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iPod questions....
I've taken to listening to (free) podcasts via iTunes and an iPod. I've noticed two issues which I'd like advice with.

(1) Some podcasts have different intrinsic volumes than others. Currently, I'm listening to back issues of The Math Factor and Slacker Astronomy. With SA, I have to turn the volume up to clearly hear everything over typical street background noise as I walk to work. With The Math Factor, I have to turn the volume down to avoid hurting my ears with how loud it is. Since I typically have my iPod in an inside jacket pocket or shirt breast pocket under my jacket as I'm walking, switching between the two volume levels is difficult. Is there any standard tools for normalizing playback levels between recordings so that I don't have to adjust the volume ever 6-8 minutes?

(2) I don't think there is an answer to this issue. I find it very annoying to go into a restaurant, store, or other place where I can engage in commerce while listening to the iPod and find that, even at maximum volume, I can barely hear the podcast over the background music played at the place I'm at. I noticed it today while dining, but I've also noticed it at the gym where I worked out. It's hard to learn linear algebra, or hear 2-year-old news reports about astronomy, when 80's dance music is being played so loud across the room it is louder than the lecturer talking through ear-buds. If anyone knows a good way of dealing with that -- that doesn't involve the risk of hearing damage -- I'd love to know.

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Hi, hope you don't mind a comment from a stranger-- saw this on friendsfriends. The answer to #2 is lightweight noise-cancelling headphones, google and you'll find lots. I don't really understand the explanations, but they really do cancel outside noise, not just attempt to block it, while playing the stuff you do want to hear.

#1 - My iPod (the latest 6G classic) has a normalize function built in under Settings. Check yours, as I'm not certain what model you have.

#2 - Yes, what you need are good noise-canceling earbuds. I can't recommend any to you because I need to be able to hear outside noise around me (my child, namely), but that will do the trick. It won't damage your hearing because the design means they don't have to be as loud for you to hear effectively. Basically most designs will act as earplugs and pump the sound straight in. Just... be careful with the volume control - I "hear" they can be rather nasty if you max them out.

Yeah, there is a volume normalization function, which should be useful.

As for background noise, get some nice around-the-ear headphones and plug those into your iPod.
Much better for your hearing.

another possibility is getting headphones that have their OWN volume control.

And these do NOT have to be expensive.

I found a pair that aren't noise cancelling but are around the ear & have their own volume control at staples yesterday for $15.

noise-canceling headphones, definitely. they even cancel ambient noise without having any other input. and they usually have their own volume control as well.

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