Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Source Gear › Need help choosing between RoCoo D, Hifiman HM 601, Cowon J3 or Rockboxed Ipod Video + Fiio E11
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Need help choosing between RoCoo D, Hifiman HM 601, Cowon J3 or Rockboxed Ipod Video + Fiio E11

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

Hi everyone,


I'd like to upgrade my Ipod Classic to a high quality player so that i could listen to my flac collection in the best conditions.  I did some research on different forums and came up with 4 different choices:

- HisoundAudio RoCoo D

- Hifiman HM 601

- Rockboxed Ipod Video (with the Wolfson chip) + Fiio E11

- Cowon J3 or maybe the new Z2


I listen to mostly jazz and classical (70 %) but i'm also keen on other genres like rap and folk (mp3 files for the most).  I'd like to enjoy my music as if I was in the concert hall (at least a close experience) so I need a very good soundstage (in width and depth) and a good clarity.  I'm also hesitating between getting top tier IEM's (Westone 4 I think) or full size headphones (Beyerdynamic or Hifiman maybe), knowing that the last ones could give me a better listening experience but are confined to home listening.  The last thing that I have to keep in mind is that i'm using a macbook so i need a compatibility (at least drag and drop) between the player and my computer.  I've heard that there were some issues with the hm 601 and macbooks so if you have any experience to share...

I want the best sound quality and usability is just bonus so if the cowon and ipod don't come close to the others in terms of SQ then i won't be so interested in these options. 


If you have any other advice, please feel free to share.


post #2 of 11
Thread Starter 


post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 

Finally, I think that the Hifiman doesn't suit anymore my expectations (too bulky to rest all the day in my jeans pocket, compatibility issues with mac, a little pricier compared to the other options,...).  So I delete it from my list.  I'll also change the Fiio E11 to a JDSLabs CmoyBB which has great reviews and feedback everywhere.  I'll also get the Westone 4 for the conveniance they bring compared to full size headphones (I'll certainly invest in some good open back sooner or later but I'll need IEM's anyway and the Westone 4 seems a very good value). 

Please tell me if you know anything about the sound quality of the previous players and if the Westone will be a good solution for them.

post #4 of 11

the j3 appears to have issues with mac, the player has been reported to brick after file transfer (not sure if it is an isolated issue). For jazz and classical the studio v is a better choice than the rocoo, and these two players sound better with dynamic iems, so you may like to reconsider the iem choice.


so right now the ipod seems like the best choice although it it quiet a big setup.


personally i would recommend looking into a setup like studio v and ex1000 (or some other dynamic iems) and see if it meets your standards (note the lacking of isolation) 


good luck


Edit: if you can find someone to confirm that the j3 works with your mac, that would be your best choice with w4 due to the small size

Edited by milford30 - 3/16/12 at 11:38pm
post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 

Hi milford30,


Thank you very much for your advices.  I've seen somewhere on a french forum that the firmware of the studio V can be installed on the rocoo to provide a sound that is very close to the studio (more analytical) and the rocoo is much cheaper and smaller than the studio so if you think that the sound of the studio firmware in the rocoo can beat the ipod with amp or the J3, then the rocoo will be the most suitable player for me. 


As for the iems, I've heard that dynamic drivers were more warm sounding (good for jazz) and had punchier bass than BA drivers but for classical, I need the most accurate sounding earphones and if I buy high end iems, I don't want to make any concession on the isolation.  I thought about buying the Etymotics ER4 but I still need some bass (not punchy but deep) and I think that the Westone 4 are a bit more multipurpose than the ER4 (I listen to almost every kind of music).  Anyway, I'll buy an AKG Q701 (or Hifiman HE-500) with an amp soon for home listening purpose so the iems will be intended to outdoor listening for the most. 


As far as I know, the issues that have been reported with the J3 and mac can be avoided with the right manipulations and what made me look for the J3 too was the different sound enhancements that BBE and Jetaudio brings.  So if these are really usefull, I may consider the J3 as the best solution with the Westone 4. 


Thanks again,



post #6 of 11

according to hisoundaudio, the amp section of rocoo D/P and studio v have different amp sections, having said that i find the dynamics sound better with the rocoo P. using the studio firmware with rocoo will void the warranty, and you will need to do some research to see if there is significant improvement to justify it.


j3 is a safe option, the sound signature can be matched to your tastes.


while i personally think a big setup dap+amp is not worth it for portable usage (from experience) unless you're going to sit around for hours doing critical listening e.g on the plane.


while the rocoo P is a nice player, the ui is very minimal, things like resetting your settings every time you turn the player off is annoying me, no resuming last played song etc. also problems with no locking feature, which means the buttons can be pressed in your pocket while walking, killing an expensive iem due to this is really not worth it. the other thing is the long loading time and the battery life is not too bad but 7-8 hours of actual usage is annoying, tends to last a bit more than a day, but not enough for two days. this has annoyed me enough that i just ordered a j3.

so if your sure you don't mind these problems, then it's a good player.


since you are planning to use the w4 with rocoo, you may need to consider the hiss.


From http://www.head-fi.org/t/586947/rocoo-p-dap-full-review

s9 basically = j3 in sq

with your music tastes, it seem to come down to if you mind the problems with rocoo also the author mentions he does not like eq, which is where the cowon shines. So if you only consider jazz and classical music, i would pick the j3 due to the better ui, much better battery life and the possibility of improving the sound with eq, especially the price being not too much difference (8gb j3 @182 usd) and the possibility of getting 32gb model + 32gb card.


sq wise, bottom line is if your willing to use eq or not.

Edited by milford30 - 3/17/12 at 2:22pm
post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thanks a lot, you (almost) convinced me to buy the J3 over the RoCoo. 


But I have a few questions left for you since I know that you own a J3.  First, one thing that is really important in UI for me is the fluidity and I own a Samsung android smartphone that is not fluid at all and I really don't want to buy something that would remind me my phone in this aspect (something like iPhone or iPod UI would be wonderful even if interface is not my main concern).  So if you can tell me that your pmp interface works fine that would be a good point for the J3. 

Another thing I want to know is if the RoCoo reads tags or not because what I saw on several pictures and videos looks like this: 01 - Tax Free [Hansson~Karlsonn~Bosse][Live].flac and I really don't want to see this on the screen because it just doesn't mean anything to me :D

As for the earphones I'm now hesitating between the Westones and good dynamic iems like the Vsonic GR07 which have fairly good isolation and a good sq according to this review (http://www.head-fi.org/t/478568/multi-iem-review-229-iems-compared-altec-lansing-uhp336-ue-superfi3-hippo-10eb-added-03-11-12 ). 

What do you think? (if I go for the J3 of course) 


I saw the Westone 4 on Amazon and they are sold 360 $ new and 299 $ used but like new (because the box has been opened).  Do you think that it would be safe to buy these used?

I also wondered if an amp like the JDS Labs CmoyBB would be a good investment or if it simply doesn't improve the sound of the J3 + Westone/GR07.


Thank's again, your advice was much appreciated!

Edited by Tonio - 3/17/12 at 7:35pm
post #8 of 11

unfortunately i don't have my j3 yet, currently in transit, so you'll have to ask some1 else. there are plenty of reviews around discussing the ui of the j3, overall they seem positive.


as for rocoo, it displays the file name, there is a function to sort by artists etc... but it does work for me, i just play by folder.


i have not heard either the w4 and gr07, so i am unable to comment. You will need to check the return policy for used goods. i'm basically in a similar boat, waiting till my visit to hong kong and try out the w4 and a few other top end iems. the w4 seems so cheap on amazon, but it's trying to charge me $80+ USD for shipping!! so basically $20 less than the other listings... sucks.... guess i'll wait for my visit so i can actually listen to them first.


personally i would skip on the amp, i don't hear a significant enough difference between dap+amp and just dap on the go (walking/on the bus) and that was with my iriver h120+ibasso D10 setup, especially with iems. if you really going to add an amp, then go with something with a line out like sansa fuze with lod (or ur ipod rig), it will save you quiet a few dollars and pocket space. didn't want to carry two devices around so i got the rocoo p in the half price sponsor event.


if you can live with the shortcomings of the rocoo ui and battery life, then you can let the iem decide.



Edited by milford30 - 3/18/12 at 5:42am
post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 

If I buy the W4, I'll ship it to some place in the US because my mum is going there in April so I'll pay the regular shipping fees for America (price is not the same in Belgium and in euros :D ) but I'll have some trouble if I want to return the used ones (At least I'll have to wait till my mum's next trip to the US). 

I'm going to give up on the amp solution since it's maybe not worth it if I get very good IEMs and a good player.  I'll make some more research on the GR07 and the Westone because it would be great to save some 200 $ with the first ones, if I can't really hear any significant difference in SQ and if it sounds better with the rocoo (even if I know that I won't be disapointed with the W4 anyway).  The ideal solution would be trying the iem's and players before buying them but It seems really hard to find some place in Brussels where I can do that, so I'll have to rely on the reviews.

Well, I'll try something and we'll see if I'm happy with what I got...


Edit: if you need any solution to get the W4, I could always ask my mum to buy them for you in the US (if it's worth it, I don't know the prices in Asia and where you live) and I'll send them to your place for less than 80$ :D


Thank you very much for your help, everything looks clearer to me now.



post #10 of 11

good luck, i think i'll just try them when i get to hong kong, since i'm looking for more musical iem rather than neutral, thanks anyway. Getting everything in the US is probably a good idea so you can avoid the stupid taxes/duties.


btw one more thing, according to http://www.head-fi.org/t/601546/cowon-j3-discontinued

j3 is discontinued, so the price may drop (stock clear) or rise, so it may be cheaper to get the j3 if it drops (in the US anyway) 

post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 

Finally I bought the Rocoo P and the Vsonic GR07...  Don't think I'll be disapointed.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Portable Source Gear
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Source Gear › Need help choosing between RoCoo D, Hifiman HM 601, Cowon J3 or Rockboxed Ipod Video + Fiio E11