Old 05-28-2012, 06:53 AM
Miel Miel is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Amsterdam
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Default Help me choose: Cowon J3, X7, Samsung 4.2, 5.0


I would like to get some advice on buying a new mp3 player. I currently have a Cowon S9, which I'm extremely happy with, for the following reasons. Most of all, I love the sound it produces and the way you can tweak that. Secondly, I think the battery is excellent: it seemingly lasts forever, and frequent charging doesn't harm it (it doesn't matter that you shouldn't let it run empty, because that just doesn't happen). Thirdly, you can simply access it as a mass storage device to manage your music. And then there are some other features which make the S9 very nice to use, but that may be less crucial, such as the hardware buttons (play/pause, vol up/down and prev/next), the amazing amoled screen and the reasonably small size of the player.

So why do I need a new one? Because 32 GB just isn't enough.

My first idea was to get an X7, but then I saw how big it is and how mediocre its screen resolution is. It's still an option, but less attractive mainly because of its size. 160 GB, Cowon audio quality and an incredible battery life are big bonuses, though.

My next option was a J3. Pretty much identical to the S9, but with a slightly longer battery life and a microSD slot. This pretty much sealed the deal, but when I was looking for a place to buy it, I came across the Samsung 4.2 and 5.0.

I hadn't considered an Android device as an mp3 player before. My main concern here is of course the audio quality, but there's also the lack of physical buttons, and I wonder if I can manage my music files as easily as with my S9. I'd also need to buy more/bigger microSD cards, since these devices have no more than 16 GB built in, and Android will need a lot of that. And if I go for a Samsung, I'm not sure which one I'd prefer. The 4.2 is more compact and has a newer Android version, but the 5.0 has a much better battery, though on the 4.2 it's replaceable.

So given these options and considerations, what would you do? Did I miss any options? (Cowon Z2 is out because of the battery life (and the weird Android version) and Sony Z1000 doesn't have a microSD slot.)

Thanks, regards, Miel.
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Old 05-28-2012, 08:46 AM
Jeven Jeven is offline
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Great Britain & Northern Ireland
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How about a phone? I see major flaws in every player youve listed.
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Old 05-28-2012, 09:36 AM
Miel Miel is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Amsterdam
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Originally Posted by Jeven View Post
How about a phone? I see major flaws in every player youve listed.
Well, with a phone I'd have similar concerns as with the Samsungs I'm considering: can they compete with my Cowon S9 as an mp3-player? I have no experience there. Furthermore I'm afraid phones generally have pretty bad battery life.

Last edited by Miel; 05-28-2012 at 09:38 AM. Reason: Added quote.
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Old 05-28-2012, 11:39 AM
skip252 skip252 is offline
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Location: Chicago
Posts: 5,820

I'd probably just get the J3 and a larger card if the S9 was what you liked but it just didn't have enough capacity. The sound quality will be the same and there's more tactile buttons. Just about every opinion I've read of the J3 says it's the upgrade for the S9.

BTW it's OK to ask what flaws someone else sees in your possible choices. What someone else sees as a problem may not mean much to you if their priorities are different than yours. They may have problems involving screen resolution, gaming capabilities or even just the size or color that may or may not be important to you.

Taking someones subjective evaluation on audio quality gets especially tricky. If you look at the sticky about Galaxy S Wifi 4.0/5.0 Sound Quality, you'll get an idea what I mean. "It hisses" "No, it doesn't" "It sucks" "It's great" "This 3rd party player makes it sound great" "This 3rd party player makes it sound horrible" and each person is absolutely convinced they are accurately representing what they are hearing.

Very few know how to evaluate audio quality. The last I remember I hadn't seen anyone mention volume matching, fast switching, single or double blind testing. What type of headphones were being used is most often not part of the information listed.

Whether the headphones are IEMs or over ears can have a huge impact on what's heard. A set of low impedance, high sensitivity IEMs may deliver a very different sound signature vs a set of full size cans.

My Sony players hiss like a busted steam valve with sensitive IEMs and sound great with studio monitors. That's with my ears and headphones. Other ears and equipment set ups may have someone report a completely different experience.

Those are just some of the factors that need to be taken into consideration for a subjective SQ evaluation to be meaningful. Without those in place the person reporting what they hear is expressing what they feel at the moment, not an accurate report of performance.

You can hit up someplace like GSMArena for actual test results on the most popular phones. Be sure to read how to use those test results and ignore any unloaded (no headphones attached) tests. Those are best case scenarios that change the moment you hook up your headphones.

The results for the iPhone are good. Anything that's close to that would be a likely candidate as a music player. If you're not sure if a set of results represents an audible difference I would post them in a separate thread and ask someone like dfkt or saratoga to evaluate them. I don't know enough to be accurate in reading rmaa results.
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Old 05-28-2012, 12:55 PM
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steinburger1109 steinburger1109 is offline
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I think the galaxy players are wrong for you. I love mine, but it ain't for you.

The J3 is likely your best option, mostly for reasons skip noted, specifically it is the closest to what you currently like and a fantastic player in general, but maybe musichound will stop by and comment on the X7. He's in love with his.
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Old 05-30-2012, 04:35 AM
Miel Miel is offline
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Ok, thanks everybody, I just ordered a J3.
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cowon j3, cowon x7, samsung galaxy player 4.2, samsung galaxy player 5.0

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