Apple Macs and iPods ‘better than some hi-fi CD players’

“Apple products are so good at playing music that they sound better than some hi-fi CD players. That’s according to AVI mogul Ashley James,” James Rivington reports for Tech.co.uk.

Rivington reports, “James said that although Apple products like Mac minis and iPods are slightly hard-sounding, they are still more pleasurable to listen to than some high-end CD players. ‘Let’s have the facts, and you can bloody well say this: I can think of at least six makes of CD players that are highly reviewed, five stars and all the blather that goes with it, that are considerably worse than an iPod,’ he said.”

Rivington reports that James said, “‘And I’ll tell you how they’re worse. They’re so bad that when you put them on you don’t want to listen to them. They’re disgusting. The iPod is not perfect any more than the Airport Express is, but what it is, is so good and so nice to listen to that you don’t find yourself worrying about its problems. We took the iPod nano and we plugged it into the most expensive hi-fi systems. And the music is slightly hard, if you’ve got to be critical. But, honestly and truthfully, at normal listening levels you’re never going to say ‘I can’t stand that.””

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Adam W.” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
VUUM Audio introduces a vacuum tube amplifier stereo system featuring iPod docking station – November 10, 2006
Monster Cable presents Monster Music SuperDiscs: 320 kbps AAC surround sound for Apple iPods – December 01, 2005
New ‘Apple Lossless’ encoder in iTunes 4.5 gives CD-quality audio in half the space – April 28, 2004

30 Comments

  1. I suppose that the guys that don’t like iPods still like tube (valve) amps…

    I can’t tell the difference although my ears aren’t so good anymore. This is probably the situation with most of the public.

  2. A lot of the subjective experience of music is colored by the pure digital nature of the audio itself. The bit rate of the original sample and the system used for playback (and obviously the speakers and the room) make a huge difference. Ironically if you play back a music track on an ipod, sampled at 320, through a TUBE amplifier, the transient response and “coloration” of the music will be much warmer..ironicallly a MACINTOSH amplifier would make an ipod sound great.

  3. I agree. I have a good hi-fi system at my home and recently I purchased 80GB iPod and started transfering my CD collection to Apple Lossless. It sounds great. Can’t tell a difference between iPod and my Sone CD player. It is not the top hi-fi setup but still I am very satisfied.

  4. gws…

    I think the real problem is that most people haven’t a clue what a real, unamplified musical instrument sounds like.

    Go to any typical pop music concert (and I’m using the term pop in it’s broadest sense) and you hear music transmitted through a P/A system, NOT instruments moving air directly into your ears.

    Go listen to an orchestra or chamber music. You hear sound moving through air and space. It ain’t the same as listening to a P/A, a hi-fi or headphones.

    With hi-fi, the goal is to simulate aural reality as closely as possible, but I don’t care how much you spend on electronic gear, it will NEVER be the same.

  5. “I think the real problem is that most people haven’t a clue what a real, unamplified musical instrument sounds like.

    With hi-fi, the goal is to simulate aural reality as closely as possible, but I don’t care how much you spend on electronic gear, it will NEVER be the same.”

    And that’s the real problem with… what? The nature of the universe?

    Unless you’re suggesting that we should all walk around with chamber orchestras in tow, I’m not really sure what your point is, or what this has to do with the sound of iPods compared to other popular music players.

  6. Mr. Reeee is correct. Real music is music that is natural and unamplified. Intimate venues like small jazz clubs or, listening to the La Phil at the Walt Disney Concert Hall is the only way to appreciate real music. Everything else is just background noise….

  7. I agree that nothing beats life performance, but that doesn’t mean that we all should throw away our CDs, iPods, Hi-fi systems etc. What about listening to Queen, Led Zeppelin and other folks who are not around anymore?

  8. “Real music is music that is natural and unamplified. Intimate venues like small jazz clubs or, listening to the La Phil at the Walt Disney Concert Hall is the only way to appreciate real music. Everything else is just background noise….”

    Yeah sure. God forbid someone should play a Fender Rhodes rather than an acoustic piano, or plug in their guitar.

    Dude, this debate was silly in 1968, and it’s just kinda sad in 2007. Give it up.

  9. > the music is slightly hard, if you’ve got to be critical.

    What does it mean, “hard”? Isn’t that the same comment I used to hear from people who preferred vinyl to CD’s? If you plug in an iPod nano to a high-end audio system, aren’t there controls on the system to adjust the “hardness” (and other qualities) to suit the listener’s preferences.

    I don’t have the equipment (or the ears) to hear such differences.

  10. I think this point of view could be true if you would connect the SPDIF Mac connector to a Benchmark DAC-1 for instance. I seriously doubt of the Mac’s line out connector quality compared to high-end audio’s. Hi-Fi is a matter of specialists. I dream about an iPod with SPDIF out conector. That would be perfect. You’d only have to encode your CD library into Apple Lossless.

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