There was a week's gap between the time I returned the review ZEN unit and yesterday when I collected my very own unit. To fill in the void of a portable music player, I burnt a few CDs and went back in time to use my Discman.
It was a disgusting experience.
What an irony that CDs which were supposed to be far more superior than painfully compressed digital audio files sounded like a mere shadow of the latter. But in all fairness, these weren't original CDs but burnt CDs converted from MP3 files. I always wonder what they do... expand it back to its original space? Well wouldn't that just make things worse?
Guess I answered my own question.
And these past two days I've had the Aurvana X-Fi headphones with me to play around with. For those of you still not in the know about X-Fi technology, X-Fi aims to accomplish two goals of audio resurrection and relative spatial reproduction. In English, to attempt to replace what has been lost through compression, and to reconstruct an accurate stereo stage for a more wholesome listening experience.
And even the X-Fi could only do so much with the crappy CDs. The sound quality was average at best. And the volume, oh my goodness. At MAXIMUM volume, the CD player was outputting to the headphones at my normal listening volume (65%). I thought well, maybe the headphones required power to run properly.
Then I got my ZEN today! Excitedly I dashed back and loaded songs in and played.
I only had to crank up to 75% volume to have a fantastic (nevertheless ear-spoiling) listening experience. But the ZEN I've always felt, I thought, had a higher output power.
And then as I'm typing now, I'm listening to my brother's spoilt iPod Shuffle (dunno how he can throw here and there until the USB internal data cable snapped. No hope). Still has battery though, so I'm taking the chance to try it out. Very surprisingly, I estimate that I've turned the volume to about 80% or at most 85%. And it's already blasting into my ears.
Well that's that then. CD players, you disappoint me. Be thee casted into techological oblivion forever, and may ye not just burneth there, but melteth there.
How many of you got that joke now?