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Old 05-03-2011, 12:50 AM
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Help Headphone speaker preferences for use with HD, Zune Premium?

To be perfectly honest, I don't actually think I've ever heard good audio, outside of real concerts. People are always saying stuff like 'Zune HD has great audio compared to iPods' and 'its trash if you hear it next to a Cowon' and stuff. But I haven't heard it. I've always had the kind of earbuds that you get in the Walmart CD section. But they all sound pretty much the same to me; some are a bit more tinny, or lower, but all mostly the same. I set my sync rate to the highest setting, and always convert in 360kb (?) or higher, but it still sounds the same. Is this my ear buds? I don't usually need the volume loud to hear it, 1 or 2 at night and around 10 during the louder parts of the day. So I wanted to ask some of you audiophiles about this. What do you guys use with your Zune HD? Should I have noise cancellation? What format should I use? Most of mine are mp3, converted from aac or mp3 rips. Should I get the Zune premium earbuds? Should I get over ear phones?

Thanks in advance for your help.


PS: whats with the 5 tag limit here, it seems like it'd be easier to find stuff if it was tagged properly.
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Old 05-03-2011, 04:11 AM
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You're right on the earbud part. Your sound quality is only as good as your headphones.
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Old 05-03-2011, 07:42 AM
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Haha I've used those earbuds for most of my time as an audiophile (and I use that in its most basic meaning: someone who loves sound ) and I never noticed the difference til I got my Zune Premiums. It was pretty shocking. And then I got some Panasonic RP-HJE900, and that just BLEW ME AWAY. It was insane how good they sounded. So yea, I think having good phones is big. But if you never have had them, then you don't know what you're missing, and don't worry about it if you're happy with what you have, because it's a dangerous spiral of cost. And over-ear phones to IEMs, it's really preference. I think you can find quality phones from both sects. Depends what you want.

As for formats, you'll find people that swear that lossless (like FLAC) sounds WAY better than lossy ones like AAC or mp3. Then again, not a lot of people would prefer having the quality of FLAC with triple the file size for portable players. Then you'll find people who discount that, but claim that AAC is superior to mp3 or WMA is best or things like that. To be honest, they may know something there. I don't know, all I know is that whatever codec I'm using, it all sounds too close to call. I think that for untrained ears, it's not that big of a deal.
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Old 05-03-2011, 09:07 AM
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There's a whole forum here about headphones:

http://anythingbutipod.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=22

Have all kinds of reviews and recommendations. If you've only had wallmart headphones, upgrading will probably make a world of difference.

This topic talks about good, CHEAP headphones. You'll be surprised to see what you can get for like $20:

http://anythingbutipod.com/forum/showthread.php?t=8404

The forum convinced me to get a pair of these...only $23 shipped. The sound is a gazillion times better than any earbuds I've had, but they are very noise canceling (not the best thing for work) and a little tricky to take on and off (again, not good for work). But for at home, by the pool, on the train, etc they are AMAZING for the price.

http://www.amazon.com/MEElectronics-...4427915&sr=8-8
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Old 05-03-2011, 10:51 PM
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Thanks guys, my default headphones broke, and then my crappy replacements broke, and then another pair broke, so I'm looking into finding some quality earphones that I don't have to worry about. So many of those I see in stores are made for iPods.

I'll check out both those links too, and hopefully I'll get a replacement from Microsoft for the broken ones that were with my Zune.

If you guys go to the repair section of Zune.net, you can register your serial number, simplifying the proof of purchase thing in case it breaks, fyi. It says when your warranty expires too.

Does anyone know if the Zune hd headphone jack could be compatible with a microphone?
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Old 05-03-2011, 11:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Master_Jackson View Post
Thanks guys, my default headphones broke, and then my crappy replacements broke, and then another pair broke, so I'm looking into finding some quality earphones that I don't have to worry about. So many of those I see in stores are made for iPods.

I'll check out both those links too, and hopefully I'll get a replacement from Microsoft for the broken ones that were with my Zune.

If you guys go to the repair section of Zune.net, you can register your serial number, simplifying the proof of purchase thing in case it breaks, fyi. It says when your warranty expires too.

Does anyone know if the Zune hd headphone jack could be compatible with a microphone?
Heaphone packaging only says "Made for iPod" so that the general consumer knows that the headphones will in fact work with iPods (people would always ask if the headphones would work their iPod) among other devices. Other than that, they will work on any audio player.

And No, you can not put a microphone in a headphone jack with the intent of recording audio. They are wired differently.

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Old 05-03-2011, 11:52 PM
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iPods use the exact same port as just about any mp3 player, newerish phones, computers and other electronics. Just for reference, they are a 3.5mm jack or 1/4 inch. Most people refer to it as 3.5mm.

EDIT: sorry, I meant 1/8 inch. Oops.
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Last edited by steinburger1109; 05-04-2011 at 12:57 AM.
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Old 05-04-2011, 12:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steinburger1109 View Post
iPods use the exact same port as just about any mp3 player, newerish phones, computers and other electronics. Just for reference, they are a 3.5mm jack or 1/4 1/8 inch. Most people refer to it as 3.5mm.
Minor fix. But otherwise right on the money.
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Old 05-04-2011, 12:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steinburger1109 View Post
iPods use the exact same port as just about any mp3 player, newerish phones, computers and other electronics. Just for reference, they are a 3.5mm jack or 1/4 inch. Most people refer to it as 3.5mm.
3.5mm is equivalent to 1/8 inch, not 1/4. 1/4 is the bigger one seen on more full-size headphone cords, and stereo receivers.
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Old 05-04-2011, 12:56 AM
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My bad, my bad, I accidentally smushed the two together because I was thinking too fast and doing too much. I think the 1/4 slipped in there because I was going to make a reference to high-end DJing phones sometimes use 1/4 inch but even high end phones are moving to the 1/8 inch jack. But anyway, thanks for catching it.
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Old 05-04-2011, 02:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Master_Jackson View Post
To be perfectly honest, I don't actually think I've ever heard good audio, outside of real concerts.
That's a shame. A good set of headphones is absolutely essential to hearing good audio sound quality. Properly encoded files at a transparent bitrate is also be a good step in that direction. You can determine what's transparent to your ears and your headphone by using ABX testing. foobar2000 with the ABX Comparator component is a good way to do that.
Quote:
People are always saying stuff like 'Zune HD has great audio compared to iPods' and 'its trash if you hear it next to a Cowon' and stuff.
People say all types of things. The fact is that quality players sound so much alike that it's very difficult to distinguish one from the other in volume matched testing. The differences come with whatever sound enhancements a DAP has. Things like Cowon's BBE or Samsung's DNSe make a difference but the base sound quality is about the same.

Quote:
But I haven't heard it. I've always had the kind of earbuds that you get in the Walmart CD section. But they all sound pretty much the same to me; some are a bit more tinny, or lower, but all mostly the same. I set my sync rate to the highest setting, and always convert in 360kb (?) 320 kbps or higher, but it still sounds the same. Is this my ear buds? I don't usually need the volume loud to hear it, 1 or 2 at night and around 10 during the louder parts of the day.
I went through a number of players, ripping and encoding softwares, various bitrates and codecs until I wised up and spent a bit of money on better headphones. First time I actually heard what a good DAP can put out. As far as I'm concerned decent headphones are crucial to hearing good sound quality. As for volume a louder signal will usually sound better than one that's too quiet. Of course if it's too loud for too long you'll eventually lose the ability to hear anything. Common sense should be the rule. If you think it might be too loud, it is.
Quote:
So I wanted to ask some of you audiophiles about this.
Audiophools don't last long around here. I much prefer the term "music enthusiast"
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What do you guys use with your Zune HD? Should I have noise cancellation?What format should I use? Most of mine are mp3, converted from aac or mp3 rips. Should I get the Zune premium earbuds? Should I get over ear phones?
Way to many things there that are personal preference that need you to investigate as separate issues. A good example is earbuds. I can't stand them. I've never been able to get even fairly expensive ones to stay in my ears or sound right. I have a friend though that can literally turn cartwheels with them in and swear they sound better than my best in ear canalphones. Much of finding what's right for you involves spending a bit of money. You don't have to break the bank experimenting though. There's decent, inexpensive headphones around if you shop wisely.

I bought a one each of the different types I was interested in after checking this listing. Two precautions on that. First, shop around. They sometimes have the best price but I've found that if you shop places like Amazon and Buy.com you may be able to save some cash. Second, stay away from Skullcandy. Repeat, stay away from Skullcandy. The build quality is terrible and the sound on every one I've heard is worse.

Last thing,
Quote:
What format should I use? Most of mine are mp3, converted from aac or mp3 rips.
I'd use well encoded .mp3. It's universal and at a transparent bitrate it's very, very difficult to tell the difference between mp3 and the original lossless source. Also I would stop transcoding between a lossy source to another lossy file. There is an unavoidable loss in sound quality. You may or may not hear it but it occurs. Unless it's just absolutely necessary I'd just leave them as they are. Transcoding them to a higher bitrate just makes a larger file that sounds worse.

It's better to rip to lossless files and convert to lossy files at your transparent bitrate. You don't have the same quality drop and if you rip to lossless properly the first time you'll never have to rip that disc again.
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Old 05-04-2011, 09:18 AM
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Ok, thanks a lot guys, I'll have to look back at my CDs and try and figure out which ones I've converted too much. Does anyone know what format Marketplace stuff is in? Or can I change it?
I was actually referencing the playback control buttons on headphones used with the iPod Shuffle 4 (?) and above, does this functionality work with other players too?
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Old 05-04-2011, 07:13 PM
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I believe the marketplace is 256 kbps WMA, but I could be wrong, and I'm not even going to guess if you can change that.
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Old 05-09-2011, 12:00 AM
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I use my beats by dr dre solo hd an they sound great if you have 230 dollars to waste i highly recommend getting them
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Old 05-09-2011, 01:00 AM
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Default Headphone preferences

When my principal MP3 player was the Sony S639 I preferred my Ultimate Ears Triple Fis to my Klipsch Image S-4s. Now that I'm using a Zune HD (32gb) I find that the Klipsch S-4s (which are normally about a quarter of the price of the UE Triple Fis) sound vastly superior to the UE Triple Fis.
As for why, I haven't a clue.
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Old 05-11-2011, 01:14 AM
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Thanks again for all the input guys, there are so many choices! Hoping to find some in the lower price range to hold me over through the summer, the links really helped. I like how Sony made things easy by including a solid pair of earbuds with their players. It's my understanding that the first Zune had better headphones too, too bad they stopped this.
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