Like B's in a Pod
I remember someone telling me years ago that, in order to prevent 'P's sounding like spit on the radio, D.J.'s were coached to say 'B' instead. I remember WBLR, I mean WPLR, in New Haven, Connecticut being one such station. Sometimes you'd catch them, clear as day, with a 'B' rolling off their tongues, but for the most part they got away with it, no one the wiser.
That's how I feel about Apple bragging about how many songs they can cram in their new 5G (that's 5th generation) iPods and no one the wiser. They do that by using the low-bit encoding default of 128 kbps. Sure you get a lot of songs but guess what? They sound like spit!
No wonder audiophiles hate these things. I listened to my kids' iPods with real headphones, not the "don't worry your ears will get use to them" hard plastic micro-contaminant freebies they throw in for $300, and I bet I could distinguish the iPod from the CD blindfolded, ten tries out of ten. Yeah, it's that bad.
But (sigh), it doesn't have to be.
At 320 kbps, the sound goes from lousy to pret' damn near audiophile quality. But use AAC, not the decade older MP3 format which, while "universal," seems to suck no matter what rate you use. What details get lost by the lossy encoding are overshadowed but the intimacy afforded speakers a fraction of an inch away from your ear drum. As for capacity, you can still average almost 100 songs per gigabyte, or about 1.25 GB consumed for every 10 CDs which adds up to 3000 songs by Apple's reckoning, or 200-250 CDs on a 30 GB iPod by mine. That's still over a week of music!
Accessories? There are lots of them, starting with earphones invented by humans for humans, like those by Etymotic Research and Shure. Then there are accessories, such as the many made by Belkin that let you get the most utility out of your investment of money and time.
The temptation was too strong.
I finally grew envious. And overweight. The iPod is supposed to herald my triumphant return to the gym. In fact, on vacation last week, I went jogging three times with my new 30 GB iPod in hand. I had on big AKG headphones, so I must have looked like a geek. Still, you scuttle up from the beach and run barefoot through the Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach and they call security. Do the same thing with an iPod, and the pool boy tosses you a towel as you pass.
Press < Pause >.