Best iPod model to buy solely for audio use
Ask iLounge offers readers the opportunity to get answers to their iPod-, iPhone-, iPad-, iTunes-, or Apple TV-related questions from a member of the iLounge editorial team. We'll answer several questions here each week, and of course, you can always get help with more immediate concerns from the iLounge Discussion Forums. Submit your questions for consideration using our Ask iLounge Submit Form. We reserve the right to edit questions for grammar, spelling, and length.
Q: I’m contemplating switching my extensive classical music collection to an iPod, which I do not now own. What is the best model to buy just for audio use? No video, no camera or other uses.
A: You note that you have an “extensive” collection and storage capacity is therefore likely to be an important factor. Typically the iPod classic is still the device of choice among users primarily interested in storing and listening to large audio collections.
This would especially be the case if you’re concerned about sound quality, as you will likely want to use higher bit-rates to encode your music, thereby producing larger files. To put this in perspective, an AAC or MP3 file encoded at 128kbps—generally considered to be the minimum acceptable quality—will use approximately 1MB of storage for every 1 minute of audio; a 256kbps file, which is the format now sold on the iTunes Store, will take up twice the storage, or about 2MB for every 1 minute of audio. Move up to lossless formats and the storage requirements increase even further—as much as five to ten times more depending on the format and source material.
A 160GB iPod classic has a formatted capacity of just under 149GB, or approximately 149,000 MB. When used to store only 256kbps AAC files, the device could contain around 1,200 hours of music.
That said, the iPod classic is not without its downside, even for audio only use. The most significant limitation is that you’re confined to the storage capacity of its internal hard drive; if your library is larger than this, you will need to pick and choose what content you want to carry around with you and what gets left behind. iTunes features such as Smart Playlists can help you automatically rotate your music collection based on criteria such as rating, how many times you’ve played a track and how recently you’ve played it, but if your collection is larger than the capacity of your iPod you’ll still need to physically plug the device into your computer every so often to refresh your content with different music.
Despite being lower in capacity, this is one area where Apple’s iOS devices may actually be of benefit. While the largest iPod touch still caps out at 64GB, the addition of Wi-Fi and iTunes Match provides the ability to effectively store your entire library on Apple’s iCloud servers and access any track from anywhere that a Wi-Fi Internet connection is available. Further, you can still download tracks manually for offline listening on your device and in fact a copy is automatically downloaded for any track you listen to on your device.
The Internet connectivity of the iPod touch (and other iOS devices) provides other audio-related benefits beyond your own collection as well. A multitude of free streaming music apps are available for listening to everything from actual radio stations (broadcasting over the Internet) to subscription-based online music services that provide a catalog of millions of on-demand tracks for a monthly fee. By contract, the iPod classic is limited to playing only the content that you specifically load onto it, from your computer, via iTunes.
- Will removing a credit card from Safari also remove it from Apple Pay?
- Can I mute Handoff calls coming into my Mac from my iPhone?
- How do I keep my iPhone calls from ringing on my Mac?
- Why doesn’t Traffic show up on my Today Notifications Screen?
- Why doesn’t my iPhone reconnect to Wi-Fi after I turn it on?
- Why can’t I see the iPad-style landscape view on my iPhone 6 Plus?
- Incipio to acquire Skullcandy
- Apple confirms iOS 10 kernel was left open to improve performance
- Apple leaves iOS 10 kernel open to scrutiny
- Judge throws out ‘Error 53’ lawsuit against Apple
- Chinese company in iPhone patent fight is all but defunct
- Apple adds nine more apps to universal search in Apple TV
- WSJ: iPhone to see modest changes this year, eliminate headphone jack
- China tightening restrictions on mobile games starting next month
- Supreme Court patent ruling bodes well for future Apple cases
- Apple to pay $400M to consumers over e-book price fixing case
- Zagg Slim Book for 9.7” iPad Pro
- Element Case Ronin for iPhone 6/6s
- JBL Clip 2 Wireless Bluetooth Speaker
- Audio-Technica ATH-SR5BT Wireless On-Ear Headphones
- Catalyst Case for iPad mini 4
- Jaybird Freedom Wireless Bluetooth Headphones
- Zagg Flex Arc Wireless Earbuds + Speakers
- Audio-Technica ATH-MSR7NC SonicPro Headphones with Active Noise Cancellation
- Twelve South BookBook for 12.9” iPad Pro
- Spigen Rugged Armor, Style Armor + Wallet S for iPhone SE
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Photos gets Advanced Computer Vision
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Music app delivers ‘clarity and simplicity’
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Maps gets a major redesign
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 shakes up the user experience
- Inside the betas: watchOS 3 promises a real speed boost
- Inside the betas: A sneak peek at what’s new in tvOS 10
- Filling the Gap: A look at third-party HomeKit apps
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of tvOS 9.2
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 9.3
- Opinion: Why Apple needs a dedicated HomeKit app