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Old 02-24-2012, 12:44 PM
meanwhile meanwhile is offline
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 140

Originally Posted by Enigmatic View Post
But do differences in hardware mean differences in sound quality?
Generally, yes - unless they have been designed to sound the same, eg to match a very tight spec. And there is no reason to believe that Apple has a constant spec for sound, let alone that is the same as Cowon's!

Anyway, I will now trump any other argument by appealing to Ultimate Authority - himself (Himself?) backed up by Sacred Test Measurements and Holy Graphs. Yes, I'm talking about NwAvGuy! From his comparison of the Clip (just the Fuze in a smaller case) and an iPod:


FINAL SCORE: I count 4 wins for the iPod, 3 for the Clip+, and 2 ties. That makes it a fairly even battle--impressive considering the huge price difference. But given many of the iPod's wins are likely an inaudible advantage, and the opposite is true for the Clip+ (the lower output impedance, higher output at less distortion, and better square wave performance), one could argue the Clip+ is more likely to sound better in real world use. This will especially be true with balanced armature type headphones.

SUMMARY: As stated near the beginning of this review the Clip+ turned in excellent performance for just about any portable player, let alone a really tiny one under $40. While the iPod has the performance advantage in several areas I'm not sure any of them will result in audibly better sound quality. I am, however, fairly confident the lower output impedance and higher low distortion output power of the Clip+ are an audible advantage over the iPod with many headphones--especially balanced armature types such as most of the Etymotic IEMs, Shure IEMs, Ultimate Ear IEM's etc. These all tend to have wider impedance swings which, combined with the iPod's roughly 7 ohm output impedance, will create audible frequency response variations compared to the Clip+ (see the earlier graph)

..So as trying the Fuze is so cheap, and might actually generate money from the sale of the Touch, I'd try the Fuze. There just isn't a downside.

Oh - and anyone who disagrees is A CURSED HERETIC AND THEIR HEADPHONES WILL EXPLODE!!! At least if they're using a Schiit Asgard amp...
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earphones, equaliser, j3, sansa

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