mp3 players

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mp3 players

Postby philly » Tue Sep 13, 2005 2:37 pm

Hi all...

A bit of a diversion I know but considering their obvious limitations I was wondering if anyone knew of a decent quality personal mp3 player. I know theyre a bit off topic here but wondered if any of you heard one and thought "...actually...thats not at all bad!" or something similar.

TIA

Phil
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Postby timo » Tue Sep 13, 2005 2:47 pm

ipods are cool
most of the new players do the same as others
alot of them now hold photos and movies
im an apple fan so id stick with the ipod
if your going to hit the gym or do any sorta heavy moving about stay away from the hard drive based ones
stick to the usb flash mp3 players
ipod shuffle is a cool choice!!!
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Postby Kris » Tue Sep 13, 2005 2:51 pm

I was just in the USA and saw the new iPod Nano. It's the same size as the mini but has no moving parts, ie no hard drive. It uses flash media to store files, has a colour screen so you can see photo's etc and has about 12 hours battery life. It's also half the thickness of the mini.

Pretty cool.
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Postby wez » Tue Sep 13, 2005 6:31 pm

one thing that i've always wondered about... why bother with mp3 files on these things? a 40 GB ipod will hold what, about 60 or so uncompressed CDs? people forget that you can put pretty much whatever format you like on them.

i know it's music on the move, and you're not thinking about quality issues, but really... that mp3 sound at anything below 320 kb/s is like nails on a blackboard. ick.
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Postby Linear » Tue Sep 13, 2005 8:21 pm

wez wrote:one thing that i've always wondered about... why bother with mp3 files on these things? a 40 GB ipod will hold what, about 60 or so uncompressed CDs? people forget that you can put pretty much whatever format you like on them.

i know it's music on the move, and you're not thinking about quality issues, but really... that mp3 sound at anything below 320 kb/s is like nails on a blackboard. ick.


Yeah, I agree. mp3's are so twentieth century.

However, AAC compression is a huge improvement. In fact, it is difficult to discern the difference between AAC files and uncompressed AIF's on most material.

Solo'd instruments, funny L/R panning and certain sounds are noticable. However, at 256 kbps i reckon they stand up to the pepsi challenge.

In fact, I think AAC at 256kbps most people wouldn't be able to tell the difference, even in a studio environment.

If you're really picky, you could always choose Apple Lossless Compression which apparently in indistinguishable from uncompressed AIFF and about 60% of the size.

I'd loved to be proved wrong BTW, if anyone can be arsed.

Chris
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Postby heathen » Wed Sep 14, 2005 12:09 am

Turn it up to 11 then see if its the same,a friend and I were a/bing some mp3's vs 44.1 16 bit uncompressed WAV's at a lowish volume (with apogee converters),there was a slight degredation in the sound of the mp3's though very little.When we turned it up loud we were quite unimpressed with the mp3's.But hey it works,and people use it. My 5 cents.
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Postby Kurt » Wed Sep 14, 2005 12:41 am

You're forgetting the shitty amps and crap earbuds they all come with. I notice the noise from the amp much more than any mp3 artifacts, even at 128kb encoding. My unit, an IRiver, also has SRS "enhancement" that can't be bypassed, dunno if the ipods have this or not.


wez wrote:one thing that i've always wondered about... why bother with mp3 files on these things? a 40 GB ipod will hold what, about 60 or so uncompressed CDs? people forget that you can put pretty much whatever format you like on them.

i know it's music on the move, and you're not thinking about quality issues, but really... that mp3 sound at anything below 320 kb/s is like nails on a blackboard. ick.
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Postby scott » Wed Sep 14, 2005 6:20 am

The new Sony one is sposed to be quite good...According to my friend who doesnt know anything.
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Postby philly » Wed Sep 14, 2005 10:21 am

[quote="Kurt"]You're forgetting the shitty amps and crap earbuds they all come with. I notice the noise from the amp much more than any mp3 artifacts, even at 128kb encoding. My unit, an IRiver, also has SRS "enhancement" that can't be bypassed, dunno if the ipods have this or not.
[/quote]

Thanks for all your posts. Yeah it was really this point I had in mind, whether or not there was a model that did away with some of the...ahem..."features" but was more "audiophile" than the others.

I had a conversation the other day with an elderly lady whose daughter had bought her an ipod. The daughter is getting loads of cd's and vinyl converted for her. When I asked her what sort of stuff she was listening to, she said "The soundtrack of my life".

Thought that was lovely.

Cheers
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Postby Adam Dempsey » Wed Sep 14, 2005 11:59 am

Further to the original post, do these things at least support variable bit rate?

I don't own an MP3 player other than on a 128MB memory stick useable as a voice recorder, but I had 2 recent jobs in from a studio that was supplying mixes via AAC, unknowingly. I could hear the potential in the music, but it was never going to get "there" in mastering. Woeful artifacts.

Listen to the out of phase signal. You'll hear the artefacts. Then go back to stereo. You'll now still hear the artefacts and should be able to pick it most anywhere it exists. I hear it at my local supermarket. Sure, it doesn't matter much there, but we live in "It's MP3/iPod, so it's cool" times. What I'm saying is, the bar is ever more difficult to raise and I think it's up to the pro audio industry to maintain a strong stance on quality over quantity as much as possible, within the consumer market.

I believe music lovers do care about quality, most are fully capable of hearing it, the majority just don't *know* the difference. The issue is convenience is being lapped up by consumers without direct A/B comparisons between pcm and data reduced audio.

I'd be keen to hear more about the extra dsp features on MP3 players, what they do dsp wise. Especially given that the industry web 'standard' is 128kbs for bandwidth reasons.

When it comes to mastering, it still pays to encode from the highest possible resolution source. I encode direct from 24 or 32 bit files to whatever data rate is requested, but how many MP3 releases come from already messed with mixes? Even vinyl records are being cut from release CDs, not from 1/2" or 1/4" masters which impart so much of that loved analogue vinyl sound (it was never the vinyl alone).

How much MP3 music has not undergone further high pass filtering? Sure it may not be audible on ear buds, but if this format is becoming even more of an accepted standard, it pains me that people are simply not hearing these things!

Audio pros may be biased (no pun intended), but surely we have that right, given we judge with our ears.


Linear wrote: However, AAC compression is a huge improvement. In fact, it is difficult to discern the difference between AAC files and uncompressed AIF's on most material.

Solo'd instruments, funny L/R panning and certain sounds are noticable. However, at 256 kbps i reckon they stand up to the pepsi challenge.

In fact, I think AAC at 256kbps most people wouldn't be able to tell the difference, even in a studio environment.

If you're really picky, you could always choose Apple Lossless Compression which apparently in indistinguishable from uncompressed AIFF and about 60% of the size.

I'd loved to be proved wrong BTW, if anyone can be arsed.

Chris
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Postby Simon B » Wed Sep 14, 2005 8:13 pm

I couldnt agree with you more Adam. However as audio enthusiest or an audio preofessional shouldnt we be following the consumer because it is they who are listening. the thing about mp3 is convenience, going for a run and not having a skipping song, not having a disc jumping out of discman and then getting scratched. it has never been about quality.
if anything I think we should be finding a way to make an "audiophile" portable digital playback device, that maintains a detailed replaying of audio.
The only way that the consumer could really apreciate the poor quality of mp3 would be out of the headphones connected to speakers, and then advancing from there.
As much as I hate mp3, and downloading music, it is here to stay and people are always going to be blinded by the convenience of a portable playback device.
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Postby Kris » Wed Sep 14, 2005 9:27 pm

I agree with Simon in part.... but there is no way we should allow consumers to dictate our "build quality". Imagine if that thinking made its way into other areas of life. Would you like to pay $15 at the movies to watch a film produced by some kid in iMovie? I don't think so. You would want to see a well shot, well lit, 35mm feature film.

Let the guys who know what they're doing dictate the quality. I don't think it's necessarily about building an audiophile quality portable music device as much as it is about preserving decades of proven methods for making high quality audio. Does that make sense?

My biggest fear is that there is going to be a generation of engineers/producers/musicians etc, that don't know how good it could really sound if they dug a little deeper, without Vocalign and Auto Tune and, dare I say it, without non linear music production tools. All the stuff so much of our trade relies on today. Maybe not my generation but certainly the ones after me. I grew up on vinyl and cassettes, then was amazed at how good CD sounded. I'm not pining for "the good old days", not at all. I just know that if you start to dumb down the creative (including the technical) process then sooner or later you're going to have a whole lot of knowledge disappear.

Sometimes slick and shiny and new is good. Sometimes it's not, but it's definitely here to stay. I wonder how long it will be before th iPod can record multi track audio?
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Postby Martinez » Thu Sep 15, 2005 1:09 am

I know exactly what you mean Kris,

sadly it is like that in the music industry already.
kylie minogue should be selling cd's at record shop but insted she's where someone with actual talent should be, why?
because the consumer really does not have a clue!

talk about a kid with an imovie, what about making a movie with top notch everything about nothing!

kinda sounds like buying a Kylie manure album doesn't it!
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Postby rick » Thu Sep 15, 2005 1:23 am

i am wiring a ipod station into my mastering monitor switcher as i type this so maybe later down the track i will actually know what all these formats really sound like.

its a very odd world when a $500 box becomes a reference player in a mastering studio !
it must be something to do with convience , because it sure has nothing to do with the stuff i have spent years learning
oh well , moving on .
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Postby JustinS » Thu Sep 15, 2005 9:00 am

Hey do you guys remember real tape based walkmans... now talk about quality! :D :D

Or how about portable CD players with laughable converters and headphone amps...

I personally reckon anything over 196Kbps sounds good enough not to hurt my head too much, and really where do you listen to your Ipods? On the bus or train, walking around in the city - hardly locations with great noise floors!

Give up panicking over the death of good sound, consumers will always be swayed by convenience, quality tends to catch up later!

And this whole death of good music thing that seems to be going round... what's it all about?? There are more independent labels than ever, and theres a bunch of them releasing really good stuff. If you worry about what singles are at the top of the charts this week, then you're worrying about the opinions of 13 year olds - do you normally worry about what 13 year olds tend to think about? So relax, have a beer, put on your favourite album or tune in to FBI (they're playing some really good stuff at times) and enjoy.

Justin.
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Postby Chris H » Thu Sep 15, 2005 9:17 pm

Great points JustinS. From the good old days (whatever they were! ) right through there has always been the music you hear on top 40 and the rest you get to know about from all those other music networks that seem to have always existed and just a quick dig around reveals there is an astounding amount of great music out there of all styles etc. Like Brian Eno and say Daniel Lanour (can't be bothered checking the spelling in the latest AT ), they produce material thet's heard on mainstream Radio but not often do you hear their own stuff on radio yet a lot of people have a CD or vynal of both these artists.
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Postby Damien » Fri Sep 16, 2005 12:10 am

does anyone have/now of an ok sounding, portable 2trk recorder.
mp3, aac wav whatever. im sick of lugging my laptop to record live shows.

its really hard to buy a minidisk recorder now (most place dont stock them) and i guess mp3 sales have wiped them off, like dat probably dead....

i cant find a mp3 thingy with line in and no auto gain and allows me to record a couple of shows uncompressed...

any one using something for this....

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Postby Kurt » Fri Sep 16, 2005 12:29 am

I haven't tried it yet but one of the reasons I chose IRiver over Ipod was the ability to record a line in. No idea if it has autogain or anything though.

Damien wrote:does anyone have/now of an ok sounding, portable 2trk recorder.
mp3, aac wav whatever. im sick of lugging my laptop to record live shows.

its really hard to buy a minidisk recorder now (most place dont stock them) and i guess mp3 sales have wiped them off, like dat probably dead....

i cant find a mp3 thingy with line in and no auto gain and allows me to record a couple of shows uncompressed...

any one using something for this....

damien
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Postby Kris » Fri Sep 16, 2005 9:28 am

If you can't find a DAT or mini disc recorder you can't be looking very hard.
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Postby PeterR » Fri Sep 16, 2005 10:50 am

does anyone have/now of an ok sounding, portable 2trk recorder.
mp3, aac wav whatever. im sick of lugging my laptop to record live shows.

its really hard to buy a minidisk recorder now (most place dont stock them) and i guess mp3 sales have wiped them off, like dat probably dead....

i cant find a mp3 thingy with line in and no auto gain and allows me to record a couple of shows uncompressed...

any one using something for this....

damien


dunno if its ok sounding or not but this looks cool

http://www.m-audio.com/products/en_us/MicroTrack2496-main.html
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Postby Damien » Fri Sep 16, 2005 11:48 am

oops, sorry, re my post above.
i have 3 x dat players, there as big as my laptop, the tapes are expensive and i cant buy them without planning (i cant buy them in lismore at 6pm on a friday night) and the 3 machines give me errors.....

i also have 2 MD recorders. its getting harder to buy disks, and there getting expensive. its a format thet JB hifi (a big consumer hifi place in melbourne) have dropped. when they drop a product, its usually dead, or at least dying.

i am after a convienient recorder to replace the above devices. thats why mp3, aac, wma, wav recorders appeal to me. especially if i can put it im my pocket and have the intro music on it as well......and record funny band room chat....

damien

just looked at the m-audio thingy. it looks like the first product to do what im after...anyone used one....
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Postby Martin » Sun Sep 18, 2005 11:58 pm

[quote="wez"]one thing that i've always wondered about... why bother with mp3 files on these things? a 40 GB ipod will hold what, about 60 or so uncompressed CDs?[/quote]

I spent a while selling these things, and a while in the warranty department shipping off over 100 of them broken every day, people just abuse them and the hard drives pack it in

anyway... wez to answer that, an aac file being 4mb gets copied off the hard disk and into the ram/flash memory/whatever and played from there, thats why it doesn't skip

i often load my aiff masters into the ipod to listen to them on another source /another situation ... and guess what... woefull battery life cause its constantly reading off the hard disk
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