New MP3 Player Recommendation - Best Sound Quality
May 8, 2008 at 4:58 PM Post #16 of 45
indeed the d2 is good. I just think that people don't consider quality to mean anything other than sound signature. D2 is great with phones that don't require much current but rather just need voltage pushes. Hence its admirable performance with high imp phones and the non load of amps. However its performance when driving iems is subpar other than in hiss which again it is admirable.

It is leagues below the Sony players for separation from the headout ESP on 16 ohm phones to 32. I have no beef with the player. But I have beef patties with blind recommendation with no qualification for portables: does sq to the person in question mean no hiss? Good eq? No effects? Gapless? Low imp driving capabilities? High imp driving?

I'm trying to offer some insight into opinions here rather than fandom and flame.
May 9, 2008 at 12:15 AM Post #17 of 45
I have the Sony 728 and the D2 but I'm pretty set on getting rid of the sony and sticking to my D2. I've become a basshead and once my X3i's come back from repair(I'm using HA-FX55's now) I'm gunna try them on both(they've been in repair even before I bought the Sony) and if the D2 is that much better, I'll sell the Sony here. 2 thumbs up for the D2.
May 9, 2008 at 12:49 AM Post #19 of 45

Originally Posted by shigzeo /img/forum/go_quote.gif
However its performance when driving iems is subpar other than in hiss which again it is admirable.

I have to admit, I sometimes have difficulty understanding what Shigzeo is saying. But if I'm reading this correctly you're saying the D2 excels in hiss? And you're saying that the D2 cannot drive IEMs correctly? If not, then I completely misread your post.

If so, I must respectfully disagree. I have listened to the ER-6i, JVC HA-FX33 marshmallows, Koss KSC-75, Yuin PK3, Shure SE530 and the Grado SR225 on the D2. I have NEVER heard hiss, with or without an amp. In fact, I prefer the SE530s without an amp on the D2. No hiss, not once.

Subpar or inadequate to drive IEMs? laughable. This is clearly a strong suit of the D2. I admit the D2 doesn't drive the Grados to their potential, but it drives even the power hungry KSC75s with aplomb.

Is the D2 perfect? not by a long shot. But if you pair a warm pair of IEMs with it, the sound can be literally quite amazing. Yep, the ER-6is were cold, anemic and lacked bass. Exactly what they are known for. The SE530s and D2 are sweet synergy, indeed.

Like Shigzeo, I don't like EQ. For those that do the D2 offers more adjustments to the sound than most. Otherwise, he makes many fine points. Some are debatable, but his opinion is valid none the less.

I think the D2 is worth considering. All the MP3 and DAPs have been rapped hard. You will need to find one that matches most closely the sound you are looking for.
May 9, 2008 at 12:56 AM Post #20 of 45
I'd guess what shigzeo is talking about as far as not being able to drive IEMs correctly is the bass roll-off problem the D2 has with low impedance phones, as documented by dfkt over at ABi
RightMark Audio Analyzer test: comparison

Of the MP3 players I currently have (or recently had), I found that with all adjustments off on all players (which is how I prefer to use them), using AH-C700s and X3is, the D2 was my least favorite, with the Sansa Clip, Sansa Fuze & Gigabeat T400 all having similarly excellent sound quality, and the Zune 80 falling between that group and the D2.
May 9, 2008 at 2:08 AM Post #21 of 45
i too like the d2 - for what it may become with rockbox. what i mean when it excels at hiss (and your correct interpretation of my poor communications skills) is that it is quiet. it hisses, but only a little. in fact the least of all the players i have heard in the last years. with um2, it was annoying. both my player and anothers player but as mentioned before, the um2 hisses even when attached to the vacuum of space.

by driving i mean not only the bass roll of but the stereo separation. when driving iems, it gets loud. fine. but it cannot give definition to bass due to roll off. that is fine. many do. but giving less than 50db of stereo separation and in the case of 12 db phones, more like 35-43 or so makes the sound muddy when bass comes fast.

i love it for any phone that is above 120 ohms. i found that it was not quite perfect for the dt770 on the go and my ipod fared better. however, for my dt880 i preferred the d2.

even with an amp (and they hiss too - by the way, i am very sensitive to hiss as you can probably tell. that is why i joined the quest to get rid of sensitive iems and canals and eventually why i did not bother with hornet, tomahawk and sold my supermicro iv).

the supermicro iv hisses but less than the d2, but still enough to be annoying to me. if you can use enough impedence between good canals or iems that benefit from it (like currently my victor hp fx500) then hiss is gone and the stage is much better. but the d2 really needs to be about 120 and over ohm resistance to sound its best.

i am very serious about portable listening and hiss and have been for over a decade now. hiss exists in all amplifiers and that along with portability is why i ditched my amp in favour of a resistor cable.
May 9, 2008 at 2:29 AM Post #22 of 45
Im thinking about purchasing the Cowon D2 (for its design and SD card support) plus a Shure SE530. Ive heard here that they have good synergy, but if what Shigzeo says is true (rolled-off bass from D2), it might not be, since SE530 is not known for the best controled bass...
also the various EQ functions on D2 may fix the rolled-off highs of SE530
what d'ya guys think?
May 9, 2008 at 2:32 AM Post #23 of 45
My big two option for mp3 player will be Cowon or Sony
I have owned the X5L(battery died) for 2 years and recently I am owning the sony AZ729 because I am so tired of waiting the new mp3 player from Cowon. I have no complaint on the Sony player or Cowon. So I think you should find the comparison between the two.
May 9, 2008 at 3:57 AM Post #24 of 45
i don't want you to think i think the d2 sounds rubbish. it does not. but it is not better than other players except for the fact that its levels of hiss are very low - good.

particularly for music that needs a large stage and relies on placement, speed and bass, it is not a very well suited player. i found no problems with rock or classic and even jazz though i found it a bit less a jazz player than ohters.

for trance and anything electronic, superb basslines got lost in a fog or became a blob in the centre with iems and canalphones. all my canals were 32ohm and below: um2, denon c700, atrio m5 and victor hp-fx500.

it is a fine player which looks nice and has decent battery life and expandability. when rockbox hits, it will be worthwhile as it will finally support other than the typical codecs and have gapless and a proper eq.

it is good. no, i did not like it all for iems. in fact despite the fact that it was relatively quiet with sensitive iems (did not hiss much), i preferred some hissers to it as they did not muddle up the bass and stage.

i would not have kept it for 8 months had i hated it. it is quite versatile if a little expensive - but that is cowon's mandate.
May 9, 2008 at 4:11 AM Post #25 of 45
I think the Sansa Fuze is among the best options for listening with sensitive IEMs, as like the Clip, it doesn't seem to have an issue with bass roll-off, and it also doesn't have a issue with hissing.
May 9, 2008 at 11:21 AM Post #26 of 45
Hmm, what about the iA7?

I currently have a D2 on order, but am also considering the iA7. From what I'm reading, opinion on the D2 seems to be a bit more divided than the iA7.

I mainly use my Superfi5's when I'm on the go without an amplifier. I've owned an H320 for a very long time, had a 3G nano briefly before selling it, and now have a Sansa Clip which sounds brilliant paired with the UEs. The H320 used to hiss quiet a bit, so I got used to hissing over time.

My problem is that I listen to almost anything apart from heavy metal, and so it has always been very difficult for me to choose MP3 player and IEM combinations (I did over an hour of testing at the audio store before buying the UEs). I guess I'm still not quiet sure what kind of sound I really like.
May 9, 2008 at 4:48 PM Post #27 of 45
sansa fuze looks nice, and its very cheap. $79 for 2gb model, $99 and $129 for 4 and 8gb, respectively. And the best of all: it supports expansion cards (microSD, unfortunately...)!
currently a 8Gb microSD is below $50, and you can buy various. So, for less than $200, you go for a 16gb player with great sound.
Any more opinons about Sansa Fuze?
Sony NWZ-A818 is also available for $40 more than Fuze 8gb, is the Sony better? I know it is 8gb without any expansions, but sound quality goes on top.
May 9, 2008 at 6:57 PM Post #29 of 45
EnzoTen, who runs ABi, has tried both players with the Se530's, and prefers the Fuze


I like the sound of the sansa fuze better than the sony s610 and a810, not saying that the sony is bad but there is something i dont like about the low end mid bass and it became much more evident after listening to it on the shure se530s... its too exaggerated and cloudy imo, the fuze and the clip have a nice flat low end are is pretty flat throughout the spectrum.

abi>> Fuze Review - abi>>forums
May 9, 2008 at 7:05 PM Post #30 of 45
nice! how about Cowon D2?
Im trying to find the best synergy with SE530, and my main options now are Sansa Fuze, Sony A810 series and Cowon D2.
I would like to know which one will have better synergy with SE530...
to OP: sorry for "stealing" your topic, but this is almost like an audio quality thread... any complaints, please reply.

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