MP3 players


Which portable MP3 player has the best sound quality? Which has the best equalizer? Should I wait for Zune to come out?



Relatively speaking, the physical MP3 player has very little to do with overall sound quality. The two biggest factors are headphone quality, and the quality of the actual MP3 file (record them at 192 khz or better).

Upgrading your headphones will make the biggest difference. The stylish white headphones that come with Apple’s iPod? They suck. Try these and you’ll be blown away — won’t believe what you’ve been missing. In general, Koss headphones (“stereophones“) offer the best bang for the buck for portable stuff.

As for equalization, you generally want to keep it flat. The people who record and master your music have spent countless hours and dollars making each song sound just right. If you’re using weak headphones, yes, you may need to crank up the bass a little — though most mastering engineers have already taken this into consideration, cranking mid-bass frequencies for smaller and weaker speakers.

Microsoft’s new Zune? Remember the first-generation iPod — the one with the scrolly wheel that kept breaking? Don’t buy a first-gen Zune, either.

Rock on,

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