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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Consumer Hardware & Components > iPod 1.0.3 Updater

iPod 1.0.3 Updater
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Michael T. Doyle
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Dec 21, 2001, 09:40 PM
 
Anyone know what the "improvement" is that Apple did to mp3 playback? I just took the plunge and my mp3s do seem to sound better. Did they add some sort of "sound enhancer" like they put into iTunes 2? Or are they filtering out the highs (to get rid of the whine some hear)? I wonder whether this will make my lower bitrate tracks sound worse.

Still, my Go-Go's and Lucia Moniz seem to sound better now.

And I'm loving finally being able to view my iPod LCD in Portuguese

[ 12-21-2001: Message edited by: Michael T. Doyle ]
Mike Doyle
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JFischel
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Dec 21, 2001, 11:53 PM
 
I have noticed that my iPod sounds a bit crisper under the new update ( 1.0.3) I'm wondering if I am going nuts or someone could comment on another observation. It seems that Apple has slowed down the acceleration of the selection wheel, or perhaps the overall display speed has been taken down a notch. Has anyone else noticed it?

Peace, love, and iPods...

Josh
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BoarderX
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Dec 22, 2001, 12:14 AM
 
Originally posted by JFischel:
<STRONG>I have noticed that my iPod sounds a bit crisper under the new update ( 1.0.3) I'm wondering if I am going nuts or someone could comment on another observation. It seems that Apple has slowed down the acceleration of the selection wheel, or perhaps the overall display speed has been taken down a notch. Has anyone else noticed it?
</STRONG>
Yeah, the sound has been improved a bit, and I definitely have noticed a slow down in the selection scrooling while a song is playing.

Sometimes I wonder if they really test these things before they release them (or if they just say they do ).

[ 12-21-2001: Message edited by: BoarderX ]
     
Michael T. Doyle  (op)
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Dec 22, 2001, 01:13 AM
 
Wow, the scrolling is slower now. This is a real boon for me. I was always overshooting what I wanted to select or selecting the wrong item unless I was standing still using the iPod. But walking or on a swaying train, song selection was a pain. It should be easier now.
Mike Doyle
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tonton
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Dec 22, 2001, 01:14 AM
 
Tastes great, less filling...

Sound has indeed improved quite a bit, but max volume seems to have been reduced a notch. I don't mind the trade off.

Menu responsiveness has really slowed down. I think Apple reserved more of the processor's power to process MP3 playback. Either that, or perhaps this modification will improve battery life.
n+N

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Jeff___R
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Dec 22, 2001, 02:28 AM
 
Anyone know what the "improvement" is that Apple did to mp3 playback?
It's probably some tiny little thing that even when playing two iPods side by side you wouldn't be able to notice. Please don't post "oh! oh! It sounds better!" Argh... That's almost as lame as seeing all those bullshit reviews on versiontracker.com whenever a new MacOS version comes out... "Oh there's a 5% speed increase and it is noticeably snappier!"

Trust me... An iPod 1.03 MP3 sounds 99% identical to an iPod 1.02 MP3 which is also indistinguishable from an iTunes MP3, Audion MP3, Rio 500 MP3, etc. etc.

(/rant)
     
Jerommeke
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Dec 22, 2001, 05:45 AM
 
this is bullshit

i tested on the same machine with neutral EQ settings audion 2 and itunes 2 and audion 2 sounded warmer to me with the same mp3
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rjenkinson
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Dec 22, 2001, 06:57 AM
 
Originally posted by Jerommeke:
<STRONG>this is bullshit

i tested on the same machine with neutral EQ settings audion 2 and itunes 2 and audion 2 sounded warmer to me with the same mp3</STRONG>
well, there's your 1%!

-r.
     
Parky
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Dec 22, 2001, 07:37 AM
 
1.0.3 has been withdraw by Apple due to incompatabilites with Blue and White G3's. Seemed to work OK for me on my iMac so, let's hope there's not a deeper problem........
Computers - Au MacBook 2.4Ghz, iMac 24" 2.8Ghz Core 2 Duo
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AJ
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Dec 22, 2001, 12:18 PM
 
Menu scrolling is PAINFULLY unresponsive. I am going back to 1.0.2 as 1.0.3 is crap.

There is a major difference in speed. I don't mind the scroll wheel being slower, but if it is because they have slowed down the interface as well (try changing volume...the time --&gt; volume animation stutters, along with everything else).

Lets hope it is pulled not only because of the B&W issues.

Merry Christmas
AJ
     
Michael T. Doyle  (op)
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Dec 22, 2001, 12:42 PM
 
Originally posted by Jeff___R:
<STRONG>

It's probably some tiny little thing that even when playing two iPods side by side you wouldn't be able to notice. Please don't post "oh! oh! It sounds better!" Argh... That's almost as lame as seeing all those bullshit reviews on versiontracker.com whenever a new MacOS version comes out... "Oh there's a 5% speed increase and it is noticeably snappier!"

Trust me... An iPod 1.03 MP3 sounds 99% identical to an iPod 1.02 MP3 which is also indistinguishable from an iTunes MP3, Audion MP3, Rio 500 MP3, etc. etc.

(/rant)</STRONG>
First of all, Mr. New member Jeff, keep profanity off of this Board or go somewhere else to post. Got it?

Beyond that, maybe you use the stock iPod headphones, I don't know. But through my Sennheisers I certainly hear much (yes, much) better mp3 quality. To be fair, I also tested (now defunct? 1.0.3) with the stock headphones, and sound was still pretty poor.

Do you even have an iPod, or are you just a pain in one?

Mike Doyle
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Jeff___R
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Dec 22, 2001, 01:52 PM
 
Originally posted by Michael T. Doyle:
<STRONG>

First of all, Mr. New member Jeff, keep profanity off of this Board or go somewhere else to post. Got it?

Beyond that, maybe you use the stock iPod headphones, I don't know. But through my Sennheisers I certainly hear much (yes, much) better mp3 quality. To be fair, I also tested (now defunct? 1.0.3) with the stock headphones, and sound was still pretty poor.

Do you even have an iPod, or are you just a pain in one?</STRONG>
Yes, of course I have an iPod, I don't use the standard headphones, and I updated to 1.03. Sorry for the profanity.

"I certainly hear much (yes, much) better mp3 quality."

So, in other words, before you updated the iPod, you were suffering from poor MP3 quality playback? No, the MP3 playback in the iPod, like pretty much ever other MP3 player I've ever seen in my life, has virtually perfect MP3 "quality". I'm not sure if you're familiar with the MP3 technology, but basically, an MP3 is a very specifically compressed data file. It's not like a web page. See, with a webpage, different browsers can "decompress" the same file in very different ways. Some render the files far better than others.

This is not the case with MP3s. You either "decompress" an MP3 file, or you don't. There are no different players that decompress it better than others. I guarantee you, an MP3 played from iTunes (without that "sound enhancer") sounds exactly the same as one in Audion. The guy who says "bullshit! audion sounds warmer!" is sadly mistaken. In fact if I truly had no life at all, I would make a graph comparing them.

Oh yeah, another analogy: the MPEG3 codec. As you know this is very closely related to MP3. Anyways, when you're watching an MPEG, do different media players give you better "quality" than others? Nope! It's the exact same deal with MP3s.
     
AJ
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Dec 22, 2001, 02:23 PM
 
But surely the amplifier in the iPod could funk around with the sound, no? I fully agree that mp3's are either decompressed or not, but the other sonic characteristics can be changed within the iPod.

AJ
     
BobVB
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Dec 22, 2001, 04:05 PM
 
Originally posted by Jeff___R:
<STRONG>
I guarantee you, an MP3 played from iTunes (without that "sound enhancer") sounds exactly the same as one in Audion. The guy who says "bullshit! audion sounds warmer!" is sadly mistaken. In fact if I truly had no life at all, I would make a graph comparing them.
</STRONG>
Actually, we know that's not true. The pre 1.03 mp3 decoder used by Apple was 'flawed' - it actually added a 4096KHz whine to the play out that is NOT present in any other mp3 playback environment. With 1.03 the whine is now gone and the playback of all music (not just mp3s) is now much basser (or less treble). Some are speculating that Apple increased the treble in the original configuration to compensate for the poor treble response of the included iPod earbuds.

Regardless, the 1.03 music playback IS less treble than the previous versions - this is obvious to me if only because my other earbuds that were too tinny with the iPod now are acceptable.

We can guess the the actual mp3 decoder software was tinkered with, since mono low bitrate tracks that used to play no longer play at all (all my audio books are now just static with 1.03). And we can guess that what ever is changing the tonal quality of the 1.03 playback is some computationally stressful process, since the menu slowdown only appears while music is playing.

My personal fear is that Apple has saddled themselves with a lemon of a design scheme - they thought it would give them flexibility using the flashable portalplayer chipset, but it seems that it doesn't have the computational 'oomph' to be able to make it perform the basic set of features most of us expect from an mp3 player such as customized EQ settings.

Personally, I am recommending to those that like mine to wait for iPod 2 - this will give Apple time to either work out the bugs or show that they aren't squishable with the current design.
     
Jeff___R
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Dec 22, 2001, 04:39 PM
 
Actually, we know that's not true. The pre 1.03 mp3 decoder used by Apple was 'flawed' - it actually added a 4096KHz whine to the play out that is NOT present in any other mp3 playback environment. With 1.03 the whine is now gone and the playback of all music (not just mp3s) is now much basser (or less treble).
Really? Maybe I'm losing my hearing, but I just tried playing an identical MP3 on my computer and iPod (1.02), and even when listening specifically for the "basser" sound I can't tell the difference at all. Where did you get your info, btw?

[ 12-22-2001: Message edited by: Jeff___R ]
     
BobVB
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Dec 22, 2001, 06:15 PM
 
Originally posted by Jeff___R:
<STRONG>

Really? Maybe I'm losing my hearing, but I just tried playing an identical MP3 on my computer and iPod (1.02), and even when listening specifically for the "basser" sound I can't tell the difference at all. Where did you get your info, btw?

[ 12-22-2001: Message edited by: Jeff___R ]</STRONG>
Apple iPod Support discussion area 1.03 Changes Sonic Character of iPod!!!. Someone has already identified a high frequency rolloff that isn't present in 1.02 or below. And then my ears makes it very obvious even without that - I noticed it the first song I listened to with the 1.03 upgrade even before I checked the message area.

Again, it doesn't matter to me since the old firmware was way too tinny on my other earbuds and headphones. But it does speak to the general problems that Apple is having with the iPod sound reproduction systems.
     
BobVB
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Dec 22, 2001, 06:19 PM
 
Originally posted by Jeff___R:
<STRONG>

Really? Maybe I'm losing my hearing, but I just tried playing an identical MP3 on my computer and iPod (1.02), and even when listening specifically for the "basser" sound I can't tell the difference at all. Where did you get your info, btw?

[ 12-22-2001: Message edited by: Jeff___R ]</STRONG>
Oops did I misread - you are talking about using your iPod with 1.02 firmware. My previous notes is about tonal differences between 1.02 and 1.03 firmware playback on the iPod, not against other mp3 players.
     
dvd
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Dec 22, 2001, 11:01 PM
 
i guess how apple is changing the firmware so much its making the updater like a new OS update for us iPod owners =] ... ipod os I havent updated to 1.0.3 but all i want is my HD to shut down when i play files over 25mb
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Metzen
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Dec 23, 2001, 12:07 AM
 
Originally posted by Jeff___R:
<STRONG>Really? Maybe I'm losing my hearing, but I just tried playing an identical MP3 on my computer and iPod (1.02), and even when listening specifically for the "basser" sound I can't tell the difference at all. Where did you get your info, btw?
</STRONG>
Let's see... I've tried with EQ, without EQ with different players and with portable players... The Rio 500 does not play MP3's anywhere near the same as my Pine D'Music CD/MP3 player or my iPod. The Rio and Pine player's both allow for a minor EQ change, but I set both to "flat" and there is a noticeable difference while playing the same MP3.

Sorry to let you know, dude, that there are actually more then one way to encode and decode MP3's, irregardless of what your mommy has told you. And, yes, this does result in differing sounding MP3's. Funky.

Perhaps you can't notice the difference in sound quality is because your tune deaf?
Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius -- and a lot of courage -- to move in the opposite direction.
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you_are_right
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Dec 23, 2001, 06:12 AM
 
First of all the iPod update 1.0.3 is still available through a backdoor on apples page. You can get it via the Apple OSX download page, when you search for "iPod" (B&W G3 owners should definitely not take a chance).

I have installed it and i am quite happy with the changes to the sound characteristics. Anyhow talking about listening preferences is quite a subjective field to enter.

One important thing to consider is the speaker/headset somebody is using when listening to music with the iPod, or any other player/amplifier. The difference in the sound characteristics of the various speakers/headsets, is by far greater, than any difference Apple has applied to the sound characteristic with their latest revision.

Okay what did i discover:
I am listening with a Sony MDR-R10, Sonys reference headset, which was supposed to be used in combination with sophisticated home hifi systems only But thanks to its low impedance it can easily be used with portable cd-players...and therefore the ipod, which is what i do. This headset is supposed to reproduce the sound as it comes from your amplifier without adding any cosmetics (at least this was the design goal of Sony)

Differences:
- There is definetely a variation in the upper mid-range area, but in my opinion this was the right move. Before the sound could be described as bit to cold/sharp.

- Due to this variation (probably a reduction of the output level for that frequency band) it may appear to some, that the total output volume has been reduced, which is not mandatory. Our ears sonic reception is not a linear curve over the various frequencies. Especially in the mid-range area our ears are more sensitive to the output level (this comes from the fact, that our voice is within that frequency range).

- The whine is gone, but I cannot believe, that this comes from a different global EQ setting for the audio output. Since then we would still hear the whine, just in a different shape.

- The volume adjustment does not seem right to me now. First it is kind of sluggish and you hear a klicking while adjusting the volume (while the klicking might be intended).

- Once playing the scrolling is slower, thats true, but in my opinion it is still fast enough.

Just my 2 cents
     
<scballiol>
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Dec 24, 2001, 07:30 PM
 
The download isn't available there anymore, anyone have a URL for it?
     
you_are_right
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Dec 26, 2001, 04:36 PM
 
Originally posted by &lt;scballiol&gt;:
<STRONG>The download isn't available there anymore, anyone have a URL for it?</STRONG>
just go to the Apple OSX page, then to the downloads section and let it search for "ipod" - and there you go.
     
MadBrowser
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Dec 26, 2001, 05:03 PM
 
The page is still there but the download link gives a 404.
     
Jerommeke
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Dec 26, 2001, 07:48 PM
 
whow they seem to have a long time fixing the bug :S hope it isn't something nasty that's in the software that can afffect my ipod which i use with an imac too
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schalliol
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Jan 1, 2002, 03:42 PM
 
I've got a G4, anyone have the 1.0.3 that we can download or email?
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jamesa
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Jan 2, 2002, 06:30 AM
 
Originally posted by Metzen:
<STRONG>

Let's see... I've tried with EQ, without EQ with different players and with portable players... The Rio 500 does not play MP3's anywhere near the same as my Pine D'Music CD/MP3 player or my iPod. The Rio and Pine player's both allow for a minor EQ change, but I set both to "flat" and there is a noticeable difference while playing the same MP3.

Sorry to let you know, dude, that there are actually more then one way to encode and decode MP3's, irregardless of what your mommy has told you. And, yes, this does result in differing sounding MP3's. Funky.

Perhaps you can't notice the difference in sound quality is because your tune deaf?</STRONG>
wow... you can always tell a smart ass when they litter their posts with URLs that make them seem really clever.

But, you can always see through them; smart-asses always have a desire to use really big words but always seem to get them wrong:
Sorry to let you know, dude, that there are actually more then one way to encode and decode MP3's, irregardless of what your mommy has told you.
"irregardless"? do you mean regardless, or irrespective, or is this some kind of smart ass fusion of words? because irregardless manages to score this from dictionary.com:
[Probably blend of irrespective, and regardless.]

Usage Note: Irregardless is a word that many mistakenly believe to be correct usage in formal style, when in fact it is used chiefly in nonstandard speech or casual writing. Coined in the United States in the early 20th century, it has met with a blizzard of condemnation for being an improper yoking of irrespective and regardless and for the logical absurdity of combining the negative ir- prefix and -less suffix in a single term. Although one might reasonably argue that it is no different from words with redundant affixes like debone and unravel, it has been considered a blunder for decades and will probably continue to be so.
-- james

[ 01-02-2002: Message edited by: jamesa ]
     
seanyepez
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Jan 2, 2002, 07:29 AM
 
It's not quite as loud, but the iPod's earbuds would blow my ears out if I left them that high.
     
Parky
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Jan 6, 2002, 02:21 PM
 
1.0.3 won't play the mono low bit rate tracks that 1.0.2 played before !!

Some improvement !
Computers - Au MacBook 2.4Ghz, iMac 24" 2.8Ghz Core 2 Duo
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