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same old story... Ipod Classic VS any Cowon

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

Dear All,

 

I'm a newbie here and I have to say I don't know much about portable devices. I'd like to buy a high-quality player and my primary concern is the sound quality. There are so many different Cowons on the market that I'm a bit perplexed which I should choose. I've been also considering going for the Ipod Classic since it's got 160GB of memory. I don't have expensive headphones, most of the time I use AKG 240. What model would you suggest? Would you pick the Ipod or one of the Cowons? If the latter, then which model would you say is worth spending money on? One factor that matters to me is the player's memory capacity. The more, the better.

 

Thank you

post #2 of 16
Thread Starter 
hey again, i'd be grateful for any insights
post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 

bear with me guys, I need somebody to tell me which Cowon is the best in terms of SQ

post #4 of 16
The largest of cowon player in term of memory is the x7, the cowon will mostly have more tweakable sound compared to the ipod

You probably want the cowon x7 if you want the same ammount of memory of the ipod classic
The j3, s9,x7 and the x9 have reportedly good sound, dunno much about the rest, but you should be searching around that model as far as i can tell
post #5 of 16

The Cowon are good sounding DAPs, but they can't take any amp, because of the lack of line out. For that reason I prefer the Classic, even the SQ is better on the Cowon players. 

 

If you search a real all-in-one with an amp section which is suffisant for most of the headphones, the Cowon players are great, but not the best. 

 

Moreover, Rockbox is almost ported on the Classic, it works already but not as stable as on other DAPs, so it is a considerable choice. 

 

On both these players you have a proprietary USB port... it should not be determinant to you, isn't it ?

post #6 of 16
Having no line out doesnt mean you cant use an amp, you can just use the headphone out and amp the signal there, also known as double amping
post #7 of 16

Classic (rockboxed) is great

post #8 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Retrias View Post

Having no line out doesnt mean you cant use an amp, you can just use the headphone out and amp the signal there, also known as double amping

Logically you shouldn't use an amp after an other amp, that doesn't say you can't, just that's not logic. If you need more power, buy an other DAP. If you want to improve SQ with an amp, buy a DAP with a LO. A DAP which is over amped is not as good as an other DAP with a LO even the DAP without LO is a clean source, such as J3. 

post #9 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by mesmerized View Post

my primary concern is the sound quality.
Welcome to the forum mesmerized. I have to agree with you about the same old story. I disliked both my Cowon S9 and my 6th Gen iPod Classic. Cowons tend to be flash based (except for the X7) which means lower capacity than the iPod Classic. They are very loud players which the Classic isn't due to EU restrictions. Cowons tend to last a very long time in terms of playback and they are aimed a those who like altering the sound signature. A Classic has limited options for tayloring the sound. As far as interface goes the Classic is a simple well thought out interface whereas Cowon goes for customisation over useability. I didn't like the sound quality of either, too much colouration, strange messed around with bass on the S9, harsh metallic sound from the Classic which may have been improved upon, too much treble etc. These players are mainly suited for IEMs, the older Classic (5G) was good with full sized headphones. Wishing for high capacity and high sound quality is rarely catered for in the market and when it is it's very expensive. There a high sound quality players but not in the mainstream, they mean suffering poor UIs, modifying them as well as limited availability in some cases.
post #10 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sefelt103 View Post


Welcome to the forum mesmerized. I have to agree with you about the same old story. I disliked both my Cowon S9 and my 6th Gen iPod Classic. Cowons tend to be flash based (except for the X7) which means lower capacity than the iPod Classic. They are very loud players which the Classic isn't due to EU restrictions. Cowons tend to last a very long time in terms of playback and they are aimed a those who like altering the sound signature. 

 

Thanks Sefelt! Appreciate your reply!

 

I'm not really sure what sound signature is. I also have no idea what a "rockbox" might be and how to use it/install it. I just wanna buy something that sounds better than a smartphone. I normally listen to music on my dad's valve amp and I'm not expacting to get anything even close to that in terms of SQ but I'd like to get the best thing I can.

post #11 of 16
Rockbox is a set of firmware alterations for a limited number of players. These modifications to the firmware enable changes in the user interface, remove limitations in capacity, allow for larger capacity batteries to be fully utilised etc. Manufacturers tend to frown on these kind of things as it enables people to extend the use of their player when otherwise they might have bought another one. The older iPod Classics are supported, the later ones not so although I think people have been successful, various Cowon models are also supported. There is a risk involved with flashing an unapproved (by the original manufacturer) firmware. If something goes wrong the player may become 'bricked' which means it won't power up or charge because the firmware has gone corrupt or is doing something that causes an error or loop. Sound signature is just the way a player presents the music due to what it is and can be adjusted to a certain extent by equalisation. So a player might have supressed bass, colourful midrange and extra treble. Players like Cowons enable you to adjust these characteristics comprehensively. So if an artist didn't record much bass you could increase the bass amplification to make the track sound 'better'. Usually this distortion of the original signal actually reduces the overall sound quality. Modern players however have sophisticated equalisation tools that minimise this distortion. There are those who believe you can make players sound like different ones by equalisation but not everyone agrees with this.
Quote:
I just wanna buy something that sounds better than a smartphone
Most dedicated music players will be an improvement although 'phones like the iPhone have good sound quality. You need to decide whether you want to adjust the sound and how important useability is to you. Hi-fi quality players are expensive, use their batteries hard which means short battery life due to all the microchips inside. Mainstream players have better user interfaces, have extras like video playback, games etc. they have longer battery lifes which is convenient but may compromise sound quality somewhat. They also have good parts supplies and support and are less expensive to buy.

Hi-fi - Colorfly C3/C4, HiFiman 601/801, Teclast T51(not available new), Astell & Kern AK100
Mainstream - iPod Classic 6/7gen, Sony models, Samsung P2/P3(not available new) Cowon S9/J3/X7(not quite mainstream S9/J3 not available new)

a player I quite like is the iPod Video (Classic 5G) it is not a no compromise hi-fi player but has a good interface is readlily available used, is easy to repair, sounds good with both IEMs/Full size headphones, has high capacity (30/80GB), can be modified and fairly easily repaired and is durable. With a set of Shure SE425s for portable use I think most would be pleased. You can even transplant the HDD with an SSD.
post #12 of 16
Rockbox is pretty stable on my iPod classic 7G, been using it for over a year with rockbox
post #13 of 16

I'm not sure about the newer Cowon but I have a Q5 and you are limited on digital output to spdif instead of usb. It certainly narrows down the choices of outboard dac/headphone units that can be used.
 

post #14 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rollk2 View Post

Logically you shouldn't use an amp after an other amp, that doesn't say you can't, just that's not logic. If you need more power, buy an other DAP. If you want to improve SQ with an amp, buy a DAP with a LO. A DAP which is over amped is not as good as an other DAP with a LO even the DAP without LO is a clean source, such as J3. 


which mean that according to you logic , amp without volume control won't exist (they do) , they have to be plugged on HO instead of LO or else you would probably go deaf after the listening sessions

post #15 of 16

Portable amp have generally a pre-amp section. That's all. For the rest there are so many different LO that we could debate on what is a true LO and what aren't. 

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