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Old 01-15-2008, 07:33 PM
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Muffinwalker Muffinwalker is offline
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Cool Preparing to buy, but have some questions.

Howdy folks,

I've been lurking here for a bit, and I'm looking to buy a D2, but I'd like a few questions answered before I take the plunge. So, if you'd help me, you might just convert another.

To preface, I am not an audiophile. I'd like my music to sound as good as possible, but in the past I haven't taken steps to make it so. My last player was a Sansa e200-series, and the sound out of it was "fine" for me; mind you, I never used anything but the headphones that came with it. So, I don't know the difference, but I'd like to.

So, for headphones I'm thinking the $30 JVC "Air-cushion" (HA-F66) IEMs, based on the threads around here. From what I can tell, that's a pretty good price compromise: it doesn't seem that a little more cash will get me a lot more value. If there's a better choice in that price range, please point it out.

As for value, how important is the internal memory in these days of $75 16GB SDHC cards? Or rather, how rightly does the SD card integrate? I'd imagine that 2GB would be rather annoying, and to go from 4GB to 8GB for $40 just does not seem justified.

What is the exterior finish like? Is the paint a dull or a glossy sort? Between the colors, is there any peculiarity with a specific one? And, where are the blue players?

This bit may be the biggest potential deal-breaker here: I prefer to buy my music in the DRM'd unlimited subscription way, since I find it an easier way for me to find new (well, old but new to me!) music, cheaply. It is my impression that the PlaysForSure DRM is not supported by the D2 or other Cowon products. If it is supported, then there's no doubt that I'll pull the trigger. If it isn't, I'll need to figure out a work-around or make do with a much smaller initial library. Perhaps you could recommend a player that is similar but supports protected WMAs, or perhaps there is a firmware solution?

In general, I don't mind watching video on small screens. I was fine with watching 21-minute episodes on my Sansa's 1.8" screen. Given that, how enjoyable is longer length video on the D2's 2.5" screen?

And as for video, after encoded for the D2, how large are the files? I remember when I found out much to my horror that video on my e200 took ~10MB/minute for 15FPS at tiny resolution (and often with synching and other problems. Video on that device really was an afterthought, tacked on for free to an audio player). I understand this not to be the case with the D2, and I'd really love to know what to expect.

And, finally, where the heck can you find these things in blue?
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  #2  
Old 01-15-2008, 08:08 PM
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Almoxil Almoxil is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Muffinwalker View Post
(...) So, for headphones I'm thinking the $30 JVC "Air-cushion" (HA-F66) IEMs, based on the threads around here. From what I can tell, that's a pretty good price compromise: it doesn't seem that a little more cash will get me a lot more value. If there's a better choice in that price range, please point it out. (...)
I guess you'll be fine with the JVC's. After all, the DRM'ed files from subscription services usually have lower bitrates, which kind of defeat the purpose of getting expensive buds or IEMs.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Muffinwalker View Post
(...) As for value, how important is the internal memory in these days of $75 16GB SDHC cards? Or rather, how rightly does the SD card integrate? I'd imagine that 2GB would be rather annoying, and to go from 4GB to 8GB for $40 just does not seem justified. (...)
Having a reasonable amount of internal memory is interesting because it saves power (reading from the SD/SDHC card consumes more battery juice than reading from the internal memory). About integration, it works just fine on the D2. When browsing by ID3 tags, the contents of internal memory and expansion card will be merged in a single database. Folder navigation separates the internal memory from the expansion memory.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Muffinwalker View Post
(...) What is the exterior finish like? Is the paint a dull or a glossy sort? Between the colors, is there any peculiarity with a specific one? And, where are the blue players? (...)
The finish is matte (not shiny) on the outer body, and silver on the rest of the body. Build and finish quality are great: no lose buttons, no noises when you shake the player, and it doesn't feel "hollow" or toy-like when you hold it. Hmmmm... no blue player (but they come in green and pink )
Quote:
Originally Posted by Muffinwalker View Post
(...) This bit may be the biggest potential deal-breaker here: I prefer to buy my music in the DRM'd unlimited subscription way, since I find it an easier way for me to find new (well, old but new to me!) music, cheaply. It is my impression that the PlaysForSure DRM is not supported by the D2 or other Cowon products. If it is supported, then there's no doubt that I'll pull the trigger. If it isn't, I'll need to figure out a work-around or make do with a much smaller initial library. Perhaps you could recommend a player that is similar but supports protected WMAs, or perhaps there is a firmware solution?(...)
Yeah, it's a PlaysForSure device if you want: you can choose between MSC (it behaves like a thumb drive) or MTP (you can sync tunes through WMP11, MediaMonkey, Wimamp and other MTP-compliant apps). I've read on iAudiophile.net that Yahoo! Music works fine with it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Muffinwalker View Post
(...) In general, I don't mind watching video on small screens. I was fine with watching 21-minute episodes on my Sansa's 1.8" screen. Given that, how enjoyable is longer length video on the D2's 2.5" screen?(...)
As with other small screens, long watching sessions won't be much comfortable. But I can say it will be much more comfortable than your old Sansa for 30 ~ 50 minutes videos.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Muffinwalker View Post
(...) And as for video, after encoded for the D2, how large are the files? I remember when I found out much to my horror that video on my e200 took ~10MB/minute for 15FPS at tiny resolution (and often with synching and other problems. Video on that device really was an afterthought, tacked on for free to an audio player). I understand this not to be the case with the D2, and I'd really love to know what to expect. (...)
I can't give you a precise estimate, since I'm not that into watching videos, but the D2 supports 30 fps videos, and the files should have a better quality / size ratio than the e200 Series, due to codec limitations on the latter with the original firmware. (...)[/QUOTE]
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Originally Posted by Muffinwalker View Post
(...) And, finally, where the heck can you find these things in blue?
No blue, but they come in green and pink.
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Old 01-15-2008, 09:48 PM
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Muffinwalker Muffinwalker is offline
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Quote:
I guess you'll be fine with the JVC's. After all, the DRM'ed files from subscription services usually have lower bitrates, which kind of defeat the purpose of getting expensive buds or IEMs.
I honestly don't know the difference, because I've never taken it upon myself to learn the difference. I think that at this point, I would rather learn that difference in the hopes of enjoying music more than remain blissfully unaware.

So should I go up to the CrossRoads MylarOnes? I don't want to spend too very much, but I'm willing to make a decent investment, because I can't learn anything about audio quality on poor headphones. I know that this is an inherently subjective question, but, how much difference is there when moving up from what $30 to $50 to $80 can buy in the world of IEMs?

Quote:
Having a reasonable amount of internal memory is interesting because it saves power (reading from the SD/SDHC card consumes more battery juice than reading from the internal memory).
Interesting indeed. Could you in any way quantify it? Say, any idea how many fewer hours from a full battery? And is the effect more pronounced in video playback, or simply overshadowed by the increased power consumption of the other hardware?

Quote:
Yeah, it's a PlaysForSure device if you want: you can choose between MSC (it behaves like a thumb drive) or MTP (you can sync tunes through WMP11, MediaMonkey, Wimamp and other MTP-compliant apps). I've read on iAudiophile.net that Yahoo! Music works fine with it.
I know that the D2 can operate in MTP mode, and I believe that Rhapsody, my service of choice, uses MTP for its client app. Just I can find no references to the DRM scheme's support in reviews, specs, or marketing. However, if Yahoo! Music works fine with it, then I see no reason Rhapsody shouldn't.

It must be a difference of market demographics. A Sansa would have its support plastered about to reassure consumers, while a more, erm, technically-oriented product might shy away from any DRM references.

Quote:
The finish is matte (not shiny) on the outer body, and silver on the rest of the body.
So I take it the matte body is decently scratch-resistant? Good. And I hear the DX screen protectors are the way to go. Do they noticeably affect video viewing or touchscreen use? I'd hate to have them shipped only to find I couldn't stand it.

Quote:
...and the files should have a better quality / size ratio than the e200 Series, due to codec limitations on the latter with the original firmware.
Odd, it was my understanding that those limitations were because of the limited hardware on the little thing. Did Rockbox improve the video capabilities any? I'm intrigued.

I realized that asking about filesizes was silly; I'll just grab some software and encode some stuff to see for myself.
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