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#340220 - 02/26/11 02:47 PM Objective testing of portable media (MP3) players
BlueJays1 Offline
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Registered: 09/19/08
Posts: 4116
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Here is a really well done article (the best that I have seen) objectively testing portable music players. It is a very in depth analysis of the Sansa Clip+ and the much more expensive iPod Touch. The Clip+ starts at about $39.99. It is an extremely long article so here is a quick summary.

FINAL SCORE: I count 4 wins for the iPod, 3 for the Clip+, and 2 ties. That makes it a fairly even battle--impressive considering the huge price difference. But given many of the iPod's wins are likely an inaudible advantage, and the opposite is true for the Clip+ (the lower output impedance, higher output at less distortion, and better square wave performance), one could argue the Clip+ is more likely to sound better in real world use. This will especially be true with balanced armature type headphones.

SUMMARY: As stated near the beginning of this review the Clip+ turned in excellent performance for just about any portable player, let alone a really tiny one under $40. While the iPod has the performance advantage in several areas I'm not sure any of them will result in audibly better sound quality. I am, however, fairly confident the lower output impedance and higher low distortion output power of the Clip+ are an audible advantage over the iPod with many headphones--especially balanced armature types such as most of the Etymotic IEMs, Shure IEMs, Ultimate Ear IEM's etc. These all tend to have wider impedance swings which, combined with the iPod's roughly 7 ohm output impedance, will create audible frequency response variations compared to the Clip+ (see the earlier graph). The flip side of this is some might actually prefer the "less flat" frequency response they get with the iPod. And some argue certain headphone makers "voice" their affordable portable products for use with iPods.


http://nwavguy.blogspot.com/2011/02/sansa-clip-measured.html
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#340229 - 02/26/11 04:34 PM Re: Objective testing of portable media (MP3) players [Re: BlueJays1]
BlueJays1 Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 09/19/08
Posts: 4116
Loc: Porch,enjoying Bombay Sapphire
CV,

One setting to change if you want to get the best battery life (I know you were complaining about that a while ago). This is very helpful in extending your battery life especially if your catalog is mostly lossless FLAC and/or use the MicroSD slot. Go into...

Settings --> System Settings --> Brightness (move the bar all the way to the left).
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Iím armed and Iím drinking. You donít want to listen to advice from me, amigo.

-Max Payne

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#340246 - 02/26/11 07:22 PM Re: Objective testing of portable media (MP3) players [Re: BlueJays1]
CV Offline
Founder, Axiom Upgrade Club
shareholder in the making

Registered: 07/20/06
Posts: 11677
Loc: Richland, WA, USA
I'll do that. I don't expect it to make a huge difference since I usually only have the screen on when I first turn it on. After that I just let it play in shuffle without further fiddling, but dimming it wouldn't hurt anything. Thanks.

And yes, FLAC, no MicroSD.

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#340248 - 02/26/11 07:32 PM Re: Objective testing of portable media (MP3) players [Re: CV]
BlueJays1 Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 09/19/08
Posts: 4116
Loc: Porch,enjoying Bombay Sapphire
If you "rockbox" the clip+, that would offer the biggest improvement in terms of battery life over using the stock Sansa firmware. You should get over 10+ hours as the FLAC encoder is implemented more efficiently on the rockbox firmware.

http://www.rockbox.org/wiki/WhyRockbox

http://www.rockbox.org/wiki/SansaRuntime
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Iím armed and Iím drinking. You donít want to listen to advice from me, amigo.

-Max Payne

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#340259 - 02/26/11 08:12 PM Re: Objective testing of portable media (MP3) players [Re: BlueJays1]
CV Offline
Founder, Axiom Upgrade Club
shareholder in the making

Registered: 07/20/06
Posts: 11677
Loc: Richland, WA, USA
That looks cool, but honestly, I haven't needed more battery life since it lasts as long as I need it to. I simply need to remember to charge it in between uses.

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#340260 - 02/26/11 08:17 PM Re: Objective testing of portable media (MP3) players [Re: CV]
BlueJays1 Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 09/19/08
Posts: 4116
Loc: Porch,enjoying Bombay Sapphire
Ah, glad you got it all sorted out.
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Iím armed and Iím drinking. You donít want to listen to advice from me, amigo.

-Max Payne

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