Just wanted to add that I am all about neutral sounding headphones/earphones. Very fast and detailed. It especially suits one of my favorite genres of music: uplifting trance. So, I fell in love with TF10 IEMs and then discovered the Beyerdynamic DT880 (250ohm). I say "one of my" because the DT880 sound so good that I've started listening to old favorites of mine including movie soundtrack/scores. It was interesting to find out that uplifting trance is said to have been influenced by film music and one of my favorite trance producers (Andy Blueman) quit trance to start producing movie score music--his other passion.
I have really fallen in love with the Wolfson DAC sound--first with Galaxy S smartphones + Voodoo sound control..........I was STUNNED!! Of course, all of you know the J3 has a Wolfson in it.
Then I became a little more purist and went for THE best iPod there is--the 5/5.5gen which also has the best Wolfson DACs in them. Definitely more neutral and cold sounding than the Galaxy S + Voodoo sound....I actually missed the warmer welcoming sound and so I sold it and got another Galaxy S phone/rooted/voodoo'd it. Was in love once again.........got curious about the Cowon J3 and snagged one off the head-fi classifieds recently.......and I'm AS PLEASED as can be :D
I've paired it with a Fiio E17, which is very neutral I might add--didn't add any warmth to the iPod 5.5gen and don't feel like it adds warmth to the Cowon/Galaxy. It's everything I would want in an AMP/DAC (I guess until I upgrade to maybe 600ohm DT880 or something better like T1 in the far far off future). I might also add that it adds bass AMAZINGLY (super tight and articulate) just like I've read reviews of the Digizoid Zo2. That said, I feel like I don't NEED the E17 as much as I did with my other sources including the iPod 5.5gen. I have iPad2, PSP, had the PS Vita (both Wolfson DACs), and Sony nwz-s544....and several models of the Galaxy S phone (Fascinate, Epic, Vibrant, Nexus S)
Anyway, I've started playing around with the BBE and I don't know how to adjust the settings individually yet--via equalizer once I've set the BBE effect? (I haven't tried yet) and I like a few of the BBE/VIVA settings so far. I could just as easily listen to the J3 flat, but some of the settings are more fun and enjoyable. I guess that's why I've started looking into getting a closed headphone that's very fast/detailed but not necessarily completely neutral. I've put the popular Cheetah UI on the J3 and it looks awesome and the battery life seems everlasting like I had read.
The J3 is a real keeper and I'm not tempted to go back to iPod 5.5gen in the least. I'm a little curious about the iMod, however. I like my Galaxy S phone almost as much as the J3, though-- Poweramp interface is really splendid, plus it has crossfading, and some other features as well as Android/Wifi/ability to download mp3s directly to device/etc....... I really missed the touch interface/easy search functions in my rockboxed iPod 5.5, as well.
I'll probably end up selling one of them--most likely the Galaxy S, because those are a dime a dozen on Craigslist. I even got the OEM extended battery which lasts for a couple days and Dock which has USB line out sound...
I think it's most important to keep in mind like some other posters have pointed out--the headphones you use might determine how well you like the J3. I can't be happier with the neutral cans + J3 pairing. To think I was going to drop $250 on the Sony Z1040 without knowing that it doesn't have an expandable memory slot......!!!!!! outrageous. There's absolutely no way I'll be dropping $500-800 on a Z1070 or iBasso DX100 now that I've heard the J3. I guess ignorance is bliss :)
I'd like to also mention that listening to my favorite trance tunes (such as the ones on the first link of my signature) and movie scores (2nd link in sig) is a joyous experience 8-)
Edited by hyogen - 5/2/12 at 7:07am