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Old 11-24-2007, 10:22 AM
neilgunton neilgunton is offline
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Default Is the iAudio X5 still seen as a good contender?

Hi, I am new to the whole mp3 player scene.

I am a programmer, technically inclined, and use Linux (Debian Etch) on a daily basis.

I'd like to know what you guys think of the iAudio X5 these days. I am looking at it for the following reasons, after reading quite a few reviews:

1. I like the fact that you navigate using directories rather than the mp3 tag databases that other players seem to use.

2. I am in the process of finally getting around to ripping around 400 CDs in my collection to MP3, using lame with the 'extreme' preset, so each CD is coming to around 100 MB. I figure around 40 GB will do it. So these little 2, 4, 8 or even 16 GB flash players just wouldn't cut it. I want to be able to just stick my entire collection on the player and forget about it. So the 60 GB disk on the X5 looks promising.

3. I'm not in the least bit interested in video on this device. I just want great sound quality and lots of space.

4. I want a unit that is easily attached to Linux, and doesn't require any special software in order to transfer files to it. I like the fact that the X5 is just an ordinary USB mass storage device. All this talk of MTP in the latest devices makes me very nervous, frankly.

Ok, but here's the problem: The X5 is not made any more! There are a couple going on ebay at the moment, and one on Amazon for $500.

So to my question(s):

o Given my requirements above, is the X5 still a good deal?
o Would a used unit be a good idea, or is that asking for trouble?
o Does the hard drive last a long while?
o Does that little joystick wear out quickly?
o Are there any other more current units out there that I've missed?

I'm basically wondering if I should spring for a used one for a couple of hundred dollars (with a couple of days to go, one of the ones on ebay is sitting at $187, the other is still at $60 but that'll change no doubt)? Or should I wait awhile until the current crop of flash-based units gets up to the 64 GB size (as I know they will eventually)?

I am somewhat flummoxed by how every unit out there (Creative Zen, Sandisk etc) seems to have some kind of huge issue. For the Zen, it's the fact that the SD isn't integrated properly. For the Sandisk... Oh, I don't know, I've read so many reviews these last few days, I can't remember any more. But they all seem to have problems. The X5 seems to be the closest thing to a straightforward , simple, no B.S. unit that you can copy files to and then listen to the damn thing without it locking up all the time.

What do you guys think?

Thanks!

/Neil
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  #2  
Old 11-24-2007, 12:31 PM
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dfkt dfkt is offline
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The X5 still is a very good, one-of-a-kind player. There's no other HDD player available with similar features, "open"ness, sound- and build quality. It matches your four requirements perfectly (file/folder browsing and MSC rules - ID3 browsing and MTP is for chumps ).

A used unit wouldn't be too much risk, I assume. Parts like the HDD and battery can be replaced easily - either by yourself or Cowon's very unbureaucratic RMA/warranty. Here's my experience with Cowon customer support: http://www.anythingbutipod.com/forum...ead.php?t=8889

I had no issues with my HDD or joystick ever, however some people seemed to have trouble with the joystick. Either they received a dud or treated it really rough (the joystick is not made for playing Doom in Rockbox ).

The only decent alternative I can think of is the ancient iRiver H340... but the X5 is better in almost every aspect.
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  #3  
Old 11-24-2007, 12:41 PM
musichound musichound is offline
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IMO the X5 is one of the best no nonsense players that was ever marketed. If you can get one of these I suggest to go for it. Other alternatives I can think of are the iRiver H340 (Which can be easily modded to a H360) and the iRiver H140 (Relatively easy modding also.) All of these units including the X5 can also be Rockboxed for additional features and gapless playback.
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Old 11-24-2007, 06:57 PM
neilgunton neilgunton is offline
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Default Thanks!

I am going to try to get one of the units currently going on ebay...

I have also started re-ripping my CDs in FLAC rather than MP3 (as I had started doing, with lame extreme). I had thought that mp3 would be good enough, but the more I read, the more I feel uncomfortable with my "archive" being in a lossy format... so flac it is. Nice thing is that the X5 can apparently play flac just fine. I'm using -6 for the flac compression, which seems to give reasonable speed and not much bigger than -8.

Let's hope that I don't get completely ripped off by the ebay crowd...

Thanks again,

/Neil
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  #5  
Old 11-24-2007, 07:11 PM
neilgunton neilgunton is offline
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I have read rumors of the X7 coming out soon... anybody have any info on that? Should I wait for the X7 rather than trying to nab a used X5?

Thanks!
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Old 11-24-2007, 07:13 PM
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rumors are unconfirmed, dont hold your breath
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  #7  
Old 11-25-2007, 01:35 PM
neilgunton neilgunton is offline
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Hmmm... what do people think about the 30 GB X5L vs the 60 GB X5? Battery life vs disk space. Tough call...
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Old 11-25-2007, 02:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neilgunton View Post
I have read rumors of the X7 coming out soon... anybody have any info on that? Should I wait for the X7 rather than trying to nab a used X5?

Thanks!
The rumors have been confirmed, just no one knows the details or when the X7 will be introduced
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  #9  
Old 11-25-2007, 04:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neilgunton View Post
Hmmm... what do people think about the 30 GB X5L vs the 60 GB X5? Battery life vs disk space. Tough call...
I got the X5L 30GB... but nowadays you almost must be happy if you get any X5 version at all.
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  #10  
Old 11-25-2007, 04:42 PM
origami origami is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WalkGood View Post
The rumors have been confirmed, just no one knows the details or when the X7 will be introduced
really? I didn't know there was official confimation, I thought just very strong speculation...

If cowon had any sense, it would be out in time for christmas. we know cowon have very little sense though so probably some time in febuary, when everyone has given up and bought something else....
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  #11  
Old 11-25-2007, 04:57 PM
neilgunton neilgunton is offline
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Wow... I have been bidding on eBay. The first auction, for a 60 GB, got canceled by eBay because apparently "someone has taken over this user's account". Bizarre. The second 60 GB is still in play, currently going for $470 with a day to go. The third one was a 30 GB X5L, which got pulled by the seller because of some kind of "mistake" with the listing.

Buying stuff on eBay is not a very happy experience... you just never know if you're getting fleeced or if what you're going to get is actually what the ad says it is. Sigh.

I guess, all things considered, I'd probably prefer to have the larger disk to the bigger battery... though, as you say, anything would be nice at this point. The more I look at the other offerings which are available now, the more I like the looks of the X5.
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Old 11-27-2007, 12:44 AM
flex4life flex4life is offline
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I'm not trying to be corny but the X5 has truly enriched my life, what a wonderful tool it is!
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  #13  
Old 11-27-2007, 07:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by origami View Post
really? I didn't know there was official confimation, I thought just very strong speculation...

If cowon had any sense, it would be out in time for christmas. we know cowon have very little sense though so probably some time in febuary, when everyone has given up and bought something else....
I've got a feeling you're very close to the truth with that post... no wonder lots of inferior products sell like hotcakes.
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  #14  
Old 12-09-2007, 01:42 AM
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I get the feeling that cowon's focusing their efforts on pmp's and not so much audio-biased large capacity players. I hope I'm wrong though. Even if they sound the same, I don't really need a big screen to listen to music.
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