cowon s9 vs iphone 3gs w LOD
Sep 30, 2009 at 4:01 PM Post #16 of 40

Pangaea

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Agent_Moler /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Have you tried it with an LOD? I still haven't directly hooked my headphones up to the headphone out since I'm using full sized headphones right now (Denon moded D2000). How do you think the Clip's SQ compares? I'm thinking of selling the Cowon if I'm finding that I enjoy the iphone a lot more and picking up a cheap Clip for a backup player...


All of my comparisons are of the HP out only. The biggest phones I have used with it are the Senn HD228, so no real amp hungry phones. I save my bigger phones for my home equipment.

HP out only... I think the iPhone trumps the clip. It has a more natural organic sound and the soundstage is better. The sound is really wide open on the iPhone. I don't really see myself getting an amp for it so I cannot compare the LO.
 
Oct 1, 2009 at 6:08 AM Post #17 of 40

Agent_Moler

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Alright. Do you currently have a portable player that you think tops the iphone SQ?
 
Oct 1, 2009 at 7:50 PM Post #18 of 40

darkswordsman17

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While it might seem that it would be an afterthought on the iPhone, remember it is a phone, and so sound quality is actually a need for it, so it could be that Apple actually put more effort into it (granted there's other factors that would play into call sound quality, but they might have decided to make it so the device itself wouldn't be the cause of it).

Someone mentioned it sounding congested initially, which seems to be being reported with the Touch 3rd Gen. I'm curious if there's something to that (although I'd personally be skeptical but I'd be willing to consider the possibility).
 
Oct 9, 2009 at 7:00 PM Post #20 of 40

Agent_Moler

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Here is my impression of the S9 vs the Iphone 3Gs LOD. I hope I have accurately conveyed what my ears heard, thanks!

A/B listening impressions

Iphone 3GS with LOD vs Cowon S9
Amp: Corda 2 move
Volume: 9 o clock position
Headphones: Moded Denon Ahd 2000s with APS v2 recable and wooded cups
Iphone EQ: flat
cowon s9: Vol 39, EQ flat with minor BBE and Mach 3 bass enhancements

Song 1 Symphony X- Evolution lossless

Iphone:

Keyboards are quite present in the extreme left and right soundstage. Guitar tone is somewhat dull. Vocals are firmly placed in the middle soundstage. The chior effects are audible but not overpowering.

cowon S9:

Keyboards are audible but are not as present as with the iphone. Guitar tone sounds less dull. Vocals appear to be in the center but behind my head. Palm muted guitar strumming around the end of the song sounds more muddled then on the iphone.

Song 2 Orphaned Land - Mabool lossless

Iphone:
Intro of the song has rain effects in the center, very realistic sounding. Violins are at the left and right of the soundstage.
As the metal portion of the song begins, the guitars are prominently on the left. The instruments all sound clearly audible, with the most prominent being the guitar, bass, and drums. The keyboard effects are gently mixed into the extreme left and right in alternating panning effects.

Cowon s9:
Rain sounds more like sizzling bacon with the S9, violin effects are the same. Guitars are more prominent on the right instead of the left with the iphone. Keyboards border on imperceptible at times, bass and drums are more emphasized.

Song 3 Porcupine Tree Deadwing lossless (First 5 mins)

Iphone:
Guitar and drums sound LOUD, bass is quite clear, no distortion when chords are strummed during the verse. Keyboard effects are quite discernable in the extreme right channel.

Cowon S9:
Guitar and drums are not as loud. Guitar strums in the verse linger a bit longer with the S9. Keyboard effects are not as pronounced as the iphone. The guitar sounds more in the center soundstage. The bass sounds more fuzzy and more distorted during the chorus than with the iphone.

Conclusion:
At the moment, the iphone is coming out as the winner in my mind. The instrumentation is a lot more detailed and clear. Distortion is kept to a minimum and the soundstage sounds more natural than with the S9. The S9 does some strange things with the soundstage when comparing it against the Iphone like emphasizing a particular instrument but on the opposite side that the iphone would. It also seems to make guitars with distortion effects sound muddled.

I'm going to do additional A/B tests with trance music next to see what differences arise. Other people with the S9 and the iphone 3gs please chime in!
 
Oct 11, 2009 at 4:10 PM Post #21 of 40

Donnyhifi

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hmmm, interesting find, I may scratch the S9 off the list and stick with my trusty compact flash modded X5 if this is the case. I may wait for the reviews on the i9 then before making a decision, it seems like Cowon has gone backwards in terms of SQ since the X5. Ipod is not an option without a proper EQ, FLAC playback and Folder drag and drop. Shame really cause their hardware is great! Damn, I wish there was RockBox for the Ipod Touch 3G, that would Rock!

Cheers,

Donny
 
Oct 11, 2009 at 4:26 PM Post #22 of 40

Agent_Moler

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Hey,
I too find the lack of drag and drop annoying. I'm really considering selling my S9 now for a player with a better headphone out.
 
Oct 11, 2009 at 6:44 PM Post #23 of 40

estreeter

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OK, I'm beating a dead horse, but you did ask....

You wont need to try too hard to find critics of Sony's X series here, but I havent heard anything that has the same combination of SQ and sheer amp grunt in a stock player : next step would be Amp3/hifiman, but I havent heard either. My brief audition of the 3GS iPhone/3G Touch left me in no doubt that they sound very good, but I keep coming back to the Sony EQ and that sensational digital amp for my rock.

Downside is that Sony doesnt make a 160GB X series, and if they did it would cost far more than the Classic. Given the price difference between the 64GB Touch and the Classic, my decision was an easy one. The iPhone ? Anyone with a GF knows better than to buy the phone SHE lusts after - I would have had that thing for less than a week before it found its way into her purse
smily_headphones1.gif
 
Oct 11, 2009 at 7:17 PM Post #24 of 40

Agent_Moler

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Quote:

Originally Posted by estreeter /img/forum/go_quote.gif
OK, I'm beating a dead horse, but you did ask....

You wont need to try too hard to find critics of Sony's X series here, but I havent heard anything that has the same combination of SQ and sheer amp grunt in a stock player : next step would be Amp3/hifiman, but I havent heard either. My brief audition of the 3GS iPhone/3G Touch left me in no doubt that they sound very good, but I keep coming back to the Sony EQ and that sensational digital amp for my rock.

Downside is that Sony doesnt make a 160GB X series, and if they did it would cost far more than the Classic. Given the price difference between the 64GB Touch and the Classic, my decision was an easy one. The iPhone ? Anyone with a GF knows better than to buy the phone SHE lusts after - I would have had that thing for less than a week before it found its way into her purse
smily_headphones1.gif



Nice GF story :p. From what I understand, the amp3 doesn't support any lossless codecs right? Whatever player I do get, I am certaintly sure that I do not want to reencode everything into .wav files. What formats does the Sony play?
 
Oct 15, 2009 at 5:28 PM Post #25 of 40

Agent_Moler

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Here is my impression of the S9 vs the Iphone 3Gs LOD with electronic music. I hope I have accurately conveyed what my ears heard, thanks!

A/B listening impressions

Iphone 3GS with LOD vs Cowon S9
Amp: Corda 2 move
Volume: 9 o clock position
Headphones: Moded Denon Ahd 2000s with APS v2 recable and wooded cups
Iphone EQ: flat
cowon s9: Vol 39, EQ flat with minor BBE and Mach 3 bass enhancements

Song 1 VNV Nation - The Farthest Star 320kbps VBR

Iphone:

Most of the instrumentation and vocals seem to be on the left of the soundstrage, lite spatial and keyboard effects intermittently on the right. Everything sounds clearly articulated.

Cowon s9:

For the first time in my tests, the cowon s9 sounds quite similar to the iphone. The only difference I can really identify is that the bass rhythm throughout the song sounds more pronounced and the bass a bit thumpier and the snare drum is not as loud and articulated.

Song 2 Carrier Skipper and Mark Ottman - Time is Serene 256kbps CBR

Iphone:

The soundstage seems spacious, lots of reverb echoing for the vocals. Bass is thumpy and seated firmly in the middle soundstage, perhaps leaning more to the left channel. Verse has constant stream of keyboard effects in the extreme left and right soundstage. Chrous brings the keyboard more in the center channel.

Cowon s9:

The keyboard effects sound a lot less clear and articulated, bass is just as thumpy and the vocals are very present as with the iphone, but for some reason everything else sounds lower than the bass and vocals.

Song 3 Massive Attack - Safe from harm 320kbps CBR

Iphone:

Bass guitar riffing is pretty secure on the left channel, female vocals are mainly placed on the right channel with the male vocals more centered. Keyboard rhythms are place in the rear of the soundstage, the sensation is as if it is directly behind the middle of my head. weiRd.

Cowon s9:

Everything sounds lower, the male vocals are a little harder to discern. Bass guitar riffing is more evenly distributed across the left and right channels. Keyboard effects are a bit hard to discern though they seem to be in the same rear soundstage area as the iphone.

Conclusion:

The iphone wins this round too.

However, the differences are less exaserbated as when using lossless files. I did find uniformly that the S9 was playing at a lower volume for some reason (39 volume is 1 step below the highest it can output), not only that but all of the many of the background instruments were significantly less discernible. I might consider doing another A/B test, but perhaps the problem is that a line out and headphone out will produce very different SQ and thus shouldn't be compared.

The reason I decided to test the two players is because it seems redundant to have two expensive mp3 players, especially since my Cowon cost me almost $200. I'm now interested in selling the S9 and finding a cheaper player with a better headphone out or a line out capability...The search continues... As always, open to suggestions and questions.
 
Oct 31, 2009 at 9:16 AM Post #27 of 40

waynema

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I am listening to my 3gs right now paired with RSA shadow, its punchier, has better instrument separation and has higher volume than my new Sony X1060 w/shadow. I really want to like the X...
 
Oct 31, 2009 at 3:35 PM Post #28 of 40

Agent_Moler

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waynema: yeah I know but at least we have nice devices to listen to our music on, right? I might compare the 3gs with my slim x via optical, I wonder who will win...
 
Oct 31, 2009 at 7:55 PM Post #29 of 40

estreeter

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Quote:

Originally Posted by waynema /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I am listening to my 3gs right now paired with RSA shadow, its punchier, has better instrument separation and has higher volume than my new Sony X1060 w/shadow. I really want to like the X...


Is it connected via LOD or HP out ? just curious, as I didnt consider the HP out on the 32GB Touch I auditioned to be capable of a great deal volume wise from the HP out, and my Classic is definitely constrained in the amp section.

waynema, this isnt about really liking the X - its about finding the right combination for you. If you prefer the iPhone with the Shadow , then why would you keep 3 expensive portable devices when you only need two ? The big upside for me with the X is that I dont need an external amp - the downside is that the only lossless format I can play on the thing is WAV. SQ is always going to be an individual call - if you dont like what you are hearing, send the X back if you can get a refund.

Unlike a few owners of the 5/5.5G Classic on this board, I dont automatically assume that everyone else needs to agree with my choice of player.
evil_smiley.gif
 
Oct 31, 2009 at 9:31 PM Post #30 of 40

waynema

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Thanks for the comments, i used a LOD adapter that connects to a 3.5mm mini to mini -> RSA Shadow

estreeter: you are right, the X doesnt need to be amped. the benefits of amplifying is marginal, it has no true lineout for it anyway. Where as the 3GS benefits so much more from the shadow when used with LOD.

I have come to learn that punchier+warmer+louder isnt always good. I just want to get more ideas as to how to train my ears, picking up artifacts etc.

IMO ALAC files are clearer in the highs, w/ less distortions, and it is a size efficient lossless format. Linear PCM/Wave despite the fact that it is uncompressed and 1/3 bigger in size, I have picked up distortions in high pitch vocal from both players when amped. Maybe just that can be a good enough reason to make up my mind.
 

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