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  1. ggendel's Avatar
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       #1  
    As a long-time audiophile, I was curious about the audio quality of my Pre Plus so I took some time to set up a simple blind test to compare the Pre to the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPod Classic that I had on hand.

    Remember that this test is completely subjective, and the eight listeners ranged from golden-ears to casual listeners. Volume was adjusted using a hand-held volume meter to get the outputs as close as possible. However, the bottom line is that all listeners ranked the quality of the output as follows:

    * The iPod Classic is by far the worst. The high-end is missing and the mid-range is colored. Bass is as good as the others.
    * The iPhone and iPad are virtually a match. The quality is very good. It is lacking some "depth" in the midrange compared to the Pre. Interestingly, the output is a bit lower than the pre and, as such, required a much higher volume setting to match the Pre.
    * The Pre audio is impressive. Voicing seems effortless and the bass is much tighter than the Apple products.

    Take this with whatever grain of salt you want, but I personally have to say "well done" to the choice of audio stages in the Pre by the design engineers. If it just had more storage it would be an ideal replacement for iPod-family of devices for those that really care about audio reproduction.
  2. #2  
    Thanks ggendel - Good information!
    Palm m130 > Verizon Trēo 650 > Verizon Trēo 755p > Verizon Palm Prē Plus > TouchPad > Verizon Palm Prē 2
    ~ The Future's Just Not What it Used To Be ~
  3. #3  
    Awesome info. Just curious, what kind of ears were you using for the comparison?
  4. #4  
    I don't call myself an audiophile, but have been a semi-pro musician for 25+ years, and I noticed the Pre's audio wasn't shabby, as well. Of course, it is not earth-shattering, but it definitely surpasses expectations.

    I am glad I wasn't hallucinating!
    Prē
  5. #5  
    I listen to music often with quality headphones and my Pre - or iPod Touch (2nd gen). I would agree the Pre is better. I wonder if iTunes doesn't compress music further? No clue, just a guess. I use GoGadget to sync music to my Pre -.
  6. dot1ne's Avatar
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    #6  
    +1

    One of the first apps I show my iOS & Android guys is the Music Player App and the quality of the audio. They get sold on the Music app far better than any other app on the Pre. What a UI genius, whoever that is. Oops I went OT. Gotta' love it....
    Twitter: @dot1ne
  7. #7  
    So how, exactly, did your casual listener come up with "mid range depth", "voicing seems effortless", and "the bass is much tighter".

    Next time don't put words in your listeners mouths. Grain of salt taken.
  8. ggendel's Avatar
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       #8  
    Quote Originally Posted by Mikey47 View Post
    So how, exactly, did your casual listener come up with "mid range depth", "voicing seems effortless", and "the bass is much tighter".

    Next time don't put words in your listeners mouths. Grain of salt taken.
    Exactly right. Like wine enthusiasts, audiophiles use ambiguous subjective phrases to describe things. These phases are from the more "golden" ear listeners. The casual users just said that they liked the sound of the Pre plus better.

    Gary
  9. ggendel's Avatar
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       #9  
    Quote Originally Posted by txba539 View Post
    Awesome info. Just curious, what kind of ears were you using for the comparison?
    This is just a human subjective listening test. The subjects ranged from 20 to 56 years of age. The source was several high quality VBR encoded mp3s so the source was the same on all players.

    My stereo is high end... Threshold preamp, Pass Labs amplifier, and my own hybrid transmission-line/electrostatic speaker design: ElectroStatic LoudSpeakers.

    The takeaway from all of this is that the engineers at HP/Palm did their homework for music reproduction. This doesn't imply anything about voice audio clarity over the phone. It was just a pleasant surprise.

    Gary
  10. #10  
    As an Audiophile and a long term audio industry player, I got that some of the 'ears' were more tuned than others. I appreciate the OP posting this and subsequent posts. [thanked]

    Anyway, I too consider the pre to have 'decent' sound on the device, and really good sound quality on headphones.
    Comparing the on-board speaker is not a really fair analysis since the tiny driver is not going to reproduce the best sound. However, my pre's speaker has a richer sound than my daughter's itouch 3rd gen, which seems 'tinny' to me.
    But we listen to these devices with better speakers or headphones and I have to say that there is not a great amount of difference with both sounding rich and full with little audible artifacts.

    Audio codecs are often handled differently by different devices, so a real test of the sound quality would involve hundreds of samples being played from each device into an analyzer and the resulting graphs compared.

    It would be useful to have definitive test results. I don't have the equipment to do that, and I don't think the two companies release detailed specs of the players or on-board speakers.

    It is fair to say though that the Pre is a decent music player. If only the battery was better!
    IIIXE>Clie:N710C>N760C>NX60>Treo[600>650>700]>Centro>Pre+>Pre2&Touchpad 32GB
    webOS Themes: star-trek-universe star-trek-future Future Trek for Tpad

    My CV: http://visualcv.com/egadgetguy
  11. #11  
    I agree, and the music abilities of the Pre have been under-advertised. Hope they can change that in the near future.
  12. #12  
    I think this comparison may put the iPod at a disadvantage since AAC was not used. AAC is typically considered to be superior to MP3 and since that's the default codec used on the Apple products it wouldn't surprise me to find out that their MP3 results might be less polished than those on other devices.

    Additionally, true lossless audio would give the best comparison of the audio hardware in the Pre / iPod etc. wouldn't it?

    My own listening of the Pre on my modest budget system in my Den leads me to the conclusion that MP3's encoded at even 320kbs are falling short vs. CDs played back over the same system. My iPod Nano on the other hand sounds closer to CDs but still falls short (using AAC at high bit rates).

    I have not made this comparison on a higher end system since I no longer have one setup at this point due to space within the new house and rugrats that would damage it at this point. I have listened on a number of nicer headphones both direct and via altoids can headphone amps and the same conclusion was reached.
  13. #13  
    As a dyed-in-the-wool audiophool (Squeezebox Touch•Benchmark DAC• C-J CT-5 and Premier 350•ML Summits) I'd love to see HP/Palm put their $$ where their mouths are wrt higher-quality audio, and add FLAC support to WebOS 2.0. THAT would definitely leapfrog them above Apple!
  14. #14  
    I would like to see a desktop media manager for webos devices from hp/palm too!
    IIIXE>Clie:N710C>N760C>NX60>Treo[600>650>700]>Centro>Pre+>Pre2&Touchpad 32GB
    webOS Themes: star-trek-universe star-trek-future Future Trek for Tpad

    My CV: http://visualcv.com/egadgetguy
  15. #15  
    Keeps your eyes open in the developer forums on this site in the near future... I and fellow user nyuepik are building a new music player for webOS 2.0 which will have an array of codec support and an equalizer.
    Developer of: FFplayer - a file/folder based music player. FFplayer home

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