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Will buying really great earbuds make any difference when listening to an iPod?


A few years ago I bought a nice pair of Denon earbuds for $120 that certainly sounded better than the standard set you get with any iPod, and now I'm thinking of upgrading. I just can't imagine a $300-$400 pair of Shure earbuds would make iTunes sound better than any decent mid-priced ones.
 

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there is definately a point of dimishing returns with what you plan to do. While the itune files may be lossless, the very limited playback electronics within an ipod, and its limited amplification circuits will be the limiting factor on playback, not the ultra expensive earbuds.
 

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I really like my Denon AH-C710's with the 11.5mm drivers. The bass is nice and visable and not over whelming, and you can still hear the cymbols and kickdrum. Some ear buds you dont get the best of both worlds like the Bose. You get a lot of bass, but you take a hit on the treble and miss out on the detail.


I guess I would ask, as well what downloads are you using? The old Itunes songs are only 128kbps. Where the new Itunes Plus songs are in high quality 256kbps. Not only when you play them on your iPod, but even when you hook the ipod up to your AVR, you will notice a big difference in the sound quality.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by m_vanmeter /forum/post/18265918


there is definately a point of dimishing returns with what you plan to do. While the itune files may be lossless, the very limited playback electronics within an ipod, and its limited amplification circuits will be the limiting factor on playback, not the ultra expensive earbuds.

That's not true. Stereophile measured a 3rd-gen iPod a while back and it was very good. ( http://www.stereophile.com/mediaservers/934/index5.html ) Of course they change the electronics from generation to generation, but they're generally good. I saw a comparison of music-playing phones, and the iPhone was way better than most of those. Flat FR, and distortion levels comparable to or lower than hifi amplifiers. I don't remember where I saw that.


They MAY be limited in power, which would only be an issue if someone was using big traditional full-size cans. In-ear phones with balanced-armature drivers are generally extremely efficient.
 

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I have sure se-530's. I got mine for 260.00 new a few years back. They sound very good to me on my ipod. Don't know how they would compare to mid priced buds, I have never owned any. They motivate me to stay on the tread mill a little longer.
 

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My anecdote. I have been using a pair of Sony Fontopia sound isolating phones for a year or two and thought they sounded good. I upgraded to a pair of Shure SE310s (299.99 list from Shure) which I got for $150. Huge difference in sound quality, the Fontopias have pronounced muddy bass and are seriously lacking in the highs. I can hear so much more detail now. Of course, that's comparing cheap phones with decent ones. I think from what I've read, I could have saved $50 and picked up the SE210s and not noticed much difference with the 310s.
 
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