The Shuffle Sound

july 18, 2005

I wrote about this earlier, but on Friday I was really blown away with my own testing. I have been using my iPod shuffle (512MB) quite a lot since I got it. I have been using it so much so that my 4G iPod 40GB had been sitting in the entertainment center as the jukebox that feeds the sound system. I had not used the iPod 40GB as a portable player for a long time, so I decided on Friday, I'd take it to work with me. I figured it would be nice to carry my whole library of music with me and enjoy different music depending on my mood -- unlike the shuffle where I'd pick out a selection of music before hand. When I sat down to work and turned on the iPod 40GB, I was stunned at how bad the sound was compared to the shuffle. The sound was muffled and the stereo separation was not defined at all. This was compared to the bright balanced sounds that came out of my shuffle. I guess I had listened and gotten used to my 3G iPod 15GB and 4G iPod 40GB that I did not realize that the sound coming out was so mediocre when compared to something else. I will still listen to my iPod 40GB when I want to have a good selection or when it is hooked up into home entertainment system. But, for general listening, I will be listening to my iPod shuffle -- first, because it sounds better and also because it is so portable that I can just throw it into my bag and go. If only Apple would put an LCD screen on the thing (monochrome and small is OK) in the next iteration, that would be great.