I splurged when I purchased the white 30GB iPod 5G (Video) during my last Singapore trip in early September. Despite the initial syncing trouble on my IBM T41 USB2.0 port, I finally got a gigabyte of music synced after a sleepless night. Yes! For some weird reason, iPod loves the USB 1.0 on Windows XP. To date, I sync my music-videos-podcasts from my home's Pentium III 666MHz USB 1.0 port. It's just so weird!
Also, a lesson learned from installation is that make sure you install the CD that comes with the iPod purchase. Don't make the same mistake that I did, thinking that the iTunes installed on my desktop takes care of the installation!
Right after I got the iPod to sync and play music, I had to leave for Kuala Lumpur on NICE coach. It was a pleasant ride with some electronic numbers playing. And the occasional peek on celebrity on bus, Elaine Daly. I seem to meet celebrities on my bus trips to and fro Singapore. I suppose they like to shop and wind down there too. Or perhaps they have some shows or recordings or moonlighting across the Causeway.
Upon arriving home, I started downloading songs and ripping off my CD collection. Good thing that I have started to use iTunes months before that. So, I was all familiar with the iTunes library management, desktop folder arrangement, importing CD, etc.
To populate the iPod Music: Album-Artist-Song library, I have bought few albums this year, hogging Streamyx bandwidth for album downloads, exchanging-transferring songs from friends who are kind to share (let me rip their CD collections or let me copy their external HD) their favorite music with me. Oh, I haven't squirted any music for that matter. No iPod wi-fi or Zune for now, OK!
After 3,578 songs installed to date, I have learned to appreciate a variety of genre and artists. Perhaps a new discovery for me is the lounge music, particularly the European electronic hotel-DJ scene; from the hot Parisian DJ Stephane Pompougnac of Hotel Costes, to famous Ibiza clubbing scene, Cafe del Mar; to St. Torentz. I recommend Hotel Costes 5: Cinque and Hotel Costes 4: Quatre for starters.
Good electronic music (and other genres) appreciation requires good bit rate audio compression encoding (or if you have space to spare, go for Apple Lossless Encoder) and good ear or headphones. By appreciation, I am referring to enjoying every bits of music (bass, vocal, instruments) played from the entire frequency spectrum audible to human ears (20Hz to 20KHz). There are high end headphones that could pickup down to 2Hz!
Higher bit encoding with the right compression technique means you have to trade off with storage space, but it ensures that you could feel and experience the music as if they are analog! Otherwise, mp3 128kpbs/256kbps/ 320kpbs are good enough!
For Sean Ghazi's debut album, Semalam; I use the Apple Lossless format for the first time which output a 250Mb of m4a format for the entire album. The album was recorded in Sydney in analog format. The big-band, swing, lounge, orchestrated pieces are VERY pleasant to the ears and they take me to musical journey from Anneke Gronloh he covers to P. Ramlee and Broery Marantika. More reviews on this favorite album soon.
Back to head/earphones. For the time being, I'm using the iPod earphone and I got myself the KOSS UR20 headphones for its promise of deep bass and maximum sound isolation. I am contemplating of getting the new Bose In-Ear earphone. I'd also recommend Sony MDR-EX (71, 81, 0r 90) series.
For detailed reviews of the above mentioned headphones, go to iLounge for its extensive review of headphones to a wide range iPod accessories. The iPod economy is definitely booming that iLounge's 2007 iPod buyers' guide is getting thicker with lots of options that'll spoil you!
iLounge also does the iPod Overseas Report, reviewing iPod scene in a few cities (including Malaysia - Thanks for Jeremy Horwitz and the entire team for these reviews). You might want to come to Penang for another review on Malaysia iPod scene.
Oh, the iPod video is infamous for its scratching problem. So make sure you purchase the get the protective plastic and get the Apple store customer service personnel to install it on the screen, click wheel on the front and the metallic part at the back.
A good casing for shock-fall-scratch protection is a must . I am using the Krusell's (Orange label) leather black leather case. It's a good light case that I'd even use to carry when I am jogging in my neighborhood. The Krusell comes with the innovative Multidapt belt clip. I plan to get the Mac Extreme armband soon to protect the unit during my outdoor activities.
One of the great iPod video features is the ability to display photo, thus the ability to display album artwork (sadly not in full screen as Zune).
Although there are lots of other competing mp3 players out there, e.g. Microsoft Zune, SanDisk Sansa, Sony Network Walkman, Toshiba Gigabyte, Creative ZEN; the music experience that iPod provides me is fulfilling, enriching, and satisfying. For its has been a great part of my music life; iPod renews my love with gadget (after my PalmOS-based Sony Clie obsession) and making me fall in love with music all over again!
How has iPod changed your music experience?
To be continued, ...