Nano sound: 1G vs 2G

I've long enjoyed my first generation black nano and just purchased a second generation black nano for the increased space, increased battery life and even smaller size.

After trying it out for an hour or so, I can't help but feel that the sound quality is worse than the first generation - contrary to some of the reviews. It does seem to offer more high end sparkle, for sure, but there seems to be a substanial mid-range suckout. There are specific pieces of music that I listen to on the cardio machine very often, and I can tell that certain instruments are MIA or substantially de-emphasized.

Worse, the the overall sound seems shrill compared to the original.

Have any of you had a chance to compare 1G vs 2G nano sound?


ps: When I migrated from the old hard drive based "mini" to the 1G nano, I felt the nano sound was far more grain-free and overall a substantial improvement. My apriori expectation was a further improvement in 2G nano.

pps: I don't use the ear buds that come with the unit. I use a sports headset from Sony for exercise and Shure 3c for quality.
PS: My recordings are at 192 and 128. I was going to use the higher capacity to change them all to 320, but well, if it sounds worse at the smaller bit rates... Could the new one simply be more revealing than the old one? Are we dealing with the old euphonic vs accuracy debate? Sigh.
Art, it wouldn't be entirely surprising if the new nano sounded worse (I've read reviews that say the new shuffle sounds worse than the old one).

The new ipod nano could have been one of three exercises for apple:

1) A simple recasing because of complaints about how easily the original scratched. No sound change.

2) An improved design, giving better sound to the user.

3) A cost reduction exercise to maintain profit margins. Sound quality might deteriorate, but since most users listen to 128kbps through earbuds they will not notice.

I must admit that I listened to a new nano 2Gb running 192AAC files through Sennheiser HD280 headphones and thought the sound was pretty decent, comparable to an old panasonic portable CD I have.

I've found that 192AAC sounds substantially better than 128AAC or 128MP3, but going to higher bit rates is not noticable unless you're using expensive cans in a quiet environment.
Ok, I did some more testing this evening.

First I checked that the EQ is off on both units.

I selected a variety of music.

I used two different sets of headphones:
1. Shure E3c, audiophile quality
2. Sony sports headphones

Same results in all cases. The 2G is less enjoyable, to me, anyway. It has a little more treble detail but the lower midrange is just missing in action. Piano makes this most obvious. The weight and roundness of the notes is completely gone. What a disaster.

Oh yeah, the bass of the 2G has more pop to it but I don't think it's deeper than the 1G. The bass of the 1G has more body.

Every time I went back to the 1G it was a relief.

Could it be just this one 2G unit has a problem? Or this one manufacturing run?

I suspect that in their desire to extend the playing time of a given battery, they reduced the power going to the playback so much that it cannot really support playback of the music adequately.

I love the look of the 2G. It's so clean, and it does not require a case like the 1G does. and it is a bit quicker and has more treble detail. But what good is it if the overall sound is not up to par.

NOW, where can I get some "new old stock" or refurbished 1G nanos? A second one for me and one for my nephew.

"NOW, where can I get some "new old stock" or refurbished 1G nanos? A second one for me and one for my nephew."

On the apple online store, under refurbished ipods.

The refurbs are guaranteed for 1 year same as a new ipod. I got a refurb shuffle and I couldn't tell it wasn't new.
Thank you Sean. I had searched the Apple site but could not find this. I thought I had seen it before..
I posted this inquiry to the Apple bulletin board and also ilounge. I've gotten a handful of responses like this one:

"Well I have a new nano, and I also had an old nano. I miss my old nano, because it's true that the midrange on the new ones absolutely suck imo."

That is precisely my experience. I did some more testing last night at the Apple store.

Some GOOD News: the 30 gig and 80 gig have very full, robust midrange and extraordinary bass as well. Very nice sound quality, perhaps a bit thick in the lower mids, but at least they are not MIA! In favor of the new 2nd gen nano is a clean, clear sound on top that I've not heard before from ipods, but the missing midrange just kills it for me.
Have you tried fixing it with EQ?
Yes. EQ does not quite fix it, but also, EQ is notorious on ipods for adding a bit of distortion and reducing battery life (not sure why the latter would be the case).