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iPod vs iPhone vs iTunes vs QuickTime
Old 16th January 2012
  #1
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ryanojohn's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
iPod vs iPhone vs iTunes vs QuickTime

Has anyone else ever noticed that playback of the same mp3 file sounds different on an iPhone than an iPod shuffle, both of which are different from iTunes with all enhancements and eq off, which also is different from playback in QuickTime on the same Mac...

My question isn't about which sounds better, but rather which is the most accurate... From what I've heard, I would think the QuickTime playback sounds like it is likely the most accurate of the bunch.

Weird...
Old 17th January 2012
  #2
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ryanojohn's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I guess not...
Old 17th January 2012
  #3
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AlexK's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
QuickTime and iTunes sound exactly the same, the playback engines are the same, they're both bit-perfect, and they null completely (I have tested).

iPods/iPhones all sound different. My iPhone sounds terrible in comparison to my older 80gb iPod Video. My iPod Nano sounded even worse (before it got nicked).
Old 17th January 2012
  #4
Gear Guru
 
theblue1's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by ryanojohn ➡️
Has anyone else ever noticed that playback of the same mp3 file sounds different on an iPhone than an iPod shuffle, both of which are different from iTunes with all enhancements and eq off, which also is different from playback in QuickTime on the same Mac...

My question isn't about which sounds better, but rather which is the most accurate... From what I've heard, I would think the QuickTime playback sounds like it is likely the most accurate of the bunch.

Weird...
A few years back (around the release of the Nano, I think), one of the PC Mag editors (Bill Machrone, I think) who is also a hi fi guy, decided to take advantage of the fact that his family had something like 5 iPods of different versions and release dates and do a sound shootout and some basic frequency testing.

What he found, as best I recall, was that there was considerable variance between units but that cost and period of release seemed to have no bearing on the sound quality. One of the least expensive units had the best sound, while more expensive iPods had better features but didn't sound as good. IIRC, he decided that there was no design to the relative qualities; that is, the sound was not necessarily better with newer or more expensive units.

EDIT:

PS... of course, those differences above are almost certainly because of differences in hardware. One thing I've noticed, is that there can be a real range of quality in cheap converters. Not too long ago, I did my own shootout between my 'serious' interface (MOTU 828mkII), the built in audio on my econo-box computer's mobo sound, and my 'free' LG Android. While I'd always assumed the MOTU was better (better be heh ), when I sat down and compared using the same files, I was really surprised by the quality gap. The gap between the computer onboard sound and the phone was considerably smaller, but was noticeable, as well.

PPS... with regard to QuickTime -- I almost never use it, myself, at least not after I abandoned Quicktime Pro, or, rather, after Apple abandoned me by sending out a security advisory to not use that version of QTP because of a security flaw and I went to get a security upgrade, but after a bit I realized there was no security upgrade and that, in fact, Apple expected me to pay full price for the next ordinal version, I was dumbfounded and decided it's absolutely the last thing I will ever buy from Apple -- while I've never sat down and done a head-to-head with other players, I certainly never got the impression it sounded any different from WinAmp, VLC, or other media players.
Old 17th January 2012
  #5
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From a strictly software standpoint, I couldn't tell you what is technically more accurate since I'm not really familiar with how each processes the audio file. I can tell you that iTunes and Quicktime have always sounded similar if not the same to me. As for the iPod vs. iPhone, there's a hardware element to consider there...
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