Improving sound quality on mobile devices

ipod_fiio

When it comes to listening to audio (mostly podcasts, some music) I am still using an older model iPod.  For me it is a good size and I like the fact that there is still a scroll wheel  – ie physical control buttons.  I have the iPod on a lanyard so that I can use it without having to pull it out of my pocket every time I want to advance a track or change the volume.

My problem has been that there are times when I am in London when traffic noise makes it hard to hear what I am listening to.  There is a volume cap that seems to be set very low (I’m not into playing things so loud it will hurt my hearing, so if things are gong to get too loud for a period of time I will just switch the iPod off.)

So I was looking for a way to get around the volume cap, and the solution I found (that I did not know existed) was a piece of hardware – the FiiO E05 Headphone Amplifier.  There is a more recent model but this was at a good price point.

I am very impressed.  I bought it for increased volume, but the main thing I’ve found is the improvement in sound quality.  I am hearing parts of music tracks that I have never heard before.  I am actually listening to more music as a result.  Even spoken word audio sounds a bit better.  The reviews also recommended the Dock cable (seen above) , so I went for that – apparently this is the reason for the quality improvement.  It won’t work with newer model (Apple) devices with the Lightning connector, but I am not looking for that at the moment.

Highly recommended.

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