it's quite simple really...The iPod shuffle has a pretty poor sound output. I've just been playing with one and running lossless WAV files (so no possibility of poor quality MP3 encoding) the exact same file sounds rich and detailed from the headphone output of the Laptop, yet thin and lacking in body directly out of the iPod. That was with a reasonable set of in-ear bud headphones AND an expensive set of Sennheiser 'over the ear' Hi Fi types.

Bit of a shame really as the device great to look at...Shame they didn't put a bit more effort into making it sound decent. A classic example of an audio device that was built to be bought with the eye rather than the ear.

My £30 Lidl phone sounds far better!