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Old 01-27-2012, 10:18 AM
skip252 skip252 is offline
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Chicago
Posts: 5,876

I'd stop trying to shop differences in sound quality. The difference between one quality player and the next really is too small to make that a useful criteria.

If you volume match and listen to every player mentioned here you just won't hear a difference. That includes the Touches, Cowons and Sandisk players. The BBE effects in Cowons don't affect base sound quality. They are sound effects and are pleasing to some. There's others that can't stand the changes from the base sound. The only way to know if which applies to you would be to listen with your ears and headphones.

The one possible exception is the Samsung. Even the part where it tests poorly, high output impedance, shouldn't make a difference unless you are using highly sensitive IEMs. There's also reports of audible noises during CPU and app access with the Samsung so you might take that into consideration. A amp would help with the reported hissing, the access noises might be audible anyway.

I'd shop features instead of trying to shop sound quality. The feature I would NOT include is the ability to play lossless files. Using lossless files is a decision you should make after you've determined if you can hear a difference between lossy and well encoded lossy files.

There's nothing inherently better about using lossless on a portable. If you can't hear a difference you're spending additional to carry useless bits of information you can't hear.

You should make using lossless or well encoded lossy files your decision, not depend on what you may have read about how much better it sounds. Almost universally the people that say they can hear a difference refuse to put that claim to double blind testing. The few times I've read that anyone has done meaningful testing they are surprised that they weren't hearing the differences they believed they were.

You can grab a copy of foobar2000 and it's ABX Comparator component and determine using your ears and equipment if you can hear a difference between lossless and well encoded lossy files. Then you can make a decision on what's best for you instead of what's best for someone else.

I'm not saying you have to or need to. You can just go with lossless. The problem with that is now that I've told you there most likely isn't a difference you'll always wonder if you've paid too much for no audible result.
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