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I honestly can't decide...

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

I am willing to spend upwards of $500 for a portable DAP (and an amp, if it requires one. I prefer not to use an amp, since I want it to be *portable*). After days and days of reading through many, many sites (including this one), I. Cannot. Decide.

 

Cowon J3 // S9-

...Hailed to have great sound quality and wide sound format support. Sound quality is generally described as being warm. The UI, apparently, needs work, and the player itself is riddled with bugs (older versions), that need firmware updates.

 

S:flo2-

...With it's technical specs, these seem to be recommended left and right. However, upon further digging, the sound quality is said to be less than stellar, and having 2 of the chips doesn't make it any better, and of which is only a marketing gimmick. UI is in extreme need of work, and firmware updates cannot be done on Windows 7 64-bit.

 

Sony NWZ-X-

...Doesn't support .FLAC, or any lossless codecs. Otherwise, I would've bought this in a heartbeat. Love the design and the functionality of it (despite it's high cost).

 

Sansa Clip+-

...Described as having a great sound quality, I can't really *believe* it, seeing how it's only an ~$80 (MSRP, 8gb) player. Also, the output power may be of an issue, and an amp may be required (***this is my assumption***, due to the size and cost of such product).

 

 

 

I guess right now, Sansa Clip+ has an edge in my decision to purchase a new DAP... only thing I don't like about it is how tiny it is (i.e. I'd rather want something that has a bigger screen; I know of Sansa Fuze, but the horrible iPod-esque design is grotesque to me).

 

Any other recommendations?

 

 

I wish there was a Sony NWZ-X-esque player that can support .flac. *sigh*

 

 

 

 

 

My Requirements-

*Must be able to support .FLAC, as my entire music collection is comprised of .FLACs.

*8GB+ in storage.

*Has an adjustable EQ, or be able to have one (i.e. Rockbox).

*Video playback comes secondary: It isn't important. I can live without it.

*I will be connecting this to a Shure SE530, so if a player doesn't have enough power, please recommend me an amp as well.

*I will be listening to mostly classical music, if that matters to your recommendations.

*Since I will be listening to classical music, gapless playback is quite important (which also renders S:flo2 out, since it doesn't support gapless).

 

Thanks!

 

 

*EDIT*

P.S.- Here are some graphs:

http://rmaa.elektrokrishna.com/Comparisons/Clip+%20-%20Rockbox%20Volume%200x16%20-%20Official%20build%2016%20Ohm.htm

http://rmaa.elektrokrishna.com/Comparisons/Comparison%20-%2016%20Ohm%20-%20Clip,%20D2,%20YP-U1,%20Vibez.htm

http://rmaa.elektrokrishna.com/Comparisons/S9,%20O2,%20D2,%20X5%20-%2016%20Ohm%20Loads,%20Full%20Volume.htm

 

Frequency response of the clip seems to be extraordinary, but I honestly don't know how to read those hah. >.>


Edited by nyforever - 6/29/10 at 8:47pm
post #2 of 19

Headphone only, with no amp, get the Cowon J3.  MicroSDHC expansion.  Gapless playback.  FLAC support. You get a choice of 3 home UIs, and the only thing complicated is how deep the features/settings are in each media app.  Nothing a little reading of the user manual won't cure. Screen response is fluid. 

post #3 of 19

Or simply re-encode your lossless into 320kbps and be fine with the Sony X.

post #4 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Szadzik View Post

Or simply re-encode your lossless into 320kbps and be fine with the Sony X.


x 2 to re-encoding lossless to 320kpbs. On a portable, it just takes up too much space to keep lossless and the differences are negligible if any for the human ear to detect. can't recommend the player :)

post #5 of 19
I like the fact that in your list of possible options you have the s:fo2 but towards the end of your post it says ".... renders the s:flo2 out". ;)
post #6 of 19

Go for the J3.  Got my 32gb version yesterday and it's brilliant.  The UI is easy peasy, the touch-screen works, the sound quality is awesome and awesomely tweakable, it supports flac, takes micro sd cards and has a sizeable support community online.

 

Bit of a no brainer really.

post #7 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Szadzik View Post

Or simply re-encode your lossless into 320kbps and be fine with the Sony X.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cravenz View Post




x 2 to re-encoding lossless to 320kpbs. On a portable, it just takes up too much space to keep lossless and the differences are negligible if any for the human ear to detect. can't recommend the player :)


My current DAP is a sony walkman NWZ-A series (from yeeeears ago), so I do have to 'downgrade' to 320kbps. While I agree I can *generally* not hear the difference between 320kbps mp3 and .FLAC (using my computer as a source, with HT||Omega Claro+ soundcard) when I'm listening to enjoy music (i.e. not critically), there are some music that are very easy to tell that it's compressed. Granted, it'd be 'easier' to just go to 320kbps, but the fact that I'm spending ~$300+ on a DAP, while I have the .FLAC on my computer and have to resort to re-encoding it to 320kbps just to be able to listen on said ~$300+ DAP... just makes me not want to do it :/. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hero Kid View Post

I like the fact that in your list of possible options you have the s:fo2 but towards the end of your post it says ".... renders the s:flo2 out". ;)


I wasn't sure if it was the s:flo2 or the J3 that doesn't support gapless playback >.>. I picked a random one, and hoped one of the forum users tore me apart about it =P.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bennyboy71 View Post

Go for the J3.  Got my 32gb version yesterday and it's brilliant.  The UI is easy peasy, the touch-screen works, the sound quality is awesome and awesomely tweakable, it supports flac, takes micro sd cards and has a sizeable support community online.

 

Bit of a no brainer really.


I suppose. If the players that I listed are the *only* options available, it's down to either the J3 or the Clip+. J3, in my opinion, may be too bulky for me to carry around, but since the screen is beautiful to look at (as well as loading up quite a few videos on there =P), it's understandable. The Clip+ seems way too small >.>.

post #8 of 19
Thread Starter 

Hmm... my reply hasn't been posted yet, so can't edit it to add more details.

 

Anyway:

I want to be able to listen to my music for it's full value, hence why I'm trying to push the .FLAC-capable portable DAP. My only other source of music is from my computer -> my Altec PT6021. It's got a great sound quality, but it's still not a 'home audio' setup, one that I cannot have right now (due to many variables). My only source of music enjoyment is sitting down on a couch, or lying down with my earphones plugged in and enjoying the music.

 

I suppose if I had a reallllly long 3.5m cable, I would plug it directly into my Claro+, since that would pretty much guarantee the best sound quality vs. any portable DAP >.>.

post #9 of 19

Slightly off-topic but I wanted to post this just in case...

 

I had the same concern about needing all my players to do flac... half because I'm convinced it's better (even though I can't reliably tell) and mostly because I didn't want to re-encode everything. Then I found out that MediaMonkey (and probably others as well) is able to transcode to lame with any settings I choose on the fly when transferring flac to the player. The mp3s are only temp files on the pc so I don't have to keep two versions of everything around.

 

I went with the Sflo personally, but it hasn't arrived yet so I can't comment on whether it lives up to the hype or not

post #10 of 19



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nyforever View Post

I suppose. If the players that I listed are the *only* options available, it's down to either the J3 or the Clip+. J3, in my opinion, may be too bulky for me to carry around, but since the screen is beautiful to look at (as well as loading up quite a few videos on there =P), it's understandable. The Clip+ seems way too small >.>.


Bulky? Ha, you having a laugh? It's light as a feather and fits in Jeans pockets. Are you a midget or something?
 

post #11 of 19
Thread Starter 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bennyboy71 View Post
Bulky? Ha, you having a laugh? It's light as a feather and fits in Jeans pockets. Are you a midget or something?

 


Why yes, I am a 'little person'. /sarcasm (No, I'm not.)

 

Since I'm not looking for a PMP, yes; the J3 is bulky to me. To put into perspective, it's like asking for a casual laptop, someone recommending a gaming laptop (which are generally thicker than your casual ones), and the end user saying it's too bulky, where-as it isn't *for what it's built for*. Sure, the J3 isn't bulky for a PMP (at less than half an inch thick, similar dimensions as an iPhone), but it is bulky for a DAP. However, I am willing to compromise for it, since afterall, it IS a PMP (i.e. you can't make it any smaller or it won't be considered a PMP), and it does have more features than your pure DAP (like the Clip+).

 

There really aren't any other options than these 4 I listed? What about all the Creative products? Aren't they supposed to be good, or are they 'too mainstream' now (have to admit, their SoundBlaster soundcard lines are terrible; had so many issues with hardware (failures), as well as software issues; bleh).

 

 

 

*EDIT*

I've just been informed that NWZ-X series support Linear-PCM, which is another word for uncompressed .wav. =O

Can anyone confirm this? I suppose since NWZ series all are 'pretty much the same', I'm going to test this right now using my old NWZ-A player. I suppose if that is the case, I will get the NWZ-X series, and use uncompressed .wav for gapless playback, and the rest of my music in mp3 or AAC.


Edited by nyforever - 6/30/10 at 11:53am
post #12 of 19

Confirmed!
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nyforever View Post

Can anyone confirm this? 

post #13 of 19

Cowon J3 i have it before it didnt give me problems 

post #14 of 19

On my second J3 (upgraded to a 32GB model). Came yesterday, today it's bricked. Not panicking, cause I am just going to return it to Amazon for a replacement, no sweat. I had the 16GB model and recommend it. But not happy with this development. It starts out fine, then the J3 logo and the bar beneath it turn some weird red color (like the red alert!) and that's it. Nothing else. Won't turn off, won't do a thing. I reset it, but same thing when I try to fire it up. I posted on the J3 forum, but not good. I had updated the FW yesterday, to 2.10.

 

Anyway, it seems pretty much dead. Not gonna lose sleep over it. And I really do like the J3 (had my 16GB model for 3 weeks, no issues). But this has me concerned. If the second one goes down for the count this early, I will have to sadly seek an alternative. I had the Sony X, prefer the J3 (card slot, mainly, and SQ too).

 

Any thoughts J3 owners?

 

Update: Sending it back to Amazon, not sure whether to replace it or get a refund and buy a 64GB Touch (or wait for some new players coming out in the fall). The Cowon tech person in an online chat said it sounded like a hardware problem. Who knows? The red color is not some sort of warning thing, it was some sort of screen/LED failure. And the player was not dropped or anything.


Edited by slaters70 - 7/1/10 at 2:19pm
post #15 of 19
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Szadzik View Post

Confirmed!


Thank you =). My NWZ-A player also plays the .WAV files, also re-assuring me that the NWZ-X series will as well. =D Looks like my purchase will be the NWZ-X.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by slaters70 View Post
Any thoughts J3 owners?


I honestly recommend you to make your own topic (if you haven't yet), as that will attract more people strictly for your problem (since this is more for 'which player should I get' vs. 'my J3 is having issues'). In my opinion, it seems like a hardware fault. Don't fret though, since quality control isn't 100% for any product, there are bound to be DOAs. Just bad luck :/. Good luck on your new J3, or if you're going to get the iTouch, the iTouch! (bleh! Not a fan of Apple =P).

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