Colorfly C3

Jiawen Zhen

New Head-Fier
Pros: Great sound
Cons: questionable interface, no cover art, and limited features, popping noise, sometimes buggy
This dap is fantastic and better sounding than my LG V20, which is weird because with all the hype and the 32 bit quad dac, the V20 under performs in comparison. It's going for 50 on Amazon so I'm tempted in buying a bunch and gifting them. Lots of issues but I can overlook most of them


New Head-Fier
Pros: Sound quality.
Cons: User interface. Build quality.
The ColorFly C3 is a nice little DAP. With good sound quality. And is all very well if it works. But the user interface is rather bad and glitchy. My unit started doing strange things. Like flashing and skipping songs as if a button was held, it was impossible to select a song o manipulate the DAP in any way. It was unusable until reset. And that happened every 30 minutes. Very dissapointing because it started acting up not very long after buying it. Totally put me of any Colorfly products for future purchase.
alexandros a
alexandros a
Very sorry for you bad fortune.there ..You must have got a defective unit as it seems....
Otherwise in terms of SQ C3 is trully priceless...
One of the most addictive sound signatures i ve heard in my whole life deep wide airy soundstage, clear transparent midrange got me thinking about more Colorfly products...
Hello everybody, today myC3 turned off. I thought the battery was dead. I charged it but still it does not turn on. Any ideas how to fix that?
alexandros a
alexandros a
alex have you tried to put a needle inside the tinny hole above the 3.5 output ?
in order to rebout C3 you have to try that if you havent tried that allready ...


New Head-Fier
Pros: Sound accuracy and quality, amazing MP3 decoder, battery life
Cons: Love--hate relationship. Wait, is that a pro? Stuttering/buffer underrun on EVO 128GB
I won't go in depth on the sound quality as I think other experts had already encompasses their opinions on it. But in summary, I would say this thing is a couple of notch better in sound quality compared to Sansa Clip+, with lighter and much more controlled bass yet more forward mids. I wish it supports higher sampling rate of 96KHz, currently highest quality is stuck in 24-bit/48KHz WAV. But no biggie, 16-bit/44.1Khz FLAC already sounds well enough. What is also interesting is, it seems to have very lively sounding MP3 decoder.
If you want music and just music with maximum portability, then this is it. No gimmicky features, no file sorting, no playlist, just directories and music files. You'll have to use DriveSort to sort the entries in the FAT32 partition table. I will not recommend DriveSort as I at least had two files being corrupted due to it, and was confirmed with the md5 sum check. I've now migrated to "fatsort" on my Mac, and haven't had any problem yet.
The design is unique and admirable, though not utterly beautiful. It's small enough for carrying in your shirt pocket, but won't be light enough to be clipped on your shirt. I wish it came with Sansa Clip+ UI hardware allowing Rockbox, lighter plastic case, shirt clip, and microphone. Really, it is begging an update, something like Colorfly C3S. Or instead, maybe an upgraded Clip+/Zip should sound like this?
If you're an audiophile, owning a couple portables of Sansa Clip+ and Colorfly C3 won't hurt, complementing your favorite desktop DAC.
Unfortunately I haven't had any luck overcoming the constant yet random buffer underrun/stuttering on the EVO 128GB microSD card, which wasn't resolved by changing to 4K, 32K, or even 64K cluster size.


500+ Head-Fier
Pros: great build quality, great sound, portable and looks good.
Cons: maybe you will hate using the C3. /:
build quality 
the C3 is build like a tank, my C3 fell several times on the floor and nothing happened. (something I would love to see with an iPhone...)
really small and portable, but still feels really good in the hand because the C3 is a bit heavy. 
using comfort
the touch on the C3 is nice but not like the touch of an iPod/galaxy, sometimes you will need to touch the screen 2-3 times until it will work
the screen is small but i don't think it's a bad thing, you just need to see the name of the song/album so why you need a 4" screen for that?
there is no search option, but after some time you will remember where is the album is and you will find heme in a second.
sound quality
the c3 has a v-shaped sound, big soundstage. fast and accurate bass, really nice detail. a bit dark and slow sound. (kind of HD600)
overall: the C3 have fun sound but still has some neutrality in it.
why 5/5? because its just 100$ DAP ,  dont expect for audiophile quality but still this 100$ DAP gives you grate value and even if it costed 150$ it still will be a grate deal.
highly recommended DAP!!!!!!
thanks for reading my review!
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Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: low output impedance, does sound decent, small-ish (compared to note3), bright screen
Cons: screen size, froze (tags?), can't do SD+Internal shuffle, doesn't handle folders shuffle, no custom EQ, bass EQ boomy, awkward controls, no search....
so, h20 sent me his unit as a loaner.

I can see why people liked the sound/build:
It does sound somewhat more detailed and having wider soundstage than the clip
seems like it has a mild treble boost compared to the clip so it sounds bit crisper. Not too sure it it'd pair well with bright IEMs. (there's also a small bass- roll off due to coupling caps, but it wasn't that noticable to me). The battery life is pretty decent, and it does look pretty and feel solid. Coupling caps aside it looks to have low output impedance, and it drove my GMP450 pro to ok volumes.

Sound signature wise, I'm fairly confident the distinct sound can be repeated with a parametric eq in clip to mimic the same effect. (if you eq the bass already no extra battery penalty)

things i hated were:
-for global shuffle you gotta make a 'master' folder, add an extra song into its root and put subfolders into it. (the cowon d2 model lol). actually there's no recursive shuffle or sd + main all shuffle (gah. come on colorfly, im not going to reorganize the way i manage my music for your buggy mp3 player. (trial to script a recursive folder traversal and concat folder name ____ file name but f. it, also won't fix sd+int memory)
-no search
-not sure if i like the sound sig and slight deep bass roll-off with D1000 at all.
-have to turn it away from body in shirt pocket else it unlocks and mutes. magically. when on keylock
-heavy and no clip (compared to clip zip, that's probably not a fair comparison though, since just about anything is )
-capacitative buttons and not tactile feedback - fiddly.
-froze 2x times in 1h . once with music stuck in an annoying glitch sound. had to restart. (if they can't write a flac decoder.... well....or maybe faulty tag handling like on Cowon d2)
-eq very limited and the bass setting is excessive in mid-bass and too shallow in sub-bass
-can't turn off key light on charge
-no attempt to remediate thing by colorfly re changelog history. upgrading it to instead of fixes looks not to fix any of if it, maybe the button or lock issue.
- won't ever get rockboxed in a stable or probably anyway - being niche.
-i never thought i'd say this - but it actually has a smaller screen than clip+ ... just... amazing. (dont think you can change the fonts or anything but it is pretty bright)

that concludes my first experience in 'audiophile players' with 'excellent firmware'
for some reason the review box doesn't display the ratings I gave it, so here they are again:
And there are definitely people who hear the DX50/X3 as an upgrade. Just because some people think the C3 is better doesn't mean it is for everyone. 
lin0003, I said it as a recommendation, not as a fact...


Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Sound, size, battery life, sound, expandable memory, price, sound.
Cons: UI, button layout, limited accessories.
It's just like the title says - the Colorfly C3 is everything that a portable music player should be. Almost.
Build Quality/Form Factor
Excellent. Fits nicely in the hand and has a nice heft to it. Metal back and sides complement the glass face well. The screen is rather small and the text on said screen is also small. (Think Clip+).

Probably the best native/unaltered sound quality I've heard out of a DAP. That includes iPod 5.5, Sansa Fuze V1, Sansa Clip+, and the DX50. It's so musical and organic. There is no hiss or RF interference, even with sensitive IEMs. The SQ out of the C3 is what really made me realize how low the priority was for the iPod's sound quality. Colorfly's offering blows even the Wolfson-toting iPod Video out of the water. 
- Bass is controlled and full. Never bleeds or intrudes into other frequencies. 
- Mids are lush and rich and nicely-framed.
- Treble is clean and detailed although never sibilant. 
Note: The EQ is limited in variety. No five-band EQ here. Just a short list of presets that sound pretty comparable to most presets I've heard from other portable offerings. 
This is where the 'almost' comes in. First, the button layout, like most Chinese/Japanese DAPs I've encountered is a little funky. Like buttons (volume, forward/back) are oriented diagonally from each other. When will they realize that this layout is not going to catch on?! Also, the touch sensitivity of said buttons is a bit finicky. You've got to press dead center to elicit a response. 
The interface is what keeps the C3 from getting 5 stars from me. It's just... meh. The inverted scrolling controls take some getting used to, as does the native directory sorting (folders are sorted by Date Modified rather than alphabetically). Also, because the screen is so small, you can only view a few lines of text on any give screen. This makes scrolling through lists or menus more tedious than it should be.
The C3 is what portable DAPs should be modeled after. First and foremost, it's geared to do one thing and one thing only: play music at a better-than-average level. And it does. The sound is incredibly musical and detailed - much more than a sub $100 DAP ought to. There are no 'audiophile' sound tailoring options like 12-band EQ or gain adjustment, but honestly if you're considering this player you probably aren't listening to $800+ IEMS or planars anyway. Battery life is great, memory is expandable to 64gb, and If the UI could be improved just a touch, I think this DAP would garner higher honors than it already does.
If you're looking for a no-frills DAP that sounds great out of the box without a need for external amping or DAC, look no further than the C3 from Colorfly.
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Nice review! Was an easy read, to the point, and was pretty much how I'd rate it for simplicity. 
Ko Nectic Jazz
Ko Nectic Jazz
I agree with your review. This player just has a tremendous SQ. I used to listen to a Cowon J3 and I'm utterly surprised. Bass are full and controled, dynamics are sharp and deep and the player outfit looks tough and nice. I even no longer need an amp to shake my cans. My J3 is totally overtaken. No regrets!
Has anyone used this through a home stereo? I assume since folks use it with a portable amp
that it would sound okay through my home setup? Please forgive my ignorance. I am pretty new
to the portable hifi scene. Thanks.


Member of the Trade: T51 TeKMOD
CAUTION: Multiple issues reported related to his modding service.


New Head-Fier
Pros: Sound quality; size; battery life
Cons: UI
I bought this player to complement my larger Cowon players and on the strength of some of the opinions written elsewhere on this site. When I saw it for £70 on Ebay I decided to take the plunge.
Boy am I glad I did!
The unit comes nicely packaged but my initial impressions were not too positive as the unit needed a firmware upgrade and immediately froze. I could not operate any of the controls and it just sat, blinking at me. Luckily some good advice from fellow enthusiasts helped me sort the problem and the unit does not appear to have suffered any long term ill effects.
So now I could get to playing some music on it. It is simply stunning. I have a RoCoo P (reviewed elsewhere) and this stood as the best player I had heard to date. However the C3 shades it in just about every area. The background is dark and hiss free, the vocals emerge from the silence with breathtaking clarity, the instruments are further back but each has its own space. Dead Can Dance rise through the ether with all the mystic glory their music can evoke. Try some DIY krautrock from Amon Duul and the band have never sounded so together.
Unlike the RoCoo I do think the C3 benefits from amping, there is clearly not as much power behind it although I would not suggest for a second that it is weak in this area. It is just that the RoCoo has so much welly.
Downsides? Well the screen is small but remarkably clear, the touch screen gets a lot of paw prints and the UI is clunky. But really, none of this matters once the music starts to flow.
I was sold on the RoCoo until I heard the C3. Now I tend to find I reach for the C3 first if I want to listen to something I have on the MicroSD card. And more music seems to be finding its way onto MicroSD card!
Can I ask for anything more than that for £70?
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Pros: Awesome sound quality, build quality, quite cheap, pocket size, expandable memory
Cons: Poor User Interface, Screen size, poor navigation, quiet pops between tracks
Build Quality
First impressions are very good this thing feels almost bulletproof tough, its heavy for its size but thats not really a bad thing it just means you always know its in your pocket

User Interface
Okay I didn't expect great things about the UI of the C3 after reading some reviews but its not that bad yeah its fiddly sometimes unresponsive and make me wanna throw at the wall in frustration but you can forgive it because this thing sounds so good, the touchscreen is very sensitive and lights up when you press something its not exactly the most stylish of interfaces but its simplicity over aesthetics here

Sound Quality
I was using my iPod before I got this and I thought about upgrading my source, I saw this mentioned in Head fi somewhere and checked it out, I'm glad I did this thing sounds awesome!
Its clarity and detail are outstanding this makes me wanna listen to every song I have only to discover new things I never heard before, this thing makes me look at my iPod with disgust, you may hear a pop between tracks sometimes but its barely noticeable, heres the songs I used to test the C3 using the 'Rock' setting on the EQ:

Pogo - Hundred Acre Rain
Stumbleine - Kaleidoscope
Diiv - Follow
Breakbot ft Irfane - Baby Im Yours

This is one amazing device worthy of the audiophile name and if does has a few flaws but the sound quality is what you buy one of these for and you will not be disappointed there.
This is indeed a good portable player come with good price,glad that you like it
"you may hear a pop between tracks sometimes but its barely noticeable"
They say that this is due to tag information from source file. Files without tag info should work without pops.


Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Presentation. Size. Power. Price. Clean lots of bass. Adjustable eq.
Cons: Not sure for £70. Won't play hi res files
I wanted to tell you what this is like straight out of the box because I just got this in less than a week new from hong kong for £70. So this is for anyone wondering about taking a plunge on a dap but not sure which direction to take.
I wanted to post it because I can't believe this is on ebay for £70! It'll surely sell out at that price.
The packaging is bomb proof. It has 6 lots of wrapping around it. You get a set of in ears they look gross. Won't be using them so no idea whether they're bearable. A usb cable a mains plug a velvet sky blue pouch 2 cleaning cloths and a screen protector are provided as well as the beautiful looking cardboard presentation box.
Now onto the c3 itself.... the instructions are in Chinese. It's pretty obvious how to switcch it on. The controls are on the touch screen. Seems easy enough to work for me. There's pre loaded music which is what I listened to to check all was fine.
Through my klipsch x10is I have no complaints. They have put wav and flac files on there for us to try out .There's plenty of depth there. No sibilance is present. The cello sounds absolutely gorgeous as it should do. The vocals are brought nicely to the forefront.
If people are interested I can compare it to my imod 5.5 with rwa lod rsa hornet combo. But let's be serious and state here and now that , being used to that combo which is 8 times more expensive, I am getting a lot of pleasure from the Colorfly C3.
Why on earth don't more out there own it?
I've seen these on Ebay as well for around the £70 region. I've always been wary of things like this coming from Hong Kong and keep thinking of the old saying "If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is". Are you 100% certain this is a genuine product? I really hope so because im looking at getting on and have seen it listed in the UK at £149, which at more than double the cost seems like a large hike in price, but I don't know if that's just doen to the tax/mark up.
If you trawl through the 1000s of c3 posts youll find not one person who has a fake. Beware of caution getting in the way of an absolute bargain. I have bought 2nd hand a young dac for half the retail price, a novo amp for a bargain, numerous others likewise. I take the risk, I reap the rewards.
Others prefer to buy new, pay full price from posh shops for peace of mind. I would love to do that, and bought several things (LCD2, MDAC, Linear PSU) full whack. But I try not to get into the habit if I can.
It sounds too good to be £70. That's all there is to it. Enjoy your purchase. It's utterly great.
I am not getting any big pops or clicks on my C3 and my flac albums are playing away quite merrily with no access to the instructions it's easy enough to work through