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iRiver IHP-120 SQ vs. current-generation players - which is better?

post #1 of 38
Thread Starter 

Long time lurker, first-time post. While lurking I've gone through several newer players (currently using Zune 80, Sony NWZ-A728). The IHP-120 is now available on The iriver Store as a manufacturer refurb with 1yr. warranty for $160 (warm deal?). Is the SQ of this player worth it compared to newer players? I'm aware that Rockbox and optical connections are a plus but am thinking about SQ since the player is a tad bulky compared to current-gen players. Any advice would be much appreciated.

Thanks in advance...
post #2 of 38
Its a superb player, the signal is exceptionally clean from line out (haven't tried optical yet or the headphone out) soundstage and seperation is good and I would say the underlying sound signature is ever so slightly on the warm side of neutral, it has superior sq to the h3xx series.

Initially I thought it was probably a cleaner sound than my imod with vcap dock but after spending more time with it and comparing with the imod the vcap and imod combo does best it, and by a noticeable margin ... but at a CONSIDERABLE price premium.

However, the iriver h1xx series has a cult following for a reason and I would recommend this player for anyone thinking about a superb sounding and very well featured player which is still, objectively, eminently portable.
post #3 of 38
post #4 of 38
I've got 2 - 1 being one of the new ones... I Love Them, they're easy to upgrade (battery, HDD) & the sound quality can't be beat! Buy It!
post #5 of 38
It has bit perfect optical out... I've tested it... therefore if you're using a DAC, you can't do better. Running Rockbox as your OS also opens up your options for lossless codecs like WavPack.

However, I disagree that the lineout on the H3xx series is inferior to the H1xx... the innards of both players are essentially the same in every respect, and IMHO they sound the same. The primary benefit of the H1xx is it's optical out, plus being rather more cool and retro looking.

I do agree that the lineout on the iMod is superior to both H1xx and H3xx, but no digital out alas.

My H140 is now upgraded to 120Gb (stock 40Gb), and battery to 2300mah (stock 1300mah I believe). I've had it for five years and have no plans to change... I also keep a spare just in case it ever breaks!
post #6 of 38
I sold my H120 3 years ago. In the meantime I have owned a number of mp3-players, now the NWZ-A829 which is similar to your 728 SQ wise.

I can’t do a direct comparison of SQ between the iriver and the Sony, but I remember it had very good SQ, a warm and full sound, the bass was really good. According to posts here I guess H120 still trumps most players SQ wise.

Having said that, I think the Sony trumps the H120 on every single other aspect. Battery life, weight, size, screen, interface, buttons, flash instead of harddisk (H120 can be modded with a flash card though), bluetooth, killer looks, ability to play video and show pictures, can sync with Windows Media Player (not sure if H120 can do that). And the Sony SQ is very good as well, a big improvement over iPod or Clix at least.

This is not just me listing stuff, when I compare the Sony to my friend’s iPod (the gen where they moved the buttons to the click wheel for the first time, gen 4 or something) his player feels like an antique. The H120 is bulkier and heavier than that iPod. Unless you only care about SQ, I think you will be disappointed if you get it. 160$ seems expensive for an old player with few features but I just paid a fortune for the Sony so who am I to say anything

The H120 has that optical thing, can record and has radio. Those features could be selling point for some. I can’t remember the capacity of the H120, probably higher than the Sony if that matters to you.
post #7 of 38
Oh I forgot, the H120 has remote as well which is nice! And you will need that remote because the player only fits in your bag...

Re. price again I think 100$ would be and ok price for the H120 with remote and a new battery and harddisk (the 2 things that always end up failing).
post #8 of 38
Originally Posted by lexnasa View Post

However, I disagree that the lineout on the H3xx series is inferior to the H1xx... the innards of both players are essentially the same in every respect, and IMHO they sound the same.

Imo the h100 series players has a cleaner signal than the h300, of course I haven't tested this, but to my ears the h300 has slightly more noise wheras the h100 is pretty damn silent. not a night and day difference, but like I said, it is obviously a noticeable difference for me to notice it.

I agree about carrying a spare though, the ihp is so good ive bought a second one to keep boxed until and if this one ever gives up the ghost, but if it does ill then be performing the surgery to bang a cf card in there and the uprated battery.

basically, ya can't go wrong with the old irivers
post #9 of 38
Also, the ihp 120 can play video with rockbox, although it is in black and white so maybe only the oldies but goodies like harold lloyd and such like lol

p.s. the ihp 120's that are being released as brown box dont have the remotes, but mine fits into my pocket quite happily so it isn't an issue and after buyign the h300 remote for my h340 and never using it, for me, it isnt an issue.

If it was for the op however, they come up on ebay now and again though.
post #10 of 38
I've heard a lot of people loving the sound of the H1x0 players. Honestly, while it's decent, the line-out and especially headphone out cannot touch the quality of Cowon players. My Cowon A2 beats the H120 in sound quality any day of the week.

HOWEVER, the H1x0 is an audiophile's portable dream. The optical output allows you to use it with an external DAC (I use a Monica 2 in an Altoid tin), which will handily beat any other portable out there. Also, with Rockbox installed, you have stunning codec support, gapless playback, ReplayGain support, excellent recording support (including optical in!), excellent expandability, and tons of other great features. The remote is really nice too, and I still use it regularly.

The H120 is a fantastic piece of equipment. It doesn't have the best sound quality from it's own headphone and line output, but it's still unmatched for utility and expandability. If all you want is a player that sounds good from it's headphone jack without mucking with it, you might want to look elsewhere, but if you want the most versatile DAP in existence, look no further!
post #11 of 38
Packgrog, how did you configure the Monica to take an optical input? Thanks.
post #12 of 38
Yeah, I'd love to get a Monica with optical input... Jamato has one also.
post #13 of 38
Yeah, almost a year ago now: http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f15/pi...ml#post3001160

Unfortunately, the mini-toslink jack is a little weak (wasn't seated in the case all that well), so it really can't be used in a portable setup. I'm still mulling over whether to have it re-cased with more robust ports.

I'm also SERIOUSLY considering picking up an iBasso D1 and comparing it with my Monica 2. Depending on the sound sig, it might either work as a replacement or complement to the Monica. Unfortunately, both items are now discontinued (I emailed iBasso yesterday, and they said they have a very small number of D1's left, but are not planning on making more or selling them from their new storefront). I'll probably need to sell off my Cowon A2 and Beyerdynamic DT250-80 to fund any/all of this.

Now, the Monica 3 is probably a better DAC than all of these (though it's still only 16-bit, whereas I THINK the iBasso D1 can handle 24bit/192kHz like the Micro DAC). However, it requires at least 18V to power properly, and thus wouldn't be very viable as a portable solution. This is a point I've discussed with Mazuki (the kind soul who built my Monica 2) in regards to potential upgrades to my Monica 2 (the SSIV gain stage for M2 requires 18V, whereas the Monica 2 itself needs only 12V, making it workable as a portable). Also, while Yeo doesn't currently sell the Monica 3 with optical input (optical is the only digital output on the H1x0), he's had more requests for it and seems to be looking into it. If you get a Monica 3 from him and have any DIY ability at all, you could probably install a TOSLINK input yourself, like the one sold by Twisted Pear Audio.
post #14 of 38
Sorry for hijacking this thread but I have a small question regarding the remote control of the H120. Is the RC of the iMP 550 (SlimX) compatible with the H120?


post #15 of 38
Doubtful, but check at misticriver.net to be sure.
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