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This is my second X7, I have filled the first one up with FLAC files and needed another to take the remaining music in my collection. But I am so impressed with the music quality that my iPod is now on Gumtree being sold and I can bear the extra weight and size as it is no big deal.
These are very good players. Not as intuitive as Apple products and not as compact but so what? Do you really care when you can get first class music through the headphones. After all that is what music is all about right? Good music, reproduced well. I would recommend the X7 in an instant. Buy one and realise that your iPod is not all that.
After a couple of weeks of X7 ownership it has become quite clear that this is leagues above anything I have used or owned before - from iPods to Samsungs to Creatives and many, many more. Though I would not say the X7 is for everyone, it's a niche product that people have been waiting years for. For some avid music listeners, flash storage just doesn't provide enough space, most players only going up to 32GB and the only players that do go above that (Sony Walkman, iPod Touch) just don't have the quality to their name when it comes to sound and flexibility. It seems strange then that it took a rival company (and a good one at that) to finally make an 'equivalent' to the ever popular iPod Classic without its gaping flaws, but better late than never, right?
In terms of audio this will support just about everything you throw at it and will play it more than admirably. The X7's playback and sound quality is the most faithful, accurate and clear I've ever heard in a portable music player, and the most impressive aspect is the fact that just about all of the enhancements actually enhance the sound in one form or another, rather than muddying the sound or making it sound artificial like the Creative and Samsung players do. It's the best sounding MP3 player out there in the market (though I can't speak for the higher end audiophile players with the battery life of a potato and form factor of a brick). Be it FLAC, MP3, Ogg, this will play it and I can almost assure you it'll play it better than anything else you could buy. As with 99% of all MP3 players however, invest in a good set of headphones or the effects of BBE and JE will be totally lost on you (I haven't even tried the included headphones but I'd bet my soul that they're just about useless in comparison to a good set).
For many this is enough to warrant a purchase, and I don't blame you, but you should hear the negatives first. For one, the screen resolution is pretty bad. This isn't all too obvious when you're just using the player, but if you're watching video it may become a little uncomfortable after extended viewing. Speaking of video, support for the most basic of formats simply isn't there. MP4, .mkv etc. This is really unforgivable considering they're both among the most popular formats in video. Maybe a future firmware change will fix this. The interface isn't anything to shout about but it's perfectly usable and very easy to get used to after half an hour or so. The formfactor is very big, perhaps twice the size of my previous player of choice (Samsung YP-P3) but it's far from offputting and it isn't very heavy, it feels substantial which is fitting considering that this is a serious player for serious music listeners. The battery life is fantastic too, I've yet to even be able to get it down half way and I've been using it constantly, the 103 hours likely isn't a joke. It also features an alarm that wakes you up to either your own music or the radio, a picture viewer (which admitedly is pretty awful but it was always a function that never got much use from me anyway), bluetooth capability that functions as you'd expect and more. Drag and drop support works great on Windows 7 64bit (ignore the warning that it doesn't work with 64bit, that only refers to the useless built-in software that I never installed) and the transfer speeds are also very quick, loading a lossless album taking about 30 seconds and an MP3 album anywhere from 5-10 seconds (!) in the highest quality setting.
In short, the X7 functions reliably and satisfyingly for 90% of what it sets out to do. For the remaining 10%, the sound, it excels the entire market seemingly with ease. This is a player that doesn't wow but it does please, it's reliable in that it will do whatever you want it to, no bells and whistles and for those who need the extra space it's exactly what we've been searching years upon years for. For many 32GB would be enough. In which case, the Cowon S9 or J3 are sitting there waiting for you, or even the D2. Some even include an SD slot for expansion. But for those with a library of lossless and not wanting to go through the hassle of converting your entire library, or just wanting lossless quality without space being a problem, there really isn't any reason why the X7 wouldn't please you. It's the hard disk player that doesn't skimp on quality (well, mostly) that many of us have been looking out for years for. Well, take it from me confidently, it's here and I doubt we'll see a better one for years - if ever. Where not flawless, what is? This is the best MP3 player I've ever owned and for those that need 100+ GB of space, it's the best on the market in terms of where it really matters, and it even offers much more than that.
I recently bought the Cowon X7 to replace an old and much loved (although sadly with insufficient memory) Archos 204. The Cowon is good. While it is considerably larger than my Archos, it is not as big as I had expected havign read some reviews. The menu system which seems to generate the most negative feedback, is fine. OK it takes a bit of getting used to but doesn't everything? The sound is excellent, which after all is what it was bought for. I bought a "slightly damaged" (small scratch on the back) version at a considerable reduction. Frankly it is difficult to see the scratch and having knocked about in my handbag for a few days has axquired a few more. Overall very happy with the X7 and with Advanced MP3Players service.
I have been using personal stereo’s since 1986 when I got my first Sony Walkman and this is the best thing I have heard and my favourite to date.
Sound quality is important to me - most people don’t seem bothered these days sadly but I actually care. I have a huge collection of music and still enjoy vinyl and CD’s. I needed a player that could store all my 320kps rips so went for this one. Glad I did – very pleased.
Not sure it’s quite ‘audiophile’ quality as claimed by some, however, as a portable player it's a step up from the stuff on the High St and can hold it’s own as a source in most ‘entry level’ hi-fi set ups. Bass lacks clarity on some recordings but I find this with MP3 in general – it’s a format thing rather than the player. It may seem pricey but is actually good VFM (relatively speaking) good sound reproduction has always come at a price.
On the down side…I don’t like touch screens and this one has one of the worst ever or is it just me? It seems unresponsive and there are inconsistencies in the menu that are just annoying Not got the hang of getting the album covers loaded either - some stuff I downloaded off Amazon appears OK but most of my tunes have been ripped from CD with Windows Media player before I bought my X7 and the covers don’t appear in the display. Not too bothered about this though and certainly not going to try to update the appropriate format pictures etc, I just drag and drop my folders and that’s it – easy, it’s all about the music for me.
I quite like the head phones that come with it but I have found the best results with an old pair of Sennheiser HD490's. Obviously you'll need to consider investing in a good set of cans to get the best out of this player but the ones in the box should tide you over til funds become available.
Finally, a word about the customer service at Advanced MP3 players - there was a minor problem with my order and so I phoned up the shop. The staff were friendly, knowledgable and sorted everything out straight away. Great place to get kit like this and worth checking on the website every now and again for the offers - I got mine substantially reduced due to a slightly damaged box. Cheers, Dave
I am now on my second X7 & still think it's the best large memory player in the world but am not impressed with the latest software update, the time between selecting a track and the machine playing it is far too long. ps the first X7 still works perfectly.
Great, I don't care about the size, look's, or anything else, it' the sound, I'm using Audio Technica earphones, the wooden ones, and the combination is simply wonderful with rock and classical music. The radio works very well. Yes, this is the one.
Fantastic player. Sound quality usual Cowon excellence (with a decent set of headphones and flac files). The player itself feels like a brick compared to the J3 which was slim and pocket size. This thing pulls your trousers down if you don't have a belt on! However, it is worth putting up with for the sake of having all my music and podcasts on one player. I use it mostly in the car so don't object to the size too much. The UI is probably not great compared to some other manufacturers but it is better than the J3 so it is all relative!
FANTASTIC MUSIC PLAYER - TERRIBLE UI!
I purchased this unit from AMP3 just before Christmas. Unfortunately, my firsT unit had to be returned as the battery was hopeless, with major sound degradation after only four hours playing. However, AMP3 agreed with me and replaced the unit, and battery life has not been a problem since then.
This is THE player for you if you want to listen to your music. I have never heard music so clearly through headphones. Listening mainly to MP3s at 256 or 320 bitrate, I was picking up little nuances on albums I thought I knew like the back of my hand, for example, 10CC's "How Dare You" and Prefab Sprout's "Steve McQueen".
However, the UI is appalling, and the touchscreen is inaccurate and quite unresponsive, even after having used the calibration tool in the settings. It is ridiculously clumsy to do simple things like tuning the FM Radio, browsing photos, or switching between videos. Album art is, by default, zoomed in to such an extent that it is often difficult to identify.
Cowon are know for having useless UIs and this is unfortunately another bad one. Unfortunately I am not technologically savvy enough to replace the UI, as some seem to have done. I would worry that whatever I did might compromise sound quality or completely lose everything!
For me though, the sound quality means I can overlook these other shortcomings. It really is a fantastic music player, with a big enough HD to contain a decent proportion of my collection, ripped at a high enough bitrate to keep me happy and occupied until the cows come home.
Having used other Cowon products in the past, I am pleased to report that this is of the same build quality...if you need a large volume of high quality music to hand this is the only device worth looking at. ..I use Westone 3 IEDs to get the most out of the X7.
When researching mp3 players the name COWON kept coming up as very good quality. I absolutely love this device and the difference in sound from an ipod is astonishing. I use westone4 earphones and they truly perform when hooked to this baby. Yes the operating system takes some getting used to but is totally forgiven whenever I press play. I copy my cds using FLAC it's so easy to transfer onto the player. My ipod is gathering dust I'm so glad I made the switch. Worth every penny. And it arrived the next day very cheaply thank you.
It's hard to know where to start with this device, other than to say it isn't for everyone. A certain amount of patience and time is required to get this to be the player you want it to be.
First impressions are that it is not as brick like as everyone says. Until you pop it into the official case and it's like a pocket bible! The UI is also not as unresponsive as reported. I've owned an ipod touch, an iphone, a Samsung Galaxy S2 and whilst not in their league the screen is fit for purpose.
The screen resolution also is fine for this size. Why people obsess about HD video on a screen 4 inches big is beyond me. You'd need a viewing distance of about 1 mm to discern HD quality. I've watched an episode of The Simpsons, an episode of The West Wing, and a few Talking Heads videos on this - it is absolutely great. (The video formats I was using: avi & mp4).
Yes, I've seen some of the "cons" mentioned elsewhere: the USB lead does not lock or clip into place. The slightest motion seems to disconnect the device, not great when doing a bulk transfer. The album art is erratic & zoomed in to ridiculous amounts. I fixed the latter by using the "Sense" UI widely available. The former - still under investigation. I thought my tags were impeccable, but this is unforgiving. A number have had to be redone with mp3tag. Listening to "The Hazards of Love" on mp3 showed that gapless playback (on firmware 2.07) isn't implemented. I believe it is with flac format though, so I'll try & re-rip the ones that need it on flac - things like Dark Side of The Moon, Diamond Dogs etc etc
The trick on the set-up is to choose non-EU. The volume is loud, very loud. On my London commute I set it to 30 (out of 40) and it is fine through a pair of Sennheiser CX400 IIs.
Sound quality is absolutely brilliant - so transparent. Higher bitrate mp3 files are the way to go - lower bitrate files tend to sound a bit rubbish (the experience is s little like being at a concert with slightly out of phase speakers). The pre-set equaliser settings are really beneficial. The overall SQ is so much better than any other player I've had before.
Disk size: what can you say. It has swallowed my 74GB music collection and then every episode of The West Wing with acres to spare. Commuter bliss! Transfer rates from my NAS to the device were relatively slow however - about 2.5 MB per second.
There are a number of User Interfaces around, the ones I've tried are Leaf (a replacement device browser) and Sense (a replacement music player). Both are drag & drop installs and just work. There is very little documentation around so the trick is to just keep prodding away to see what happens!
The device has impressed through CX400 II buds, also through Sennheiser HD 212 Pro headphones. However they sound best in my ears through my Shure SRH440 headphones - the depth of sound is a lot more noticeable with these on.
A note for the wary: you will be much more hands on with this (over say an ipod classic) - and you will have many more frustrations and things not going as planned. But when you actually let it do its thing (music playback or video) then it is an absolute joy.
Finally - I've been buying stuff (sporadically) from AMP3 sinse my first mp3 player (an XCLEF HD500). They are truly one of the best on the web.
I bought the X7 to replace my ailing D2 and purely as a music player. I play FLACs through Shure SE530s and expected similar high quality to my pevious Cowon. The X7 undoubtedly sounds better which was an unexpected bonus. Having all the music on one hard drive rather than a plethora of SD cards makes it much more useable too.
I like the resistive touch screen too - I have had too many problems with capacitive ones not working for me. It is worth taking the trouble to calibrate the screen using a stylus to ensure pinpoint accuracy - indeed I use a stylus most of the time - keeps the screen nice and clean and is faster and more accurate than my large fingers.
Would I recommend it? Wholeheartedly I would. It is absolutely the best portable music player I have ever used.
I bought an X7 earlier this year from AN Other website and it went faulty. A known issue with it (and a fairly basic flaw!) is that if you let the battery drain completely, you may not be able to charge it again! They recommend topping up chargers every so often - which I neglected to do in time obviously...and my player bricked. Thankfully, said vendor refunded me without a quibble - I wanted a new one but they had none in stock at the time.
I checked around - nothing comes close on sound quality/capacity/battery life - and ended up buying another from the good folks here at AMP3. So what do you get?
Well, its a bit on the big side, compared to most personal players these days - but it has a 160gb HD in it, what do you expect?! :-) As a music player, you get exemplary sound quality, ability to handle most file formats, incl. FLAC, OGG Vorbis, MP3, WMA, WAV..., fantastic battery life (FLAC drains quicker than MP3 as you might expect but life is STILL measured in tens of hours). The interface is a bit clunky, the touch screen is resistive (so requires a bit of a prod) and not always 100% accurate. Can't do much about that but you CAN do something about the interface - there are 3rd party UIs available which allow proper display of album art, fast searching on tags, far better menu system, all for free (or a donation, if you choose to be a good boy/girl!).
It also plays vids, has an alarm, clock, etc but I just use mine as a music player. Whether playing FLAC or decent quality mp3s, through a pair of decent headphones you will certainly marvel at the quality of what you're listening to. I regularly hear things I've never noticed before, through playing existing files on this new player for hte first time. My main criteria for choosing a player was 1. capacity, 2, sound quality (or maybe the other way around!) - and nothing comes close. Give it a go, its worh putting up with the touch screen for.
Well where do I start?
This is a big old unit, with some minor UI issues, but nothing too bad. With some playing about you soon get over these as the logic of the system is different to the mainstream units.
I can not make comment on the video quality of the unit as I have not figured out how to do this. (But in saying that, I have not really looked into it properly yet.)
I purchased this for one purpose really, and that was for music!
This is brilliant.
I know people have been moaning about the album art work being too large, but come on who sits and looks at the album art work on PMP anyway.
I plug my headphones in set it to play and never look at it again!
The unit’s ability to read so many formats is great. I have been using WMA Lossless, but may have to change this as I am using up space fast.
Getting music on and off is so easy drag and drop as an external hard drive or through Jet software it is drag and drop also. Very Easy.
But the best thing of all…..
The sound quality
This is beautiful, the depth, texture and color that my ears have been missing whilst using a mainstream device have all returned. I know I get all of this when I am at home using my separates, but I have never had this on the go or in the office.
I’m finding myself stopping at work at times and playing a bit back to make sure I heard that little guitar lick, drum fill, bass run, vocal intonation or even the turn of a page on some classical piece.
It is suited to all music types, Heavy Metal, Prog Rock, AOR, Pop, and Country through to Classical.
Yes as I stated earlier it is big but for me sitting at my desk it is great and it’s not a problem in the jacket when walking the dog. Not sure I would use it from running, but in saying that HDD units don’t like to run anyway.
I love the sound that this unit gives me and it has reignited my desire to listen to music more and more. Thank you Cowon.
I think on balance I like the X7. Compared with a flash player it can be slow to get started - it's a few seconds before the selected track starts to play - but having all your music to hand (I have 110 gb) surely is more important - it is to me.
There's a slight delay when you hit icons (e.g. settings) and the layout of icons is a bit clunky but I come back to the same point - the X7 seems to be very reliable and....everything is there. Haven't had it long enough to check battery claims but it's fine so far!
Having used it for a few weeks now, the X7 is a superb product.
Sound quality is excellent with WAVs, mp3s and on the radio. The user interface is very intuitive and simple to use and setting the device up is straightforward.
The only drawback I've encountered is that on some tracks the album cover isn't displayed, neither is the album title, but this is a very minor gripe.
Overall, I would thoroughly recommend the X7.
The Cowon X7 is quite simply amazing. After using it for several weeks I have no earthly idea why anyone would buy an iProduct over this. Its capacity is excellent, it hardly ever seems to need charging and it tranfers files lightening fast. The file compatibility range is also very good.
I know some people have said that the user interface isn't super slick but frankly I haven't found this to be a problem at all. Its quite intuitive if you just look at the arrows. :D
I know these things are always shipped with a so-so pair of headphones but the quality of the sound with them far exceeds my old sony mp3 player with a really good set in. Listening to music is an absolute joy on the Cowon X7 and if you don't like the sound presets you can easily tweak the settings to get exactly what you want.
As some other reviewers have pointed out this machine doesn't have a great web2.0/apps etc capability but, frankly, why would you want it to? Thats what I have a phone/tablet/PC for... The Cowon X7 focusses on delivering quality sound from a huge harddrive of music - thats why I bought it!
All round an excellent bit of kit - buy it, buy it now! :D
I purchased the Cowon X7 for two reasons - I appreciate decent sound quality, and most of my collection is stored as FLAC files. I didn't purchase the X7 for the ability to surf the internet, to download 'apps', for its looks, or for a flashy user interface. And that's why I didn't buy an iPod.
In general then, the X7 does exactly what I expected - I can store lots (and lots) of FLAC format songs on it, and the sound quality on half-decent headphones is fantastic - especially if you are into more acoustic / stereo-seperated music. The Jet Effect system is good - but forget the 35 effects (especially the gimmicky reverb). I found myself creating a user effect to my own liking and now always stick with that. Bass is clear, treble doesn't squeak. And the stereo clarity is great. Cowon are definitely the audiophile's choice!
Upload is quite simple, but I had to do a bit of tweaking to get album art on there - I used MediaMonkey to sync with the X7, saving album art as 'cover.jpg' in the album folder (these are stored as 'folder.jpg' in my main music store. The device is a little brick-like, but it does fit fairly easily in a back pocket, and it has a solid reassuring feel to it.
However, I must make a mention about the user interface (UI) - inconsistent ways to move about between menus is an inexcusable programming fault. I can understand that the old touchscreen is there to save money - but it's all to easy to select an item when you really want to scroll. Fair enough though I'm coming straight from my swishy super amoled smartphone, but the UI designers should recognize the limitations of this format, and design accordingly, e.g. show a dedicated scrollbar.
Another fairly notable point on reliability - in general the X7 is ok. But transfer times slowed dramatically when I started to fill it up. Switching USB mode helped though. Other reliability glitches - it's crashed on me a few times, and I've had to reset the unit sometimes after disconnecting the USB caused it to stop responding (on/off switch has no effect).
Frankly I'd be embarrased if I were a Cowon software developer. However, the UI may not be great, but it's ok to navigate through, and when it's behaving (which in fairness is mostly) then the music sings through. So in general I'm happy - but nervously so. I love the X7... but I don't quite trust it!
I did a fair amount of agonising before finally choosing the X7 over the J3, but it was worth it . Now have ALL my music collection on it , plus some vidoes. Just taken it away on a business trip for the first time , put it with my Bose headphones and the sound quality was simply perfect. Battery life as stated on the specs is pretty accurate provided you don't have the screen on all the time during music playback. Operating system took a bit of getting used to but soon became second nature. Well worth the pennies spent. Service from AMP3 was brilliant too.
Overall I am very pleased with my Cowon X7. However the tiny font used on some icons is unreadable to me. Also the background causes problems for visibility, this can be cured by setting an appropriate wallpaper. The progress bar is a hailine and not easy to read. Cowon really should put some thought into usability with impaired eyesight.
Cowon X7 160GB Portable Media Player
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