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Cowon iAudio 9 (16GB) - Cowon iAudio 9
There are a few other interesting options, found in the menus, too. A playback speed control is coupled with pitch correction (both set on or off separately) which aims to leave audio pitched, well, correctly even when fast forwarding. For the most part this works well, although occasionally it doesn't particularly help. If you fancy it, you could upload your own font to the player, which it will then use in place of the system default - silly, yes, but an indication of just how tweakable this player is.
Format support is, as you would expect from a Cowon player, comprehensive. MP3, WMA, OGG, APE, WAV and FLAC files are all playable, but whether it's worth wasting capacity on the iAudio 9 by putting lossless music on it is a matter for debate. Oddly, support for AAC files isn't mentioned, but the iAudio 9 seems happy to play them nonetheless - quite what's going on there I have no idea, but I'm not complaining. Video files in either AVI, WMV or ASF format and encoded in XviD or WMV 7, 8, and 9 can be played and a TV-out cable is available separately if you fancy watching on a screen that isn't too small to be used more than occasionally. As well as these traditional staples of any media player's diet, the iAudio 9 will also happily display text (.txt) files, JPEG images and has a built in Flash player.
Cowon quotes 29 hours of battery life playing audio and seven with video, although obviously the content will have an affect on that - decoding FLAC takes more work than MP3 don't you know? With mixed use, you can expect a couple of days' power before needing a recharge.
The iAudio 9 also has a built in FM tuner, and let's you record radio broadcasts at up to 256kbps MP3. That same maximum quality recording is present using the voice recorder, which works using a built-in microphone. There's a built-in speaker, too, but it should only ever be used in conjunction with the player's alarm clock - trust me on this.
As you might expect from a company which has earned a reputation for producing some of the most audiophile-friendly media players going, the iAudio 9 has a crazy number of audio tweaking options. As well as a five-band equalizer, there are a number of 'BBE' modes, which purport to offer better reproduction for specific types of audio, a Stereo Enhance mode and an MP3 Enhance mode, which claims to restore detail lost during compression.
Many presets are available which means there should be one to suit any user's tastes. However, if you're dissatisfied then you can save up to four user-defined options of your own. Just avoid the Reverb options; while adding a sense of 'space' to the player's output may sound nice in theory, it doesn't really work - especially with studio-recorded music.
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