"whereas the iPod has the superior controls and interface."
I don't agree with that. For one thing, the interface is almost exactly the same and both arent hard
For sound, I'd also say the Creative Zen Vision M, if you've done an update to improve MP3 quality which is easily done with a firmware update.
I have to say though, both players don't offer enough sound controls to keep me happy.
Both on full bass levels will distort any headphones your happening to wear, but there are happy mediums you tend to be happy with.
If you are a dance, Trance fan though, the levels of bass achievable, though satisfactory depending on the cones you have, aren't amazing.
If you are looking for a sound player capable of this, look for a player with extra sound technology built in, like for example Iaudio players Mach3Bass, which is truely amazing, from the technology of sound BBE.
For an example of BBE and its counterparts, go here:
A player with this feature sounds amazing!
there are also other alternatives, like players with WOW sound like Windows Media Player, and they are good too.
But yeah, standard Bass/Treble/EQ balancers don't really do it for me. An excellent sound add on though, included within this is what makes the difference.
Creatives Bass Boost has the same effect as a high EQ but with low treble and muddy bass which is best left switched off.
Mac3bass on Iaudio players though for example have punchy bass with Mach3 bass and the M3L kept me happy for ages.
I am happy with my Creative Zen Vision M though definietly. It just isn't what I'd call, the perfect player. Though sound quality in terms of overal sound is impeccable.