As a metalhead with audiophile leanings, I resisted the move to a portable digital listening device for as long as possible, preferring to lug around my top of the range cassette Walkman or CD player, but time catches up with us all.
In November 2006, I purchased a second generation iPod Shuffle, it has had a profound effect on me. There is an episode of ‘Family Guy’ where Peter gets a soundtrack to his life, the Shuffle has given me the same gift.
Like most of us, I have an extensive CD collection, but listening to the Shuffle for 9 hours per day, 5 days per week, has allowed me to data-mine my collection like never before. Hidden gems languishing on the shelf since time immemorial now see the light of day at least 3 times per year! Marvellous.
Although it is possible to squeeze 240+ tracks onto this Shuffle, don’t – the sound quality is so bad you’re better off whistling a jaunty tune. I converted a track from CD into all the available options the Shuffle can handle, then listened intently.
Verdict: if you select a bit rate of 320Kbps with a sample rate of 44.1Khz and a format of AAC, then the converted music is very listenable, although now the Shuffle will only hold approx 100 tracks – that’s still 7 hours worth of listening so I find it perfect for my working day. Bastards insist on talking to me or phoning me, so although I wear my device for 9 hours per day, I only manage about 7 hours of listening.
And talking of sound quality don’t even bother to unwrap the Apple earbuds which come with the Shuffle, rather use them as a bolas to bring down small rodents or simply consign them to the nearest bin. Rubbish. For £20 I bought a pair of Sennheiser PMX 60’s, the ultimate in comfortable good quality streetwear earphones, in fact I’m now on my 3rd pair. Metal never sounded so good.