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Audio Clarity: iPad 3 vs. iPhone 4 vs. Nano 3/4

4191 Views 14 Replies Latest reply: May 5, 2012 8:18 PM by Encrypted11 RSS
Encrypted11 Level 2 Level 2 (350 points)
Currently Being Moderated
May 3, 2012 6:43 AM

've got 2 pairs of CX880 Sennheiser in-ear headphones. One with a broken left speaker, the other speaker is working completely normal. The other headphone is in mint condition. The working speaker is absolutely normal. I'm testing 2 devices at the same time, alternating the speakers and headphones (stereo reasons)

 

These CX880 Sennheisers aren't $30 junk although they aren't professional headsets.

 

  • EQ used: Acoustic

 

I'd rank these devices in terms of audio quality in this way.

.

 

Acoustic (Bass vs. Sound Clarity)

Bass
Clarity
1. Nano 4 (VERY punchy and strong bass)1. Nano 3 (crisp, clear vocal reproduction, 'hi' instruments can be heard clearly')

2. iPhone 4 & Nano 3 (Very close performance, strong bass)

2. Nano 4 (crisp, clear vocal reproduction, 'hi' instruments can be heard clearly)
3.-3. iPhone 4 (very good, clear vocal reproduction, 'hi' instruments can be heard clearly)
4. New iPad (Strong bass, more mid than other devices)4. New iPad (vocals sounded like muck)



Why I conducted this test? I never played real racing 2 on phone until recently. The usual device used for entertainment & games was the New iPad. I always thought the game SFX sounds like it was produced from tin and thought it was the game developers. I've just tried Real Racing 2 on my iPhone 4 and to my horror, it sounded so much better. Then I decided to find my previous iPods for audio quality comparisons, the Nano 3 & 4 were working so I included them.

 

Conclusion

Clarity with acoustic, a high-bass EQ preset differs amongst the listed devices. In general, these devices fared pretty well in clarity when their bass was turned from flat to Acoustic, very audible. The Nano 3 & 4 stood very closely in terms of clarity, the iPhone wasn't as good but its still very acceptable. Nano 4 had very punchy bass and some people do like the strong punchy sounds, despite the strong bass, audio quality is maintained. I'd say more people would go with the sound produced on the Nano 3 or iPhone 4.

 

However the device that stood out like a sore thumb to me was the New iPad!!! Comparing how audible these devices are, the New iPad isn't even crisp... At first, it sounded pretty normal on a flat EQ. However when I amped up its EQ... I could have gotten the crap sound it produced through the CX880 on a cheap $30 dollar super high bass earpieces with poor vocal clarity while on my previous devices!

 

This is such a disgrace in my opinion. Why is the New iPad's audio quality so poor???

 

Anybody has views on this?

iPad (3rd generation) Wi-Fi, Windows 7, ´ú┐iOS 5.1
  • James Ward4 Level 7 Level 7 (23,140 points)

    Not sure what it is you are looking for here. I'm running a combination of iTunes purchased and iTunes matched audio files (256 bit rate) and files ripped from CDs at 320. They sound great on headphones, ear buds and through the stereo. Certainly comparable to what I got on all of the iPods I've owned.

  • James Ward4 Level 7 Level 7 (23,140 points)

    Encrypted11 wrote:

     

    Hi James, you posted your opinion on sound quality and that was what I was looking for. Appreciate the reply. But what were the headphones you used?

     

     

    On what I've said on "muck", it was basically muffled vocals after the Acoustic EQ was turns up. Normal to deep men vocals were experiencing poorer qualities the most.

    My in ears are a pair of Bose IEs. The original model not the current. VERY pleased with them. I've also had a pair of Seenheiser 280s on the iPad (borrowed) and had no issues. Sounded great.  Also routinely route to the sterio suing the a run of the mill splitter. Stereo systems are both quite old and a combination of Bose and Sony equipment. I do NOT tend to use the EQ settings and have not noted any issues with vocal quality. Music collection runs the gamut from classical to jazz to alternative to rock etc.

     

    I have found with ripped CDs, there is a substantial quality difference if use a bit rate of at least 256. I tend to use 320.

  • James Ward4 Level 7 Level 7 (23,140 points)

    I've never been impressed with the predesigned EQ settings on iOS devices. Some are just, well, strange. I'm not sure, but it is possible there are some alternate player apps that allow you to customize your own. Seems to me I ran across one with very good reviews that did, and supposedly provided better playback quality, but for the life me can't recall the name of vendor . I seem to recall a price point of around $15.

     

    I do thing the higher bit rate will help, however.

  • James Ward4 Level 7 Level 7 (23,140 points)

    I've downloaded a couple, but nothing that improves the playback quality (or claims to) or provides more configurable EQ setting. Frankly not all that impressed. Most just provided different variations on the genius list concept or a little better playlist management. I tend to listen to albums, not playlists or individual tracks, so glad I didn't spend much $ on any of them.

     

    Whn I have a chance, I'll see if I can track down the one that I mentioned. In the meantime, try a rerip and let me know what you think. Just take care that you aren't letting iTunes downscale the tracks when you synch.

  • James Ward4 Level 7 Level 7 (23,140 points)

    Glad it was of some help to you.

  • James Ward4 Level 7 Level 7 (23,140 points)

    James Ward4 wrote:

     

    Whn I have a chance, I'll see if I can track down the one that I mentioned. In the meantime, try a rerip and let me know what you think. Just take care that you aren't letting iTunes downscale the tracks when you synch.

    MyTunesProHD is the name of the app. Basic app is free, enhanced features available as in-app purchase for $9.99. It is worth checking out.

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