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iPods are for Audiophiles 578

Posted by michael
from the chock-full-of-goodness dept.
Mr iPod Luvver writes "Wes Phillips in this month's Stereophile magazine shows the iPod to be an audiophile-quality device. AIFF seems to be the high-resolution ripping option. Says Phillips, 'Dynamics were impressive, imaging was nuanced and detailed, and the frequency extremes sounded extended and natural.'"
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iPods are for Audiophiles

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  • by Hall and Oates (575706) on Tuesday October 14, 2003 @04:52PM (#7212996)
    sounds great on an iPod!
  • AIFF (Score:2, Informative)

    by Phroggy (441) *
    AIFF seems to be the high-resolution ripping option.

    Seems to be? Uhhh. Like WAV, AIFF is uncompressed, so the quality should be identical to the raw data from a CD. AIFF has always been Apple's preferred format, but both are supported. By the way, cdparanoia can rip to AIFF just fine (use the -f flag).
    • WAV is pretty much AIFF with the bytes reversed. Have a look at a WAV file in a hex editor and you'll see "RIFF", reverse IFF.

      AIFF is preferred for Apple machines mainly because byte ordering suits the CPU.
    • Re:AIFF (Score:3, Funny)

      by Pflipp (130638)
      I TOLD you that the Amiga Interchange File Format is far superior to everything out there! And so is their Fast File System. Heh, even BSD uses it! AMIGA RULEZ!

      Uh.. what? Oh... Never mind.
    • Seems to be? Uhhh. Like WAV, AIFF is uncompressed, so the quality should be identical to the raw data from a CD.

      Quality != Data. Yes, the sound data contained in a well ripped AIFF file should be identical to the samples on the CD. However, at some point, the digital samples must be converted to analog sound. The accuracy of this process varies from device to device.

  • by Prince_Ali (614163) on Tuesday October 14, 2003 @04:57PM (#7213016) Journal
    Says Phillips, 'Dynamics were impressive, imaging was nuanced and detailed, and the frequency extremes sounded extended and natural.'"

    What typical audiophile fluff. Why don't audiophiles ever give any opinion that is actually backed up with data. Oh yes, because if they might find out the oxygen-free 00 gauge speaker wire that they paid $10,000 for doesn't make the music taste anymore like caramel than the normal stuff.

    • They're part of the same cabal that includes wine experts, except at least the wine people have "I was drunk" as a possible excuse.

      I care about the *drunk* not the flavor, which is why I try to buy at least 4-column filtration vodka and mix it with lime-aid. I find that less impurities mean less intense hangovers...
    • by One Louder (595430) on Tuesday October 14, 2003 @05:13PM (#7213137)
      I think the article is a little vague on the details.

      What they *meant* to say was that the iPod flows with gusto and verve, with nuanced palpability that is suprisingly smooth and spacious, with harmonic undertones that languidly coil around your nerve endings and deliver liquid bliss combined with in-your-face bravado and euphonic outlines, providing a sonic womb with a sugar-sweet coating of midbass impedance resonance.

    • What typical audiophile fluff.

      Reminds me of a blind study done by the anti-audiophile crowd years ago. The arguement was over the quality of cables for a digital conection between a periferal and the amp. They reviewed a 100 dollar cable, a normal cable, and a coat hanger with the connecters attached to each end.

      It was funny how the reviewers were spectacularly in favor of the 100 dollar cables, but couldn't distinguish the difference between the 100 cables and the coathanger (duh - it is a digital si

    • What typical audiophile fluff. Why don't audiophiles ever give any opinion that is actually backed up with data

      Uhm...generally this stuff is backed by data. What you really meant was "...backed by data that comes from your instruments", with an implicit assumption that anything that you don't have instruments to measure cannot be valid.

      Your assumption is bad science.

      Sure, there is fluff in subjective audio, but there is also a lot of subjective stuff that is widely agreed on, which almost certainly m

    • "What typical audiophile fluff. Why don't audiophiles ever give any opinion that is actually backed up with data. Oh yes, because if they might find out the oxygen-free 00 gauge speaker wire that they paid $10,000 for doesn't make the music taste anymore like caramel than the normal stuff."

      Actually, I found that the CAT-5 cable I rigged up as stereo cable...blows away most commercial wire I've listened to...

      And I guess with audio...well, I personally don't think you CAN describe it all with scientific da

      • "Actually, I found that the CAT-5 cable I rigged up as stereo cable...blows away most commercial wire I've listened to..."

        CAT-5 is twisted pair, which may be more impervious to picking up extermal noise (from power lines, for instance). Other than these types of issues, the main performance parameter for speaker wire is the resistance of the line and the quality of the connectors. You can get a good solution for a lot less than $10000
      • It makes a well recorded track sound almost 3 dimensional with only 2 channels...and give far less ear fatigue than many SS amps I've found.

        If you are getting ear fatigue, I suggest putting your amp on a table or shelf.
    • Seriously, if you can't appreciate music through a set of regular 50-watt speakers or a pair of headphones there's something wrong with you. It shouldn't only be about fidelity and depth and range or whatever other audiophile fluff, it should be about the quality of the music. Shit heard through optimized Dolby 6.1 is still shit!
      • Shit heard through optimized Dolby 6.1 is still shit!
        Yes, but is it shit because it was originally shit, or did the Dolby AC3 compression destroy the tonal quality of the music?
      • I can appreciate my music over the tremendously crappy speakers on my Inspiron 8200. I appreciate it even more through my Eggo headphones, and even more than that through my Klipsch 4.1s. Given the option of listening to my music through the crappy, noisy, audio circuitry on my laptop, or through the relatively clean circuitry of my iPod, why should I choose the inferior one?
    • Here's an older slashdot article [slashdot.org] on audiophile insanity.
    • Well, not to let the insanity of some audiophiles off the hook completely (I once read about a guy who noticed his fridge was causing distortion in his system, so he bought a pair of $10,000 generators to isolate it from the rest of the house's power. that's insane), but the reason they don't back things up with numbers is that in audio, numbers lie. A lot. To the point that they have little meaning, except as a comparison to otherwise identical equipment.

      A 5W tube system may be louder than a 50W transistor system. A speaker with .002% signal distortion might easily introduce its own distortion due to cheap magnets or poorly engineered cones and not include that, even though the stat says "Total Harmonic Distortion." Even a stat like "Frequency response: 20 Hz - 22 kHz" is useless if the amplification device is not perfectly linear, and no device is. Thus, the auditioning of gear on a "well trained ear" is essential to any audio review.

      And this quote is not even that strange; in fact it's just using different language to explain what we want to hear. Dynamics were impressive means that there was a big difference between loud and soft sounds, usually a sign that the device is delivering sound as accurately as possible. imaging was nuanced and detailed, "imaging" is the combination of stereo seperation combined with balanced delivery of all types of sound (eg, bass doesn't linger and treble doesn't disappear), and detailed imaging means you can hear sounds move from left to center to right accurately. Nuanced imaging means there isn't a sudden skip as a sound movees from left to right, or from one note to another. frequency extremes sounded extended and natural means that low bass and high treble signals are transmitted and not cut off because "you won't hear it any way," and that it also isn't needlessly boosted. In short, this unit is going to deliver a clean signal to your headphones or receiver, and that's exactly what you want from an audio device.

      This guy, who if he's really an expert has no doubt heard a TON of equipment that cost more than you can BELIEVE, is saying the unit ACTUALLY HAS high frequency response, low harmonic distortion and high sensitivity for a unit of its size and cost. And that information is much more useful than just numbers.
      • Numbers lie? Maybe.

        Double-blind tests don't lie. We'll take audiophile seriously when double-blind tests play more prominent a role in their analysis.
      • I am an abashed subscribed to the print version of Stereophile. This whole subthread is a little silly, given that one of this magazine's strengths lies in how it combines the qualitative with the quantitative. The head editor, John Atkinson, runs a battery of measurements against many of the components that they review. In particular, he ran these tests against the iPod. It came out measuring pretty well!

        I don't know whether the online version includes these measurements. In general, the online version

      • This guy, who if he's really an expert has no doubt heard a TON of equipment that cost more than you can BELIEVE, is saying the unit ACTUALLY HAS high frequency response, low harmonic distortion and high sensitivity for a unit of its size and cost. And that information is much more useful than just numbers.

        That doesn't mean that audiophiles couldn't make their results more quantitative. Has he tried a double-blind listening test? Or even a blind listening test? All he'd need is a friend to mix up the e
      • Numbers may be misleading, but at least they are objective. Personal experience is misleading and subjective. It is often affected more by factors that are unrelated to the actual sound than by the sound itself, even for self-proclaimed "audiophiles" with "golden ears". The only thing in audio that is neither misleading nor subjective is double-blind listening tests. Unfortunately, they are hard to do and often are contrary to what audiophiles like to believe, so they don't happen very often.
      • by BigBlockMopar (191202) on Tuesday October 14, 2003 @07:35PM (#7214422) Homepage

        but the reason they don't back things up with numbers is that in audio, numbers lie. A lot.

        I trust cold, hard numbers - carefully applied - much less than subjective and unreliable human hearing.

        A 5W tube system may be louder than a 50W transistor system.

        Sure, if the 5W tube system is better impedance matched and into a more efficient corner-loaded infinite baffle speaker.

        Consider also that perception of audio intensity is logarithmic. To double the volume requires 4x the power - and that's at the cones of the speakers! 50W will not actually sound that much louder than 5W, even with all other things being the same.

        A speaker with .002% signal distortion might easily introduce its own distortion due to cheap magnets or poorly engineered cones and not include that, even though the stat says "Total Harmonic Distortion."

        If the speaker's distortion figure doesn't include non-linearities caused by the magnets, cones, surrounds or other parts of the unit, I would suggest that this is something you should take up with the Federal Trade Commission.

        Even a stat like "Frequency response: 20 Hz - 22 kHz" is useless if the amplification device is not perfectly linear, and no device is.

        This is why reputable audio equipment will include a +/-xdB figure in the frequency response claim.

        Likewise, most professional audio amplifiers (ie. Crown, QSC, EV, etc.) will cite THD ratings along with the wattage, as in "750W RMS into 8 ohms with 0.2% THD".

        Thus, the auditioning of gear on a "well trained ear" is essential to any audio review.

        The auditioning of gear is only to check for correct connection, elimination of factory duds, and sheer enjoyment of the music for which you purchased the system.

        And this quote is not even that strange; in fact it's just using different language to explain what we want to hear. Dynamics were impressive means that there was a big difference between loud and soft sounds, usually a sign that the device is delivering sound as accurately as possible.

        The technical term is called "dynamic range", and it's mathematically described as the difference between the amplifier's noise floor and maximum wattage rating.

        imaging was nuanced and detailed, "imaging" is the combination of stereo seperation combined with balanced delivery of all types of sound (eg, bass doesn't linger and treble doesn't disappear),

        Stereo separation is measured in dB attenuation, typically by driving one channel with a 1V p~p 1kHz sinewave and measuring the "leaked" signal from the other channel.

        Bass doesn't linger if the amplifier has good frequency response, since bass is a low frequency component and requires much less amplifier bandwidth than the 20kHz ratings of most amplifiers.

        Treble doesn't disappear if the amplifier is capable of performing +/- x dB from 20Hz to 20kHz, ie. x is some acceptable number (generally under 1dB). In other words, if the amplifier has sufficient frequency response.

        and detailed imaging means you can hear sounds move from left to center to right accurately. Nuanced imaging means there isn't a sudden skip as a sound movees from left to right, or from one note to another.

        Which means, in other words, that both amplifier channels are well separated and have the same performance characteristics (measurable by science, you know, science, that evil black mathy-type stuff that got man to the moon and gets people heart transplants).

        frequency extremes sounded extended and natural means that low bass and high treble signals are transmitted and not cut off because "you won't hear it any way," and that it also isn't needlessly boosted.

        Again, see the definition of the term "frequency response". I believe the *numbers* will allay all your fears.

        In short, this unit is going to deliver a clean signal to your headphones or receiver, and that's exactly what you want from an audio device.

        In other words, for playback to speakers (as oppos

        • by The_Rook (136658)
          the main criticism audiophiles have for technical measurements is not over their accuracy or reproducability. rather its because they are generally insufficient for describing how an audio component will perform.

          take the power measurements. you know, the ones that go "100 watts rms +- 3 dB with no more than .02% THD". this specification was created by the Federal Trade Commission to prevent dishonest amplifier manufacturers from quoting higher power output than their amplifiers were capable of generating.
    • Translation:

      "Dynamics were impressive" - The device was able to handle outputing a wide range of frequencies naturally. Think back to Carmack's .plan file about floating point color and the necessity to have a high dynamic range in pictures with lots of shadow and bright lights.

      "Imaging was nuanced and detaild" - Refers to the soundstage, and is a measure of how well the device reproduces the stereo effect of placing seperate instruments at spatial locations. With something that has good imaging, you shou
    • I hear this kind of arguement all the time. I have a standard rebuttal. You will usually find no arguement that the Pioneer Elite HDTV looks better than the Sharp HDTV you get at wal-mart. Even thought they have the same resolution. The Pioneer Elite uses better electronics and you can visually confirm that it looks better (Whether or not it is superior enough to justify the cost is a different arguement).

      Now hook up the pioneer elite TV with a shitty composite cable to your DVD player. Or use a shi
      • Now that we've established that using better quality electronics and cablesmakes a difference in video, why is it a stretch to assume the same thing is true for audio?

        Because the bandwidth of video is significantly higher, and gets into all kinds of RF effects that I don't claim to understand.

        Audio, which caps out around 22KHz, doesn't.

        To translate into computer geek: "Now that we've established a distributed processing grid makes a difference in cryptography, why is it a stretch to assume the same thin

    • It's funny that people spend so much money on thick-fat-wiring - when thick-fat-wireing acts like a capacitor and muddels the signal.

      And it's especially stupid when most of it isen't even shielded.

      It's the electronic equivelent of a front-wheel drive Honda Civic with a huge rear spoiler.

  • by edrugtrader (442064) on Tuesday October 14, 2003 @04:59PM (#7213025) Homepage
    and in next months stereophile [stereophile.com] magazine....

    Our Computer Hardware: Not a Web-Server-Quality Device
  • Apple have obviously selected a good codec, but who designed it? I can't imagine them designing their own codec unless they really needed to.
    • I coulda swore I read Dolby labs created AAC (which most iTunes purchases/rips are encoded with)
    • " Apple have obviously selected a good codec, but who designed it? I can't imagine them designing their own codec unless they really needed to."

      The codec isn't the issue. AIFF is uncompressed data like that stored on a cd. The audiophiles are interested in how well this signal is converted to analog and amplified. They're concerned about stuff like distortion, S/N ratio, (which determines dynamic range), output power, etc.
  • Dynamics were impressive, imaging was nuanced and detailed, and the frequency extremes sounded extended and natural.

    OOO, I agree! You can hear every hi-frequency overtone as the Emperor's clothes come ripping off!

  • ... since the last I heard, Stereophile Magazine guys was still ranting about the "demonic hell" that is CD-quality sound as opposed to LP's "glorious clarity"!

    Well, I guess standards slip as time goes on, I know mine have - I'm HERE aren't I?

    just kidding.
    • Well a high quality LP on a high quality turn table, with a high quality cartirdge, and high quality phon stage, into an amp will sound better than most CD players. The problem is, to get all that you've just spent $20,000.
  • and (Score:3, Funny)

    by b17bmbr (608864) on Tuesday October 14, 2003 @05:05PM (#7213060)
    it comes with a neato car [apple.com] too.
  • What I want to know is: was the sound airy or spatial? Did it have good low-end punch? Were the transients detailed? Was the midrange sweet or soft? Were the highs clean, or were they just crisp?
  • by joto (134244)
    AIFF seems to be the high-resolution ripping option

    Yes, I have to agree with you Michael. AIFF is so much better than WAV. After all, it's less known, and is mentioned in stereophile, so it must be better, right? It's not just ripping, it's high-resolution ripping that counts. With AIFF each of those 16 bits will have so much more resolution that you have to be almost deaf to not be able to hear it...

  • by mblase (200735) on Tuesday October 14, 2003 @05:07PM (#7213076)
    This is just classic, really:

    All iPods ship with a pair of earbud-type headphones with 18mm neodymium-powered drivers. These have surprisingly good sound--at least compared to the phones included with most portable players. A pair of low-impedance Etymotic ER-4Ps ($330) offered much better sound and isolation from environmental noise, but that's a subject for another review.

    While reviewing the iPod, he just couldn't resist pointing out that another pair of headphones which costs as much as the iPod itself would be the perfect accessory to complete the gadget.

    Money is no object. Then again, this adequately describes most of my fellow Mac afficianados as well....
    • If you're an audiophile, doesn't it just make sense you'd have $300 headphones when the rest of the world makes do with sub $50 units? Kinda the way some gamers think $300 video cards are worth the price when other people think the whole system shouldn't cost any more than that.
    • Well, once you shell out for an iPod, it's probably worth a pair of $330 headphones if you have the money for them, especially as you can hook them up to other things as well.
    • I own the Etymotic ear buds and use them with my 30 GB iPod. I originally bought them to use with the Han Go 20 GB MP3 player (still superior in some ways to the iPod but far clunkier). In short, they are an awesome product. They sound much, much better than conventional ear buds. They are also more comfortable once you get used to them. You can even get custom ear molds [soundstage.com] made as Etymotic is a hearing aid manufacturer.

      I've had mine for about 3 years now. That means I've spent about a quarter a day to for m

  • by SuperBanana (662181) on Tuesday October 14, 2003 @05:07PM (#7213083)
    "Dynamics were impressive, imaging was nuanced and detailed, and the frequency extremes sounded extended and natural."

    Actually heard in a high-end(really high end) audio store:

    "Yeah, these cables do a great job of keep the high end in phase."

    Another high-end store I saw selling markers to black out the edge of your CDs to prevent light loss. The same store had a CD player sitting on an isolation table(unless you've got elephants running through the neighborhood, completely unnecessary).

    It is absolutely amazing to sit in one of these stores with any kind of electronics/physics background(father was an EE, it's rubbed off somewhat) and listen to all the bullshit spewing forth...watching the rich idiots sucking it all up...and trying desperately to keep from bursting out laughing.

    "Warmth", "Depth", "Presence"...these guys have an adjective list a mile long- and not a single one actually has real-world meaning you can conclusively explain, measure, or demonstrate. They are essentially all snake oil salesmen.

    • Those people would be great Star Trek engineering writers.
    • by Miriku chan (168612) on Tuesday October 14, 2003 @05:44PM (#7213406) Homepage
      actually, 'warmth' and 'presence' are actual terms, at least in guitar world

      a warm sound is one that is more bassy, and a bright (it's opposite) sound is one that is more trebly. not in the "subwoofer" sense, but in the range in which the guitar plays. a humbucking les paul would be a very warm guitar, a bridge pickup single coil fender would be a very warm guitar (and sound like an obnoxious 1950's surf solo... to boot)

      presence is similar, tho thats usually found on amps instead of guitars. just lingo

      tho i agree on the audiophile stuff =)
    • Yeah, I heard someone who was saying things that were untrue about computers in a computer store... so y'know, all those fast computers aren't really worth buying. I mean, after all, if a *salesperson* makes things up about a product, it must mean a product isn't buying.

      So, what, if someone said something about the gut-wrenching feel of driving an aston martin, you would think that aston martin's are all a bunch of horseshit and hype because they don't actually "wrench" your "gut"?

      It doesn't make any s
    • Easy :)
      "Warmth" : presence of an extra compensation capacitor [code404.com] or high second order harmonic distortion :)
      "Depth" : Frequency response above 70 Hz is without significant jumps/falls (compare graphs of "high rated speakers" :) )
      "Presence" : Described in here [gsu.edu] :)
  • by stefanb (21140) * on Tuesday October 14, 2003 @05:08PM (#7213091) Homepage
    Best of all--and, to my ears, completely indistinguishable from the original CD--was AIFF.
    Really? No, I think you need to spend at least $50 per feet on speaker cable to really make that distiction. And obviously, you need the P4 Extreme Edition [slashdot.org] for a top-quality rip.

    Someone tell him the AIFF is bit for bit identical with the CD, if he ripped it properly. But another reader needed to point out that iTunes has preferences to make it retrieve CDDB entries automatically. Oh well.

    • Sure the source data is the same, but that's only the first part of the story. I think the point is that the DAC in an ipod is not as expensive as most decent CD players, and so it's both surprising and interesting that the end result (a sound wave) is undistinguishable from the original CD played in the guys (assumedly rather expensive) setup.
  • Everybody knows you need to trace the edges of the LCD with a green marker [snopes.com] to get true "audiophile" sound quality. Sheesh.
  • Interesting that this review is so favorable toward the ipod's audio quality. I really like the design of the machine and want to get one, so I was checking out the sound quality. I test listened to one on my own headphones and I was a little surprised, it didnt seem that crisp and seemed to lack bass. I tried most of the DSP settings, they made little difference.

    This seemed to jibe with what I found at This Site [chello.nl] that compares the ipod's sound quality to other MP3 players. He said he found that the line

    • Actually, what comes out as the reason that it's favorable is that you can use any compression, not just MP3. The review favors AIFF, but goes on to argue that it allows the user to rip songs at different rates for different uses, and load the iPod based on planned activity - e.g. jogging vs. connecting to the stereo.

      For reference, he used the Line Out from the base for his tests. He feels the included earphones are decent, but recommends a $300 pair.
  • Once I plugged in a pair of Grados, I realized just how good the iPod is.

    The headphones that ship with the iPod are pretty good, but once you use a real pair, you'll never take out those earbuds again.

  • Were the electrons in the cables flowing the RIGHT WAY?

  • Shouldn't it sound like the original CD because AIFF is an uncompressed copy of the CD track?

    Maybe better sound, but it reduces the song capactiy of your iPod about 90%, eh?

    Anyway, I can't trust someone who refers to themselves as "gimlet eyed" and agonizes over their identity as an audiophile. To me that situation is just crying out for an intervention. Or a deprogramming. Or a delousing. Or a kick in the butt. Or something.

  • Please people take this stuff with a large grain of salt. These are the kinds of people who find differences in "spatial nuance" between different brands of $600 RCA cable and buy things like the >a href="http://www.audioadvisor.com/store/productdet ail.asp?sku=VPIBRICK">Magic Brick.

    I like how surprised he sounded that he couldn't tell the difference between a CD and a full-bitrate AIFF file. Who'da think it?
    • "Many audiophiles remember VPI's first Magic Brick isolation device and the significant improvement it made to their systems. VPI now reintroduces the Magic Brick, but it's new and improved.

      The new real Mahogany wood casing houses a proprietary mass-loaded compound designed to quash chassis vibrations and soak up harmful RF and EMI noise. You'll notice improved transient response and imaging. The effects are quite amazing! Simply place The New Magic Brick on top of your component and you'll immediately hea
  • According to iPoding.com [ipoding.com], Wes Phillips' article was partially fabricated [ipoding.com]. An exerpt from the iPoding.com article:


    But, what is stunning is the obvious fabrication. The twelfth paragraph reads:
    "The person who said 'Beauty is only skin deep' certainly never popped the cover off an iPod. The design is just as jewel-like inside as out--packed, but definitely a gem of space conservation."
    It's just that anyone who has actually popped the cover off would know that Wes did no such thing. He goes on to describe the innards of the pre-Dock iPod:
  • I have one; they are good players with a good user interface, but the battery life is really shitty. If you just charge them up and play they're okay, but due to their stupid "suspend-instead-of-power-off" mode they're no use for taking on holiday as they go flat in a few days even in standby. Come on Apple, was a "power off" button really too much to hope for?
  • by be-fan (61476) on Tuesday October 14, 2003 @05:38PM (#7213343)
    While I agree that there are some fringe lunatics in the audiophile camp, I think the logical/mathematicals here on /. are being unfair.

    Audio quality is something he can't measure yet. The process of how the human ear interprets sound is not yet understood well enough for us to make quantitative measurements of audio quality. I remember reading an interview with an important technical guy at EMU. He said that when Creative bought them, he was shocked to see that Creative engineers were happily designing circuits that measured well, but sounded terrible.

    In the abscence of quantitative measurements, audio people have built up a jargon to describe the subjective elements of audio. There are clearly some subjective elements. For example, I ripped some Sheryl Crow CDs to 128kbps MP3. When I played them over my speakers (Klipsch 4.1, nowhere near audiophile quality) they sounded flat, as if I was listening to them through some thick fabric. I don't know what else to call it, but its clearly there, and so using one random jargon term is as good as another.

    People here are bringing up wine tasters, and I think that serves as a perfect example. The wine tasters have their own jargon, but all the terms have clearly defined meanings. Just because you don't know the meanings doesn't mean that the jargon is stupid. People complain that we nerds talk about CPUs and GPUs and FSBs instead of using "plain language." Now, would you rather call the thing a GPU or a "drawing thingie?" Would any other computer person have the foggiest idea what the hell you were talking about if you said that you were trying to find the API to send vertex-shaders (gotta come up with a plain-language term for those too!) to the "drawing thingie?" A standardized jargon is important to any field. It might sound stupid to people outside that field, but I think that computer people should know better than most that the jargon really is necessary.
  • Making the iPod sound this good was overkill considering what 99.9% of people use it for-- listening to some 128kb mp3 downloaded off of Kazaa. Consumers who want an iPod are forced to slap down more money for features that they'll never need. Apple, keep the style, loose the technology and high price.
  • This stuff is hilarious, especially when you get to the format comparisons on the third page:

    MP3 robbed Steve Swallow's pulsing bass lines of dynamics and punch on the Carla Bley album, while blunting the shimmer of the brass overtones.

    Uh huh.

    Both MP3 and AAC began to exhibit a small degree of soundstaging, albeit not with great amounts of front-to-back dimensionality or layering.

    Well, shit.

    MP3's highs began to lose their stridence, and AAC sounded fairly detailed and revealing.

    Woohoo!

    Definition, det

  • by tkrotchko (124118) * on Tuesday October 14, 2003 @05:51PM (#7213464) Homepage
    The headline seems to imply that AAC is inherently better for sound reproduction; however, the article specifically says 128kb AAC's are not meant for critical listening. Here's the relevant quote:

    "Things are somewhat better at 128kbps in both MP3 and AAC, but neither cuts the mustard for critical listening at home."

    As to the comparison between AAC and MP3:

    "MP3 robbed Steve Swallow's pulsing bass lines of dynamics and punch [...]. AAC fared slightly better, offering better bass response (although it was still pretty lightweight compared to the original CD) "

    So now you understand why 128kb iTunes costs less than the CD. They don't sound as good as the CD. Case closed.

    There you have it. So please, no more chirping on about how 128kb AAC's are indistinguishable from
  • Seriously, and with no intent to troll, does anyone know what the audiophile community means by 'image outlines'? I hear this term thrown around a lot by audiophiles, and I'm baffled at what is actually means.
  • Audiophiles... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Gontrand (606971) on Tuesday October 14, 2003 @07:26PM (#7214318)
    "Audiophiles aren't into listening to music, playing it, dancing to it, or any of the things you are supposed to do with it - although oddly enough they also aren't into objective reality, hard facts, critical reasoning, or any of the left brained activities that one would suspect people who can't dance would be interested in." I don't know who wrote this and where it comes from, but to me it's the best quote I have ever read.
  • No, no, no! (Score:5, Funny)

    by ColaMan (37550) on Tuesday October 14, 2003 @07:31PM (#7214381) Homepage Journal
    This is what happens when you let automated spell checkers do all the work.

    iPods are not for "Audiophiles"

    iPods are for Audio Files

    Jeez, at least proofread your posts before submitting them!

How many QA engineers does it take to screw in a lightbulb? 3: 1 to screw it in and 2 to say "I told you so" when it doesn't work.

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