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Cowon Plenue D

Discussion in 'Portable Source Gear' started by aerosatan, Nov 30, 2015.
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  1. waxdoctor
    Hi, do you know how the volume control is implemented on the PD? With digital attenuation before the DAC? Or is it controlled after the DAC in its own amp section?  Many thanks!
     
  2. Cagin
    Tl;dr version:
    Battery life. King, emperor, and pope. Why can't this be a standard across the industry? How can people be content with 8h-10h is beyond me?!?
    NO HISS, even with my hyper sensitive Zeus.
    Has plenty of power.
    Fits perfectly in hand, side buttons work great
    Audio jack feels rugged good.
    Solidly built. Fell on roman cobbled pavement from 1m1/2 only small tiny dent scratches. Works perfect.
    Screen refresh rate might lag (feels like 5-10fps) but it can do scrolling bar A-Z in 1second. That's is FAST
    Jet Effect audio EQ is a gift from the korean gods (and hardworking devs ^^)
    Soundstage not as wide as the DP-X1.
     
    If you want an ultra portable DAP that's fun and musical with a bonkers battery that's not ripping a hole in your wallet, go for this.
    I will sell my ZX2, I might sell my DP-X1 or relegate it for home use, but I won't sell my Cowon Plenue D. It stays!
    The Linum SuperBax cable is going to be a match made in heaven for ultra portable on the go setup. Just you wait for King Rudi to post about it on FB [​IMG]
     

     
    This gem's more than deserving some time off to write about it. ^^
     
    Yet it started with a buyer's remorse.  
     
    Was following this thread since start despite being in my budget-conscious-TOTL-Android-dap phase. After many good impressions and a nice coupon deal on advancedmp3players.co.uk (thanks again Daffy!) made an impulse buy on January 25.
     
    I received it very fast yet it took me more than 2 weeks after which I had received the mail package to finally open it. During that time I kept looking at the package pondering. Will it hiss with the Empire Zeus? Will the UI be too laggy for my taste? Will I feel it too much of a downgrade coming from the Sony ZX2 and my brand spanking new Onkyo DP-X1? The Onkyo for which I had even ordered Norne Therium 8 conductor balanced cables and Dignis case to match. Was it too foolish to expect too much from this cheaper smaller object?
     
    On the morning when I was preparing to ship my Empire Zeus back for a reshell (just for a look make-over [​IMG]), curiosity won me over, and since I was over the period to sent the Cowon Plenue D back anyway, I had to know. Zeussian hiss. Yay or Nay?
     
    I opened the package. <minor relief as it was indeed my right ordered item haha> I was baffled by how tiny it was in reality. I resisted the impulse to plaster photos of it on social media as if it was the cutest kitteh of the day ever. Tried to put my 200gb card from the DP-X1 into the Cowon Plenue D, database update kept reseting the the dap so I figured it might need a format first or maybe 200gb was too much to ask from it, so I slot in the 128gb I have in my ZX2. There we go working perfectly, I see all my stuff.
     
    I plug in the Zeus, see if I can hear a hiss. Nada. I select a song, hit play. Notes start yet I still hear no noises, no hisses! Wait waa ? What sorcery is this. Hit pause again, unplug and plug the Zeus back in, I can't tell a difference over what I hear from my own little permanent tinnitus. I pick my DP-X1 up, find the same song but still on pause. Switch jacks, and lo and behold, the DP-X1 is more hissy than this tiny thing! Cuz I can hear a faint hiss on the Onkyo when the Zeus is plugged in, but it's just so not distracting but it's there if I listen to it. And when the music plays it's irrelevant. But Zeus + Cowon Plenue D? Might as well forget the word hiss. Proceeded to play various genres to get confirmation, and see how it pairs initially. Was so satisfied I said to myself ok I keep this. It's time to ship off the Zeus in peace and await it's return.
     
    I hadn't touched my Savant since I've gotten my Zeus. The Fiio EX-1 as the  #1 spot for gym and sleep duty. But I don't want to use it outside (lack of isolation + sound leak) so it was time to use the Savant again.
     
    Fast forward today, this below is my daily setup for outside/work commute. ACS Pro17 filter custom plugs + Noble Savant univ, Plenue D. All fit in 1 coat pocket.
    Now I'm not super fond of the isolation level of this univ Savant, and I find the base sound to be boring, but thanks to custom EQ settings, it works great.
     
    I got no shame saying that I haven't felt the need to use my DP-X1 since I've started using the Plenue D. I updated the DP-X1, was happy it had browser mode, slid the new Dignis case over it and it sitting idle in my room for the time being haha. Once I get my Zeus back and its new balanced cables, I will make a proper comparison between the two daps.
     
    IMG_20160308_173826.jpg        IMG_20160308_173754.jpg
     
     
     
    Final thought:
    This might sound like a blasphemy, but with hindsight, if I just stumbled on Head-Fi today as a newbie, I'd have just spent the 200euros on this Cowon Plenue D, and like 70ish on the Trinity Delta iem and called it quits.  And be the most happy blissful ignorant to roam around the streets - and like a duracell bunny on top - cuz it keeps going and going and goin........
     
  3. tienbasse
    Priorities maybe ?
     
    Let me ask you a similar question: how can people be content with 32Gb + 1 microsd slot, when you can easily have a 300+ Gb library of lossless music ?
    Switching music content everyday is a thing of the 90s to me, I WANT to have all my music on a DAPs, and manufacturers are so cheap in this area...
     
    Plenue D would be perfect if it was including at least 128Gb, possibly over 200Gb, but then Cowon wouldn't sell much of their Plenue M/1/S...
    Don't need a big screen, don't need Android, don't need to drive full headphones, but desperately needs autonomy and capacity, but we haven't seen any effort in this area since 10 years...
     
  4. taffy2207
    Cutting some corners is obviously going to happen at this price point. I personally think Cowon have got most things right on the D as a portable option. Sure, there's better options for critical listening.
     
    160GB is more than enough for the majority of us. I've got 4285 FLAC files on mine and I don't think there's many here that have as much music on HD's as me [​IMG] 
     
  5. tienbasse
    I have about 16000 flac files or about 400Gb, and very ecclectic taste, so capacity is my main priority. [​IMG]
    128Gb was enough when I was using 320 VBR MP3, but for flac...
    And I don't want to have to manage 2 identical collections in both formats, it's tedious.
     
    But apart from that, this DAP is wonderful, it's just a shame that they didn't upgrade capacity since the D2/M2...
     
  6. Skint
     
    I presume you have high sensitivity Zeus? I am awaiting high sensitivity Cerberus and wondered about the hiss.
     
  7. taffy2207
    I've got upwards of 7TB [​IMG]. The funny thing is even with only 160GB, there's still lots of music I haven't played yet.
     
  8. Cagin
     
    Maybe someone can try to see if the PD can handle a SD to Micro SD adapter. I hide it under a leather case ^^
     
    That's right. Went with Jack's advice to avoid adding a damper that would affect the audio clarity. I'm glad that there's 3 great daps I've tried so far that pair greatly with the Zeus: Fiio X7, Onkyo DP-X1 and the Cowon Plenue D.
     
     
    Haha what a relief knowing I'm not alone trying to keep up with bandcamp 'backlog' [​IMG] 
     
  9. DanMUC
    In case it has not been linked to already, here's the headfonia review:
     
    http://www.headfonia.com/a-case-for-the-cowon-plenue-d/
     
  10. ZerkMeister
    PD1.jpg PD2.jpg PD3.jpg PD4.jpg
     
    I found this at MicroCenter. It was just a random "rugged case" and it fit the PD perfectly. I was quite hype when I found it. :D
     
  11. Spamateur
    Plenue D vs. Plenue 1
     
    Alright, so my Plenue D arrived this morning and I've spent the day A/Bing versus my Plenue 1 to see what sort of differences I could spot between the $900 original and the $300 baby brother. I am using my Earwerkz Legend Omega CIEMs as they seal better/block out more external noise compared to my Noble K10 universals. I spent several hours listening to the same tracks on both. Sometimes I'd listen to the same passage of a song then switch DAPs to compare, and other times I'd listen to an entire track before swapping out for the other player.
     
    While the differences between the P1 and D were subtle, l was surprised that the differences I heard were much more apparent than I expected: 
     
    1) The P1 has a larger soundstage and is better at layering and depth. The D tends to corral instruments closer together into the same condensed headspace, which feels a bit claustrophobic and congested depending on how busy the track is. The contrasts in layering and depth are particularly noticeable. Listening to the lead track off Led Zeppelin's "Houses of the Holy" is a great example of this contrast. With the P1 you can feel space between you and the guitars playing in stereo on your left and right, while the drum kit is straight ahead but pushed further back with Robert Plant wailing away in the middle. On the D, the positions and depth of each instrument aren't nearly as distinct. Instruments within the soundstage feel closer, but also amorphous. You still get positional cues, but they're relatively indistinct in comparison to the P1.
     
    2) Along with this decreased sense of depth, I noticed the detail I was getting from the D was present but "flattened." I admit, this is a weird listening note and hard to describe, so let me give you an example: on the track "March to the Sea" by Baroness, the song starts with a brief and quiet few words between bandmates before the guitars kick in. During those words, you can hear a background hiss. Initially I thought I was hearing the noise floor in the D, as the P1 doesn't have nearly as loud of a hiss during the same section of that track. I was surprised to be hearing the noise floor on the D, so I switched to another song I knew where there was silence before a track started, and there was dead silence in comparison. In other words, the hiss I was hearing in the Baroness song is actually part of the recorded track, not hiss from the Plenue D, but the D was presenting it to me in a much more forward fashion than the P1. It's like the D picks up microdetail in the track and somewhat "flattens" it by presenting it all in the same "plane" of the music. With the P1, microdetail remains microdetail, accenting instruments like the soft squeak of fingers moving across guitar frets, and creates impressive depth. In other words, the D takes all these detail cues and presents them in a flatter fashion
     
    3) The D is less sharp with the attack of notes. The leading edge of notes are subtly rounded off, laid-back and less distinct versus the P1. The P1 is already far from being analytical in note presentation, so the D is noticeably softer and indistinct when notes hit. This was probably the most subtle of differences.
     
    With that said, the Plenue D is damn good for the price. While the above differences seem like a harsh judgement, remember that I'm some random jerk on the internet with too much listening time on my hands and wildly expensive IEMs at my disposal. I doubt a less picky/anal-retentive person would be able to spot any differences in SQ between the two DAPs, nor would it be worth their money to splurge for the P1 over the PD.
     
    What it comes down to to me is this: the D costs a third of the price of the P1, but provides 5x the battery life and very, very good performance. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to anyone looking for a great bang-for-the-buck performer.
     
    0rangutan, AeroSatan, fnkcow and 3 others like this.
  12. jmills8
    Nice stuff you wrote down. Guess you are not an average guy ? I have both and I enjoy both but tend to be using to PD more often due to size, weight and battery life. I sold my AK240 after getting the PD simply due to the more enjoyable sound coming from the PD.
     
  13. Spamateur
    Ha, well I mostly meant someone who isn't as picky as I am. I changed the wording of that part as it does sound sort of elitist on my part.
     
    ...and hell no I'm not an average guy... I'm much uglier than that. [​IMG] 
     
  14. phallicobject
    Hi there, im new to this hobby and need some serious help. I've been using my s5 as my sole audio source for both flac and mp3 files, recently im looking for an upgrade for my set (i got senheiser cx300 and a decent entry level ath headphone, ill check the specs later on) so i have a budget of 400$, should i getthe pd or senheiser momentum headphone? I would like a seperate audio player because all the distractions in smartphone, but would i get significant improvement, is it worth it? Help me please since i cant afford another purchase for quite some time zo i cant make a bad decicion
     
  15. Raketen
    Rule of thumb for upgrade order is usually Headphones>Amplifier>Source I think (or just Headphones>Source for a lot of portable setups)- a lot of phones are probably good enough as Momentum intended as a portable. If you get a used Momentum 2 or an older model, and really want that dedicated audio device probably have enough budget left for a lower priced DAP including Plenue D's antecedent Cowon M2 (fiio m3, x1, x3ii, dx50, ap100, xduoo x3 being other popular examples...), though it may not offer a marked improvement over your s5.
     
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