January 29, 2009

iPod Nano 4th Generation Review

iPod Nano 4th Generation Review

iNano Pod

I am well pleased with my iPod Nano which was a birthday Xmas present. It is a luxury 8gb model and it's worth paying out the extra for doubling the memory. They clearly aren't hi-fi although they do offer very good quality. The iPod is better as the AAC compression is a higher bit rate than MP3 players. That they don't off the last word in high fidelity is besides the point. Where they are going to be listened to on trains / coaches etc is an ideal listening environment.

The key thing for quality improvement is a good pair of headphones. I have a pair of Audio Technica EC7s the forerunner to th EC 700s pictured here. I got them for an excellent end-of line price. The EC700s are around £130.

Audio Technica EC 700

Audio Technica EC700

Here is the blurb if you are interested

Incredible lightweight ear-fitting headphones designed to offer both style and high quality sound. Audio-Technica has improved the EC7 earphones to bring you the EC700 GM's. With an increased driver unit and a reduction in weight to 11g, you'll get earphones with superlative sound and a lightweight fit, for total listening comfort.

The earphones feature an all aluminum body and unique, unobtrusive stylish design. Easy to clip on and designed to offer long hours of listening without them becoming uncomfortable, they come with a convenient protective carrying pouch.

Key Features

  • Type: Dynamic type
  • Driver: 15.5mm, neodymium magnet
  • Output overpressure value: 100dB/mW
  • Playback frequency zone: 10 - 24,000Hz
  • Largest input: 50mW
  • Impedance: 16 Ohms
  • Plug: 3.5mm gold plated stereo mini- plugs
  • Cord/code length: 1.2m (Y type)

My EC7s are superb but there is a problem when travelling that a lot of surrounding noise can be heard. Wearing them for a long time if you are a glasses wearer can also be uncomfortable. This means that I would be tempted towards good quality in-ear headphones such as the ones shown underneath if you plan to us them on public transport.

AT in ear headphones

Audio Technica CK9 In-ear headphones. Seem to retail for around £160

Audio-Technica presents the all new CK9 black earphones. These stunning earphone

s feature an advanced balanced armature system that has been precision factory tuned for sound quality across the full frequency. An acoustic seal improves noise isolation and an 11mm diameter driver delivers deeper bass, extended treble and higher fidelity. Yet these earphones are small enough to fit inside your ear and their size and fit means they passively block out a lot of unwanted background noise, too, so you can immerse yourself in sound.

Half the weight of the CK7 eaprhones at just 5g, neodymium magnets mean maximum energy in minimum size - far more powerful than conventional Samarium Cobalt or aluminum magnets. The CK9 BK earphones are designed for a simple and classic look and are great for outdoor pursuits such as running or at the gym. 

Key Features

  • Type: Balanced armature
  • Maximum Input Power: 3mW
  • Output Sound Level: 104dB/mW
  • Impedance: 30 ohms
  • Weight: 5g
  • Cable: 1.2m/Y-type
  • Connector: 3.5mm gold-plated stereo mini plug
  • Colour: Black or White
  • Accessories: Protective pouch

Sennheiser IE8

Top of the Range Sennheiser IE8 in ear headphones recommended price £250

The IE 8 are optimised for professional monitoring use and ideal for portable AV devices like MP3, DVD and CD players, iPods, iPhones, or any other mobile phone with a 3.5mm stereo jack.
Features :

- Dynamic drivers with powerful neodymium magnets ensure outstanding sonic accuracy and clarity.
- Excellent attenuation of ambient noise.
- Durable housing and rugged, interchangeable Kevlar®-reinforced cable.
- Unique, manual bass response tuning function.
- Sleek ergonomic design and various types and sizes (S/M/L) of ear adapters ensure a comfortable, secure fit and excellent attenuation of ambient noise.
- Optimised for MP3, iPod, iPhone, DVD and CD players, and mobile phones (3.5mm stereo plug).


- Frequency response : 10 Hz – 20 kHz.
- Cable length : 1.2 m, symmetrical (earphone to separator: 0.4 m; separator to plug: 0.8 m).
- Impedance : 16 ohm.
- THD, total harmonic distortion : < 0.1%.
- Sound pressure level (SPL) : 125 dB (1 kHz, 1 Vrms).
- Attenuation (passive) : up to 26 dB (95%).
- Connector : 3.5 mm, angled.
- Ear coupling : intra-aural (ear-canal fit).
- Transducer principle : dynamic.
- Weight : 5 g.

Supplied Accessories:

- 1 IE 8
- 1 protective case
- 1 set of ear adapters (S/M/L)
- 1 cleaning tool
- 1 cable clip

Unsurprisingly the Sennheisers got an excellent write-up in the Feb 2009 BBC Music Magazine although paying this kind of price just to use with an iPod seems a little excessive.  It is worth using on a full audio system but be sure to get an adaptor to fit the standard headphone sockets. One thing for certain is that the audio experience of an iPod can be considerably improved.  There are plenty of mid-priced in-ear headphones coming onto the market and they will offer a very good listening experience.

- 2 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. Chris Jones

    Have ordered a Sennehiser set. Will let you know what I think fo them

    10 Feb 2009, 21:30

  2. Well done Chris! Sennheiser headphones are usually a safe bet. A report on how well the sizing of the ear bits suit you and how they work in a travel situation would be great.

    11 Feb 2009, 10:55

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