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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just got it in the mail and hook it up via Aux input to stock stereo in a 2008 Pontiac G8 GT with premium audio (if you want to call it that)

I previously had a 5th generation Ipod with all files ripped at 320kbs. I couldnt turn the volume up past 30 on the stereo (60 is max) before the stock speakers were distorted to an overall nasty sound. Volume was maxed on the Ipod, and listening was done through the headphone jack (nasty) and the Line out a little better) quality wise. I was never able to close my eyes and envision the music playing, it was very blah and artificial sounding.

Put the Cowon S9 into the mix, again all tracks ripped at 320kbs. Maxed out the volume on the S9, which is 40. Turned the headunit volume to 30, expecting that to be a good starting point. Music was unfuckingbelivable. Depth galore. figured i could turn it up a bit loud...went to 40...still crystal clear. Turned it up to 50 and the stereo came alive. Bass was crisp, tight, and I could actually feel it. Vocals were extremely detailed, I could feel Diana Krall like she was singing right in front of me. Turned on the new Black Eye Peas album...and it was fantastic. Will. I. Am is a genius. the album is surprisingly musical, not just hard bass, but a lot of vocals and some nice mid range sounds.

Bottom line is, if you have an Ipod and you feel your stereo is lacking in quality, chances are its the Ipod. For 300 bucks, I got a touch screen 32g AMOLED unit with 50 hours of battery life. Grab the S9 and begin enjoying your music again...I know I am.

Rule #1
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Cowon is pretty well known in Europe and Asia and is widely regarded as the audiophile's choice when it comes to sound quality. So far I love it, and recommend it to anyone.
 

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I own an A2 and an i7, 2 of the best buys I've ever made, along with Grado and Shure headphones. Beats anything I can get in a car by a long shot (SQ-wise, car stereo is 1000Xtimes better experience wise). Also, I think Cowon is a brand owned by iAudio, something like that. Could be iAudio in the US and Cowon in Asia, they're the same.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The I7 was also extremely highly rated as far as SQ goes, I just wanted something with a bit more flair to it. So far so good.
 

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I think part of your problem was that you were trying the headphone out with the volume maxed? You shouldn't go past 3/4ths volume on those ipods.

I also see that you used your fixed volume line out as well, which is a bit puzzling. All of us 880/800 owners with the ipod interface are basically using the fixed volume line out, and haven't seen the kind of problems you are describing. Perhaps it was a defective ipod in some way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
if you kept the volume on the headphone out on 3/4 there was no volume to the stereo at all. There are quite a few webpages that detail the lack of sound quality of the Ipod, so it definitely wasnt me. Find someone in your area who has a Cowon product and do a back to back demo like I did...night and day difference...Ipod is good for two things, looking good, and having an easy interface to work with. The S9 looks better, is lighter, has a longer lasting battery, and gives you much more control over your experience. The User Interface takes a bit of getting used to, but after 20 minutes I was ripping through the player with speed.
 

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if you kept the volume on the headphone out on 3/4 there was no volume to the stereo at all. There are quite a few webpages that detail the lack of sound quality of the Ipod, so it definitely wasnt me. Find someone in your area who has a Cowon product and do a back to back demo like I did...night and day difference...Ipod is good for two things, looking good, and having an easy interface to work with. The S9 looks better, is lighter, has a longer lasting battery, and gives you much more control over your experience. The User Interface takes a bit of getting used to, but after 20 minutes I was ripping through the player with speed.
Acutally, the IPod is documented as having good sound quality, as the 4th and 5th generations used a highly regarded Wolfson DAC chip in it. Additionally, the first Ipod shuffle had very very good sound quality using a push-pull type amp config, producing EXCELLENT bass reproduction.

The fact that you had no volume at 3/4ths is not the ipods fault, rather, it is also the fault of your head unit not being able to adjust its AUX gain to accomidate the ipods voltage output.

I think the main factor is that the cowon outputs a higher voltage/volume to your HU, not that the IPod has crappy sound quality.
 

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This is definitely interesting. Where did you buy it from and what did it cost?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
you can get it on amazon, cowon directly, or ebay through jetmall. Price was 299 shipped....

As far as the wolfson dac...in order to really utilize its capabilities, you need to do the Imod from red wine audio which will run 250 bucks, on top of what the ipod will run you. I have the 5th generation Ipod, as well as a 3rd generation, cant tell a lick of difference between the two when it comes to SQ. Im not putting the ipod down for what it is, but most people are on this site searching to maximize sound quality. the cowon just steps it up about 10 notches so i wanted to pass along the info.
 

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Nice. Nice thing about the Cowon players is that they support FLAC. Come on Apple.....get with it. :p I wonder if you can use the USB to send audio digitally to a USB HU? Or even BT for that matter....that would be slick.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
No i looked into that already. the only audio out on the unit is through the headphone jack, or bluetooth.
 

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The Bluetooth connection is still digital though, is it not? Not sure if it will stream FLAC over BT though....I might have to do some research. Luckily I still do not mind carrying around a few hundred CDs with me. :)
 

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Thanks for the review. Didn't even know these existed! I will consider these when I replace the iPod (which may be sooner rather than later, since it's been misplaced for a few weeks; I might have left during one of my travels).

The question for me will be whether or not the features and SQ of the Cowon will outweigh the storage space of my iPod. But definitely thanks for the heads up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Yea thats definitely one of the tradeoffs that concerned me as well. But I fit 3000 songs on my Cowon ripped at 320k and I have the 32g unit. Unlike the Ipod, your not tied to a specific media program, so I use Media Monkey and just create folders for new albums and old albums, so I can mix and match music as I see fit, it takes about 25 minutes to run through all 3000 songs if I wipe the cowon clean.

I am not sure about the bluetooth being digital or not
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
sounds interesting. Now making it a reality is a different story. the majority of users just dont want wires, so they are happy with middle to decent grade sound, so i am sure manufactuers arent making the push to go high quality, as that often pushes the price point higher than what a normal user might consider a worthwhile purchase.
 

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My input may be a little late, but here it goes. I had a cowon X5...bad ass unit! The formats it supported, the eq options, the mass storage feature, pretty much everything about this thing was awesome. I got rid of it though. The reason being, the battery didn't last incredibly long and I was sick of having it on my lap and running the cord to the hu. I'd take a turn and it'd fly onto the floor. I had a stand for it, but I still had to pull it out and hold it to my face to see what I was doing. This didn't work out in a car. I traded it for an older Denon 4 channel amp, bought an ipod and adapter for my 880prs and called it good.

My opinion is, if you want something that you will use with headphones often, take a serious look at the Cowon products. If you usually plug it into a stereo or set of speakers, Ipods are the way to go. The simplicity of having control over everything on the ipod, from your stereo is awesome.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
My input may be a little late, but here it goes. I had a cowon X5...bad ass unit! The formats it supported, the eq options, the mass storage feature, pretty much everything about this thing was awesome. I got rid of it though. The reason being, the battery didn't last incredibly long and I was sick of having it on my lap and running the cord to the hu.
I believe the S9 has overcome the battery issue. Ive had mine running with the display always on without a charge for over a week and i am only halfway through the battery(plus i played flash games on it for 2 hours in court the other day), and i drive around alot and am constantly flipping songs. The AMOLED display really doent use that much power, and its a flash based drive unit, so no moving parts to power. its rated for 55 hours before a charge is needed, most people are getting AT LEAST that much with the display off. The S9 also has a zoom feature on the screen that allows you to expand or contract the font on the fly, which allows ease of sight, as well as ease of clicking if you suffer from fat finger syndrome like i do.

As far as my unit flying all over the place, I bought a cell phone holder that pops into my air vent for 2 bucks on ebay deal of the day and its good to go.

So far the biggest fault I have found with the unit is the user interface, which can be a pain at times because its a little different than what we are used to...but its user customizable...and there are some really creative people out there that make some cool features, so it took me about two days to find one i really like and am able to fly around with. Hell they even managed to copy the ipod UI if your into that. it really is a stellar piece of equipment
 
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