In which a group of graying eternal amateurs discuss their passions, interests and obsessions, among them: movies, art, politics, evolutionary biology, taxes, writing, computers, these kids these days, and lousy educations.

E-Mail Donald
Demographer, recovering sociologist, and arts buff

E-Mail Fenster
College administrator and arts buff

E-Mail Francis
Architectural historian and arts buff

E-Mail Friedrich
Entrepreneur and arts buff
E-Mail Michael
Media flunky and arts buff


We assume it's OK to quote emailers by name.







Try Advanced Search



  1. Another Technical Note
  2. La Ligne Maginot
  3. Actress Notes
  4. Technical Day
  5. Peripheral Explanation
  6. More Immigration Links
  7. Another Graphic Detournement
  8. Peripheral Artists (5): Mikhail Vrubel
  9. Illegal Update


CultureBlogs
Sasha Castel
AC Douglas
Out of Lascaux
The Ambler
PhilosoBlog
Modern Art Notes
Cranky Professor
Mike Snider on Poetry
Silliman on Poetry
Felix Salmon
Gregdotorg
BookSlut
Polly Frost
Polly and Ray's Forum
Cronaca
Plep
Stumbling Tongue
Brian's Culture Blog
Banana Oil
Scourge of Modernism
Visible Darkness
Seablogger
Thomas Hobbs
Blog Lodge
Leibman Theory
Goliard Dream
Third Level Digression
Here Inside
My Stupid Dog
W.J. Duquette


Politics, Education, and Economics Blogs
Andrew Sullivan
The Corner at National Review
Steve Sailer
Samizdata
Junius
Joanne Jacobs
CalPundit
Natalie Solent
A Libertarian Parent in the Countryside
Rational Parenting
Public Interest.co.uk
Colby Cosh
View from the Right
Pejman Pundit
Spleenville
God of the Machine
One Good Turn
CinderellaBloggerfella
Liberty Log
Daily Pundit
InstaPundit
MindFloss
Catallaxy Files
Greatest Jeneration
Glenn Frazier
Jane Galt
Jim Miller
Limbic Nutrition
Innocents Abroad
Chicago Boyz
James Lileks
Cybrarian at Large
Hello Bloggy!
Setting the World to Rights
Travelling Shoes


Miscellaneous
Redwood Dragon
IMAO
The Invisible Hand
ScrappleFace
Daze Reader
Lynn Sislo
The Fat Guy
Jon Walz

Links


Our Last 50 Referrers







« Elsewhere | Main | Razib and Derb »

November 11, 2005

iPods and Viagra

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

It's an iPod universe; we just happen to live in it. The iPod Nano is selling out, and the video iPod has been a showstopper. Interesting fact: of the 30 million iPods that have been sold since the original iPod was introduced in October 2001, 22 million of them were bought in 2005.

I finally joined the iPoddin' hordes a couple of months ago. Until then, I'd resisted for a quirky look-and-feel reason: I dislike the idea of carrying around a small device that's based on a hard drive. Those whirring disks Those little magnetic arms ... A small electronic gizmo that is full of the kinds of delicate moving parts that have failed me three times already? No, I don't think so.

Then the iPod Shuffle was introduced. The Shuffle doesn't have a hard drive; it's based on flash memory (which means no moving parts). It's also tiny -- the size of a pack of gum -- and it's relatively cheap. Drop a Shuffle and it'll survive. Lose it and you aren't out very much dough. I find it fascinating that the Nano -- which, like the Shuffle, is flash-memory based -- is such a hit. I wonder if lots of people have the same wary feelings about hard drives that I do. So I bought a Shuffle and became an iPodder.

I'm not sure what my final verdict is on the Shuffle. It's tiny, it's easy to use, and it's no source of anxiety -- these are all good things. What I love most about the device is listening to audiobooks on it. Thanks to Felix Salmon for suggesting that I record CD-based audiobooks into iTunes and then listen to them on the Shuffle. (CD-based audiobooks have tracks, just like music CDs do.) The routine involves some tedium -- 30 minutes or so of feeding CDs into the computer, and then moving data onto the Shuffle. But the results are molto groovy. There's something pleasingly miraculous about carrying, say, an entire Teaching Company lecture series around in your shirt pocket.

As a device for listening to music, though, the Shuffle has broken my heart. This isn't because the Shuffle has no screen and holds no more than a few hundred songs; neither of these facts bother me. It's more simple and basic than that. It's because I find the experience of listening to music on the Shuffle depressing.

As far as I can tell, this has little to do with sound quality per se. The Shuffle's sound is nothing if not clear and rockin'. It seems to have to do instead with the way that the iPod compresses and presents music -- and especially with how the resulting soundwaves hit my brain and my soul.

Someone at iTunes' technical HQ seems convinced that the way to overcome the deficits of severe audio compression is to crank the "effects" dial 'way up. The result is that music listened to on the Shuffle seems to consist largely of weirdly heightened sonic details -- calloused fingers sliding over guitar strings, tiny catches in throats, shimmers on cymbals. Meanwhile, something else -- something crucial -- has been edited out of the mix. I search for the right words: the connective tissue, maybe. The in-between stuff. The impulse that surges through the music. The flow.

Maybe even the music itself. That's more like it: What the iPod delivers is a grabby simulation of music. I find it a remarkably unconvincing one; it leaves me wondering what has happened to the music's spirit, its feeling, its soul. Worse, it leaves me wondering what has become of my own soul. In fact, I find listening to music on the Shuffle a rather upsetting experience. All those niftily-exaggerated effects keep my ears tweaked and alert, but the empty-and-colorless in-betweenness leaves my soul and spirit feeling undernourished. My brain struggles and fails to reconcile the resemblance the sounds have to music that I love with the complete lack of responsiveness to it that I feel. The simple act of digging the tunes gets obscured by a cloud of emotional-spiritual cognitive dissonance.

I'm surprised that I have the reservations that I do because I enjoy listening to music via iTunes on the desktop Mac's external speakers. The Wife and I keep 90% of our CDs -- everything but the most sonically-subtle classical stuff -- on our iMac's hard drive. We're so happy with this arrangement that, a few years ago, I chucked the conventional stereo.

But with the music beamed directly into my skull via the Shuffle and its earphones, I find the experience to be something else entirely. I listen, aware (however dimly) that engineers and techies are exploiting my physical and psychological responses in order to fool me into thinking that I'm listening to real music. A trick is being played on me. Knowing this makes me feel cross and queasy, and gets in the way of being swept along by the music. Worse, it hits me as jarring, hollow, even a little sick-making.

Some historical context for the young 'uns: Complaints about the quality of digital sound have been around right from outset. Early CDs dazzled everyone with their clarity, but the sound they delivered also appalled a fair number of listeners, who found it harsh and cold. Although the engineers behind the technology assured everyone at the time that no one's ears could really be that sensitive -- we were said to be fooling ourselves -- it's now generally agreed that early digital music left a lot to be desired. Perhaps the music industry would have been better off had it waited for a year or two to introduce CDs. If they had waited, sampling rates could have been double what they were when digital music was actually introduced. But the music and tech companies didn't wait -- and a lot of time and money since have been spent developing ways to disguise the gappiness in CD audio. A lot of imagination and invention has been expended by creative people figuring out ways to exploit that gappiness too. The kind of pop music we're surrounded by now -- collage-like stuff that's full of sampling, techno-beats, scratches, and sonic effects -- is an offshoot of the digitization of audio.

As for music on iTunes or MP3s? These devices and technologies make music files even gappier and more serrated than the earliest CDs. A lot of information really does go missing, even if the highlights have more bite. I find listening to music on my Shuffle like eating cleverly-engineered junk food ("Real Butter Taste!"). I find it like watching a videotape of a live stage performance. I find it like --

Well, to be honest, what listening to music on my iPod Shuffle reminds me of most is having sex while on Viagra. (Bail out now if you aren't in the mood to hear a detail or two about MB's experiments with Viagra.) I've tried Viagra a half a dozen times -- and why not? We're the medicated society after all.

Viagra is, of course, known for giving the usual sexual responses a boost. It seems to be taken for granted by most people that Viagra is a great success -- that the challenge of using a pill to stimulate physical arousal has been conquered. Comedians joke about randy oldsters, and social-commentary types fret about the consequences.

Me, I found being on Viagra unpleasant. Make that extremely unpleasant. The way Viagra works is by encouraging congestion. Soon after taking a dose, you start to feel buzzy and tingly. You also start to notice that the tendency some of your fleshy bits have to swell up occasionally is becoming more pronounced.

And there's the catch. It isn't just the desired fleshy bits that become more enthusiastic about swelling up. It's all of your fleshbits that are capable of congesting that become more prone than usual to congest.

Like many other people, I found that not only did my awesome manhood become more determined than usual to bulge out, so did some of my less-studly parts: namely my sinuses and my nasal passages. Various other non-optimal side effects hit me full force too. I had a pronounced sense that I was drugged. My perceptions went off. Small but distinct electric-blue edges glowed around objects in my visual field.

So there I was: a degree or two harder-and-heavier in the crotch, sure. But also feeling like I was 1) coming down with a very bad flu, and 2) high on mediocre LSD. My misery was far worse when I tried Cialis. Here's just some of what Cialis inflicted on me: 24 hours of the worst flu-like symptoms I have ever endured; an aching spine; a splitting headache; and joint pains that nearly had me hurrying to an emergency room. After recovering from this awful episode, I peppered the Cialis people with complaints. Finally some p-r person called to apologize. She allowed as to how, Well, yes, it's true that some small percentage of users do endure severe pains Consider yourself warned.

In any case, the medical engineers behind Viagra might justifiably point to my slightly-more-tumescent-than-usual groin and say, See, our miracle pill works! They could high-five each other. But -- between you and me -- my experiments with Viagra have me shaking my head over what literal-minded knuckleheads scientists can be. What a stupid, unimaginative, and one-dimensional conception of eroticism Viagra represents: increased susceptibility to congestion. For what kind of spiritually-stunted person is congestion what sex is all about? So I look at the scientists, the technologiests, and their publicists and say, "Typical of science and medicine, no? As far as they're concerned, the operation was a success. Too bad the patient -- namely whatever interest I might have had in participating in erotic pleasure -- died."

Listening to music on the iPod? It delivers a lot of grabby and familiar-but-new effects, accompanied by a deep-down feeling that I'd really rather not.

For the millionth time, I find myself marveling over how good the digital media are at showering us with brightness, ease, and effects, yet how often something that's essential to my love of the arts seems to drop out of the equation. Digital media products -- the tools and what they're usually used to produce -- can't be beat for brightness, pep, ease, and convenience. And there's no disputing the fact that world's media are going digital. Yet it might be worthwhile to ask what it is that vanishes as we convert our culture to digital. And it may not be a total waste of time to wonder what and where it is that this je ne sais quoi vanishes into.

Speaking of the large and the inevitably metaphysical, I notice that Rick Darby's mind has been on the wonderful Hindu philosophical school known as Vedanta.

I've sometimes found myself thinking that listening to music via iPod and headphones is like creating a gated community for my own ears-and-brain. TechCentralStation's Josie Appleton says that this may be a good thing.

iPod fans should enjoy iPodLounge and iPodObserver.

Wouldn't it be lovely if hard drives became obsolete? Accursed things. I know one techie who considers it a scandal that we have propped so much of our lives on such delicate and prone-to-failure devices. A hopeful sign is that flash-memory capacities will be skyrocketing in the near future. Sanyo has announced that they'll be bringing out a 16 gigabyte flash memory card next year. That'll be enough for a few thousand tunes, or (installed in a camera, or a video player) for hours of decent-quality video.

Hey, check out this exhaustive Wikipedia article about iPods. That's one detailed and lovingly-done encyclopedia entry.

Best,

Michael

posted by Michael at November 11, 2005




Comments

But -- between you and me -- my experiments with Viagra have me shaking my head over what literal-minded knuckleheads scientists can be. What a stupid, unimaginative, and one-dimensional conception of eroticism Viagra represents: increased susceptibility to congestion.For what kind of spiritually-stunted person is congestion what sex is all about?

Come on, Mike. Viagra is just version 1.0. It has bugs. Viagra 2015 will be maleness in a bottle, without the side effects. And just wait for IMO far more useful female version -- codenamed Niagara ;)

Posted by: gc on November 11, 2005 01:39 AM



I know one techie who considers it a scandal that we have propped so much of our lives on such delicate and prone-to-failure devices.

RAID, RAID, RAID.

Posted by: gc on November 11, 2005 01:40 AM



I bought a Mini in the SoHo Apple Store while I was over visiting your wonderful home town a few weeks ago. I haven't noticed the same things you have about the sound quality. I wonder if it's a general headphones thing - I'm just generally uncomfortable with that coming-from-inside-your-head thing, even on my upper-midrange big headphones on the home stereo.

I do find, though, that the iPod just doesn't really seem to fit into my life. (I wasn't sure if it would, which is why I took so long to get one, but I was determined to do Shopping in NY.) On the subway? Too much background noise, can't hear a thing. Walking? I don't want to shut myself off from my surroundings and awareness of what's going on around me - unyogic. At work? Sometimes, not often. My previous contract gig was crushingly boring and I needed classical music on a portable CD player to keep me sane. Current one is interesting, fun & high pressure, and music just doesn't fit.

Posted by: Alan Little on November 11, 2005 04:43 AM



I also wonder whether your uncomfortableness with the ipod comes out of the headphone experience. I know I've never enjoyed any type of headphones, even the old-fashioned large comfy ones. I guess I'm used to music coming from an external source and "surrounding" me rather than it being right in my brain. It's a different psychological experience.

Great post. Where else would there be a comparison of the ipod and viagra?

Posted by: Neil on November 11, 2005 06:05 AM



Ay, I have to come to the defense of medicinal chemistry here. It's mostly forgotten now that Viagra wasn't developed with sexual uses in mind at all. It was going to be a vasodilator for cardiovascular patients, and the interesting and unusual side effect was noted in clinical trials. Pfizer decided to turn a bug into a feature. (And, as someone who works at a competing company, I can't help but note that that's the only example I can think of in the last umpteen years of Pfizer coming up with a profitable compound all on their own, without having to buy someone else.)

So, on behalf of the drug industry, I plead "not guilty" to the charge of being anti-erotic reductionists. Opportunistic money-mongers, sure - which is why we have two more compounds on the market that work by the same mechanism. Oh, well. . .

Posted by: Derek Lowe on November 11, 2005 07:08 AM



I'm going to have to express a little skepticism here about the iPod being the source of the sound issues. It's possible, but I don't take it for granted, that the iPod intentionally processes the MP3s that are on it with some sort of equalizer settings. Try hooking it up to your home speakers.

Maybe I shouldn't be so surprised though, I can listen to the same MP3 file on two different computers with the same set of headphones and have distinctly different audio experiences. (Maybe it's the quality of the connector?)

Posted by: . on November 11, 2005 09:31 AM



Could it be that the negative IPod sound you've experienced were the side effects of Viagra?

..aware ...that engineers and techies are exploiting my physical and psychological responses in order to fool me into thinking that I'm listening to real music. A trick is being played on me. Knowing this makes me feel cross and queasy, and gets in the way of being swept along by the music. Worse, it hits me as jarring, hollow, even a little sick-making.

My feelings exactly after reading your "blowjobs in the French movies" series; captured perfectly, thanks.

Posted by: Tatyana on November 11, 2005 09:38 AM



Tumescent and iPod in the same article - brilliant!

As Alan explained and I agree, the iPod is just another way to shut yourself off from life.


To quote wise old Timothy:

"My advice to people today is as follows: If you take the game of life seriously, if you take your nervous system seriously, if you take your sense organs seriously, if you take the energy process seriously, you must turn on, tune in, and drop out. "

Posted by: Cowtown Pattie on November 11, 2005 10:05 AM



If this post had included French actresses it would have represented the Platonic Ideal of Blowhard.

And I'd love to see the faces of the guys in the Apple complaints department when this line crosses their desk:

"The simple act of digging the tunes gets obscured by a cloud of emotional-spiritual cognitive dissonance."

They probably get a lot of that.

Those early CD proponents are much on my mind these days. Remember their outrageous confidence? Remember all their slogans about how "bits are bits" and so forth? Remember their tales of audiophiles being unable to distinguish CD from LP in blind tests? Remember how we weren't supposed to trust our lying ears? And finally, remember how rotten all the CDs sounded?

All those arguments are still about, but they're expanding into different fields, conquering the world. Frex, here's some guys who make wine by separating its component fluids in a centrifuge, recombining them, and adding oak chips for fake barrel flavor. Indistinguishable! At least, if a chemical reaction on the surface of the tongue is all you're after. If you want to be transported in your imagination to a sun-drenched vineyard, well, get one of those Fodor's videos. (And get a load of their spokesbabe; the classic PR type.)

Sometimes I think I'm turning into Rumpole.

Posted by: Brian on November 11, 2005 01:10 PM



If you want a happier music experience, I'd recommend you try two possible changes:

(1) get better headphones. In particular, try a design where the speaker is /near/ your ear but not actually /in/ it and there is space for sound from the outside world to get in too. Then when you're out walking about you won't feel like you've shut out the rest of the world - you'll still feel and hear the sounds of the street, but you'll also have your own private soundtrack accompanying it. (Sometimes they call this an "open back" or "open ear" design.)

(2) Get a Nano and experiment with the different equalizer settings. Because the Shuffle has no screen, they had to pick a one-size-fits-all equalization model. Because the Nano has a more substantial UI, you can select from a variety of EQ profiles. You can also easily select from different content sources - I suggest something instrumental (say, jazz or classical) when you want a soundtrack that enhances rather than distracts from the experience of walking down the street.

Posted by: Glen Raphael on November 11, 2005 04:13 PM



I'll throw out something: those ipod mini-earplugs are just a lawsuit waiting to happen.

At a sound design workshop I took recently, a sound editor warned us of using any headphones that go inside your ear. It causes hearing loss! In outdoor settings the tendency is to turn the volume too high. Unfortunately lots of the travel headphones have too little noise cancellation to prevent you from having to turn the volume up.

Posted by: Robert Nagle on November 11, 2005 05:02 PM



By the way, great article!

Posted by: Robert Nagle on November 11, 2005 05:09 PM



Devices very much like the ipod shuffle
existed a couple years before the ipod
itself. That is, flash memory devices with
about the same amout of memory and about
the same price. It's rather disturbing
that over the five or so years, the
price hasn't come down, or the memory up.

When the ipod came out, people told me the
earlier devices failed because they didn't
have enough memory, that only a hard drive
would do, but clearly they were wrong.

Posted by: L on November 11, 2005 08:02 PM



L, the /size/ has come down, the memory per unit volume has gone up dramatically, and the price per unit of memory at a given size has come down. The shuffle was tiny compared to its predecessors. Most of the earlier devices also in fact /didn't/ have enough memory - many of the earliest devices had 128 mb or less.

The nano has up to 4 gigabytes of flash memory. If you can find me an "earlier device" with that much memory in that small and light a package, I'll be very surprised.

Posted by: Glen Raphael on November 11, 2005 10:40 PM



As for /why/ iPods tend to be smaller, higher capacity and cheaper (when making apples-to-apples comparisons - no fair comparing with a bigger, uglier, discontinued model of lower capacity) - it's amusing to note that the music player market is the exact opposite of the PC market. When it comes to music players, Apple is the 800-lb gorilla with all the economics of scale on their side. If Apple discovers that they could make their product better with the help of a special custom chip or custom circuit or custom battery or custom UI controller or just some extra-clever software engineering and testing, they can spread the development cost over more units sold for a lower per-unit cost. And there's enough pent-up demand for each new product that they can buy the entire production run of the latest memory chip or hard drive as it comes on the market. So they get a huge natural publicity boost with each new release that pushes the envelope of what's possible using the best technology available at the time.

Eventually they may falter, but so far they've done a good job of pressing the advantage and staying well ahead of the pack.

Posted by: Glen Raphael on November 11, 2005 11:03 PM



GC -- Where it comes to reassurances that science will ultimately answer all questions, you da man!

Alan -- That's another good topic, how and whether portable music players fit into your life, and what kind of use you do or don't make of them. I'd love to be one of those smug blissed-out people groovin' to their iPods, but it hasn't happened yet.

Neil -- Preferences in earphones seem to be very strong, don't you find? I generally can't stand earplugs or those big "cans," earphones that sit over the entire ear and almost block out the external world. My ears get sweaty, and my eardrums start to hurt. I'm OK though with those cheapie hard plastic things with a cheapo headband that kind of drop into ear. They coexist with ambient noise pretty well, and don't make me claustrophobic. Do you suppose real music people come to love wearing earphones? Scary.

Derek -- Thanks for the history lesson. Though I cling to my hunch that many sci-tech people may be eroticism reductionists, I now have no justifcation for doing so.

"." -- I'm trying and failing to make a distinction that may not exist: between "sound quality" on the one hand and "how it affects me" on the other. The sound quality of the Shuffle doesn't seem bad. My ears aren't great, and I'm probably not qualify to judge anyway. But a few weeks of listening to music on the machine left me feeling blue, and I started to wonder why. Interesting to learn that you notice you have different music experiences on different setups. Do they affect you emotionally in different ways?

Tatyana -- Drug hangovers would explain a lot!

Pattie -- Strange, isn't it, this whole shutting yourself off from life but feeling smug about it thing? What's with that? I've been noodling away at a posting about how weird it is that masturbation has been elevated to some kind of noble principle in the last 30 years. Which, I don't know why, strikes me as semi-related ...

Brian -- Where aesthetic experiences are concerned, that whole reverse-engineering approach seldom seems to work, does it? I'm so often conscious of having my responses bullied around rather than teased/seduced/engaged/enlarged. And there's always that sense that at the end of the experience some guy with a probe is going to announce that the experiment has been a success, and is also going to demand that I congratulate him on his triumph. Scary.

Glen -- Thanks for the tips and the info. Always a pleasure being educated by you.

Robert Nagle -- That's fascinating, because those little high-end inside-the-ear headphones seem to be very hot right now. I wonder if all those poor suckers will be hurting their hearing. I've never entirely understood the quest for technical perfection anyway, have you? I kind of enjoy listening to reproduced music through non-perfect systems, just as I have many fond memories of seeing movies that were crappily projected. IMHO, if there's some problem with music and movies, it isn't that the technical reproduction systems aren't perfect. Feh on perfection anyway.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on November 12, 2005 01:54 AM



Unless you are referring to some technical advance I have missed completely, what Samsung have is a 16Gigabit flash memory chip (ie 2Gb), not a 16 Gigabyte chip. Of course, quite a few of these can be used to replace one hard drive, and they are perhaps getting close to extremely small hard drives (such as the one inch drive in the iPod mini) in terms of price per byte of capacity, but they are still a long way behind even the 1.8 inch drives used in full sized iPods let alone the 2.5 inch drives in laptops and 3.5 inch desktop drives.

And whereas 20Gb of storage in a computer might have been adequate for many people a couple of years back, I think we are just about to leave all that behind. I have just started storing large amounts of video on my hard drives, and this uses up capacity fast. I suspect that most people will be doing this too soon. I think it is going to be a while before flash memory catches up with these new accelerating requirements, sadly.

In addition, flash memory access is slow compared to hard drive access. And hard drive access speed is one of the key bottlenecks in many computers. Laptop performance often feels sluggish compared to desktop performance, and this is cose to being the entire reason why. (Laptop hard drives have traditionally been 4200rpm, and this speed is still common, although many new ones are 5400rpm, and 7200rpm are available if you really look for them, although they use more power and are probably less reliable. Desktop hard drives are almost always 7200rpm, with a very small number of exceptions being 10000rpm for people who require extremely high performance.

Posted by: Michael Jennings on November 13, 2005 05:01 PM



I agree with the other comments that your two most likely culprits are the headphones and the pre-set equalizers in the iPod.

Things you wedge in your ear will never be able to create the frequency response you need to be able to hear music properly - outside of lo-fi thrash. No, you need to get the geeky-looking ones that cover your ears like earmuffs, so you will perpetually look like a teenager discovering Pink Floyd in headphones for the first time. Not that price always indicates quality, but with headphones it's close. Expect to cough up at least $40 or more for good ones. (I've had good luck with JVCs.) Of course, these kind of headphones aren't conducive for jogging or other on-the-go activities, but really, don't you typically listen while stationary somewhere? Get the goofy-looking, but wonderful sounding ones; it will help immensely.

As for the equalization on your iPod. Two things are typically to blame: 1) pre-set equalizer settings (meaning someone else's ears and equipment were used to set them, 2) limiters that try to maintain a consistent volume during playback. First of all, you have to completely disable the second one, the auto-levels. They're useful if you don't want to have to mess with the volume from song to song on shuffle, but they toy with the sound terribly. Once you have the auto-levels disabled, then you have to tweak up two or three equalizer settings that work for your headphones and the type of audio you listen to. You do this by selecting three representative types of songs/tracks, say a very dynamic rock song, a dynamic classical piece, and since you listen to books on tape, a track of that. As you play each track, set the equalizer so it sounds best to you, and save those settings for easy loading.

I suggest that for pop/rock/jazz for headphones you go heavy towards the bass, get the treble high but not so high it hurts, and then once you have those to levels you like, the volume of the midrange makes all the difference. Two things I've found effective: of the bass equalizer settings, you use the one second from the end to play with the bass, and leave the one on the end above the line, but not too high. Those are frequencies that will just make your headphones fuzzy sounding, but the second bass adjuster is the range that most influences headphones. The midrange usually delivers best sound just a hair below the midline, or right on it.

For classical, you want a flatter line all the way across. Have the bass and treble slightly above midline, but not as high as for pop/rock/jazz.

For voice, you want a little push in the bass, but treble should be just above midline, and the midrange should actually be a good tick or two above midline, as it carries most of the frequencies of the human voice. This way you can play it at a reasonably low volume and still hear everything. Think of how voices on a phone sound, they're very limited but clear. That's because they pass it through limiting filters and then give you primarily midrange.

Hope this helps.

Posted by: Yahmdallah on November 14, 2005 11:50 AM



I tend to agree that the sound quality is a headphone/equalizer issue, but if you want to test the compression, try importing a piece of music from CD into iTunes using Apple Lossless Encoder. This will produce a much larger file, but the sound will be identical to the CD. I don't have an iPod, but I'm pretty sure it accepts this format from iTunes.

On the current version of iTunes, you can set this in Preferences, 'Advanced' tab, 'Importing' panel.

I hope this helps.

Posted by: dm on November 14, 2005 12:34 PM



I turn all equalization off on my Mini; don't know if that's possible on the shuffle (maybe from the PC when plugged in?). Headphones: Sennheiser PX100 (http://www.headphone.com/guide/by-manufacturer/sennheiser/sennheiser-px-100.php)

Posted by: Alan Little on November 14, 2005 05:27 PM



Ummm...hate to tell you but viagra is a MEDICINE for those suffering from neurological and circulation problems causing impotence...it is NOT an aphrodesiac per se, although some use it as such.
I prescribe it for my Diabetic male patients who are impotent from Diabetic neuropathy causing impotence, and also for those post treatment for prostate cancer. For them, it is a treatment, although it does not always work.
Using it improves their love life, usually with a wife or steady girlfriend, and more power to these little old men.
Using it to increase size and number of erections for a normal person is abuse, just as using Prozac to make one happy or use valium to be high is abuse...
Sorry to be judgemental...
But the congestion side effects are because it increases circulation...if you don't like it, there are local inserts and injections...

Posted by: boinkie on November 21, 2005 03:43 AM






Post a comment
Name:


Email Address:


URL:


Comments:



Remember your info?