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Old 05-22-2016, 09:16 PM
BruceBanner's Avatar
BruceBanner BruceBanner is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Australia, NSW
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I will reiterate again why I love the AP100, it's mainly two things;

1) The dedicated EQ button
2) The level of power it has

I will explain in better detail each point;

1) For me the dedicated EQ button brings a level of enjoyment to the ease of use of a DAP that I have never encountered on any other DAP before. The term 'Audiophile' I think means many different things to different folks, to me it simply means hearing a song, album to the best of it's ability to the users preference. I have many records that if just left in flat, regardless of equipment used, still sounds worse than what it could sound like if EQ'd.
For a long time I was content with the Alien Shozy which is a really nice flat beast, coupled with my PFE 232's I was walking around with $800AUDish worth of portable gear, nothing to be sniffed at, yet still at times depending upon the track/album, I knew I could hear it better if I had the ability to EQ slightly. This is what ultimately turned me off the Shozy.

In the past I had used shortcuts with rockboxed Sansa clips and Cowon's to assist in toggling EQ/Bass/Treble on the fly as quickly and least painful as possible... but still it wasn't in the same league as just hitting a single button. There simply is nothing else out there that I know of that can do this crucial function like the AP100 can.

2) Power wise I always found the Sansa clips slightly under what I required because I replaygained/mp3gained my files. I'm a volume freak, and with the Sansa's I did feel at times I had to push the volume very high with my replaygained files to achieve the sound I wanted, with the AP100 I push less (with the same decibel value files).

It is those two properties in combination that trump the Sansa Clips for me. If EQing and volume are not a big deal then a rockbox clip seems a far better deal to me, I miss some rockbox features immensely.

I will just say this one last thing. Both here and head fi, when people talk of sound quality there is really no agreed parameters when discussing (or should I say the newbies posting are not made aware), it's all completely meaningless. Saratoga here will likely be talking about a flat Sansa vs a flat Ap100, and on the Cowon Plenue D forums people will be talking about that DAP with one of many presets or customs settings used vs another chinese random DAP that also is EQ'd. I mean.. how can you compare that!?!
Yes, it's prolly quite sensible to compare flat things vs flat things, but I think it's really odd to spend the money on a DAP and not initiate any of the DSP's, if that's the case you might as well stick with a phone or as cheap a mp3 player there is because in this day and age even a cheap smartphone in flat sounds as good as some high end gear! There has to be more specifics when talking about 'sound quality', I can't really compare my AP100 vs my Sansa Fuze or Sansa Clip because firstly I tend to use not only EQ with my AP100 but also the SRC button (which has 5 or so different levels that effect such things as soundstaging). I don't really know where to start?

Let's say I leave the AP100 flat and Sansa flat, and I discover that to my ears and impressions that the Sansa bests the AP100, how does that really help me when I am in reality never going to use either in flat mode...
Furthermore, not all EQ's and DSPs are equal, the AP100 is hardware based, so perhaps it's possible that in flat the sansa bests it, but when you start to EQ both devices the AP100 storms ahead. Cowon is renowned for having a very wide array of DSPs, there is plenty of choice there to tailor the sound to your liking or compliment the headphone of choice etc.
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SOURCE: Xclef (gone) | Cowon X5(gone) | Cowon D2 (dead) | Sansaclip+ RB | Sansa ClipZip RB | Cowon i9+ (32gb) | Cowon C2 (4gb)
HPs: Soundmagic E10's | Hippo VB's | UE 600's | Superlux HD 668B | Superlux HD660 | Sony XBA3 | Sony XBA2VP
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