Thanks, Archmedisdead. Well, I haven't heard the iRiver H3x0, Cowon X5 and Rio Karma. I did win a Cowon X5 on Swedish Ebay affiliate site Tradera yesterday, it came together with a pair of AKG K518DJ headphones and I got it for around $75. A pretty good deal considering the seller recently replaced the battery. I'm trying to find a Rio Karma as well, but they are difficult to find and if you find them they are either defective or very expensive...
To the original poster, I've got an iRiver H120. I put Rockbox on it and it sounds pretty amazing. I don't know if iRiver managed to keep the SQ on the H3x0 series, but I've not read anything about them sounding worse. It just seems to be an updated version of the H1x0 series with a color screen.
Here's an old comparison that I found:
And the thread here where people discuss it:
About other old DAP's:
Creative Zen Touch: sounds pretty good, MUCH better than the current Creative DAP's, and it's very easy to replace the HDD with a CF card.
Creative Zen Vision M: Slightly less dynamic sound than the Touch but much better UI and pretty good for video with its 2,5" screen. Also very easy to mod yourself.
Samsung YH-J70: You can find this very cheap since it's not really well known. It sounds really good and has got a 9 band custom EQ. However the database for ID3 tags isn't very good and playlists don't work well.
Sony HD5: Sound pretty good, but if you use MP3 you won't be able to use the custom EQ to full effect. For that, you need to use Sony's own ATRAC codec. You also need Sony's Soundstage software to transfer music.
Kenwood HD20GA7: These are very difficult to find outside of Japan. I bought mine while living there in 2010. It's popular among Japanese as well and I had to pay close to 20.000 yen. The 30GB HD30GB9 is an updated model with supposedly better sound. Custom EQ isn't very good but pre sets are good and overall the Kenwood sounds great. You need Kenwood's Kenwood Media Application to transfer music and update the database.
Anyway, I think that an iRiver H340 might be a good choice. If it sounds the same as the H120 I'd definitely recommend you to get one! It's easy to use and if you install Rockbox you can just drag and drop (perhaps it works in the original firmware as well, I haven't tried mine...)
Edited by Danneq - 9/17/12 at 6:01am