Pros: Sound Quality, Build Quality
Cons: Read through the impressions
When I was looking for a good quality portable driver, predominantly for use while traveling and at desk, I came across some very positive reviews and impressions for Rocoo P / BA / Studio. I was immediately drawn by Rocoo P as it was a smaller design compared to studio version and I wanted it to be compatible with all IEMs and not specifically designed for BAs.
Having read the different reviews and the impressions, I was little hesitant in going for Rocoo P, especially with the feedback of background hiss and lack of any useful equalizer.
I have been enjoying this wonderful little device extensively for over a week now, that I decided to share my impressions of this player, with an aim to share those points that are not obvious in the reviews and will help you decide if you would want to go for Rocoo P.
This is my first review post here. Hope you enjoy.
Please bear in mind while reading this review:
1) These are my impressions on using the Rocoo P for just over a week.
2) I have been trying to improve my quality of listening and enjoy the recordings rather than just listening for the last few years. So my experience is limited.
3) My knowledge / impressions / opinions are limited to my hearing experience on
a) Transcend T630 with Creative EP - 630 headphones (Don't own this anymore. I have used this for over 3 years and this is my first setup for quality listening. My nephew is enjoying this now.)
b) Cowon E2 with Creative EP -630 / Panasonic HJE- 900 (Amazing and quality setup, highly portable and enjoyable sound signature / presentation, especially with Mac3Bass, with the gripe of a small battery)
c) From laptop using Jetaudio and any of the above headphones (Prefer the sound signature of Jetaudio to Windows media player. I have not tried using other audiophile / hifi media players.)
d) iPOD Touch and Sansa clip+ (I don't own these, but have listed to these occassionally borrowing from friends to listen and compare to other players.)
4) I have my files as 16 bit WAV, 16 bit flac, 320 kbps VBR mp3. I also listen to lower bit rate mp3 when I don't have access to the WAV files.
5) I listen using dynamic IEMs and have not used other headphones.
6) The impressions are with the default EQ (flat).
7) The quality of output is a factor of the audio player, the earphones, environmental noise, quality of recording, quality of the music file and one's listening skills.
8) I listen for enjoying the music, the little nuances in recordings. I am not analytical when I am enjoying the music.
The following are my impressions, in the order of what what I like best to the quirky ones:
1) Clean, relaxed and detailed presentation. For example, AR Rahman songs had so much detail that I had not heard in my other setups. I could hear the guitar string hum (resonance?) after the music was over in the end of the song. It was as though I was in the same room as the guitar was played. Doors was another album that I enjoyed a lot. I felt as though I was in the first row of the concert.
More than details, the sound is more real than what I have heard with my existing gear. This is good for either the drums, the vocals or the strings.
Rocoo P has the best detail that I have heard till now. It is such a joy to hear the nuances that the artist intended. There is so much detail even at low volumes. The drums sound so real, to the point of feeling the fingers touching the drum membrane.
2) Noticeable and adequate power. It has a built in AMP that makes a significant difference in the way this player sounds. Though I have not used multiple earphones while review, I am plesantly satisfied with the detail and energy from Panasonic HJE 900. I hear typically at 5 - 8 volume levels when indoors and till 14 when outside. I have never felt the need to take it to above this level. The maximum volume level is 31.
3) Solidly build quality (You will agree when you hold it.). Rocoo P has black brushed aluminum enclosure with clean straight edges and white aluminium metal buttons, decent silver accent throughout. The build quality is not apprarent in the pictures. Though I like the build quality, the front and back of the player are finger print magnets. I carry Rocoo P in a micro fibre sleeve. This helps keep it clean.
I would have liked Rocoo more without the glossy plastic covering in front and back.
EDIT: The build is not as great as I would like to believe. There was a problem that resulted in uneven and poor volume, which worsened if I move or rotate the earphone jack. This could be due to poor build in the jack area or internal. All this is in less than 6 months of careful use. I have sent it for servicing, but there are issues getting it safely shipped to China. I am not sure if I will have it back but, without a reliable warranty / service, the aluminium build is not worth it, especially when you pay such a premium.
EDIT 17-Jun-15: This has long been serviced by HSA and it has worked flawlessly ever since (recently sold). (Been a long time and I forgot to update this review.)
4) Minimal Design. Simple metal brick with small LED display. Nothing fancy to mention about. It has a compact size of a typical cigrette box.
Rocoo P is not thin like the ipod Touch, but is easily poketable. It's simpleton design and sharp corners (buffed and not hurting) might be a no for some considering the modern designs of the other portable players. (Also this is not quite comfortable in the jeans packet)
Considering the brilliant output, I have come to like this highly understated design.
5) Battery lasted for about 10 hours on a full charge, adequate for my daily use. This is quite good when you consider that this is a audio player with a built in AMP. I charge this overnight and it is ready for the next day. This will not be suitable if have a need for a longer play time.
6) Some reviews had mentioned about hiss in Rocoo P, and I was apprehensive until I heard with my earphones. I did not notice any hiss, unless it was in the recording itself. Of course, hiss is dependent on the headphones as well, and you would need to assess if your head / earphones are prone to hiss.
7) Charges using a micro USB supplied, through mains or from computer. Only US compatible mains charger provided.
8) You can FF and RW by pressing the right and left keys continuously. This is very good, especially if you like to go back and hear something again like me.
9) Simple physical button operation. This is very useful, especially if you are in a public places and prefer a blind operation.
Now continuing to the possible deal breakers and quirky parts,
10) No are no other functionality apart from a music player. No apps, no games, no video, no wifi, no FM, not even album art. (I personally don't care about this)
11) The default / FLAT EQ is fantastic. I have not found a need for using the other EQs. The predefined EQs are not worth trying. No user defineable EQ.
There are no other sound enhancing algorithms (like BBE, SRS, et al.). Having enjoyed the BBE settings, before I heard the Rocoo, I have never felt the need for any sound enhancing algorithm with Rocoo if you have good quality files.
12) When you power on with microSD loaded, it takes few to several minuites to initiate and have the player ready for use. The player cannot be used till it is fully initialized.
13) It appears that the software is not fully mature and has some bugs. The player froze when trying to play certain files in micro SD (This did not happen with the files in the player, not sure if this is correlated). Rocoo P hanged (probably due to certain files, that my other players are able to play) and I
had to reset and then restart the player half a dozen times to use the player. Once reset it worked well.
Rocoo did not power on to be functional with a blank microSD. It just hanged and I had to reset, remove the microSD and start again. I am not sure if this is an issue with formatting, but will provide an update if this persists.
14) Played files incorrectly and skipped some to the next file from middle. I would probably attribute to the formatting of the micro SD.
15) You cannot switch off the player when it has frozen. You have to reset it.
16) A faint, but noticeable buzz sound or noise when the next song is played by the player. This is not obvious, but noticeable, and can be annoying at times.
17) The click of the keys is not smooth, it is awkward and the sound reminds of basic and cheap cell phone keys.The click can be loud and disturbing others in silent listening environment.
18) Easily picks up the signals from a nearby mobile, when you get a call / sms. You will need to keep the phone away especially if you do not like interference in your music.
19) No / Limited Parallel Processing capabilities. I tired to delete a file while playing another in backgroud. The playing got stopped (not paused) when deleting a file. (note: you can delete a file in the folder view and not in the play menu. It is impractical to delete from the player. Please use the comptuer to manage files)
20) Pressing Back key in the middle of the song, does not take to the start of the song, but to the previous song.
21) I do not use playlists or play by artists / genre / etc as I do not use this and hence and did not try it.
22) There is no known method to lock the player.
23) You cannot use the player while charging.
Rocoo P has an excellent, detailed and non-fatiguing sound presentation. I am listening for long hours now.
It is quite obvious that the folks at Hisound have focussed on providing the best sound quality possible they could extract from a solid portable player with no nonsense design.
Rocoo P does not attempt to be a Jack of all Apps, and aims to be a King of music playing.
This player has potential to become an iconic and lusted, if the design is more understated, and the UI and usability is improved.
When should you consider Rocoo P?
You use your audio / mp3 player to play music most if not all of the time.
You seek very high quality sound from a small pocketable player.
You want to pair your favourite power seeking head / ear phones with a portable player.
You want a practical pocketable PMP - Amp setup, without the hassles of multiple wires, multiple devices and bands or a large portable player.
You don't care about the bells and whistles - Apps, camera, games, album art, et al.
You can live without FM radio.
You can live with / work around the quirks for the sound quality.
I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I wrote and find this helpful.
Some views of my rig.