My Sister wants an i-pod


I told her nooooooooooo!!!

But, i-pods are so darn convenient. And cute. From reading some of the posts here, it seems like there is a way to get better than decent sound from one (i.e. don't buy mp3's; transfer your CD's onto your i-pod using some form of lossless software, don't compress, purchase Ultimate Ears headphones...)

My question is: Can one get good (or, near great) sound from an i-pod? How? What does she need to purchase? [Ok, that was three questions.] Also, am I on the right track (with my sommary of posts read)? She has some favorite CD's, but (at 40 years old) she probably only has 50 or 75 CD's in toto... It seems a 20 or 40 Gig i-pod would go a long way for her. Money is always an issue, but I want to know what is the (nearly) absolute best way to listen to well-reproduced music on an i-pod; we'll scale down from there if necessary.

For your information: My "reference system" consists of Stax electrostatic headphones, an Adcom power amp, an old (it needs replacing) Adcom CD player, and MIT-500 interconnects. Great "portable" system for when I'm out of town for a month or two...

My sister is a good girl; I want to stear her in the right (audiophile) direction. Thanks in advance for your help.
delsfan
You rip the CDs onto a computer. There are some choices, but just use iTunes, which is free and runs on both Windows and Mac. Within iTunes, you have choices of how to compress (or not) your music. Apple Lossless is excellent. Synch to the iPod. (All of this is incredibly simple, you will see.) Getting a set of Shure or Etymotic earpieces is a substantial upgrade, but honestly, your sister will probably be very pleased with the earbuds that come with the iPod.

As for choice of model, get her the one she will like best (size, color, price). All except the Shuffle will hold all of her CDs.
Secret sauce recipe.

Get iPod 40Gb 'cause it doesn't pay to underestimate the fun

Use iTunes - Apple Lossless/Error Correction on

I find it useful to clean the CDs but maybe she is neat

NOW for the secret part - which is going to cost you. You need to get an adapter that fits on the bottom of the unit in the USB/power jack. Three or four out there, basically all the same. (Google for SendStation Pocket Dock - there are others)

This gives you a line out signal - no doubt about it much better then the headphone out you get through the mini on the top. BUT there's a catch - there is no volume control for the line-out on the iPod.

BTW you plug mini to RCA into that. Or you can go to Drew at Moon Audio and have him build you a custom dock with a stereo pair which will sound great.... http://www.moon-audio.com/

But still no volume control

Point being that she'll be fine with a system that has a volume control but... For straight headphone use let her use the free earbuds and don't overanalyze it - she will be thrilled... 20+ million people are - when she loses them you can get her something better

BTW the very cognoscenti say that the iPod Photo (Gen 4) has a better internal DAC then the iPod Video (current) so if you are a really great brother you may want to hunt down one of those....
Oh for God's sake, I have several good to very good stereo's, but my house owns 5 different iPods.

I don't expect them to be high end, but when I travel, they are a must!!!

I think we can all remember Sony's first Walkman's, and how popular they were... I owned several models of them, well, did they keep me from becoming and audiophile?? I would say quite to the contrary, they got me more in touch with the music, and made me appreciate it that much more. this may have even been part of the reason I have this addiction.
The rurmor is new models are coming out next month.
Good Luck
CD > iTunes (Apple Lossless Compression) > 40G G4 iPod (just sound; no photo or video) > HeadRoom Portable Amp (Airhead/Bithead of some sort) > Shure E3 or E4 earphones. Welcome to iPod nervosa!
So help me out with a metaphor here, you can probably come up with a better one than this. "People who complain because an iPod can't possibly compete with their megabucks home rig would also complain that their Ducati can't pull their Airstream." Something like that.

Most of the time when you're going to be listening to an iPod there's going to be enough ambient noise that even the difference between lossless files and 160 kbps mp3's isn't going to make that much difference. But if you do want the best of both, put your favorites on there in lossless format and fill up the rest with compressed files. Kennyt is right, just put some music on it and annoy your fellow commuters by singing along.
Right on Sfar. You gotta have platinum ears to hear the diff when you are on an airplane, sweating on a treadmill at the gym or riding the bus/subway. don't worry, be happy!
I pod will never be a high end device.
By a multi p[aler CD instead. I pods suck for hifi
Thanks! You guys offered some great advice for this mid-40's, out-of-the-loop audiophile:
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I don't expect them to be high end, but when I travel, they are a must

your sister will probably be very pleased with the earbuds that come with the iPod.

put your favorites on there in lossless format and fill up the rest with compressed files. [That's a good idea; also, some CD's are recorded well (use lossless) and some aren't that well recorded to begin with...]

Get iPod 40Gb 'cause it doesn't pay to underestimate the fun

don't worry, be happy! [The best advice for an audiophile purchasing an iPod.]

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The an$wer to an audiophile's que$tion:
CD > iTunes (Apple Lossless Compression) > 40G G4 iPod (just sound; no photo or video) > HeadRoom Portable Amp (Airhead/Bithead of some sort) > Shure E3 or E4 earphones. Welcome to iPod nervosa!

[Thanks for the advice; problem is (not your fault), for a little more money than this she could put together a small home theatre system!]

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Thanks guys, I know know where to start and what it would take to make an iPod great (ok, good).

We'll start with a 40GB iPod and regular earbuds and avoid compressing files for a few weeks, then see where we are.

For the price of (good) earbuds one could purchase two pair of good Grado (125) headphones!!! We won't be going that direction right away. I think we will avoid comparing our factory earbuds to someone else's shure earbuds - ignorance will be bliss!

Thanks again; plus, now I also know how to SPELL iPod!
I have had an ipod for several years. I don't use my ipod at home because my main system sounds better and my record/cd collection can't possibly fit on any ipod built today. But I think that the ipod is fantastic for portable use and even with my headamp and Sennheiser HD600s the sound is better than fair. The ipod is a fantastic way to have access to several thousand of your favorite songs any place and any time.
FYI...The iPod you buy either way...

Used Headroom Total Airhead (v. 1) $80-$100,
Used Shure E3s w/ new ear fit-kit $80-$100,

...enjoyment factor at home and on the road...priceless!

(The Total Airhead will do a decent job of driving most headphones, not just in-ear phones; however the in-ear phones do an awesome job of ambient noise supression)
I Bought the wife a pair of schure E3c's for her Ipod. They kill the standard earbuds even when listening to MP3's.

Good Luck
listen here all you audiophile malcontents who downplay the ipod, and all other mp3 type devices. these were made for conveninance and that is all. are you going to buy a ford and complain that it will not perform like a $100000 + sports car. personally i love connecting my ipod to my home system and putting on shuffle play, ( i love going from dvorak to white stripes to ray charles etc... i also use it for parties and get togethers. When ever i want to listen to something critically that is what the cd player is used for.