Cowon iAudio D2+ 4GB - Cowon D2+

By Stuart Andrews
Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score

8/10

Review Price free/subscription

Luckily, the quality of the video playback is perfectly decent. The D2+ doesn't sport the clearest or brightest little screen I've ever seen, and I found myself missing the similarly sized, 16:9 format screen of the Samsung YP-Q1, but colours are rich and motion is nice and fluid. There's also good news for fans of iPlayer. After a temporary glitch where the menus seemed to conflict with the video image, a downloaded WMV of Later with Jools Holland played perfectly well on the D2+.

That said, I think that most buyers of the D2 regarded video playback as a bonus feature rather than a compelling reason to purchase. The D2's biggest selling point was always its superb audio playback, and the same holds true of the D2+. In fact, if anything it's actually a better player, for the simple reason that Cowon's highly-regarded JetEffect audio processing technology now incorporates BBE+.

As a rule I'm not a huge fan of additional processing. Sometimes it helps ameliorate a weakness of the player or the headphones, fortifying the bottom end or enhancing mid-range clarity, but in a lot of cases it just takes the sound further away from what the people producing your music originally intended. The strength of JetEffect is that, while you get a bewildering range of options to tinker with, you do get a highly customisable sound and one that, used carefully, does genuinely sound better than the basic, untreated output. With a flat EQ and everything switched off the D2+ is a very good player. With the sound tweaked just a little, it's right up there with the best from Samsung and Sony, not to mention Cowon's own S9.

Even with the bundled headphones, which aren't great, you can get some reasonable results. Nudge the BBE and Mach3Bass settings up a couple of notches, then do the same with StereoEnhance, and you have a sound that - were you stuck somewhere without any decent IEMs or cans - you could actually listen to. Listening to Moon to Moon from the new Bat for Lashes album, there's enough clarity to do the minimal instrumentation justice, and enough warmth to make the vocals come alive.

Play Blue in Green from Bill Evans' Portrait in Jazz and it doesn't sound bad at all, the thick chords and elegant lines of the piano working well with the restrained bass and drums. Things get a bit muddy when you put on something rockier, like Audioslave's Revelations, but when you consider that we're talking bundled ‘phones, that's not really much of a complaint.

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Jawad Mateen

April 26, 2009, 7:56 am

Nice review Hugo...


You were spot-on in saying that this is a DAC not for everyone. And by everyone I mean the iPod-buying masses. Still a 9 for sound is a bit of injustice. Nothin can compete with this little wonder as far as sound quality goes. I've got an S9 too and in many respects the D2+ even outshines this already revered PMP. The interface comes behind every othe major player and the video capabilities are just an additional feature to have... nothing major to get excited about. As Hugo said a 16Gb SDHC card is only 㿊 and added in a 16Gb player that's 32Gb of storage space plus industry-best sound quality


for under 𧶀.


Yeah these were my 2 pesas in an already great review that totally got to the point.

Gnormie

April 26, 2009, 3:26 pm

I loved my old D2, it was a fantastic little player, but personally i prefer the video capabilities of the S9 I now own and am willing to sacrifice a little in sound quality/storage for the screen and flash UCI.

Runadumb

April 26, 2009, 6:16 pm

I have the D2 and I hate it. Battery life and sound quailty are both great but the interface is the worst ive ever used. Its shocking and if artists names are even the tiniest bit different it puts them on their own. So for example 36 CrazyFists and 36 Crazyfists are handled as two different artists. I had to remove my chili peppers albums because it added about 20 artists. I hate it

acgs1

April 26, 2009, 10:57 pm

How does it compare to the S-series Walkman?

lazerlightning

April 27, 2009, 1:55 am

I have been using my D2 for 2+ years and absolutely love it. Battery life is excellent and so is the sound quality. I would like to add that I think cowon are very good with firmware updates, they have improved the D2 vastly with features such as using the volume buttons as next and previous buttons, adding flash, calculator and paint...





@Runadumb it sounds like you should fix your ID3 tags :)

StuAndrews

April 27, 2009, 2:44 pm

@Runadumb


I don't think you'd find the D2+ any improvement in this area. I've got a fairly standard playlist for testing which I alter and update with new music every few weeks. Most players import it without any problems and the filenames and folders update perfectly. On the D2+ however, a couple of albums are all over the place. I agree with laserlightning that I could probably fix this with some massaging of the ID3 tags, but if other players don't need this sort of treatment, why should the D2+?





@acqs1


It depends what you're looking for. I think the D2+ sounds at least as good, if not slightly better, than the S-Series, and the expandability is a really key factor in its favour. However, the S639F is just so much nicer to use, and I prefer the smaller, lighter form factor when I'm travelling around. At the moment, were I spending my own cash I'd live without the expansion slot and have a S639F or a Samsung YP-P3, but I appreciate that, for audiophiles who want to listen to uncompressed audio, the D2+ might be a better bet.

comedian

April 27, 2009, 6:37 pm

It's entirely possible to turn your existing D2 in to a D2+ as the only difference is a firmware update.





http://www.anythingbutipod.com...

Hedgeporker

May 1, 2009, 5:48 pm

I just can't get past the name. It sounds like someone with a speech impediment (Pontius Pilate anyone?) saying Colon.

Rickysio

August 23, 2009, 9:15 am

I just sold my iPod Touch for a D2, and I'd just like to say that I'd never look back. Maybe for the games, perhaps, but the audio quality and battery life... :D

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