Cowon iAudio 9 (16GB) - Cowon iAudio 9

By Hugo Jobling

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

8

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.

Wedge

December 10, 2009, 10:09 pm

I've been looking out for a 16GB player to replace my G3 4GB Nano, as while it's going strong isn't going to last forever and I could do with the extra storage.





This player looks nice and I'd love to avoid paying the Apple Tax but there are some deal breakers that most players seem to have.





- Gapless playback is a must. This is 2009 for goodness sake


- Compilations should be searchable as such, not as an infuriating list of artists that clog up your browsing experience. Does anyone apart from Apple get this right? Incedentally the iPod software is a genuine pleasure to use. This is the level other manufacturers should aspire to instead of interfaces that look like they were programmed ten years ago (I'm looking at you Sony!).


- It must Scrobble. If Apple can manage to integrate it into the iPod then why not everyone else? Even the Shuffle I use at the Gym Scrobbles. I want stats. STAT!





Although the sound quality in the Cowon and Sony players is said to be better than the iPods, will I really notice with my Sony earbuds whilst on the Tube? I doubt it. I like my Nano and get on with iTunes which works just fine on my Athlon X2 / Win 7 PC. I'd like a bit more choice than just an iPod Nano or an iPod Touch.

Mawich

December 11, 2009, 1:24 pm

Well, the iAudio 9 does do gapless playback, as the review mentioned.





I just wish it had more space. I'd love to replace my 30GB iPod (running Rockbox) but it's almost full, and although I could probably trim down my music to 16GB worth that I actually want to listen to on the go, I'd rather not have to take the time for it - just as I'd rather not take the time to re-encode everything in a format the stupider players can understand (the vast majority of my music is in Ogg Vorbis).





Still, this looks like a wonderful little device overall. I will definitely be considering it.

Rickysio

December 11, 2009, 7:42 pm

@Mawich





I think you'd find that the i9 does playback OGG.

skybluedream

December 18, 2009, 9:11 am

TR, Please review the Creative Zen XFi2 player. If possible please do a video review for it as well. Thanks.

Erland Sommarskog

January 2, 2010, 8:56 pm

I've just recently entered the world of MP3 players after having put my entire colletion on MP3.





I was excited to read that the iAudio9 has gapless playback, the cheapie I bought has not.





But there are other deal breakers, the review does not cover. If I plug in the iAudio9 into my computer, will it appear as a harddrive? I've gathered that Apple's iPod does not, but this is an absolute must for me.





Assuming that I can use it as a harddrive, can I then tell iAudio9 to play folder by folder, and have it to skip a folder, if I don't want to play that album right now?

Erland Sommarskog

January 3, 2010, 12:47 am

Found the manual at http://www.cowonglobal.com/dow..., and, yes, it will appear as a disk. As for my second


question, it seems that I can tell it to play a folder and all its subfolders.


Looks promising!

comments powered by Disqus