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iPod 160GB - the good and the bad new

50865 Views 80 Replies Latest reply: Aug 12, 2008 11:40 PM by c_l_will RSS
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Marc Heijligers1 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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Sep 11, 2007 1:06 PM
I received my iPod 160GB this morning. Here are some of my first impressions.

The good news:
I was a bit worried about speed issues and/or crashing as posted on this forum, but my iPod seems to work without any major speed issues, and I haven't encountered any crash so-far. The content is about 60GB of music, lots of covers, 2 movies, agenda and contacts. Even cover flow has a very acceptable speed (faster than on my dual G5 PowerMac), though I wonder its suitability with an amount of covers associated with 160GB of music. The only performance issue I encounter when I go back to the main menu, where arbitrary cover art is shown using Ken Burn effects. I guess a bit of caching can solve this issue.

The bad news:
Sound quality. The good thing is that it's more crisp than the iPod Video 5G 60GB (more loudness > 8kHz) adding to a pronunced sort of accuracy with cymbals and percussion beats, but a bit too crisp from a timbre standpoint of view (reminds me a bit of my iPod 3G). It also has less energy in the lower mid-range (200-800Hz), so it misses some push and harmonics. Overall this results in a less harmonic sound, less spatial (the scene is inside your head instead of around your head), a bit too much emphasis on high treble, and "less silence between the notes". It sounds more technical, and less acoustical/realistic. The output of my PowerMac G5 resembles the iPod Video much more than the iPod Classic. I suspect there is a mismatch in the group delay of the treble, where the treble arrives "faster" than the lower frequencies. That's a typical error in DA-conversion and filtering, that can be fixed by FIR filtering, or masked by a slight attenuation (0.1-0.3dB of treble starting from 8kHz).
Some say it is a small issue, but I think it is a huge issue.

Annoyances/strange things:
- Sound quality. A bit more natural and acoustical instead of technical.
- When the screen blanks during playing, it shows a clock, and a battery indicator. When music plays I'd like to see where in the track I am, what number is playing etc., without having to touch the iPod to wake its screen up.
- EU sound limit. With my Sennheiser HD650 and some soft recordings, it is too soft. I hope for a fast update of GoPod, to be able to accomplish normal sound levels.
- Clicker hardly audible through the headphones.
- Everywhere album art in the main menu, except for the "Now Playing" menu, which only shows a title.

Some bugs:
- The time shown when the screen blanks is always in US (no AM/PM!) format instead of the selected 24h format in the preferences.
- The date is always shown in US format (m/d/y instead of d/m/y).
- Home addresses and office addresses in the address book are all mentioned as home address on the iPod.
- The camera connector doesn't work.
- Equalizer heavily distorting. It is amazing that this is the case since the 1G iPod, and nothing has ever been done to fix this.

I hope a firmware update will solve things quickly. Especially the sound quality issue should be solved; this is the primary reason to buy an iPod.

Mac OS X (10.4.10)
  • raelamb Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Sep 11, 2007 1:47 PM (in response to Marc Heijligers1)
    Excellent analysis of the audio problem.


    The 5.5 sound quality was perfect!

    PLEASE fix us ASAP
    MacBook, Mac OS X (10.4.10)
  • Craig Seanor Calculating status...
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    Sep 11, 2007 3:28 PM (in response to Marc Heijligers1)
    Agreed, excellent analysis of the audio - way beyond what most users understand, but of course people can hear the difference.

    I would encourage you (if you haven't already done this) to report your findings via the official product feedback forms on the Apple support site. These are user-to-user forums and there's little chance complaints/suggestions made here will make it to the right poeple in Apple.
    iMac Core Duo 2Ghz; MacBook Pro Core Duo2 2Ghz, Mac OS X (10.4.10)
  • dustylyric Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Sep 11, 2007 3:54 PM (in response to Marc Heijligers1)
    How is the body/case of the new iPods? Is it as fragile as the 5th gen? Does it/will it scratch as easy or did they get that fixed?
    5th Gen - 30G, Windows XP
  • JoJu Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Sep 12, 2007 5:19 AM (in response to Marc Heijligers1)
    I compared my 5G 60GB with the Classic 80GB and found partly the classic a bit fuller, warmer. I did that with a switch, both iPods were connected to JBL earplugs, playing the same song at the same time and I switched between both. I didn't try a lot different songs, also no AAC / Losless / MP3 / AIFF files of the same song in the two different players. But I don't hear the classic worse then it's 5G colleague is.
    MacMini 1,5GHz, Mac OS X (10.4.10), LaCie 320 MiniHub, iPod 5G Video 60GB
  • Tones3 Level 1 Level 1 (20 points)
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    Sep 12, 2007 10:30 AM (in response to Marc Heijligers1)
    I had a litte different take on this when I listened. To me, it seemed that the treble was LESS tight and the mid-lower bass region (maybe 250Hz) was a bit more pronounced on the Classic. But I was comparing it to the 5G. I definitely can hear more ambience in the music, everything really seemed less clean and tight, and the increase in the 250Hz range made the bass region more muddy. I was listening to mainly heavier rock music.

    I wonder if anyone has the means to do a full sprectrum analysis comparison of the Classic vs. the 5G / 5.5G? I'd be curious how extreme some of this would show up. I have some spectrum analysizers in software, but they won't do live analogue analysis, only from digital files. Do you have any such equipment?

  • jameskg Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
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    Sep 12, 2007 9:50 PM (in response to Marc Heijligers1)
    Marc - here is the generic iPod feedback form for Apple:

    I hope you will share you findings with Apple about the issue... if you'll recall there were some complaints about bass response previous to the 5gen pods and they sure fixed that eventually... my 5.5gen iPod sounds great. I think it is entirely possible that the group delay problem some of us are hearing could be releated to the load presented to the phones jack. They appearantly have changed some of the sound hardware from the nearly-perfect 5.5Gen, so I wonder if that has introduced new issues...

    we know, from all these other problems, they didn't seem to test this model very thoughly in any areas.
    PC, Windows XP
  • G5Benny Level 1 Level 1 (125 points)
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    Sep 12, 2007 11:40 PM (in response to Marc Heijligers1)
    I just got a 80 GB Classic and I'm torn between the improved SQ and the 1/3 speed of my old Ipod(5th gen). It's bad enough the the new interface is slow, but thats ok. Whats not ok is the 8 second beach ball in Itunes every 5~10 seconds!! It took me near one hour to do some new playlist that would have been 10 minutes on my 5th gen! Apple really screwed up! They must have gone with a cheaper/slower CPU? I'm also having problems with my Pioneer car audio system. The new pod will not update song info unless you turn the stereo off/on or change the source to CD,tuner,telephone than back to Ipod. I'm really not sure why Apple can make such cool stuff and totally drop the ball on basic funtions?

    It does have better sound quality but I'm talking about the dock line level out. I have not tried the headphone out as 90% of my use is in car. I wish the old steve would come back and start firing folks that screw up! Steve has gone soft! I guess Cancer will do that to ya?
    G5/2.0/4gb/2tb, Mac OS X (10.4.2)
  • Tones3 Level 1 Level 1 (20 points)
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    Sep 13, 2007 8:15 AM (in response to Marc Heijligers1)
    Nice work again Marc.


  • muzicman82 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Sep 13, 2007 11:01 AM (in response to Marc Heijligers1)
    Ahh! My ears don't lie. I was listening to some MP3s encoded with LAME at 320 kbps on my 160GB classic. I was noticing far more detail than I did with my 192 kbps versions, but noticed they lacked a certain focus, like there was some phasing going on. I also recognized that the lower mids weren't as powerful as they should be.

    Then, I found your post, thanks to iLounge.

    What's interesting to me is that the problem is the opposite of what BBE does in their Sonic Maximizer technology - delays the highs and mids to align with the lows.
    Windows XP Pro
  • BradPDX Level 1 Level 1 (60 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 13, 2007 4:36 PM (in response to Marc Heijligers1)
    As an audio engineer I must disagree with your conclusions regarding severity of the issue. The variations found (0.1dB) are simply too small to amount to anything significant. 1dB is DEFINED as the smallest volume change that a human can perceive, and 0.1dB is a variation far smaller than batch discrepancies in any group of identical speakers or headphones you care to name.

    Furthermore, the so-called “incorrect timing response” is EXACTLY what one SHOULD see given a small change in treble response - this is systems engineering 101, folks. The time and frequency domains are different reflections of the same behavior.

    I will add that this “timing response” is far more linear and of a smaller magnitude than any mechanical device (speaker, headphone) you will find on the planet. These mechanical necessities will simply swamp any small variation in the electronics.

    As to spatial effects - I will step into deeper waters here and state that any that exist in 2 channel recordings are subject to an awful lot of much larger forces, such as room acoustics, headphone behaviors, and a lot of psychology. Spatial data simply is so poorly represented in 2 channel audio that when it seems to work it is often as not a fluke - the data just isn’t there in a reliable form. When we have recordings that actually represent multi-channel, multi-direction room reflections and multi-channel, multi-direction playback systems we might have something, but not today.

    So, is the iPod perfect? No. But I sincerely doubt that these changes are in fact audible, even given good quality headphones. I have listened to far too many pieces of gear to believe that.
    iMac Intel Core 2 Duo, Mac OS X (10.4.10)
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