Wednesday, March 02, 2005

iRiver H10 initial sound quality evaluation, voice recording.

Unfortunately, the iPod Mini has suddenly become unavailable at the moment so a comparison can't be done yet. In a brief other comparison, the Creative JB3 sounds more incisive yet more natural, but the H10 doesn't disgrace itself. The sound is pretty well resolved, a little 'hard' as stock but the hardware is capable of some good dynamics. Minor problems I could hear was a slight general overlying roughness, and a slight lack of depth to the soundstaging. The EQ modes are much more effective than those found on the iPod Mini, although for some reason I can't use the Custom EQ. The SRS WOW effect is fully customisable, and while I found that it did negatively impact the sound quality, the effects you could tune it with could be atmosphere enhancing.

The H10 has switchable quality for voice recording, and setting it at the highest (direct encoding into 128K MP3) the results are very usable. In fact, for clarity in the highet quality mode it surpasses the iPod + iTalk and the Zen Micro by quite a large margin. But of course it wouldn't be an H10 if even a good-performing feature didn't have a few problems [evil grin]. Hard disk access and display backlight intrudes very noticeably into recordings.

All said, not a bad effort on these two points... The performance of these two aspects of the H10 certainly is not a let-down. It does seem though that those using the U.S. firmware of the H10 are having problems with sound distortion. I can't confirm this, and I've not come across any overt distortion like the iPod bass issue.

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