I just got myself a X9 to replace my former setup, which was: Imod (incl the ALO cable) + Iqube + Hd25 (with cooper senn cable or Cardas cable)
The Imod died and i sold back the Iqube that i found too big and heavy.
So the Imod + Iqube was around 1000€ whereas the Cowon costs around 200€ (with a smaller capacity -32Go- however)
My critics are exactly the reverse of what i read everywhere: great sound but bad "ergonomics"
I'm in France so i had to delete the "param" file which limits the volume and spoils the sound as well.
(I precise i still use the HD25)
For me the big problem is the equalizer: it's not audiophile at all as the sound should be great with a "regular" setting.
The problem there is that it sounds very bad in "regular" mode. So you have to use a "trafficked" mode.
So either the bass is bumped or the low recessed...
The best i found is the "Rock" mode which have enough lows (but not too much) and enough highs...
To sum up, i find it decent sounding but not neutral because of the equalizer and more ear-fatiguing than the classic Ipod because of that.
Besides that, the tuner section is godd sounding, beating my pocket tuner reference (Sangean)