Colorfly Pocket Hi-fi C4

General Information

Colorflys objective is simple, a portable player that allows the user to play high resolution files via Cirrus Logic CS8422 chip): 16/44.1, 24/88.2, 24/96, 24/176.4, and 24/192. WAV, FLAC, APE, MP3 to your favorite headphone or output to your home rig via analog or digital outs. A beautifully designed easy to use hi resolution audio player that is unique and sounds equally as impressive. This player is perfect when you do not want to deal with iTunes, or when you do not want to fuss with a external headphone amp. Easy drag and drop your music on to the flash based HDD or on to the micro SD card. If you have a lot of FLAC files this player is perfect to grab and go.

Latest reviews

Pros: 3D sound, durable, original ideas in device
Cons: user interface, expensive, not completely neutral
This is a review of the Colorfly’s (C4) occasionally compared to Nationite’s (S:Flo2) Tekmod. This is my impression of the two players (without using switching/volume matching equipment) through Sennheiser HD595 headphones. I have never used either of these players as portables with IEMs and this comparison relates to only home use. I won’t compare the build quality, as the C4 is a far more expensive player than the S:Flo2 ever was. In their user interfaces both have several issues, the cheaper S:Flo2 suffers more in this respect than the C4. The C4 presents files in memory as a simple folder structure but forgets to select anything (either a folder or a song) by default. So you need to press up/down/left/right arrow to select something. If an artist only has one album any key will select it, for multiple albums right/down arrow select the first album and left/up select the last album. Not very intuitive. However when you go back from the play screen the song/album are highlighted (selected). Once you exit the play screen the only way back is the long way round to the root menu. At least it has the `up one level’ button that would transform the S:Flo2’s interface. I found the buttons on the C4 often unresponsive and the volume slider lacking in precision. The C4 does load up quickly from cold and both devices are quite quick once you get used to their quirks. The C4 is an unusual player using engraved wood, having allen key heads to enable dismantling and 3.5mm and 6.25mm headphone sockets. Then theirs the rocker switch to set the EQ or bit rate/sample rate on the front panel. Perhaps the most unusual decision was not to include a line out but rather have digital in/out instead. One thing that surprised me about the C4 is that for such a big player it only has a 2000mah battery, smaller than the S:flo2’s 2500mah item. The S:flo2’s size is dwarfed by the C4, which is not very portable; their weights are 259g and 133g respectively. The S:flo2 has been modified by burnwayGTA4 a former member of Headfi from Russia. The mod is quite extensive and relates to the HO (headphone out). He modifies the internal amplifier to use TI’s LM4562 and THS4222 Opamps in place of the Philips TDA1308 as well as replacing many other components, capacitors, etc. Two media players virtually never sound identical usually because the hardware is often different and its implementation is always different. The C4 uses the Cirrus Logic CS4398 DAC and the S:flo2 uses dual Wolfson WM8740 DACs. The music files were flac 16/44 and EQ set to normal on C4 and User (flat) on S:flo2. Both players are fairly neutral the S:flo2 being more so. The C4 produces a thicker more full sound than the S:flo2 and is also a bit brighter. The C4 has more colouration than the S:flo2 making it the warmer of the two. The C4 sounds much like a CD player plugged into a headphone amplifier. The main difference between the players is in their presentation. The C4 sounds similar to listening to speakers whereas the S:flo2 and all other players I have heard sound like headphones. How the C4 produces this `3D’ sound I don’t know. The C4 tends to separate instruments more than the S:flo2 (not R/L separation: which makes it sound more physical or live than the S:flo2. The listener is further back in the audience with the C4 than on the stage with the S:flo2. The downside to this however is in order to achieve this `3D’ effect some of the detail and texture that the S:flo2 produces is absent. On the C4 there is no way to turn off this effect, which is more noticeable on some tracks than others. The S:flo2 is more intimate and gives a more accurate rendition of the recording. Many however will prefer the earthy speaker-like sound of the C4. Both players make poorly recorded material sound unpleasant; naturally the S:flo2 is more ruthless than the C4. Bass frequency extension is lower on the S:flo2 but the difference is slight. The level of bass is a little higher on the C4, the player gives a little more of everything but in a refined likeable way. The C4 is a bit like the unmodified S:flo2 but with an enhanced soundstage. My ideal player would have the construction/durability aspects of the C4, an upgraded C4 user interface and the electronics of the modified S:flo2. The price of the C4 at £540 makes it a considerable expense compared to the S:flo2’s price of about £120 plus the mod at £100 plus £50 postage to and from Russia, so approx. £270, half the cost of a C4. Most non-audiophiles (and even some) would much prefer the C4 in this comparison. Which you prefer will have a lot to do with whether you think soundstage should be a function of the recording/headphones or whether you include the media player also. Also whether you are a more is more person (C4) or a less is more person (S:flo2 Tekmod). I find the C4 likeable in a similar way I suspect people like Grado headphones more than accurate and natural ones. There is also something alluring about burwayGTA4’s modification also.
 
For:
Solid construction
Sound quality
`3D’ soundstage
Power to drive 300ohm headphones
Both 3.5/6.25mm headphone sockets
Unique design approach
 
Against:
Expensive
User interface needs subtle tweaks
Slight colouration to sound

Pros: Amazing Sonic Quality, very traspnarent. Retro look, plethora of features, and crafting
Cons: User Interface, general usability, some build issues, price, I/O crowding
The Colorfly C4 Pro is a solid device for people that want a desktop replacement they can move around or take with them. It boasts up to 96GB’s of storage at the moment and comes with all the bells and whistles you would want from a desktop unit. The unit sounds fantastic, and comes equipped with a simple UI for file navigation. The C4 does fall a bit flat in the areas of build quality, and has a few physical and software usability issues. While these don’t play much into the device considering its desktop niche target, I would still like a $799 DAP to be perfected more.
 
Overall, while the Colorfly C4 Pro costs a pretty penny, it allows you to bring top quality audio playback and output features with you on the go. Its retro handcrafted design looks and feels amazing, and the unit stuns everyone that sees it. I would recommend the unit to people who are looking for a DAP at home to use as an auxiliary or as a ‘portable’ desktop unit.
 
Read more at:
http://www.pandatechreview.com/colorfly-c4-pro-review/
watchmania
watchmania
At first I thought they were drunk while designing this C4. However, after further inspection, I'm curious whether it was Scott Forstall in action.
Pros: can't even list anything except cool appearance
Cons: size, build quality, sound quality, UI
Bought it some time ago, based on user reviews. Straight out of the box it seemed huge, especially compared to my old Cowon D2. Also, sound was awful. Granted, I don't have large hi-fi cans, only IEM's, AL iM716 and now I bought UE triple.fi pro-s. So, I let the player burn in. For 3 weeks straight. I also let my new triple.fi-s burn in. After that, my Colorfly sounded a bit better, but it still didn't sound much better than my old D2. I tried to manage sound settings, but there's no possibility for custom setting, so I had to settle with pre-settings. Which is a huge minus. Also build quality, I had it on the shelf for 3 weeks and I carried it with me once and it already has several scratches on the screen. For that money I expect it to have gorilla glass, not some cheap soft plastic as a screen cover. Also body already has some scratches and signs of wear and I have been keeping it carefully like a baby. I admit that I got swept away by all the praise and didn't do enough homework, but unless you have more money for expensive large hi-fi earphones, this is a useless waste of money.
brams
brams
Actually I find the SQ on this unit to be quite good with any cans I have tried including iems from etymotic and sony and there appears to be a special synergy with the Fostex th900. Maybe I have just not been exposed to the really good stuff and just don't know any better, but it is difficult to imagine a significant improvement. My main comparison is my big rig stereo system which is fairly high end.

As far as the screen is concerned, are you sure you removed the protective plastic film? Another user had the same screen scratching issue until they realized the film was still on. I haven't really had any scratches on the body, but have got a crack in the wood case due to the really dry air in my living space last winter.

My only real issues with the unit are the poor UI and lack of support by the manufacturer. This great sounding unit would be even better with a UI upgrade, but updates have been very infrequent and inconsequential. What is really frustrating is that this upgrade seemingly could be done with little effort by the manufacturer.
Takeanidea
Takeanidea
Sorry you've had problems with the sound quality not being to your liking, I got mine 2nd hand and am very pleased with it . I knew the UI would be pain and I knew it would be powerful and neutral, which it is.
I use IEMs and HD800s with it, it doesn't seem to complain with any of it.
watchmania
watchmania
I am pretty sure you picked the wrong IEM.

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