This Space for Rent

It’s a good thing that I didn’t buy an iPod to look cool…

... because if I had, I would have felt obliged to use the nasty little white earbud headphones that came with it, and my attempts to be cool would have been rudely interrupted by my hurling the iPod to the floor, then attacking the remains with a 10 pound sledge.

In my listening tests of ogg vorbis vs. aac, aac-encoded music sounded a little bit too etched for my tastes; it had a somewhat better soundstage, but that soundstage is damaged by the razor sharp high-frequency ringing that drapes over every treble note. It's certainly not a fatal problem with aac; good speakers bring out enough of the rest of the music so that the only thing I notice is a bit of fatigue after listening to an album or two, and when I'm carrying the iPod on holiday, I'm not going to be doing much on the order of critical listening when I crank the Mekons as background music for an evening of Mastodon hacking at the beach. But if I put in the nasty earbud headphones, about all I get out of the music is vague muddled baselines, heavily colo(u)red midranges, and über-sharp treble spikes being hammered into my eardrums.

The iPod is a superbly designed little computer (all it's missing is a network connection for me to buy a bunch of them and use them as super-tiny super-quiet servers with groovy front panels,) but the earbuds sound like someone at Apple was shopping at Fast Eddy's back-of-the-van stereo mart (a more charitable guess is that every single marketing person at apple have their ears rolling off at 15000hz, and people like me who can still hear sounds up to 23000hz [the only sign of high frequency degradation is that I've developed a notch from ~21000hz to ~21750hz. I can still hear the scream of dying flyback transformers, but go much below that and there's this mysterious notch] are just shit out of luck in Appletown, but you'd think that some of their beta testers might have pointed out this misfeature.


the iPod’s ubiquity hides its flaws in sonic reproduction.

try the COWON series, they don’t have ridiculous Apple formatting issues and iTunes mandates

And for better headphones the Sony EX-71 is a good match, they even come in that fancypants color white.

liquified viscera Wed Jun 27 07:13:36 2007

I don’t use my iPod as a primary music source (I bought it so I could have a source of trance music to hypnotise myself into being able to have shots), so the mangled storage format of the music on it doesn’t bother me as much as it could. When I feel a need to pull the music off the thing I’ll plug in one of my (non-Darwin) Unix boxes and scrounge for it.

The headphones I use for listening to computer music (at least when I can get to them; I only discovered the audio non-quality of the stupid Apple earbuds when flying out east; the earpods were at the top of my luggage, while the good headset was at the bottom) are a set of <a href=“”>grado SR 60s, which reduce the nasty high-end etching to a low mutter. They’re big ugly black chunks of plastic, but they’re good sounding bit ugly black chunks of plastic.

David Parsons Wed Jun 27 09:51:54 2007

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