Which Cowon should I get? X7, X9 or Z2?
I'm on the hunt for a new MP3 player since I just broke the headphone port on my Samsung R1 after dropping to the ground and nearly being hit by a car. I've been eyeing a new MP3 player for awhile and this incident has just made it come around quicker.
What i'm looking for is an MP3 player with a large storage capacity and amazing sound quality, which is why I want a Cowon. But after doing some research, I'm still unsure which one to get. With a collective music library (nearing 100GB and just over 11,000 songs) I really want a Cowon X7. I don't really care about any of the other features and I can live with a resistive touchscreen.
The only issue that has hindered me is the fact I've read a lot of Amazon reviews detailing that the Cowon X7 becomes a bricked device when the battery completely runs flat. I've checked the firmware updates for the X7 and there is no mention of it being a known issue or being a resolved issue. If this is an issue, then I'm not going to risk spending £200 on something that most likely become bricked in a month's time.
Which leads me looking into another player. I've been eyeing the X9 and Z2 aswell. The Z2 is much better, but is also more expensive. Personally, I don't want to fork out that much money (£240) for a Z2 that's only 32GB. I wouldn't mind doing it for the X9 but i'm unsure if you can put a 64GB microSD card in there. Would this be doable or is the maximum allowed a 32GB microSD card?
So could anyone advise which one to buy please? I'm looking to buy in the next few days so any quick advice and responses is greatly appreciated :D
EDIT: I forgot to mention that I've read a couple of posts on here regarding the X7 and it looks as if people are only getting the battery/bricked issue when buying from Amazon. Is this just a faulty batch that Amazon are supplying? I live in the UK and the 160GB version is unavailable on Amazon but the 120GB version is up for £200 new. There's also another website, advancedmp3players.co.uk which are selling both the 120GB and 160GB X7 new. The 160GB version is only £18 more making it £218 in total. I'm really tempted to buy it, but only if I know it's 'safe' i.e. it won't end up bricked once the battery runs out.
I've also noticed that on advancedmp3players.co.uk it says the player is not compatible with Windows 64-bit operating systems? Is there a firmware update that makes it compatible? I'm on Windows 7 64-bit.
Just so you know the X9 player has a music database limit of 8000 files with a limit of 4000 for everything else, this includes everything on the sd card as well. So your total limit is 12000 files on the X9.
Just some info I thought you should know.
Thats the reason why I didn't buy one, my music library is around 16000 songs and growing.
Hi Mo. FryDaddy,
Thanks for the quick reply and the information :) So the X9 can only handle a maximum of 8000 files even if you get a 64GB card for it? well, with 11,000+ songs I guess that rules out the X9.
Does this database limitation also apply to the Z2? I guess even if it doesn't, I wouldn't like paying £240 for the player and an additional £50 for a 64GB microSD card. So I'm now left with the choice of the X7. Also, I guess the right question would be, does all Cowon flash memory players have the 8000 file limitation? On advancedmp3players.co.uk the Cowon D3 32GB is selling new for £189. But even still, I'd rather have an X7.
If anyone could provide information on whether or not the Cowon X7 bricks after the battery discharges it would be most helpful. That's the only thing holding me back right now. Otherwise, it has everything I need in a player.
For people like us we have about 4 choices for a large capacity Mp3 player:
1: Sansa Rockboxed with 64GB card.
3: The X7.
4: The Archos 500GB Player (I don't recommend this one, since it has 500GB and sells for 200$ new you know it can't be all that good.)
The market for dedicated Mp3 players has shrunken considerably, we a niche market.
I would definitely go for the X7. I've had the 160GB version for a year or 2 now and it hasn't disappointed yet. In my opinion the only issues are:
- not-very-responsive screen (I guess this was meant to keep the price manageable)
- occasionally awkward user interface (for some reason Cowon always re-invents its GUI)
- gapless playback for FLAC's only seems to work when the screen is ON (although I haven't heard anyone else complain about this)
And the pro's are of course:
- battery life
- sound quality (especially with the BBE setting)
I recommend installing the Sense music interface and Leaf browser interface, they have a number of advantages over the standard Cowon GUI.
And last but not least, remember to choose the non-European setting during first set-up, otherwise the maximum volume will be limited due to European law.
* EDIT *
That is, if you are in Europe in the first place ;-)
Also, I have no issues on Windows 7 64-bit. But I connect the X7 as an external harddisk (folders), which I believe is never a problem.
Thanks for the reply dude. I was doing some digging around on info on the cowon X7 and found the alternative sense UI and heard that was much better to use than the default UI. I didn't know about the Leaf browser so thanks for the links to both of those ^^ Is the sense UI just an interface that works on top of the current firmware or is it a complete firmware package in itself? As in, is it worth updating the X7 to the latest official firmware and then installing the Sense UI or should I just install the Sense UI right from the get-go?
Thanks for the info on 64-bit operating systems too. I didn't think it would be a problem, but I just thought I'd make sure.
It's good to know that you've had it for that length of time and not had any problems with it. So, is the "bricked device when battery reaches 0%" a firmware issue? In other words, can this problem be avoided by installing unofficial firmware (like Sense if it is a firmware)? Or have you just been really careful not to let it reach 0% before recharging it?
I've just ordered mine from Advancedmp3players.co.uk and should be arriving in a couple days time. I gotta say I'm pretty stoked haha.
me and my X7
Just to add to this thread I received my X7 a couple of days ago and to be honest I almost sent it back to Amazon as I was sure it was faulty. I realised pretty quickly I was wrong and once you figure out the X7s ecccentricities it turns out to be a pretty good product. Things I would reccommend:
1) Upgrade the firmware
2) If your music is stored as FLAC make VERY sure none of the files are corrupt as the X7 will sometimes 'throw a wobbler' as it tries to play the corrupt file and you may need to reset.
3) Music management - I use mediamonkey and I found that if you try and copy large amounts of files from mediamonkey to the X7 via auto sync then X7 will sometimes struggle to sync the files over.
I find the best way to do it is to create a autoplaylist of your music, select all the music files, right-click and copy and then paste the music into the music folder on your X7. The only problem with this that all the files get copied into 'Drive:\Music' as opposed to 'Drive:\Music\Artist-Album\tracks' that you will get with auto-sync. You may not have this problem of course, I may only have had this problem because my files are stored on a NAS drive.
You can update the Cowon firmware to the latest version and then install Leaf and Sense. They're just different designs and DO NOT replace the firmware. If you're interested there is also a user interface for the 'desktop', called Lynx: http://iaudiophile.net/forums/showthread.php?t=39086. I haven't installed it because I'm not convinced it's a major upgrade over the Cowon desktop interface, but I might give it a try anyway.
My X7 has never been 'bricked' before and I've let the battery reach 0% several times. But I'm pretty sure it's a firmware issue; Leaf and Sense won't change this. Good luck with your X7, hope you like it!
By the way, I find it easier to copy files manually from my computer to the X7. I manage my music library om my computer, and just copy everthing I have added or changed to the X7. Perhaps it's a bit more work, but I never have to worry if anything goes wrong.
Oh, and here's something to consider: by default, cover art on the X7 fits the entire screen. Since the screen is 272 x 480 pixels, this means that in order for cover art to be displayed properly, it should be 272 x 480 pixels as well. To me this is one of the biggest design blunders Cowon has ever made, because cover art is usually square. So my advice is to install Sense straight away and just resize your artwork to 272x272 (it's better to always make it this exact size, it will look a lot better on your screen because it won't be resized on the device).
I picked up my Cowon X7 yesterday and I when I got home I tested it straight out of the box. I have to say, it's horrible out of the box and the user interface wasn't nice at all.
After that I updated to the latest Cowon X7 firmware (2.09) and it felt a bit smoother. Thanks to mdk1970 I was able to install the Sense UI and the Leaf Browser which feels like what the device should of had at stock. It's a much nicer interface and easier to navigate through menu's too. I have to say though, even with the Leaf browser, navigation is a pain at times and the cowon isn't great at differentiating between the different finger strokes. That's probably down to the resistive touch screen and not capacitive. Sometimes when I want to scroll down the list of my library it interprets my finger stroke as a tap and it ends up going into the track selection of that artist when I didn't want that to happen.
On another note, the sound quality is excellent and progressed even better when I played around with the EQ settings. The flexibility of the EQ even surpasses my Samsung R1 (which I thought was great). I also like how it even sound amazing when playing through my Hi-Fi system. This is something that the R1 fell short on. It simply didn't have enough electrical current through the headphone port to pass through my amp (Yamaha RXV567) and speakers (Wharfedale 9.1 + JVC rears + Wharfedale SW150) at a decent sound quality. The Cowon X7 delivers this amazingly well.
With a nice smile on my face I decided to leave my X7 on overnight connected to my laptop to sync my music to it. When I awoke in the morning I was mortified to find that It became a bricked device. Simonb1975uk did warn me about transferring a large amount of files all in one go, but I ignored that due to him using Mediamonkey whereas I'm using MusicBee. I tried to copy ALL of my music library all in one go (11,000+ songs and close to 100GB) and obviously no matter what software you use to transfer it, it just can't handle it and became stuck on the "Updating Database" screen.
I've had the device less than 24 hours and already a bricked device. Gutted. I tried the reset button countless times only to find it getting stuck at the same screen. By my surprise I thought I'd try the reset button again and it worked! I really don't know what I could of done differently to make it work but I'm just happy it worked. I pressed the reset button first to make sure it was completely off, then I press and held the reset button down whilst it was off then powered it up. That's all I did and it worked. Lesson learnt: don't transfer 100GB of storage all at once haha!
I really just want to thank everyone who commented on here and provided me with all the advice and resources, you're all a big help. Overall i'm happy with my purchase, but I still have to be cautious about transfers and not letting the device get to 0% battery.
I agree, the touchscreen can be a pain sometimes. But as a true 'listener' I find that I don't need to use it that often. I choose the album I want to listen to and don't bother with the touchscreen until it's finished ;-)
So the device bricked when you synced using MediaMonkey? I've read several posts about that problem, it seems to me that synchronizing is really the main issue. I just copy and paste the files from my computer to the music folder on the X7 and never had a problem, not even with 110 GB of flac's! Good to know though that it's possible to un-brick the darn thing if it ever happens to me, so thanks for that :-)
"That's probably down to the resistive touch screen and not capacitive."
There is nothing wrong with the touch screen. You just have to use a hard surface (like the edge of your fingernail). I have an S9 as well, which is capacitive, and I don't find it any more difficult (or easy). You just have to know how to use it, because they are different technologies.
I never used any software with my Cowon mp3 players. You should be thankful that they don't need a proprietary program. I just use Windows Explorer to put files where I want them, and use view by folder mode. If you are organized, this is the best way.
I have transferred large amounts of files to my Cowons with no problem. I hear that it is somehow dangerous all the time, but I think people must be falsely attributing the error. It is just a disc drive after all... it doesn't matter what you put on it or how much you put on it in one go. Just don't jiggle the USB cable while it's transferring or something stupid lol.
Well, I hope you enjoy your X7. I have had mine a year or so and it is still running strong. It only ever gave me trouble once or twice. The first time my usual troubleshooting was enough, the second time only took a little bit of googling. As mp3 players I've owned go, it hasn't been any more or less reliable, and that includes iPods.
I agree with the two posts above. The X7 is a fine player and transferring files using windows explorer is the ideal way to do it. Leave out the syncing, media monkey and all things that complicate. It is a hard disk, so simply treat is as an external drive and all will be fine.
PC's have stronger power to rear USB ports, plug it in there rather than hubs or front ports for a more stable connection.
Which Cowon should I get? X7, X9 or Z2?
I bought my X7 from Korea on ebay over Christmas and having updated the firmware and installed sense, leaf and lynx I'm really happy with it.
It's a little on the large and heavy side but the fantastic sound quality, capacity and battery life all make it worthwhile for me. I use it pretty much entirely for listening to music although the radio is sometimes useful. I can't see me viewing videos or pictures using the device.
I haven't had any bricking problems yet or any issues with it really. I find the touch screen to be fine. I just use my finger nail and it's very responsive.
The features of the player exceed anything I've had before but primarily I bought it for the sound quality. I have a large number of FLAC classical tracks which sound great particularly with the BBE setting.
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