I used to own the Cowon S9 and J3 and as I posted somewhere in these pages, I was not immediately floored by the DX100. I was expecting an instant WOW and it didn't happen and so was quite disappointed. However with a bit of dedicated listening time, it was like a slow realisation that everything just sounded "better", "bigger" and "weightier". I did some testing back and forth between the DX100 and my Cowons and the limitations of the Cowon soon became obvious.
My J3 had never really sounded right to my ears and I was forever playing with the EQ trying to get the perfect sound. There has been none of that with the DX - set the EQ to OFF and the sound is perfect.
My Cowons have now been sold as the DX is the only player I want (apart from the battery life and weight)
In all my limited audio experience - instant WOW, after a fairly short time, turns into a Hmmm and then eventually an ewww.
Audio excellence subtly creeps up on you and when you aren't expecting, it pounces, knocking you out of your socks and into the sublime.
But then you're like ...