listed. Amazon US have a few but you would then need to get the right transformer. I am amazed that they disc the item unless they have something much better on the horizon? Sorry I could not help you.
 

subseastu

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Sep 12, 2007
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Anton

It does seem strange that they knock that one on the head with out a suitable replacement. Anyway thanks for the help, looks like a toss up between creative and dare I say it ipod. Think ipod may edge it due to the products and support that are available for it. Mainly hooking up to car stereo. Another slave to the machine!!!!
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
I'm gonna ressurrect this thread, I need an mp3 player after dropping my beloved yet slightly dated Sony Net Mini Disc player in the bath. I'm on a small budget, don't care for pictures or any of that pointless stuff, just looking for best quality sound like op. However, there is no way I will buy an ipod. My first idea was to go for a Sony player, one of those ones for about £35ish. But, now I've come across some Samsung players which are getting lots of praise for their sound quality. They have graphic eqalisers which are customizable and the model YP-Z5 has DNSe Portable 3D Sound Technology which sounds good to me. I have found nothing about the sound of either ipod's or creative players, other than 'they're good'. Do they have similar features? Are these Samsung players as good as they sound or not? (1Gb players)

Cheers.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
I have the Creative Zen V 4Gb which is very good, can be had from Currys for about £50.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
[quote user="edashby"]
I have the Creative Zen V 4Gb which is very good, can be had from Currys for about £50.
[/quote]

At the most I'm gonna spend forty quid, and probably opt for a 1 or 2 gig player. But thanks for the suggestion.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Cam'an people, help me out. I still haven't bought a player, so you can still help!
(In return I'll let you in on my myspace page, which has some cool tunes! (Blues & Jazz))
 

Andy Clough

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Apr 27, 2004
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Hi there Jimmy

The Creative Zen V+ is excellent, especially if you can get it for around £50, and you might also want to look at the Sony NW-S203F (1GB), officially £90 but available for less if you shop around. The MobiBLU Cube 2 (1GB) at around £70 is also well worth a look.

I know you're dead set against an iPod, but have your heard the new Shuffle? At £49 it's bang on your budget and sounds superb.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
The Sony player sounds very interesting with all its features and a refurbished one from an Amazon.co.uk seller would be a great price. The others you mentioned are a little too pricy as I am on an ultra tight budget : (

I am still concerned you cannot apparently alter or change the sound in anyway unlike with some Samsung players, this Sony model doesn't seem to have eq settings at all.

The reason I'm going on about eq's is because I always have 3D/live and an eq setting on when I listen to music on my pc and I like to be able to control the treble and bass at the very least on a Hi-FI.

I would love to hear if you have listened to players with eq's or 3d sound especially the Samsung and Sony ones I have come across.

Regards.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
[quote user="Clare Newsome"]

Believe me, we're not especially Apple fans, but there's no escaping the fact that the latest iPods have reclaimed back the sonic ground their competitors were making....

I strongly suggest you opt for an 80- or even 160GB iPod Classic and rip all your CDs in uncompressed WAV format, or at least Apple Lossless - you'll hear far more of your music.

If you do opt for a different player - Creative's range is definitely worth listening to, as we've never heard a poor player from them - then i'd opt for as lossless a format as the player is compatible with: FLAC, WAV, WMA Lossless etc.

[/quote]

I'll have to disagree here as I find the Sony MP3 players have far better sound than the iPods. The Bass tends to be very flat on the iPods and the sound is very closed despite using high end earphones such as the ultimate ears superfi 5.

The Sonys are much more open, clear and the Bass is rounded and deep.

Before anyone asks, I used a lossless format on both brands.

I know you can't fault them for usability, functionality and build but Apple still have a lot to learn in terms of sound quality.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
I ended up with a Hitachi 2gig player, it has a handful of eq choices so I am happy, haven't listened to it yet. But, the instructions say 'superb sound quality' so it has a lot to live up to! I think I'll be using my Sony headphones though the ones that came with it don't look to decent! :( I hope the player IS superb : )
 
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Anonymous

Guest
I probably agree with the Sony thing. And I'd recommend trying out phones for portable audio. I got a second generation nano last xmas, and was using that but when i tried my Sony Ericsson W880i phone it actually sounded better with my Shure SE530s (even tho i use lossless on the nano and 320 on the phone!). The nano is slightly more detailed, but the sound is more distant and seems to come from each ear rather than around. Also the Sony walkman phone is warmer, more organic sounding. The Shure's are so sensitive and i theorise that they can get excellent sound out of players that normally sound average simply because they don't have the power for most headphones.

Actually I am getting a 16Gb Touch now, it sounds better than the nano in the applestore using my headphones, and i just want it even if it's still not as good as my phone, it's so cool.
 

Andy Clough

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Apr 27, 2004
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[quote user="peteAllen"]
Actually I am getting a 16Gb Touch now, it sounds better than the nano in the applestore using my headphones, and i just want it even if it's still not as good as my phone, it's so cool.[/quote]

Have to agree! I've had my Touch for a month or two now and love it. The sound quality is great and the ability to surf the web from any wi-fi network is just brilliant. Just wish it had more storage capacity, that's all.
 

idc

Well-known member
Jan 2, 2008
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What Hifi has always been very complementary about the sound from ipods and I agree. However, which EQ setting do you use? I am assuming you use one as I have found no EQ produces a rather dull sound. Do you vary depending on the type of music; rock for rock etc? Do you use the 'sound enhancer'?

I found with my 18 month old 4gb nano played on a Logitech mm50 the rock setting is best. I recently got an 80gb classic and Bose Sounddock and found the rock setting too much for the already heavy base of the Bose, so I switched to jazz. I then found out how to customise the equaliser and have the lowest and highest frequencies at 2/3rds and the rest at 4/5ths. I do not use the 'sound enhancer'.

Thanks
 

mattc76

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Jan 2, 2008
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I have a Sony NWA808 (LAME VBR) and an ipod classic (apple lossless) with shure se530s. The sony and the 530's are AMAZING especially at high vols. The Ipod classic with the 530's, IMO, are unlistenable compared to the sony - ear breakingly harsh, irritating, and fatiguing at the high end. So much so that I'm gonna take the ipod back. Unfortunately the sony only has 8gb, will only do gapless playback from a fresh rip in ATRAC, and the sonic stage software (compared to itunes) is much much worse but for me sound quality is most important. However the new sony A818 - still only 8gb - unable to gapless playback at all (because no longer has ATRAC support) but no more sonic stage!! Just drag and drop from windows..

The perfect player would be an ipod touch with 160gb hard drive with sony's audio circuitry - how difficult can it be!!??
 

Alantiggger

Well-known member
Oct 14, 2007
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I myself have the Monolith ..... Superb sound better than the i-pods, (my thoughts). , loads of settings (to get sound to your own preference) even has an fm radio.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
What is the meaning of the best MP3 player for sound quality?? Is it which player can run lossless format is the best for sound quality?? I really confuse about it....
 
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Anonymous

Guest
I don't think you can beat the latest Sony players for sound quality. I initially purchased the NW-A806 atrac player and more recently the NWZ-A816 wma version. The audio quality is excellent...the original 806 seems to be slightly better perhaps because its based on Sonys own atrac format, but both players give a very detailed performance with jaw dropping amounts of bass (even with the earbuds supplied). Listening to a 'pod afterwards just seems rather bland, as though I'm missing something. I've heard detail on the Sony players that I never knew existed...enough to move the hairs on the back of your neck.
 

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