Category Archives: aac

Sony NWZ-S616F pink

Guess what I bought.

My sister wants larger capacity DAP than the 2GB nano I gave her, and something with FM radio. The Sony player is perfect, especially with its super easy drag-n-drop file transfer. I guess transferring music to the nano is not “easy” enough for her. :p Plus she doesn’t need gapless playback.

The NWZ-S616F comes with minimal accessories. A stock bud (looks like the crappy E808), USB to WM-port cable, and a dock adapter. The body is plastic, but build quality seems okay. The buttons (especially the volume and hold switch) feel really cheap though. The FCC label looks like a cheapo sticker. Unit is Made in Malaysia. Obviously thicker vs the 2G nano (pictured above).

Drag-n-drop from my iMac is straight forward. The Sony is recognized as a UMS device. Drag-n-drop files using Finder is super easy. The only weird issue is that I cannot seem to eject the device. Every time I eject it, it will reconnect almost right away. Unplugging the USB cable when it’s not writing doesn’t hurt the content, but Finder yelled at me. I connected it to my WinXP machine, and it’s recognized as UMS device just fine. The fact that a Sony audio device can be as easy as this is mind boggling. 😀

Oh, gapless? Since I don’t see anybody doing it, I conducted a test myself. Here’s the video:

In short, gapless only on WAV files. Even at 4GB, using WAV files is not practical, unless you only listen to very few albums.


Zune 2.5 software

Microsoft released the new Zune 2.5 software, including a new firmware for Zunes. MS claims gapless playback, but doesn’t list the format supported (WMA? MP3? AAC? all?). Asking in some forums didn’t yield any results, only more fanboys comments and anecdotal claims without specific details on the format/encoder. I guess there are not many people have Zunes in the first place, and those that do probably don’t care about gapless playback. Those that do care about gapless playback are probably either still stuck with Sony’s Atrac or have iPods already (eg. me). *sigh.

So far, some claims MP3 VBR is gapless, without details on which encoder (Lame?). Some people claims WMA lossless is gapless, some said no.

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Posted by on May 8, 2008 in 2.5, aac, gaplesss, Microsoft, mp3, wma, Zune, zune software


Stereophile: MP3 vs AAC vs FLAC vs CD

Original article.

Just another “audiophile” ranting about compressed music for not being CD quality. So how did he show it? By using graphs. I’m sorry, but last time I checked, I (and most normal human beings) listen to music using my ears, not my eyes. My guess is the author just find out about frequency response graphs. There are proven methods to compare sound quality using double-blinded test (most commonly called ABX test). Did we see any sort of listening/ABX test in the article? Of course not. Because that will show that many people cannot differentiate the sound quality between CD and a compressed version (MP3, AAC, etc), not the author’s agenda.

Several quotes:
“sonically compromised, lossy-compressed music on it.”
Well, I don’t see any listening tests to proof that lossy-compressed music are “sonically compromised.”

“all compressed file formats, both lossless and lossy, effectively have zero data redundancy, they are much more vulnerable than uncompressed files to bit errors in transmission.”
WTF is he talking about? Bit errors transmission? What the hell? Might some audiophile technobabble. Again, despite of the frequent usage of graphs, I don’t see him proving this “bit errors in transmission,” whatever that means.

The only good thing about this article is the recommendation of lossless compression, which are useful in backing up your music. Oh well, if there are no people like this author (audiophiles), then manufactures like Bose or Monster Cable would be out of business. Think about the people loosing those jobs… Oh, and don’t forget those $5000 cables.

Moral of the story, instead of buying these kind of magazines, go to HydrogenAudio and learn about listening tests, ABX, and the facts about audio compression.

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Posted by on March 12, 2008 in aac, audiophile, cd, mp3, sound quality, stereophile