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Cowon D3 vs. J3 After-thoughts

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

Hey guys, I'm really new here but thought I'd drop by to post this since I need some help.

I usually hang out at computer hardware forums but they don't have a dedicated audiophiles section.


I'm not sure if I'm an audiophile or what not, but I do own a CARAT Ruby MKII paired with HFI-780 cans and GS-6 RCA cables to my speaker setup which I seek to upgrade more.



Now on to the main subject.



I recently bought a Cowon D3 32GBs right after selling my J3 16GBs because I came to a point where I needed more space for all my music. I sold it for a decent price (100$s) so I can go buy a 32GB version of the J3. Instead, I found a great deal for the 32GB version of D3 for 250$ and at a heartbeat went to go buy that. I guess I am a bit of a Cowon fan but I'm all in and all ears for best sound quality which Cowon hasn't failed to deliver to me.


Does anyone here have a good opinion/technical POV in regards to their sound quality?


I get the feeling J3 was way better.


Right now I'm using my Cowon D3 (beta firmware 1.52) with Beats by Dr. Dre Tours and they sound... warm. I know those earphones aren't strictly the best for sound reproduction and I'm planning on getting U.E Triple.fi's which I reckon would sound great on this MP3 player to balance out the warmness(?) I don't know, it would be great if you could shed some light on this subject to recommend me a good pair of earphones to go along with my D3.


When I was using the Dre Tours on my J3, I was highly satisfied with how they sounded to my ears (of course, after a lot of tweaking to the EQ). A lot of the details were there, bass was rounded and not too strong, controlled.


So I used the same EQ settings from the J3 on my D3 and what do you know, it sounds like a complete POS. The bass was all distorted and the trebles were not all there. It sounds as if the trebles were "wrapped" in something? I had to re-tweak it to get a sub-par satisfactory result after spending A LOT of time tweaking the EQs which was a pain in the butt because it would stop playing the music for a few seconds, then apply changes unlike the J3 which was on-the-fly.


I reckon this is the case because to my knowledge, J3 uses an actual audio hardware chip (Wolfson DAC) to do all that sound voodoo while the D3 doesn't have one? I looked everywhere for technical specifications in regards to this and found none unless of course, you guys have something. Maybe D3 actually uses software-oriented EQs and that's why it has less battery life than the J3?


Another thing, sound quality doesn't get "better" with firmware updates.. right? I know this sounds stupid. The current firmware I'm using is actually quite good. I read a lot of reviews concerning the instablity of the D3 with a lot of performance drags but this is not the case with the new firmware update (albiet beta). There are just a few freezes here and there but I never had to take the pin out to reset the device.


So there you go, I'm actually considering selling my D3 to get a new J3 32GBs... or should I try the U.E Triple.fi's and give it another chance? The updates Cowon has been releasing seem to do fine and I do just love the new UI on the D3!


Let's start the discussion!

post #2 of 3



I understand your complaints about the D3 and I do agree - as a single-purpose music player, it is currently NOT a replacement for the J3. I, luckily, have both. ;) I haven't used the D3 for a lot of music listening yet, but it's right here next to me on the desk. Thus far I have noticed video playback is a lot better, the music UI is more aesthetically pleasing and the JetEffect menu is easier to use. The sound effects also affect the internal speaker, which was not the case with the J3.


Internet + Android + beautiful UI + STUNNING DESIGN is also a huge plus in my book, but this is an aside.


Firstly, if you haven't already, MAKE SURE TO UPGRADE TO THE LATEST FIRMWARE. It makes a HUGE improvement, although it is still not the fastest of Android devices.


Second, do use better earphones and say what you think. I'll do some AB comparisons for you with my J3 and say if I can hear any difference. One of the first reviews I read on the D3 stated that the sound was actually BETTER than on the J3.


(The BBE effects is hardware-implemented on the J3, and probably on the D3 as well. Running BBE software would result in a huge load on the processor. The BBE effects are NOT part of the Wolfson DACs used in Cowon players, but are running on a separate BBE chip as far as I know. However, the EQ and the "Special Effects" (Reverb, Stereo Enhance) are features of the Wolfson chip.)

Edited by tarcalion - 12/1/11 at 7:31am
post #3 of 3

So there are sonic differences between the D3 and J3 eh? I like a warmer, more laid-back sound, so perhaps I should consider the D3.

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