Ipod and quality sound

I added, via I-tunes some Wagner Opera to my Ipod Classic 160g. It sounded terrible, tinny and thin, even though the system is a high end system, (Kora Galaxy tube system, Martin Logan speakers etc. Is there a way to do this correctly without compression so the sound will be as good as from the CD direct. Would I be better to use Media Monkey, or should I just abandon the whole idea as not practical

Your question is right on topic with what's been on my mind for months!

I have the next to latest version iPod and on my fourth set of ear buds. Each time I upgraded buds to make the sound enjoyable I got small improvement but overall it's a sonic failure.

From what little research I've done, I think the problem is the onboard DAC and the chip amp that drives the head buds. There are companies like Red Wine Audio that upgrade and even outboard DAC's and headphone amps available. To me this ruins the value of the iPod, it is no longer convenient or compact.

Just to see if my memory was playing tricks, I tossed a standard CD into my sons old "waterproof" Walkman laying in his room (he's grown and in college now). The sound blew away my iPod, confirming what I remembered.

I wish there was a way to mod the iPod INTERNALLY, where it reproduced what we burned on it's tiny hard drive. I think the iPod hard drive is potentially as good as laptop or computer based files playing through our high end systems.

Apple choose to make the circuit as compact and cheap as possible and threw away much of the quality in the process.
The only way to get anything approaching quality on the ipod is to use wav and one of the newer units like the Wadia iTransport 170 to extract the digital stream and send it to an outboard dac. Even then, the best case scenario is a decent background music set up.
The new $349 Wadia iTransport 170 is your friend.
Portable for audiophiles doesn't exist......so sad.
If it was necessary to raise the price of such a product,
lets say 25% to 50% of the original retail price and produce only a limited edition (to accompany the standart line) it would still make $$$$$$$ in profit.
One problem.....it takes brave and dedicated innovator to do it...............do you know anyone LIKE THAT.

you left out many pieces of information:

a. What compression/encoder did you use when importing your CD into iTunes?

Within iTunes, go to: Preferences > Advanced > Importing > Import using:

AAC: the original Apple proprietary compression....256kbps works well when just using earphones. obviously there is less than the original data.

***AIFF: bit-for-bit copy of CD files (this is no compression < answer to your posted question) FWIW: this is what I use on my music server Apple G5 ****

Apple Lossless: the newest apple compression (about 70% or AIFF file size). Very good quality if you don't plan on using the files on non-apple systems.

I don't have experience with MP3 or WAV.(I understand this is a lesser quality compression encoder)

b. how is your iPod connected to your system?

- you should not be using the headphone jack. you need line level from a dock.

c. what earphones are you using?

- just curious
Compression, software - have that.
Missing - quality hardware (iPod).

Wadia looks promising - maybe a mod candidate.
But iPod on to Go still sucks.
A friend told me that the older iPods use Wolfson DACs and have much better sound that the newer Classic, and touch screen models..... I forget what DACs he said are in the new one's.

I actually heard his iPod playing through a pair of Wilson Sophia's, and damned if it didn't sound pretty good; and that was in comparison to an Ayre CD player!

Cmo, your friend is correct. Here's a September 2007 quote from noted computer insider, Robert X. Cringely from his website:
This time independent testers are finding the new iPods have lower audio quality than the iPods that preceded them. Perhaps this stems from Apple's switch from PortalPlayer to Samsung as the source of its iPod chipsets.
I had a first-generation Nano and could swear it sounded better than my new video Nano.
Go Wadia iTransport go
The new DAC's are made by Cirrus. This link has lots of graphs and discusses the sound differences, and includes several links to the topic at the bottom:


So far, my favorite sounding Ipod was the original shuffle.