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  #1  
Old 12-03-2013, 10:28 AM
Alan2012 Alan2012 is offline
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Default Archo vs Sandisk

Just wondering how does the sound quality on archos players compare with sandisk ?
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  #2  
Old 12-03-2013, 11:12 AM
Jeven Jeven is offline
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I've never had an Archos device but I know that not many on here would recommend them.
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  #3  
Old 12-03-2013, 12:15 PM
skip252 skip252 is offline
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I wouldn't generalize from one set of test to include the entire line but dfkt tested a Archos 32. That was several years ago so I'm not sure they have much to do with what they're putting out now. The results are here. From those I wouldn't pair it up with sensitive multi armature with crossovers IEMs. It doesn't seem as if they would be bad with full size cans.

I'm always wary SQ of tablets if that's what you mean. I've found that most of them I've listened to audio output seems to be an after thought. Some of them have been outright bad. Every review of their sound quality seems to be limited to how loud the on board speakers are. That doesn't do any good if you want to use headphones.
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  #4  
Old 12-05-2013, 09:27 PM
i-Ripper i-Ripper is offline
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I have an Archos A43IT which is an Archos Generation 8 device like the Archos 32 referenced above. My experience matches exactly dfkt's RMAA results. It sounds great with my dynamic driver IEMs (and fairly sensitive headphones) but is basically unusable with balanced armatures.

dfkt mentions multi-armature IEMs but actually it's no good with any low impedance 'phone which has big frequency changes at different impedances so even my single armature Ultimate Ears SuperFi 5vi are completely unlistenable with the A43IT. They are OK if I add an inline resistor (I have one which adds 36 ohms and another which adds 75 ohms).

I have a variety of dynamic driver IEMs including Shure SE215 and Sennheiser CX95 and several headphones including Sennheiser Momentum circumaural and Koss KSC75. All these work fine with the Archos and it sounds really good. With any of these I would choose an Archos generation 8 player over the Clip series for the very long battery life (if used as an audio player), the absence of system noise or hiss and the fact that there is enough processing power and memory to handle any audio task (i.e. high bitrate aac) and also display cover art nicely, run eq, database etc without any problems, have a big enough screen to display metadata etc. For a pure audio player I would probably choose the Fuze+ over the Archos devices. With BA earphones I would choose any of the Sansas over the Archos devices.
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  #5  
Old 12-05-2013, 11:07 PM
skip252 skip252 is offline
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I've seen you mention the Clip having difficulty dealing with "high bitrate" AAC files a couple of times now. i have files from the iTunes store that average ~ 266 kbps and my Rockboxed Clip+, v2 Clip and Clip Zip don't have difficulty playing those. That's while the database is building and I create playlists.

I also have 2 bands of the equalizer active, the compressor running, Replaygain applied and both the Bass and Treble adjustments set. My v1 Clip can't keep up with that but the rest can without lag or audio playback problems.

If you have more than a few bands of the equalizer active that may be the problem. Doing that can use significant system resources to doubtful audible benefit. Parametric equalizers can affect either a wide or narrow band of frequencies depending on the bandwidth "Q" setting. That makes it possible to use just a few bands to fine tune the sound to your headphones.

You also may not be aware but not every Clip+ has the system noises you mention. That's a per unit issue. That was determined a some time ago when there were some people that complained of the noises and others said they didn't exist. I've had several of each model and some have had system noises but most haven't. It's pretty much luck of the draw.

Unlike the system noises every sandisk player I've ever owned has had a low level background hiss. It's somewhat quieter on the Fuze+ but I can hear it when I listen closely to a silence file using sensitive headphones. I can't hear it once the music starts so it's not a concern to me.

Please understand that I'm not saying the advice you're giving is wrong. You're reporting your experiences to let others know what criteria you would use to make a choice. That's what all of us do to help others make informed choices. I'm saying that your experiences aren't universal and may not be what another person will experience with a different player or settings.
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  #6  
Old 12-06-2013, 09:38 AM
i-Ripper i-Ripper is offline
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The high bitrate aac files I use are BBC iPlayer streams. BBC Radio 3 broadcasts mostly classical music, jazz, some world music and some drama. There is a lot of live broadcasting of concerts. The streams are 320 kbps CVBR aac and can be very large indeed as the durations are often between 90 minutes and three hours. It's these that can routinely make the Clips brainfart (the same streams are basically unplayable on older players such as early generation iPods or iRiver H series players).

Other national BBC radio station streams tend to be aac 128 kbps CVBR or lower. Files of more normal bitrates and more typical durations are fine, though occasionally a very long duration 128 kbps file can cause a problem.

I expect these types of very long, very high bitrate streams might be quite unusual outside of UK's broadcasting but certainly plenty of people use them here.

As to system noise on Clips and older Fuzes: I appreciate some do and some don't. I'm unsure of the value of anecdotal evidence as to the proportion which supposedly do and which supposedly don't. I have to say that the possibility of intrusive noise is hardly a minor factor in a device whose only purpose is to reproduce audio. I could spend my money and maybe get a good one or maybe get a bad one - this isn't exactly the basis for a glowing recommendation in my opinion. So I just describe what I actually know for myself and is also widely reported by others and even documented (see Rockbox's AMS port issues page). If I had just had the bad luck of a rogue device it wouldn't matter but clearly it is hardly unusual.

I don't so much mind a bit of a hiss as it is much more easily masked and also usually much less intrusive and disturbing than squeaks, clicks etc.

All these noises are much less prominent with less sensitive and higher impedance 'phones but are very apparent with something like my SuperFi 5vi which are super low impedance and very sensitive. With my Koss KSC75 (moderately sensitive but 60 ohm impedance) the noise issues mostly disappear.

I have to think that a small personal audio player ought to work well with sensitive, low impedance IEMs so I think it is perfectly sensible to describe if this is the case or not.

I think the Fuze+ is very good with a wide variety of IEMs and headphones, highly compatible with different 'phones and file types, with truly good sound, much underrated. It is a very good choice if you don't mind touchpad controls in place of buttons. In terms of audio I think its only fault is a tiny bit of hiss with very sensitive IEMs.

The Archos gen8 is great with all kinds of audio files and any 'phones which don't vary with impedance but actually useless with those that do.

The Clips? Highly compatible with different 'phones and maybe you get a good one that sounds great and works with your files but maybe you get a noisy one that chirps and squeaks or sometimes chokes on some of your files. How to know what to expect? I don't know.

People have the reasonable expectation that an audio player plays audio without generating its own sounds or having trouble with quite common files and it will work with the portable headphones they like to use. I think it's OK to describe if and how these expectations are likely to be fulfilled or not and if not, why not.

I don't carry a torch for Sansa and nor do I have anything against them. I have bought several of their players and some I like very much while others I would hesitate to recommend without reservations, so in those cases I recommend them and describe my reservations.

Last edited by i-Ripper; 12-06-2013 at 03:28 PM.
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  #7  
Old 12-06-2013, 08:10 PM
skip252 skip252 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by i-Ripper View Post
The high bitrate aac files I use are BBC iPlayer streams. BBC Radio 3 broadcasts mostly classical music, jazz, some world music and some drama. There is a lot of live broadcasting of concerts. The streams are 320 kbps CVBR aac and can be very large indeed as the durations are often between 90 minutes and three hours....
Much more informative than just high bitrate AAC. This is the type of information some who is attempting to see if this applies to them needs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by i-Ripper View Post
I expect these types of very long, very high bitrate streams might be quite unusual outside of UK's broadcasting but certainly plenty of people use them here.
They might but if they do they haven't posted it here. There is one person that has said they use 400 kbps AAC but that's all I can recall. Given that, it's best to include that information your post. Most members here are from the US and don't have access to BBC. The high bitrate stream they supply are region locked. It's possible to defeat that but if anyone is doing that they haven't posted that here.

That means what might be a common file to you may be uncommon to the next person. As such if you are going to say a device isn't able to handle certain files it's best if you include information that would let the anyone that reads this later what encoder settings were used. That way it's possible for them to evaluate if your experiences have any meaning for their uses.

Quote:
Originally Posted by i-Ripper View Post
...(see Rockbox's AMS port issues page). If I had just had the bad luck of a rogue device it wouldn't matter but clearly it is hardly unusual.
On that page under AMSv2 issues (Fuzev2, Clipv2, Clip+, ClipZip?) Audio Quality there's a couple of audio issues mentioned along with links to the bug reports.
Quote:
It confirms what we both have said. Some Clip+ models have noise issues reported. I haven't seen the same reports for the Clip Zip. I also haven't heard the system noise on any Clip Zip I've listened to.

None of that proves the noises doesn't exist. It may just not have been reported. My hearing may be defective. I might just have been lucky and none of the units I've listen to make the noises.

Me not hearing system noises on the Clip Zip when I have clearly heard them on some Clip+ units, all Clip V2 and sansa e200 models satisfies me that it's not an issue for me with the Clip Zip. If anyone is hearing the noises on the Clip Zip in Rockbox, filing a bug report might help get it resolved.

I hope you see where I'm going with this. I'm too old and been around too long to be a fanboi of anything. I do my best to evaluate any audio equipment I might use in light of my experience while acknowledging my natural human fallibility. I then pass along that information as completely as possible.

I consider making sure that the information is as complete as possible important because part of my experience is what may seem as if it should be common knowledge frequently isn't. Taking the time to include all relevant information so the next person has what they need to conduct their own research has proven to be helpful many times. Beats the heck out of glossing over some minor but important factoid the next reader may not know.

Including both the positives and negatives of my experiences has helped dozens of others make informed buying choices. I'd like to suggest that if your goal is to share your knowledge that including more, rather than fewer, hard facts is the better way to accomplish that.
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  #8  
Old 12-07-2013, 06:11 PM
i-Ripper i-Ripper is offline
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Yes, I also included both positives and negatives of my experiences in the hope that it might help others make informed choices. Whether the negatives are as welcome as the positives is often interesting in itself.

I didn't go into huge detail because it would be tedious for me and perhaps for anyone reading. For example to describe pitch error in Sansa Clip, Clip+ and Fuze, Fuze v2 in original firmware vs Rockbox's superior implementation, while remembering to specify that Clip Zip's audio hardware is almost identical but its Sansa firmware addresses the pitch error and also remembering to note that Fuze+ hardware is entirely different and doesn't have the issue at all etc etc.

I also didn't feel the need to describe that old Fuze, Clip and Clip+ can't even play aac in Sansa firmware and that Clip Zip does but is not assured to work with clips longer than 10 minutes duration. This is because I am not writing an in depth review and comparison piece but addressing a specific question in the comment section of a board.

I was passing comment, not writing an in-depth review, so it's not exactly reasonable to hold me to the standards of an in-depth review while I am merely passing comment. If my comments were factually incorrect or misleading that would be a different matter but actually they weren't.

I also have no idea as to the geolocation of the members and readers here so I don't make assumptions except that the reader has a decent grasp of English and that the hardware and likely content are broadly similar across the map. For example I am fairly confident that streams like BBC's highest quality aac streams are quite unusual but I am not brave enough to assume that something like a long duration 128 kbps CVBR aac stream is something that is all that unusual, especially if people listen to recordings/captures of live performances or orchestral music or opera or prog rock or similarly long performances.

I have revisited my earlier comments and still stand by them:

If you use headphones whose frequency response changes according to impedance then avoid the Archos gen8 devices entirely. Otherwise they are very capable audio players and have some nice features and even advantages over the Clip series, some of which come down to CPU power and RAM and screen size and the convenience of wifi and the ability to browse smb and upnp shares.

If you do have headphones which need a low impedance source then of the Sansa players the Fuze+ is a safe bet as it is not known to have any problems except the touchpad interface is widely disliked. With the Clip series and older Fuzes there may be problems with system noise, failing buttons and poor quality headphone sockets - it's not consistent or universal so buyer beware - it's your money. I think this is fair comment. If it is the case that the Zip has solved the noise problems than that is great but when just now I googled "clip zip noise" the very first result is http://www.anythingbutipod.com/forum...ad.php?t=66761 I can't tell if that is a unique experience or not but I do know my experience with my own Clip+ and Fuze v2.

Anyway, back to the original question:

Q: "Just wondering how does the sound quality on archos players compare with sandisk ?"

A: "It depends."

Players exit stage left, curtain closes. Silence (the audience never returned after the interval).
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  #9  
Old 12-08-2013, 12:50 AM
saratoga saratoga is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by i-Ripper View Post
The high bitrate aac files I use are BBC iPlayer streams. BBC Radio 3 broadcasts mostly classical music, jazz, some world music and some drama. There is a lot of live broadcasting of concerts. The streams are 320 kbps CVBR aac and can be very large indeed as the durations are often between 90 minutes and three hours. It's these that can routinely make the Clips brainfart (the same streams are basically unplayable on older players such as early generation iPods or iRiver H series players).
That has nothing to do with the bitrate, just if the files are really long (many hours) or packed into weird MP4 streams you'll run out of RAM trying to parse them.
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  #10  
Old 12-09-2013, 07:51 PM
i-Ripper i-Ripper is offline
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Thanks for the info. I don't think I've encountered very long duration low bitrate aac files so had associated it with the combination of high bitrate and long duration. Long duration alone would match.

All such files I use are aac streams muxed by ffmpeg into m4a container along with itunes compliant metadata and are usually then hinted with MP4Box so there shouldn't be anything weird about them except sometimes the content....
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  #11  
Old 12-11-2013, 09:12 PM
saratoga saratoga is offline
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Might want to check the settings you used to pack the mp4 stream. In practice "weird" means "anything but iTunes or Quicktime".
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