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Old 07-03-2006, 08:33 AM
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Noam Noam is offline
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Default iAUDIO 6 User Review

My Cowon iAUDIO 6 arrived about a week ago.

Here's my little review.

Firmware version 1.21 beta.

Design and Interface
The i6 was designed very, well, attractive. :P
The touch-sensitive controls are very good, the fact that the user can't control sensitivity may be a downside, but the controls are still very functional and don't cause many problems, if any.
The dedicated volume controls are a serious plus. The volume level goes up to 40, which is very high. Reguarly, 15 is enough for me. I only use 40 sometimes if a certaon video's volume is low. If you're in a car and someone turns on the car's radio at normal volume, the i6's volume beats the car's speakers. You won't have to worry about your music and the radio mixing.
The Menu button (M) switches between the main menu, the file you are currently playing, and the list of files in that certain file's directory/category. There is an option on the i6 that lets you choose a user-defined button. This button can either be "hold the Menu button" or "Hold the REC button". So if you chose somethong for the menu button hold, it does that, too.
Lastly, there is a Power/Hold slider. When you slide it to the left, it turns the device on and off, and when you slide it to the right it locks in position and activates hold, which deactivates all buttons; a little "hold" icon will apear on the screen (top right). To turn the player on, all you need to do is flick the slider to the left for a split second; no need to hold it there any longer than that. Once on, the player displays the "On - Loading" screen for around 8 seconds, and then you can start listening to music or doing whatever. When turning the player off, you must hold the slider to the left for about 3 seconds, and then the device turns off. This is probably to avoid accidental turn-offs. When the player is on, if you only flick the slider to the left for a split second, it will only turn off the screen. The screen will turn on again as soon as you touch one of the controls.
You can also set a certain number of seconds for the display to automatically turn off. It is set at 10 seconds by default.
Build quality is great. This is a solid, tough player, with brushed metal plating on the back, and packs a sleek and stylish design at the same time.

Screen & Video
The screen is a 160 pixel wide, 128 pixel high OLED screen that packs 260,000 colors. Very bright, very crisp.
The screen is too small for watching actual movies, so if you're looking for a player that can hold your TV shows and your movie collection, this isn't the one. Good videos to upload to the player would be music videos.
The resolution of the images that are displayed on the screen is good. Not the best, but it probably fits an average person's needs. You can actually see each and every little square of color.
I can see that the videos are 15 FPS and not, say, 30 FPS. It's pretty obvious when you compare the two. They're not as smooth. This is why I do not recommend watching actual movies on the player, because many movies require very smooth and detailed display for everything to come out nice. Therefore, I personally suggest you use the video feature for music videos and such.
The screen can be a little hard to view in daylight. Text can be a little hard to read.

Music & Sound
First of all, the sound quality of this player is superb.
What I like most is the JetEffect features, which includes the custom EQ. Using the EQ and the preset effects (which include BBE, Mach3Bass, MP Enhance, 3D surround and pan), you can set your player to play your music the way you want it. If you set it correctly, it can play your music perfectly... Perfect bass, perfect vocals, et cetera. Also, with MP3 files, you can set the play speed, which ranges from -2 to +10. 0 Is default.
I really love these JetEffect features. They enrich your music.
Using the iAUDIO LDB (lyric database) manager you can sync lyrics to your music from the online database of lyrics. The databse does not have lyrics for ALL music, but for many it does, which means that about 70-75% of the songs in an album will have lyrics made for them. For some of the songs, you even have a cool karaoke feature for sing-alongs. I think the LDB feature is a very good one. The lyrics are sometimes a bit out of sync, but it fits my needs. You can probably also download the plain lyrics (non-sync) and scroll manually, but I haven't tried doing that yet.
The player also features an FM radio tuner. The radio sound quality is excellent, though it can get a bit static if you go to deep, closed areas (some elevators, maybe). Radio recording (when set at 128kbps) is very good. It's not exactly like what you hear originally on the radio, but it's very close to that.
Sound recording sometimes has fuzzy noises in the background. The person's voice is still loud and clear, but the fuzziness can bother some (not so bad, though). The recordings come out loud and clear when the person talking is about 1.5 meters (5 feet) away from the mic, but can get a little distant/low at 2.5 meters (8.2 feet), though still understandable.
Radio and voice recordings come only in WMA format, and up to 128kbps.
When uploading albums, make sure to use track number ID3 tags, in the following format:
01
02
03
WMP automatically tags ripped CDs as
0
1
2
3
This format of numbering will not work in order on this player. Use some ID3 tagging program to easily change track numbers (I used MediaTagger).

GUI
The graphical user interface is great, and the music browsing feature recently introduced in firmware v1.2 makes browsing much easier. You can also browse folders/directories.
What I really like about this player is the fact that many of the settings are changeable and customizable. This includes... changing how long til screen turns off automatically, changing how long til power off, display brightness, title/album scroll speed, title/album scroll yes/no, audio settings, wallpaper, fade in/out, and much more.

Picture and Text Viewing
Does exactly what it needs to do.

Timers and Clocks
A real plus. They work just fine. I always like having a sleep timer for my music.

Freezing
I have only had two cases of the player freezing.
1. The player did not recognize a new video file, and so it froze. It might have unfrozen after that, but I didn't give it time to, I just turned it off and back on again. To fix this problem I went to the list of video files in the directory, and played the file from there, rather than flip through the video files with each one in close-up.
2. The second case of freezing I had was when there was a certain error in the video files. This is not the player's fault, the videos were messed up.
Only the first case could be considered a bug.

USB Host
I'll give you actual numbers soon, but I thought I'd note that I successfully copied an image from my digital camera onto my i6 and set the picture as my wallpaper. It went quickly and smoothly.

Line-In Recording
This feature is simply excellent. I recorded music and shows off of my TV, for example, and the quality was great. The i6 records in WMA format only, so you can later convert the files to MP3 if it's really crucial for you.

Pros
Well, you know. Pretty much everything. :P

Cons
- Slight bug when viewing videos. Easy fix.
- When viewing lyrics, the auto screen-off is still active, and it can be annoying reading lyrics and suddenly having the screen turn off. Cowon may want to change this in future firmware updates.
Code:
if (lyrics = true) {
screenOff = false;
}
:P (Dec. 27, 2006: I've suggested this to Cowon support. If you'd also like to see this feature in future updates, let them know, too!)

Pictures coming soon. I also snap photos by request. Tell me what you want to see, and I'll show you.
If you have any questions about this player or if you need any help with it, feel free to PM me about it. I've pretty much gotten the feel of it, and I'm lovin' it.

I may edit this and add on more later. Gotta go eat. Can't type all day long, can ya? ;P

I also got a Sima USB Car and Wall adapter (Amazon). I tried the car adapter (12V), works great. It's got a little red indicator light that shows the adapter is working.

Update, December 27, 2006:
As you can see from the date this was posted, this review is a little out of date, and contains some information that might have changed, and some information that should definitely be added. I'll write up an updated review soon.
For now, check out the iAUDIO 6's user review section at http://www.pmpexpert.com/ for a more minimized, yet updated review.

Last edited by EnzoTen; 01-10-2007 at 06:57 AM. Reason: Update
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  #2  
Old 07-03-2006, 10:06 AM
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Mp3UndergroundFan Mp3UndergroundFan is offline
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Default Thanks for the review

Quote:
Originally Posted by Noam
USB Host
I have not tested this feature yet.
Aside from allowing one to delete files is it supposed to do anything else?
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  #3  
Old 07-03-2006, 10:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mp3UndergroundFan
Aside from allowing one to delete files is it supposed to do anything else?
It lets you connect to any other UMS/Mass-storage compliant device and exchange files with it. For example, you can download the photos from your digital camera directly onto the iAudio, so you don't need to carry a laptop with you everywhere you go. Of course you can also exchange music with other UMS-audio players on-the-go.
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Old 07-03-2006, 10:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Noam
The screen is too small for watching actual movies, so if you're looking for a player that can hold your TV shows and your movie collection, this isn't the one. Good videos to upload to the player would be music videos.
[...]
I can see that the videos are 15 FPS and not, say, 30 FPS. It's pretty obvious when you compare the two. They're not as smooth. This is why I do not recommend watching actual movies on the player, because many movies require very smooth and detailed display for everything to come out nice. Therefore, I personally suggest you use the video feature for music videos and such.
I use my X5 (same resolution, same framerate as the i6) sometimes for watching cartoons. It's really good for that kind of material: not too many small details, and no sudden movements that reveal that it's only 15fps. As you said, it's not much use for watching, say, Lord Of The Rings and such.

Great review, Noam!
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Old 07-03-2006, 02:28 PM
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Noam Noam is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dfkt
I use my X5 (same resolution, same framerate as the i6) sometimes for watching cartoons. It's really good for that kind of material: not too many small details, and no sudden movements that reveal that it's only 15fps. As you said, it's not much use for watching, say, Lord Of The Rings and such.

Great review, Noam!
Thanks.
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  #6  
Old 08-05-2006, 11:34 PM
absolutmusic absolutmusic is offline
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This is a great review! I was considering all of Cowon's players, and so far favourites are iAudio 6, U3, and Cowon A2. Have you ever specifically tried the mic say in noisy settings? Does it react to loud noises and soft noises automatically or does it just record exactly what it picks up?
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Old 08-06-2006, 07:50 PM
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Noam Noam is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by absolutmusic
This is a great review! I was considering all of Cowon's players, and so far favourites are iAudio 6, U3, and Cowon A2. Have you ever specifically tried the mic say in noisy settings? Does it react to loud noises and soft noises automatically or does it just record exactly what it picks up?
Define "react".
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Old 08-07-2006, 12:26 PM
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I think he means automatic gain control - which the i6 does have - right, Noam?
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  #9  
Old 08-08-2006, 06:38 PM
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Honestly, I do not know. Better ask someone else to check this out. Would It help if I posted a sample of something? What should I record?
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  #10  
Old 08-08-2006, 11:08 PM
absolutmusic absolutmusic is offline
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Cool "React"

In terms of react, I was thinking along the lines of dfkt. For example, when the surrounding is loud, it would automatically record noises softer. When the surrounding is soft, it would automatically expand its pick-up. Am I even making sense? I guess react is the sensitivity.

In terms of recording things, perhaps try a variety of situations like loud and soft, close and far?

BTW, I'm not a "he".
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Old 08-09-2006, 12:24 AM
absolutmusic absolutmusic is offline
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Cool

I wish I found this sooner. Turns out the site iAudiophile.net has a voice recording of the iAudio6 (and perhaps all of the other players that have a built-in mic). I kind of wish they had done more recordings, because the clip they posted was basically of someone talking and moving away or getting closer. I also found out that it doesn't have the voice active feature, stops recording when there isn't any sound. However, the line-in has this kind of feature, so if you get a mic, then it would be the same thing!
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  #12  
Old 12-27-2006, 04:32 PM
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Updated review coming soon.
I've gotta finish up some work, first... =\
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Old 01-10-2007, 05:41 AM
funkysoul funkysoul is offline
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Default a little more info...please

I have two questions. I currently have a flash based player (iAudio 2gb), and I use it alot for jogging and when I do basketball drills. The battery door has always been broken so it resets alot - time for a new player. I have been looking at the Cowon iAudio 6, iAudio U3, iRiver e10 and a Sandisk Sansa. I have never owned a microdrive unit, only flash - can this unit withstand some movement and bouncing up & down while playing music without interruption? Also, how fast is the transfer speed for say 10megs, 100 megs, or 1 gig of music, whichever you may happen to know, over UMS. One last question if you will, how long does it take to fully recharge via usb? and via wall charger? Thanks if you can help.
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Old 01-10-2007, 09:19 AM
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I never really got to timing the charging... I'll have to get back to you on that one.
I don't know about the transfer speed either, and at the moment I won't be able to tell you about its USB 2.0 speeds.
I never worked out with the player, but I'm pretty sure it can handle bounces. I, uh, wave it around like a drumstick sometimes... :]
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Old 01-11-2007, 04:56 AM
funkysoul funkysoul is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Noam View Post
I never really got to timing the charging... I'll have to get back to you on that one.
I don't know about the transfer speed either, and at the moment I won't be able to tell you about its USB 2.0 speeds.
I never worked out with the player, but I'm pretty sure it can handle bounces. I, uh, wave it around like a drumstick sometimes... :]
Thanks for your response, if you ever get time to add more info on those questions I had, please do, I'll keep me eyes peeled.
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