Here's a philosophical thought regarding DAP's and EQ. I just ordered a Cowon C2. (I don't really need another DAP, but hey, Head-Fi is a hobby, not a necessity!) I wanted the killer battery life, gapless playback, and FLAC support.
Regardless - here's what I'm thinking. We see posts here almost daily regarding the sound signature of this piece of gear versus that piece of gear. I compared my iPod Touch 3G 64GB to a Cowon D2 (both flat EQ, both playing lossless) and thought the iPod was better. But what if someone at Cowon knew that I liked a warm sound with tight crisp bass and rolled off highs, end set the EQ accordingly so that that was the "flat" signature of the unit. I would then love it and post that it has a warm sound .... yada, yada yada.
Any DAP provides a sound signature that is based on what's inside it. Duh! If a manufacturer set the sound (maybe even using EQ *only* controllable by the factory) a certain way, we here on head-fi would post about it having a specific sound sig. Bass heads may hate one player, while loving another. My thinking is that DAP sound comparisons should be made according to what the player is capable of, not how it sounds flat. No matter how you slice it, "flat" is still a function of how certain things are engineered and/or set at the factory. So - flat is a fallacy. Does that make sense?
Edited by FlatNine - 5/16/12 at 10:34am