Interesting your story. I really found the Cowon Plenue D fantastic with my CIEM JH5 PRO. But I disagree on one point, I found it different from the natural sound, I found Cowon with a more natural sound. Here my comparison between the two players: http://www.head-fi.org/t/832786/comparison-cowon-plenue-d-vs-sony-nw-a35 I was little time with the Sony A30 (3 days). Maybe it needed more analysis, but that's what I felt when I compared both players side by side.