iPod vs CD: WSJ CES

from 'Portals,' a column by Lee Gomes in today's WSJ (apologies in advance for any cross-posting), a quote of interest to some here:

"Portals became an official exhibitor at T.H.E. Show last week. I set up a room with two sound systems, identical except for one component. Everything except the speakers were hidden behind screens."

(sic - I'd use the singular 'was' here, WSJ!) snip...

"With the same music playing on both, participants used a remote control to switch between the two, and then tell me which sounded better. One of the tests compared a high-quality MP3 file from an iPod with a CD on a $3,000 player. Three-quarters of the 24 people taking this test preferred the CD. That was no surprise. However, when I played .wav files on the iPod - these are digital but uncompressed files; I was connecting the headphone jack to the amplifier - 52% of the 21 who took this test preferred the iPod."

(what, three test subjects dropped out? what is this, a presidential primary?)

"That made me smile, not because snooty audiophiles got the 'wrong' answer, but because it suggests great sound can come from popular but cheap gear."

(then the article goes on to make fun of expensive gear some more - you can tell who now owns the WSJ, can't you? - but he does mention that John Atkinson and Mikey Fremer in fact CAN tell the difference between a cheap and an expensive cable in his test.)

- and if you work for the WSJ, or that paper's new owner, please don't read this thread until tomorrow ;-)

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