The Hippo Gumstick is a reworked Hisoundaudio Rocoo / Cube C30, same housing is used but the internals differ.
Class A amp
Dimensions: approx 75x27x10 mm
Weight: 45 gram
Screen: 1 inch OLED b/w, 2-3 lines of text
Audio codec: MP3, WMA, AAC, APE, FLAC
4GB internal memory and micro SDHC expansion slot
5 band EQ (normal, rock, jazz, classical, pop, bass, user +/- 12dB on 80, 250, 1K, 4K and 12K Hz)
4 playback modes (normal, repeat one, repeat all, random)
Voice and radio recorder
Text and lyrics reader
MSC, drag and drop
Build quality and hardware:
The Gumstick is made of high quality plastic and what seems to be a metal frame, it feels very well put together. The screen is built in behind of the face of the player which makes it look very exclusive, and it works very well too. On the face of the Gumstick there is a rocker pad, with prev/next track and +/- volume as well as scrolling the menus. To the right of the rocker pad there are two discreet rocker buttons, menu/select and play/pause combined on/off. At the top of the player there you will find a microphone and a rocker button for recording and A-B repeat. On the right side, there is the mini USB port and headphone out, at the bottom is the on/off slider button and a reset hole, and on the left hand side is a micro SDHC slot.
The nice looking UI is quick and easy in use.
To test the audio qualities of the Gumstick I have used a wide array of IEM’s (ATH CK10 UM2, UM-3X, Hippo VB, Hippo Shroom, FA Eterna) on ears Koss Portapro, Jays v-Jays, and Philips SBC HP1000 full sized cans..
One thing that becomes apparent straight away is the silence, the Gumstick doesn’t seem to hiss or produce any other static noises.
The Gumstick incorporates a Class A amp, in other words it packs an incredible power for such a small device, it can easily drive more demanding phones as well. The sound signature is natural/neutral, with a deep “quality over quantity” bass, lively and detailed mids and clear highs. The detail in sound is excellent, better than Cowon D2 and Sansa Clip, same goes for the soundstage and the imaging.
As I have found the Gumstick sounds especially good with warmer sounding IEM’s, Klipsch S4, Hippo VB, FA Eterna are very good matches.
There are EQ options for those who wish to use them, but to be honest, the Gumstick sounds so good that most users should not need to tinker with any settings.
There is also a FM radio, text/lyrics viewer and a voice recorder built in. These work as they are meant to, and may come in very handy for some users.
The Hippo Gumstick offers a great sound quality and great design. Highly recommended.
Edited by mp3 - 6/30/10 at 5:28am