Archive for bbe

Cowon’s X9 is obviously a “Super Player”

product banner x9 Cowons X9 is obviously a Super Player

Cowon announced the X9 – nicknamed “Super Player” – which would make sense as a logical upgrade/sidestep to last year’s X7. But actually it’s more of a rehash of the ancient O2 PMP, released four years ago, in 2008 (ignoring the newer V5′s existence in several aspects).

The X7 is a 80-160GB HDD player with Bluetooth capabilites, the new X9 is a flash memory player without Bluetooth, but a MicroSD slot instead. Internal capacities of the X9 go up to 32GB – same as the ancient O2. Both the X7 and X9 have embarrassingly bad screen resolutions of 480×272 at 4.3″ – same as the ancient O2. Seems Cowon had a few old resistive touch screens left over to recycle (the slightly less ancient V5 HD in comparison had a much more reasonable 800×480 resolution at 4.7″, but by today’s standards that is the extreme lower limit for comparable screen sizes as well).

Additional tactile buttons for FFWD/REW/skip might make the X9 a more desirable player for on the go than the X7, which only had a unified menu/play/pause and two volume buttons. Cowon claims a battery life of up to 110 hours for audio and 13 hours for video on the X9. If real-life usage comes close to these synthetic benchmarks, it would be quite amazing for nomads and globetrotters. Cowon’s usual plethora of supported file formats and BBE sound enhancements are of course not missing from the X9. An additional annoyance is Cowon’s use of a proprietary USB connector instead of a standard mini/microUSB port.

iAudiophile moderator Kizune posted a comparison chart of the X7′s and X9′s differences, for your perusal.

[Cowon Korea via iAudiophile]

JetAudio for Android is not what it used to be

jetaudio android no bbe JetAudio for Android is not what it used to be

There was some back and forth with the initial free version 1.0.1 of JetAudio on the Play Store – some people saw it in the store, others didn’t (not depending on hardware compatibility). We suspected it was some region-specific restriction Google or Cowon was pulling there.

It turns out, it might very well have been some legal issue between Cowon and BBE Sound Inc. instead. The updated free version 1.0.2 and the now available paid version of JetAudio do not feature BBE and BBE ViVA sound enhancements (read the article below for my gushing about how nice they sound). Being basically the main selling point of the application, this does come as a bit of a shock. There is no explanation about the removal on the Play Store, on Cowon’s JetAudio website, or anywhere else – BBE simply disappeared from the screenshots, and it isn’t mentioned in the changelogs either.

This is not the way to communicate, Cowon – we could really do with an explanation as to what is going on. As it is now, I would not be willing to pay EUR 1.50 for the player when it lacks its main feature over competing audio players. You should really fix your licensing issues (or whatever it is) with BBE and explain to your customers what is going on there.

[JetAudio Plus and JetAudio Basic on Google Play Store]

JetAudio Player rocks Android

jetaudio android JetAudio Player rocks Android

Good news for people who feel Cowon’s D3 and Z2 Android players being a bit overpriced and/or underpowered – now you can have their trademark BBE/Jetaudio sound enhancements on any old Android device.

JetAudio has been Cowon’s bundled Windows audio player/manager app for almost a decade now, and BBE recently released an audio player app for Apple’s iOS (which isn’t overly mature software yet). Fandroids, put on your smug faces – now you get the best of both worlds.

JetAudio for Android provides BBE and BBE ViVA sound tweaks to beef up any audio signal – some people (like me) tend to say they’re the best sounding ones of the bunch, surpassing competitors like DNSE, SRS, or X-Fi enhancements in audio quality. For bass boost there’s a button called ‘X-Bass’ on the player – not the usual BBE Mach3Bass, but it sounds basically the same. Furthermore there’s a 10-band EQ, a (nice sounding) stereo-enhancer/spatializer, a (crappy bathroom) reverb effect, and (horrible) automatic gain control, which messes up too quiet and too loud parts in audio tracks, as usual with these algorithms. Unfortunately JetAudio doesn’t seem to support Replaygain so far, which would be a much more sensible choice than AGC.

Besides the trademark sound enhancements, JetAudio is a quite extensive piece of software for an initial release. Next to tag browsing it features good old file/folder browsing, album art display works fine, the interface is intuitive enough, and people with swollen egos can post their bad taste in music directly to Facebook or Twitter from within the player (not sure if scrobbling is supported as well). Of course JetAudio claims to support gapless playback, like most other Android players – but same as all other players (except Rockbox and GoneMAD), it’s not really gapless and clicks between tracks. Its crossfade functionality works fine, though. For people with lopsided ears, there’s also audio pan/balance – I just wish that would be a global feature in the operating system, not app-dependent.

So far only a free version of JetAudio is available on the Market Play Store, with time-limited previews of some BBE sound enhancements. A full, paid version, should follow shortly.

[Google Play Store - thanks to NBT's Pocketables' Andreas for the tip!]