Category Archives: AMP3 Tech Advice

Tech advice straight from our tech team!

Getting to Know… The Cowon Plenue Series

With their Plenue series of players, Cowon have been going from strength to strength, demonstrating a rich and powerful signature sound across a wide range of budgets to suit casual listeners and audiophiles alike. This article is intended to act as a guide to this excellent series of players, showing the differences between each model as we move up the range.

Plenue D – £199

COWONPDLARGECowon wanted more people to experience the beautiful sound of the PLENUE series. So they set out on a mission to share the pleasure of listening to music in perfect high resolution sound on mid-range PLENUE device while retaining all the benefits of portable Hi-Fi audio. The PLENUE D is small and light, yet its powerful performance is capable of faithfully reproducing original studio sound anytime anywhere.

Plenue R – £499

COWONPRLARGEThe Plenue R is described as Cowon’s ‘all-round’ player, which best exemplifies the versatility of the Plenue range, with features such as aptX high-quality Bluetooth, a 2.5mm balanced output and up to 17 hours of continuous music playback. There is also a USB DAC mode, expandable memory and a colour changing LED that changes according to the sound source.

IMPROVEMENTS OVER PD:

-        128GB Internal Memory

-        USB DAC Mode

-        Balanced output

-        Convenient multi-button and intuitive control buttons

-        A colour changing LED that changes according to the sound source (normal, HD and DSD/DXD)

Plenue M2 – £590

COWONPM2-SILVERLARGEAs a successor to the PLENUE M, the sound has been precisely tuned for a more advanced HD sound. The PLENUE M2 includes the Burr-Brown PCM1795 (24bit/192kHz) stereo DAC used in the finest Hi-Fi audio systems as well as superior SNR, THD+N, and crosstalk specifications for a more evolved sound when playing high definition sources. Continuing in the prestige of the PLENUE series of DAPs, the PLENUE M2 delivers the impressions infused in music intact to listeners.

IMPROVEMENTS OVER PR:

-        Burr-Brown’s high-performance DAC PCM1795

-        Improved signal to noise ratio

-        Improved crosstalk levels

Plenue 1 – £740

COWONP1LARGEThe Cowon Plenue P1 features the exceptional Burr-Brown PCM1792A Audio DAC for superb sound quality. Cowon have packed an impressive set of audio specifications into the P1, with a Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR) of 120dB, Total Harmonic Distortion (THD) of 0.0006% and Stereo Crosstalk of -134dB. The sampling rate of a player can fluctuate due to environmental factors such as temperature and humidity. To reduce this effect the P1 is fitted with an adapted TCXO (Temperature Compensated Crystal Oscillator) which has an exceptional phase jitter of just 1.0ps allowing the P1 to perform flawlessly in any situation.

IMPROVEMENTS OVER PM2:

-        Temperature Compensated Crystal Oscillator (TCXO) to improve phase jitter

-        Impoved signal to noise ratio

-        Improved crosstalk levels

Plenue 2 – £1,100

COWONP2-SVBKLARGEThe PLENUE 2 offers an unprecedented level of audio that delivers an unforgettable listening experience. The latest premium DAC AK4497EQ for optimized audio quality, SoundPlus amplifier integrated with newly improved technologies, Dual Control Wheels re-designed for the ultimate user experience, ultra-precise Dual TCXO for accurate and detailed sound reproduction, balanced output for clear, high-quality sound, and upgraded design to match its powerful performance. Sweeping changes using innovative technologies. Experiencing the performance of PLENUE 2 leaves audiophiles and casual listeners alike in awe.

IMPROVEMENTS OVER THE P1:

-        Dual TCXO for even more detailed sound reproduction

-        SoundPlus amplifier

-        Dual Control Wheels for more tactile control over player functions

-        Improved signal to noise ratio

-        Improved total harmonic distortion

-        Improved crosstalk levels

Plenue S – £1299

COWONPS-TITANIUMLARGEThe Cowon Plenue Supremacy offers Cowon’s greatest sound to date. A new world-class flagship player, the Plenue S is one of the best Hi Res Music Players available, featuring the exceptional Burr-Brown PCM1792A Audio DAC for superb sound quality. No-conversion Native DSD 256, high fidelity Burr-Brown PCM1792A DAC, high quality balanced output, high precision dual TCXO clock, and the powerful 3Vrms driving performance for perfect sound reproduction. The PLENUE S delivers indescribably perfect sound fidelity. PLENUE S has taken a giant step towards true sound reproduction. Check out the PLENUE S for the latest in sound reproduction technology. Get a PLENUE S for a totally new audio experience.

IMPROVEMENTS OVER THE P2:

-        Faster Cortex A9 1.2GHz dual core CPU, maximizing speed and performance

-        Pogo Pin socket terminal provides a high resolution balance line out output that can be scaled up with multiple devices using the micro USB terminal.

-        Cowon’s best sounding player to date.

We hope this guide will help clear up the main differences between these six excellent players. Need more advice? Please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Burn In Times: Yes or No?

What is Burn In?

Burning in audio equipment is a practice in which audio equipment is turned on for extended periods of time to get the components involved to achieve optimal performance. The practice is often talked about when audiophiles discuss headphones, speakers and even digital audio players. Some DAPs, such as iBasso products, come with a “burn in cable” to aid the burn in process, and possibly help encourage the practice. However, not everybody in the audiophile community is in full agreement about the merits of burning in new equipment. Some believe the true character of the equipment is not revealed until after the burn in period (which can take several hours, days, even weeks), whereas others find it to be superstitious and an unnecessary strain on the equipment.

The Case For

Indian Audio Brand Tekfusion believes burning in audio equipment to be a key part of the process of buying new equipment. They argue that a fresh pair of earphones are tested for performance and output at the factory, but the speaker diaphragm is still tight and requires loosening over time. Tekfusion state that speaker drivers should be stressed over a period of at least 40 hours.

JLAB Audio also sing the praises of burning in audio equipment, claiming most audiophiles agree that the sound quality of the equipment will be noticeable improved after the burn in period. They even provide a burn in audio file to be used, which features numerous sounds that encapsulate the audible frequency range so no pocket of harmonics is left behind. They use sounds such as white and pink noise, as well as frequency sweeps. You can find it on their website, but it isn’t exactly the most enjoyable (or quiet) listen.

Tyll Herstens over at Inner Fidelity attempted to find evidence of headphone break in by testing a pair of headphones at different times over a 90 hour period of use. The results showed there was in fact a difference in frequency response at each of the times tested. However, he did conclude that there was too many variables to suggest that the burn in period is a sure thing.

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The concept of burning in system components is not restricted to audio equipment. It could therefore be argued that burning in time is advantageous because it will force certain failures to occur under supervised conditions so a better understanding of the system can be established, as well as finding out any faults with your new product.

The Case Against

The lack of evidence and industry standards in headphone testing means that conclusively showing the value of burning in periods is not currently possible.

The smaller size of parts such as balanced armature drivers in earphones means that there is not much room for deviation in the first place. Shure, one of the biggest names in the audio equipment market, tested a pair of their E1 earphones that had been used since their first launch in 1997. They measured the performance against a set fresh off the manufacturing line and found performance to be exactly the same. They believe that unless something is wrong with the equipment, there shouldn’t be an audible difference.

Others believe that though this difference of opinion may seem harmless, it adds an additional layer of confusion to new time buyers and may cause them to waste valuable time they could have spent actually enjoying their new gear.

Additionally, psychology may also play into the perception of a change in sound quality over time. It could be a placebo effect, where you believe you are hearing something else because you have been told you should. Alternatively, it could just be your ears adjusting to the signature sound of the equipment you are using.

So does burning in work?

Unfortunately, there is no consensus on the value burning in audio equipment has, which can be frustrating for consumers looking to do the best by their investments. The best someone with some new equipment could do would be to look at the arguments on both sides of the debate and decide based on what seems right to them. As mentioned on Tested, the win-win situation would simply be to burn your new gear in by listening to the music you love.

Closed and Open Backed Headphones

Despite the wide range of different headphones that are available across the market today, they will all fall under one of two core categories; closed back headphones or open back headphones. But which is best suited to what listening environment?

What are closed back headphones?

Closed back headphones feature ear cups that fully encapsulate your ear and have an insulated shell exterior. This makes closed back headphones much more efficient at blocking out external sounds, making for a much more isolated listening experience. The sounds themselves sound a lot ‘closer’ to the listener because of this enclosed listening space. Closed back headphones are best for those who are using their headphones in loud environments, like on public transport, or for critical listening, such as an audio engineer completing a mix.

What about open back headphones?

As you can probably guess, open back headphones do not feature the same level of isolation offered by closed back headphones. Many open back headphones feature perforations in the physical design to accommodate the easy flow of sound in and out of the headphones. This means that your music will sound much more ‘in the world’ than the close, isolated sound of closed back headphones. Listeners will have a much more increased space and sense of realism whilst using open back headphones, but they do suffer from more bleed than closed back headphones, both for external sounds getting in to your ears, and your music getting out to those around you. Probably not the best choice for the bus!

Do you have some good examples of each type?

At Advanced MP3 Players, we have a wide range of both closed and open back headphones to choose from. Here are a few of our favourites:

Sony MDR-1000X – £369.00

MDR1000XLARGEA powerful pair of Hi Res closed back headphones that work with either a cable or via Bluetooth. The isolated listening space created by these headphones is compounded by the addition of active noise cancelling technology for a truly intimate listening experience.

HiFiMan HE-400i – £359.00

HE400iLARGEWe’ve discussed planar magnetic design methodology before, and these open back headphones take full advantage of this technology to create a lifelike soundstage and spatial imaging. They are also very efficient and are compatible with smartphones and portable audio players.

Audio-Technica MSR7BK – £199.00

ATHMSR7BKLARGEThe MSR7BK’s housing is designed to mirror the full shape of the ear using a layered aluminium/magnesium mix. This means that despite being closed back, they are very lightweight, and have some small vents within these layers to help control air flow and dynamic range.

HiFiMan Edition S – £209.00

HE-EDITIONSLARGENot a brand to stick to traditional headphone design, HiFiMan have created a pair of headphones with a removable logo cap on the ear cup, meaning that these headphones can be either closed or open back headphones. The best of both worlds!

All of these models are available now at Advanced MP3 Players. Be sure to drop us a line if you need any further advice choosing your next audio product!

A Quick Start Guide to Headphone Amps

Many avid music listeners wonder if they need a headphone amp to get the best from their setup. Many more than that wonder what headphone amps even are!

In the simplest terms, a headphone amp sits between your music source and your headphones, and then amplifies that signal. All players have some sort of amp already built in, but many simply cannot be powerful enough to drive some excellent quality headphones whilst being compact enough to fit inside your device.

Factors that affect whether you require a headphone amp or not include the type of headphones you have and their output impedance. The larger your headphones, the more amplification is required. You will find that larger, more high-end headphones are less efficient than others. You’ll be disappointed with the volume of your brand new planar headphones if you aren’t using an amp. However, smaller and more portable options such as in ear monitors will be less likely to require an amp, and noise cancelling earphones shouldn’t need one at all thanks to the built in amp they already have. The same thing applies to output impedance (measured in ohms); the higher the impedance, the more power required. Factors that affect the quality of the headphone amp itself include the amp’s signal to noise ratio (SNR), impedance range, power output, and total harmonic distortion (THD).

To make the buying process a little easier, here are a few of our top headphone amp choices to suit different budgets and requirements.

Portable Headphone Amplifiers

Cayin C6 – £129.00

cayinc6The C6 is designed specifically for Apple products, and even comes with a lightning to micro USB cable, so those with iPhone 7s needn’t worry! The brushed aluminium casing provides elecro-magnetic shielding and is robust enough to ensure the C6 is protected in the face of everyday use.

FiiO A1 – £25.99

FIIOA1LARGEBy far the smallest and most budget friendly amp on this list, the A1 provides a higher power and more hi-fidelity output than smartphones, making it great on the go. It has a removable back clip, four EQ modes, and 13 hours of battery life.

FiiO A5 – £109.00

FIIOA5-BLACKLARGEThe A1’s big brother! The A5 contains a highly efficient, low-resistance power management system that reduces distortion and increases dynamic range. Smart charging means that the battery can be charged in 2.5 hours for 12 hours of useage. There is Hi-Res compatibility and even comes in two different colours.

iBasso D14 Bushmaster – £175.00

IBASSOD14LARGEA model that can work either as a portable amplifier or as a DAC on Android devices, the superior iBasso components means that the Bushmaster will provide you some of the best sound on the go that is currently available.

Desktop Headphone Amplifiers

Questyle CMA400i – £799.99

CMA400iE3LWe’ve already talked about this amazing model on the AMP3 Blog recently, but it is worth talking about this lovingly crafted and extensively tested product that exceeds all expectation again! With many different outputs and switchable voltages as well as balanced support, this model works effectively both as a powerful headphone amp and a brilliant sounding DAC.

Sony TAZH1ES – £1600.00

TAZH1ESCELLARGEA new arena of musical expression – Unleash the full potential of your headphones and experience the emotional impact of every song as the artist intended. Combining the best of digital and analog sound technology, this one’s for the serious listeners.

All of these models are available to order from Advanced MP3 Players, and if you need any further advice, be sure to get in touch!

AMP3 Quick Start Guide to Planar Magnetic Headphones

With the release of the new Audeze LCD-i4 in ear headphones now upon us, this feels like an appropriate time to discuss one of the key selling points of these incredibly detailed earphones; planar magnetic technology.

What is Planar Magnetic Technology?

Sometimes referred to as orthodynamic headphones, planar magnetic headphones differ to the more traditional dynamic headphone. Dynamic headphones generate sound by using a coil of wire (often called a voice coil) attached to a diaphragm, and a suspension is created to allow the coil and diaphragm to move back and forth like a piston, moving enough air to produce sound. However, depending on the quality of the dynamic headphone speaker cone, there will be inconsistencies across the frequency spectrum meaning that though many dynamic headphones have a very nice sound signature, they are not necessarily 100% accurate when they reproduce an audio signal. Dynamic headphones also deteriorate quicker over time.

In contrast, planar magnetic headphones use an incredibly thin, lightweight and resilient film diaphragm (around 1/10th the thickness of a human hair), stretched over a sturdy frame, and placed between magnetic arrays. In these headphones, the coil is unwound and spread across this film diaphragm. As the current flows, the magnetic field is created within the headphone that causes the diaphragm to move.planarblog

What are the benefits?

The film diaphragm in planar magnetic headphones is often lighter than the air it is moving, meaning that they can be driven with an incredible accuracy. The sound they produce feature faster transients, more responsive bass, more detailed highs and a wider dynamic range than other headphones.

As the voice coil is spread over a larger area than in traditional headphones, planar magnetic headphones are also much better at dissipating heat, and can handle a huge amount of power without distorting.

Overall, this type of headphone features higher sensitivity, can play louder with tighter control and reduced colouration, and more controlled directivity. However, their design means they will suffer from more leakage than traditional dynamic headphones.

Who are these headphones best suited for?

Planar magnetic headphones are best suited to those who want to want to have a very analytical, accurate sound that is more immersive overall than what a dynamic headphone could offer. However, those looking to invest in such a pair of headphones or earphones must be aware that they are much larger than traditional headphones, though not necessarily heavier and more fatiguing to wear over a prolonged period of time. It should also be noted that planar magnetic headphones come with a much more premium price tag than most dynamic headphones.

Dynamic headphones are still an excellent alternative, and still dominate the headphone market thanks to the wide range of prices and variety of sound signatures and audio fidelities that different pairs can achieve. Dynamic headphones are much better suited to casual listeners, and those who do not want to spend more on planar magnetic technology will still be able to find a pair of dynamic headphones that still sound fantastic.

Which planar producing brands do you stock?

The two main brands that we at Advanced MP3 Players range which feature planar magnetic technology are Audeze and HiFiMAN. Here are a few of our favourites:

Audeze LCD-i4 In-Ear Planar Headphones featuring Fluxor Magnetic Technology – £2399.00

LCDI4LARGEAudeze’s goal when designing the LCD-i4 was to make the absolute best sounding in-ear experience. They took their award winning LCD-4 design and scaled it down to create an end-game in-ear headphone that is far more portable. Designed to give the user a truly wide and accurate soundstage, superior transient response, bass response flat from 900Hz down to 5Hz, the LCDi4s with a single driver deliver a coherency of sound lacking in multi-driver designs. With an impedance of about 35 ohms, it should be used with a high-quality headphone amplifier.

iSINE 20 In-Ear Planar Headphones Lightning – £599.00

ADZ110IE101001LARGEDesigned for Apple products, the iSINE 20 is one step up from the iSINE 10 featuring an even longer Uniforce voice-coil that covers the ultra-thin diaphragm to a greater extent, enabling better control and responsiveness for better bass, clarity, and improved imaging. Zero distortion sound means you’ll feel closer to the recorded to your music. Add the included Lightning cable with DSP and there’s no other in-ear headphone that even comes close to its performance. To ensure all-day comfort, a pair of Ear Hooks and EarLocks® are provided along with silicon and foam tips.

Audeze Sine – World’s First On-Ear Planar Magnetic Headphone with Standard Audio Cable – £399.00

ADZ200SINE72115LARGEIdeal for those who want to try planar magnetic technology on a budget! These beautifully designed headphones can fold flat for ultimate portability, and have near zero distortion, giving them the premium Audeze sound at a fraction of the price.

HiFiMAN HE-1000 v2 Planar Headphones – £2599.00HE1000SMALLNot content to rest on their laurels, HiFiMan now present the HE-1000 V2 Planar Headphones, their most luxurious headphone yet. With the original HE-1000 headphones as a starting point, Dr. Fang Bian and his team at HiFiMan have redesigned and updated their award-winning flagship to produce something even greater in the HE-1000 v2.

The HE1000 V2 remains a cutting-edge, full-size headphone intended for reference use in the home or studio. At much less than 0.001 mm, its Nanotech planar magnetic driver is so thin it is not visible from the side with the naked eye. New features include an improved headband design that is lighter and stiffer yet will accommodate a wider range of head sizes. The ear cups are also slimmer further reducing weight and increasing comfort.

HiFiMAN HE-400i Open Back Full-Size Planar Magnetic 93 db Sensitivity Headphones – £359.00400i Another great value set of orthodynamic headphones. The HiFiMan HE-400i is a full-size planar magnetic headphone intended for high performance listening in the home or studio. Using single-ended drivers, HE-400i delivers a lifelike soundstage and spatial imaging. Its increased efficiency of 93dB allows it to be driven with a modest size amplifier or can even be used with a portable audio player or smartphone.

These models and many others are now available to order from Advanced MP3 Players. Be sure to check in frequently for new models and great offers as they arrive, and if you need further advice, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Balanced and Unbalanced Headphones: What’s The Difference?

When looking for new headphones, there are so many options and factors to consider than making the right decision seems like an arduous and almost impossible task. One of these decisions that many may find themselves having to make is whether to choose headphones with a balanced cable or an unbalanced one.

So what’s the difference between the two?

The makeup of a cable can have a significant effect on how the overall audio system will sound. Your set up is only as strong as the weakest link in the chain, so finding the best cable for your needs is a crucial factor. An unbalanced cable uses two electrical conductors in their design; one for the audio signal, and one for the ground. This results in a connection that is much more subject to hum and interference. A balanced cable uses three conductors; one for the positive and one for the negative phase of the signal, and one for the ground. This ensures maximum protection against hum and interference. Using a balanced connection will also increase the headroom, stereo image and soundstage of the music you are listening to.

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Does my gear support a balanced connection?

Generally, a balanced connector will be 2.5mm in size rather than the standard 3.5mm connector most frequently used by unbalanced headphones. Players that support balanced headphones will also have a 2.5mm port.

Some headphones come with the option to swap between a 3.5mm unbalanced cable or a 2.5mm balanced one. Some headphones may have removable unbalanced cables, which can then be swapped for a balanced cable bought separately, so long as the connection between the headphone and the cable is compatible.

Do you have any gear you could recommend?

Two brands that are making some excellently designed yet reasonably priced balanced connection compatiable products are FiiO and Pioneer.

For earphones, the new FiiO F5 earphones provide a rich and detailed sound, and if you would rather use them with unbalanced equipment, the cables are interchangable, and the 3.5mm unbalanced cable is Made For iPhone (MFi) certified, and comes with in line controls! Alternatively, the Pioneer SE-CH5BL cover a huge frequency range (up to 45kHz!), resulting in a realistic sound with pin point accuracy. Both of these sets are Hi-Res certified too!

If you love your current interchangable cable earphones and don’t want to swap them, you can still balance them using FiiO’s range of balanced RC cables! They come in three different variations, with each compatible with a different type of earphone connector, depending on what brand your current earphones are.

COMPATIBILITY

A good example of a player with a balanced output would be the new Pioneer XDP-30R. A small but powerful player that provides an immersive sound experience for satisfying the audiophile and casual listener alike.

XDP30RE1L

All of these suggestions and many more balanced connector products are now available at AMP3. If you need any further advice, be sure to give us a call or a message and we’ll be happy to help you find the perfect product to suit your needs!

The Beginner’s Guide to MQA Audio

Streaming music services are now becoming the main way many of us access our music, but since the majority of these services use compressed audio streams, it has never been much of a world for audiophiles. We’ve discussed Hi-Res audio before, but there are not many options out there for those who want Hi-Res music streams. That number seems to be increasing. Qobuz has offered Hi-Res streaming through it’s Android app, and as of this year Tidal are also offering a desktop app that allows Hi-Res streaming. It’s called Tidal Masters, and it achieves this feat by using an audio codec called MQA.

What Is MQA Audio?

MQA, like many other streaming methodologies, uses lossy compression to store music as a small enough file that it can be easily streamed. Where MQA deviates however, is the with the quality of the stream, using a different sampling processes and dithering techniques to bring a Hi-Res stream directly to you. You will no longer require a huge bandwidth to enjoy studio level audio quality!

How do I listen to MQA Audio?

MQA is not a file type, but rather a codec that is packaged within other formats such as WAV, FLAC or ALAC. This means you will need the appropriate hardware or software to decode the codec. Right now, there are not many of these going around, but as MQA moves out of its infancy stage, more manufacturers and developers may follow suit. MQA has a list of their current partners on their site, which include Pioneer, whose excellent XDP-100R player can decode MQA.

Tidal Masters seems to be the best (and only!) place to go for an MQA audio stream. Used in their desktop application only, meaning that the DragonFly by AudioQuest may be a sound investment for those using this service. The DragonFly is a USB DAC that supports MQA following an update, and will really help make those Hi-Res streams come to life.

DRAGONFLYBLACKE2L

Where can I find MQA music?

MQA music files are currently available at online retailers such as Onkyo Music, 2L and (unsurprisingly!) Highresaudio. For streaming, as mentioned above, Tidal is the place to go.

As more companies begin adopting the MQA codec, be sure to keep checking AMP3 for new products that are compatiable over the coming months!

COWOND20MINI

AMP3 Tech Spot: Improved Operating System Support From Cowon

Improved Operating System Support From Cowon

Cowon have patched the firmware for several of their leading MP3 / PMP players to rectify problems encountered with some operating systems.

By updating the firmware to the latest version for the iAudio 10, X7 and X9 there should be no remaining issues with using your Cowon player with MacOS X, Linux and Windows 7 64-bit.

The firmware updates can be downloaded from Cowon’s webpage at:

www.cowonglobal.com

And the latest firmware versions that have been patched are:

Cowon iAudio 10 – v1.08

Cowon X7 – v2.09

Cowon X9 – v2.02

Full instructions are provided with the firmware updates to show how the updates are copied to the player and the steps involved with ensuring the update is successful.

The final step in the update is critical, after updating the firmware on the player you must now reformat the player’s memory.

With the iAudio 10 and X9, connect the player to your computer and format via Windows’ Windows Explorer or Disk Utility in MacOS. With the X7 you can format the internal flash memory by the same method, but you will then also have to format the hard disk drive via the settings on the player. (Settings -> System -> Information -> Format).

Two discontinued Cowon players have also had patched firmware released, namely the C2 and J3. Both of these updates are available on Cowon’s webpage too. (C2 – version 1.17, J3 version 2.29).

matrix

Amp3 Tech Spot: Introducing the Matrix One Bluetooth Speaker

Matrix One from Matrix Audio

Looking for a truly portable speaker with a wealth of functionality? Then the new Matrix One speaker from Matrix Audio should fit the bill perfectly.

New to the scene, the Matrix One offers a staggering 3.5 Watt output through its 45mm driver and expandable bass cavity, that’s nearly double the power of competitor’s products! Powered by an internal lithium battery it’ll give up to 12 hours of playback on a single charge.

Using the line in cable you’ll be able to connect the Matrix One to any device which has a standard 3.5mm headphone jack, so that’s your music players, iPods, hand held consoles covered.

The Matrix One can also operate via Bluetooth so for the majority of phones and tablets out there with Bluetooth functionality you can pair them with the Matrix One for your music. Controls on the Matrix One allow you to pause playback and skip tracks when it’s operating via Bluetooth, as well as adjusting volume.

Not only that, you can also use the Matrix One for answering your phone calls too when paired with Bluetooth thanks to its inbuilt microphone.

Main features:

- Xcavated Bass Amplifier (XBA)

- Powerful 45mm driver

- 3.5 Watt output

- 10 metre Bluetooth range

- Built in rechargeable battery giving up to 12 hours playback

 

COWONZ216GBMINI

Amp3 Tech Spot: Removing sound limit on Cowon Z2

Removing the volume limitation on the Cowon Z2

As with most players supplied within the EU from major manufacturers such as Cowon, Sony etc there will be a volume limitation applied to comply with EU regulations, however depending on your earphones or external speaker the output may be too quiet.

With the latest firmware for the Z2, Cowon have given the user the facility to change the settings to remove the volume limitation if required.

First, ensure you have the latest firmware installed on your Z2 – version 4.35. If not, you can download the firmware from Cowon’s website at:

www.cowonglobal.com

You’ll also find instructions on how to install it onto the Z2.

Once installed, there will now be a region setting which you can change.

In the ‘Settings’ app select the ‘Privacy’ option. Scroll down the screen and the bottom option will be ‘Select Region’.

This can be set to one of three options:

European Union

North America

Global

If European Union is selected the output volume from the Z2 will be limited, so select either North America or Global to disable the limitation.