Then more affordable storage, bigger drives and/or memory came along -- and so did better sampling solutions, including Apple's "Lossless" Encoder system. So now, for everyone who cares about sound quality, you can get pretty good fidelity from your iPod.
So the big question is, "Why are so many people using crappy speaker systems with their iPods?!?!" Little plastic speaker cabinets with super-tiny speakers. Their sound quality reminds me of what I hear when I hit a cookie tin really hard with a serving spoon. Metallic, edgy, thin, awful, lifeless, cold...just plain terrible. How can anyone listen to these shiny plastic turds? If I had my way, I would bring back stocks as a form of punishment, and put the designers/marketers of these "things" on display in the lobbies of concert halls.
Yes, it's cool that these "things" are so small. But cute only goes so far. It doesn't make up for screechy.
Here are some rules-of-thumb about how to avoid the awful:
- It the system is about the size of a ham sandwich, don't buy it.
- If the system's speakers are about the size of a quarter (or smaller), don't buy it.
- If it can run off AA batteries, don't buy it.
- If the system is shaped like a frisbee or a donut, don't buy it.
- If it sells for under a hundred bucks, you probably shouldn't buy it.