Cowon iAudio 9 (16GB) - Cowon iAudio 9

By Hugo Jobling



Our Score:


One big plus for the iAudio 9 is its support for gapless playback, the lack of which on other players is a complete deal breaker for me - and I'm sure many of you will agree. Words cannot describe how annoying it is trying to listen to an album such as Muse's The Resistance with pauses between tracks where no pauses should be.

Also useful is the ability to resume tracks where you left off, a must have for audiobooks. I don’t know about you, but I find scrolling for minutes just to get to the chapter I was previously listening to incredibly frustrating.

On the subject of audio books, the iAudio 9 comes with a voucher for one free download from, neatly outing the player's support of that service and encouraging its use at the same time. Other online audio book stores are, of course, available.

If you're just looking for a simple, OK-sounding media player then the iAudio 9 may prove overly complicated - the huge array of options can be a little daunting. However, on the plus side, it can produce a level of audio quality that you probably wouldn't expect from such a small player - once you've ignored the flat and anaemic default settings and tweaked it yourself.

Once set up to your preferences, the iAudio 9 has a wonderfully full output, with plenty of punch low down, great mid range presence and excellent high end clarity. Even with the volume way up there's no hint of distortion, but just be careful you don't damage your ears because this player will go very loud.


The Cowon iAudio 9 is not a media player for everyone. While its user interface is intuitive for the most part, the sheer number of options means you'll be navigating a lot and at some point you may will end up lost in a sea of sub menus. Comprehensive audio format support makes up for this to a degree, but the lacklustre output when left un-tweaked might irk the casual listener. Once configured though, it's a lovely sounding, capable player.

Overall Score


Scores In Detail

  • Value 8
  • Usability 7
  • Sound Quality 8


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.


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.


December 11, 2009, 7:42 pm


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


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, 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!

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