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iPod Classic vs. FiiO E7, Cirrus Logic vs. Wolfson
iPod Classic vs. FiiO E7
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skamp
post Apr 26 2012, 14:26
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There's a lot of hype in audiophile forums about how the new iPod Classic (with a Cirrus Logic CS42L55 DAC) sounds noticeably worse than older iPods (with a Wolfson WM8758 DAC). So I decided to compare my iPod Classic (with the Cirrus Logic DAC) to my FiiO E7, which has a Wolfson WM8740 DAC (with better specs than the WM8758).

I don't currently have a good soundcard with line inputs, so I had to use an old laptop to make the recordings, pending something better. I used Audacity (16 bit / 44.1 kHz) and recorded the iPod via its Line Out Dock and the E7 via its headphone out, both with the same 16/44.1 WAV file as a source. The song is Revenge! by Spoon, from The WIRED CD: Rip. Sample. Mash. Share., a compilation of songs licensed under Creative Commons "Sampling Plus", that can be legally shared.

I aligned the recordings and volume-matched them by running wavegain on them. Download from DropBox: A.flac, B.flac, C.flac.

C.flac is the reference file that was played back on both the iPod and the E7 when recording. I'm reluctant to say which is which regarding A.flac and B.flac, because aside from ABX logs, I'd like to know which file people prefer, if any.

This is the first time I do something like this, so let me know if my methodology is valid or if it needs an adjustment. The big question I have, is whether my recordings are good enough for the purpose of comparing the two devices, or if I need a better sound card.


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saratoga
post Apr 26 2012, 17:41
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QUOTE (skamp @ Apr 26 2012, 09:26) *
There's a lot of hype in audiophile forums about how the new iPod Classic (with a Cirrus Logic CS42L55 DAC) sounds noticeably worse than older iPods (with a Wolfson WM8758 DAC).


I've never heard that, and frankly its kind of a dumb thing to believe given that the WM8758 wasn't very good due to rolled off bass in the older iPods. I've actually got some old test results here from mine:



That is not very good by modern standards.

QUOTE (skamp @ Apr 26 2012, 09:26) *
This is the first time I do something like this, so let me know if my methodology is valid or if it needs an adjustment. The big question I have, is whether my recordings are good enough for the purpose of comparing the two devices, or if I need a better sound card.


Listening tests can be difficult under these conditions. Have you considered just using a tool like RMAA to measure distortion and frequency response while driving a load? Generally speaking, I think most people will accept that a device with moderately rolled off bass (the ipod 5G) is not doing as good as one with correct bass (the 6/7G).
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