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Old 01-23-2013, 10:33 AM
Speedv1 Speedv1 is offline
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Default Best Player for Audio Alone

Ok guys, I know this will probably be a divided debate but maybe it'll help me find what I'm for.

My current headphones are the Ultrasone Edition 8s (which i love) and while I used to listen to music at home 99% of the time it's almost completely changed, listening on the go 99% of the time.

So Im basically looking for the best sounding MP3 player. I'm only going to listen to music, couldn't care less about photos, videos, etc etc. I have my iPad for that so that's covered.

I currently own a Sansa clip (rock boxed), iPod classic 7g and iPad 3. The iPad seems to sound the best out of the three, but I'm still looking for more.

Also it needs to either be a good size or expandable (64gb is the goal).

Lets say best for under $500? Best for under $1000?
I'm in Canada but have friends in the States.
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  #2  
Old 01-23-2013, 11:09 AM
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IDvsEGO IDvsEGO is offline
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you aren't going to get any high end recommendations from this board. not many of us buy into the hifiman hype. Galaxy Player, Clip+, and iPod are the most commonly recommended players.
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  #3  
Old 01-23-2013, 12:28 PM
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No baloney, get a Sony! Enjoy!!!
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Old 01-23-2013, 12:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The DarkSide View Post
No baloney, get a Sony! Enjoy!!!
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  #5  
Old 01-23-2013, 01:55 PM
Speedv1 Speedv1 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The DarkSide View Post
No baloney, get a Sony! Enjoy!!!
Any specific one? Again, sound quality being the need.
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  #6  
Old 01-23-2013, 02:20 PM
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if you want a 64gb sony you will pay top dollar for an import. they dont have expansion slots and come in 4/8/16/32gb capacities domestically.
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  #7  
Old 01-23-2013, 06:30 PM
Speedv1 Speedv1 is offline
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Hm looks like getting Cowon players is easy in Canada, how would you compare them to Sony? As I already have a 32gb and 64gb micro sd card it seems a shame to not use them.

I do like the looks of the c2 and x9.
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  #8  
Old 01-23-2013, 07:28 PM
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I own the C2 and love it, to me it is the best sounding DAP i have ever owned. I too have sansa products rockboxed and to me they can't compete with cowon sound + it's jet effect and BBE tweaks (DSPs, Digital Signalling Processors).

And i think this is where the war line is drawn. Many prefer to not have any DSPs in place when using a DAP, some even HATE BBE effects etc, others (like me) feel they absolutely enhance the listening experience.

I think its been said that a sansa (rockboxed) and cowon, both without any DSPs applied, have very similar sound quality. It's once you use those DSPs that the magic happens (at least for me and countless others).

You might want to read my review of the C2 with its custom UI installed which i feel are an absolute must.

Certainly a 4gb C2 isn't a massive gamble of funds to see/hear if u like what its doing (not with your kinda budget).

I can't talk for Sony having never owned a DAP by them, but i can't imagine it sounding better than the cowon + my fav tweaks applied, but I am very open to being proven wrong!

As to whether you buy x9 or c2, i would research the available UI for both, that to me is cowon's greatest weakness, lacking intuitive and logical navigation.
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  #9  
Old 01-23-2013, 08:32 PM
Speedv1 Speedv1 is offline
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Thank you for that Bruce! I've been going through many many threads on this site and Cowon does seem recommended (I actually used to have the A2 back in the day).

Seeing as audio quality is the need the C2 definitely satisfies that and frankly I'll end up grouping my music in Playlists and just going into one, pushing play and then going with that for at least an hour, so the X9 really isn't necessary.

I think I'll start by grabbing a Cowon C2. Thanks guys!
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  #10  
Old 01-23-2013, 08:39 PM
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I think that's a good choice

Just be sure to not judge it immediately based on its UI, have a look into the custom UI's before you pass final verdict.
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  #11  
Old 01-23-2013, 08:59 PM
saratoga saratoga is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Speedv1 View Post
I currently own a Sansa clip (rock boxed), iPod classic 7g and iPad 3. The iPad seems to sound the best out of the three, but I'm still looking for more.
In terms of analog output, these are about as good as it gets.
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  #12  
Old 01-23-2013, 09:22 PM
Speedv1 Speedv1 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saratoga View Post
In terms of analog output, these are about as good as it gets.
See I've heard this. People suggested several apps (Denon Music, Sonicmax Pro, etc) and I found they would either create distortion (even with slight adjustments) or would really restrict the upper ranges (Sonicmax Pro showed this flaw greatly).
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Old 01-23-2013, 10:22 PM
saratoga saratoga is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Speedv1 View Post
See I've heard this. People suggested several apps (Denon Music, Sonicmax Pro, etc) and I found they would either create distortion (even with slight adjustments) or would really restrict the upper ranges (Sonicmax Pro showed this flaw greatly).
Distortion is a common side effect of pretty much any digital effect aside from stereo processing and EQ.
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Old 01-23-2013, 10:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saratoga View Post
Distortion is a common side effect of pretty much any digital effect aside from stereo processing and EQ.
So should I expect to hear distortion with cowon or Sony devices if I utilize the effects?

Basically would It be better just to use the LO on my iPod Classic and go to a portable amp or are these results achievable through say the Cowon Z2? I really didn't want to go that route as I have off and on and don't like the extra bulk.
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  #15  
Old 01-24-2013, 11:15 AM
saratoga saratoga is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Speedv1 View Post
So should I expect to hear distortion with cowon or Sony devices if I utilize the effects?
Depends on how clever they are.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Speedv1 View Post
Basically would It be better just to use the LO on my iPod Classic and go to a portable amp or are these results achievable through say the Cowon Z2?
There is probably no point in using a portable amp on a device like an ipod classic that has a very good internal amp.
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  #16  
Old 01-24-2013, 12:24 PM
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Usually distortion is caused by you music clipping. If the files are mp3's use a program called "mp3Gain" to normalize them. You can download it from sourceforge.net: http://mp3gain.sourceforge.net/
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  #17  
Old 01-24-2013, 12:28 PM
Jeven Jeven is offline
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You're not going to get anything better sounding than that which you already have, and you're using pretty hi-end headphones.

Different players have different features, sizes, EQ enhancements, battery life, touch screen/tactile buttons etc. but sound quality is pretty much a given.
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  #18  
Old 01-24-2013, 01:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The DarkSide View Post
Usually distortion is caused by you music clipping. If the files are mp3's use a program called "mp3Gain" to normalize them. You can download it from sourceforge.net: http://mp3gain.sourceforge.net/
+1 for mp3gain.

Quote:
Originally Posted by saratoga View Post
Depends on how clever they are.
And that's an interesting point. When tweaking EQ for sansa products (rb) I still encountered some distortion, with the cowon tweaks/DSPs I don't find the same thing happening.
For those that know me around here they know that i listen at very loud levels, yet i'm still not experiencing distortion (that is if they trust me when i say that lol). I think what 'blows me' away when it comes to cowon is that I get alot of the bass frequencies with holding even at high volume levels, other players seem to crumble more easily. At least thats the impression i get. I get that 'wow i can't believe that bass hasn't distorted at this level?! this is grrrrreat ' kinda feeling lol

Perhaps someone more knowledgeable about these things will be able to tell us just how good (or bad) Cowon's BBE and Jet Effects are, to my ears they do much much better than anything else around.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeven View Post
You're not going to get anything better sounding than that which you already have, and you're using pretty hi-end headphones.

Different players have different features, sizes, EQ enhancements, battery life, touch screen/tactile buttons etc. but sound quality is pretty much a given.
And this is where I kinda disagree. ABI community talk about sound quality from a very technical view point (which they should), but to say 'you're not going to get anything better sounding' I think is very broad statement. Had someone said this to be when I was sporting the same IEMs with my rockboxed sansa goods, and then i bought a cowon, I would be arguing against that because the difference between the two players (once DSP's are in effect) is to me night and day.
I love sansa products, i love rockbox, I think both are fantastic additions to the DAP market, especially for the budget-er, but I honestly don't think i can go back now that my ears have been treated to cowon's sound signature, and i know i'm not alone in that view.

It's a shame you don't have a friend with a cowon you can have a go of to see if u like what u hear. Before you 'settle' I still suggest you try the C2, you might hate it, you might love it, but that nagging you'll never know it's prolly worse of all
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  #19  
Old 01-24-2013, 02:37 PM
Speedv1 Speedv1 is offline
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Well thanks for your help guys, and yup, I'm aware of mp3gain.

I decided to grab a Cowon J3 and an iPod Touch 4th gen 64gb (got it at a steal). I'm going to compare all of them and see if I'm satisfied or if I keep hunting.

Thanks for all your help!
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  #20  
Old 01-24-2013, 02:45 PM
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Sounds like a plan. If yer not satisfied i don't know where u go afterwards :S
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