Cowon iAudio D2+ 4GB - Cowon D2+

By Stuart Andrews

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

8

With a pair of decent headphones, the D2+ is just a pleasure to listen to. The sound from my Denon AHC-551s was rich, warm and lovable, with a rock solid bass but more definition than I sometimes get from lesser players. The soundstage from the Denons can be crowded, but a little tweak to StereoEnhance (though not the more aggressive surround settings) seemed to help. Plugging in a pair of Sennheiser HD595s I was even more impressed.

The heavier beats and more complex production of Bat for Lashes' Daniel really came alive, and while my eardrums have been spoilt slightly through listening through the iBasso D2 headphone amp, even unamplified the HD595s delivered a gorgeous, crystal-clear, superbly balanced tone. It's certainly a versatile little devil. The stripped-back grunge of the superb Brendan O'Brian remix of Pearl Jam's Ten sounds magnificent, yet the D2+ can cope with the complex, interweaving metal of Mastodon's Crack the Skye with equal skill.

It even triumphs with the laid-back country-rock of Ryan Adams' Jacksonville City Nights and the stormy drama of Wagner's Tristan and Isolde. Some players perform brilliantly with specific musical genres but suffer when it comes to others, but the D2+ seems to cover all the bases, particularly if you're prepared to do a little fiddling with those settings.

Audio file format support is generally good, with OGG, APE and FLAC all handled on top of the usual WMA and MP3 options. However, there's no support for AAC, and I encountered a few issues with FLAC files. Tracks I've heard working perfectly well on the Samsung YP-Q1 didn't appear on the D2+ or refused to play. Apparently, a forthcoming firmware update should fix this.

The D2+ isn't a player for everyone. The design is uninspiring, the user-interface is mildly horrid and the price is still a little too high for my tastes, even given how easy it is to add capacity. For the audiophile market that embraced the original D2, however, I think that other factors, like the superb audio quality, customisable sound and SDHC slot more than compensate, as will the excellent 52 hour battery life. It's not cheap, it's not bold and it's not beautiful, but if the sound in your ears is all that matters, then the D2+ is a PMP to be reckoned with.

Verdict

Not the best all-round PMP on the market, but its excellent sound quality and expandability give the D2+ an edge for audiophile users.

Overall Score

8

Scores In Detail

  • Value 7
  • Usability 8
  • Sound Quality 9

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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