Originally Posted by phosphorique
Try the Zen X-fi Style which can play FLAC.
I have compared my Zen Vision M 30gb which is the BEST sound quality i have ever heard from any mp3 player to the Zen X-fi Style.
I used the same song with WAV 1411kbps on vision m and FLAC on x-fi style through my high-end earphones.. Jerry Harvey's JH16 Pro. They sounded pretty much similar.
It doesn't matter if you use WAV or FLAC, or high quality LAME MP3, or Vorbis - they all should produce equally transparent results on a quality MP3 player. Except when the decoder on said players is broken, which really shouldn't happen.
Multi-armature phones with crossovers are incredibly hard to drive for most MP3 players, differences with those should be way more obvious than with average single dynamic driver phones. Most MP3 players usually crap out and fail driving anything like that properly.
For example, here's a good player
, the Sansa Clip+, trying to drive several multi-armature phones - and here's a bad player
, the Hifiman HM-801, trying to do the same.
I wish I had measurements for any Creative players, but what you're saying - the old ZV:M and the new X-Fi sounding the same - is a rather good sign already.