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Has anyone taken interest in the digital out on the Cowon D3??

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I know this could also be put in the portable source gear forum, but I think what I'm talking about applies more to the people here. Over there, some people seem interested in the digital out on the D3, but many are just talking about the sound quality of the player itself using it's headphone out. That's all cool, and I know that Cowons sound great on their own, but is anyone as amazed as I am that there is a modern DAP that is actively in production offering digital out over S/PDIF? When I search head-fi about this I find less of an overwhelming excitement than I would expect.


So I guess what I'd like to ask is, has anyone put together a portable rig centered around this player? The concept of using something like an RSA Predator, iBasso D12, or one of the Leckerton DAC/Amp combos with this player is so exciting to me. Even two seperate amp and DAC boxes could potentially be much thinner than an iPod, amp, and an Algorythm Solo for example, and a combo box most definitely would be. There does seem to be one issue though, and maybe someone can help with this. The only cable I can seem to find online for the digital out is this one


the orange being the one for digital audio. Obviously no one would want to have so much cable between the player and the portable DAC/Amp; some sort of short interconnect would be ideal. Additionally, would it be possible for this to work with usb dacs, or would dac/amps with coaxial/optical in be required?


I realize that this is a loaded post, so to summarize, I'm basically asking/wondering about the following;



Is anyone using a rig similar to what's described above?


If so, what sort of cable are you running from the Cowon to your gear, and where'd you get it?


And lastly, what gear are you using?



I'd LOVE to hear some people weigh in on this if anyone feels they have something to add!

Edited by novacav - 11/4/11 at 3:32pm
post #2 of 8

As far as a I know, no Android device currently supports 'USB on the go' which is required if you want to connect a portable USB DAC to the thing. It's one of those classic Android things where you have hardware which is potentially able to do stuff but it's been gimped for the time being.


I was looking forward to this too but I have yet to see anyone post an Android equivalent to the iOS device + CLAS + amp or iOS device + Fostex HP-P1, simply because I don't think you can make it work yet.

post #3 of 8

Novacav, Since I am searching for a player to connect to a DAC, and the D3 is one option, I am interested in your question. Have you already tried the S/PDIF output of the Cowon? Which cable have you used?


Somnambulist, Novcav is not talking about the USB output. The D3 has a physical S/PDIF output (according to the specs). I am also waiting for someone to confirm that Android can use the USB to connect to external DAC. Then I would buy a cheap Andorid tablet, but I only hear promises.





post #4 of 8

I bought the last Cowon USB -> S/PDIF cable on US Amazon. Even before buying a Cowon D3, LOL. But it seemed to be the last one I could find in US, so I went ahead.


Would buy a D3 soon. May buy a Fiio E17 or ibasso D10 or Leckerton UHA-6S.MKII to extract digital portably, or will wait for a portable ODAC with S/PDIF input.


Anyone using D3 with MOG or Spotify? D3 with Android plus wifi would be a cheap consumer version of iBasso DX100, which allows streaming millions of music from wifi.

Edited by zzffnn - 3/26/12 at 12:48pm
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 

I still haven't pulled the trigger on a D3, but I have used MOG with an iPod Touch and the Leckerton UHA-4, and it's great. MOG's 320 kbps on the go is seriously amazing, I'm using my ER4S with the setup and I'm really happy. And honestly with the meh DAC in the iPod Touch I don't know if I would hear the difference between lossless and 320 anyways, which makes me even more satisfied with MOG. If I do every get a setup with the D3 going, though, and am able to use the DAC in my UHA-4, I'm sure it will be a different story....


Please let us know how you make out with that S/PDIF cable though zzffnn!

post #6 of 8

@ novacav,


I don't see any reason why you can not take S/PDIF out of D3. Here is a Headfier who took S/PDIF out of his Cowon Q5W into iBasso D1 (with pic):



I think Q5W's cable is similar to D3's, in that they are both USB ->S/PDIF. Not sure if they are inter-changeable though.


I would likely buy a D3 2 months later (need to save up for it).


I have been using MOG Premium with my iPhone 3GS. My rigs are:

iPhone 3GS -> Pure i20 optical or coaxial digital output -> AMB Gamma2 DAC or PreSonus Central Station DAC -> AMB Beta22 or FirstWatt F2 -> LCD2s or DT880s/600ohm.


To be honest, I have not heard much difference between 320 kbps MOG vs. WAV. I usually do not listen critically or I just have tin ears :P


The D3 attracts me in that it can play MOG, flac, wav, mp3 and can supply digital portably (It could replace my iPhone 3GS plus Pure i20 as portable digital transport).


You know I was wondering why so many iRiver H120s/H140s are up for sale at Headfi (still expensive at $100 in view of their age). Maybe because people are looking to replace iRivers with Cowon D3? But surprisingly, this thread has not been very active.......





post #7 of 8

Sorry I actually changed my mind. Anyone wants to take this USB to Coaxial digital cable off my hands? I paid $18.13 usd for it at Amazon. Again, this one seems to be the last one available on US market.


I already have 3X iPhone 3GS (all with digital output docks), 2X Rockboxed Sansa Clip and 3 other coaxial digital output players (Archos 605 with dock). I guess getting another Cowon D3 does not make much sense, my 3GS can do MOG very well and my Sansa can play FLAC and WAV very well.


D3 digital cable.jpg


The above is the digital cable by the way.


US Amazon is out of stock for it:



Please see the FS thread listed in my signature for details, if you would like to buy this digital cable.Thank you.

Edited by zzffnn - 3/27/12 at 10:08am
post #8 of 8

The Cowon D3 using the Coax S/PDIF out is the "real deal".  Using it to drive a FiiO Alpen E17.  Sounds fantastic and dramatically better than using it's headphone out to the line-in of the E17! (which you would expect; just confirming the difference isn't subtle)  Especially since parametric EQ and JetEffects are all in effect thru the coax out.  That was a surprise since the block diagram of the Wolfram DSP/DAC chip the D2 uses shows the digital out is before the DSP section; it must not be accurate.

I don't imagine there's a better portable "bang for the buck" than the Cowon D3 to the E17 over digital Coax and recommend it highly.

Edited by m8o - 12/19/12 at 3:08pm
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