Tag Archives: Plenue 1

Cowon Plenue 1 - £740

AMP3′s High Resolution Player Buyer’s Guide

If you’re going to listen to your favourite tunes, they may as well sound the best they can and that’s where High Resolution audio comes in. With demand for High Resolution music growing by the day, we’ve put together a list of the best sounding players, designed to give you the best from your favourite artists.

 

Cowon Plenue 1 High Resolution Player

 First up in our list is Cowon’s Flagship player, the Cowon Pleune 1.

The Plenue 1 features a beautiful new UI

Cowon Plenue 1 – £740

Cowon’s greatest player to date, the Plenue 1 is Cowon’s first big step toward the top end of the market. All support for ‘unnecessary extras’ such as video playback has been stripped away, allowing the P1 to focus on producing the best sound it possibly can, making your favourite tracks a joy to listen to.

 

With 128GB of internal memory and the option to expand up to 256GB, support for FLAC, WAV, DXD and DSD up to 192kHz/24-bit resolution and a streamlined UI, Cowon have created one of the best sounding players on the market at the moment.

 

What makes the Cowon Plenue 1 great?

128GB of internal memory with the option to expand

Support for high resolution file types

Intuitive user interface

 

What’s not so great?

Battery playback time of ~ 10hrs

No earphones included with player

 

See the Cowon Plenue 1 here:

Cowon Plenue 1 High Resolution Music Player

 

iBasso DX90 High Performance Digital Audio Player

iBasso DX90 - £295

iBasso DX90 – £295

Identical in almost every way, the DX90 may be easily confused for its little brother the DX50. The same simple UI, 8GB internal memory with support up to 2TB promised, and supporting all the usual audio files the DX90 may not seem so exciting at first glance.

 

The main difference between the two players is the DX90’s Dual ES9018K2M DAC design. Incorporating a single DAC per channel (one left, one right) the DX90 manages to minimise interference between channels, providing you with an excellent sound quality hard to find at this price.

 

What makes the DX90 great?

Same great file support and UI as the DX50

8GB internal memory expandable up to 2TB with future firmware updates

Dual DAC design provides superior sound

 

What’s not so good?

Only 8GB of internal storage, though this is expandable

Screen may be difficult to see in direct sunlight

 

See the iBasso DX90 here:

iBasso DX90 High Performance Digital Audio Player

 

Sony NWZ-A15 High Resolution Walkman

Sony NWZ-A15 £159

Sony NWZ-A15 – £159

The A10 series is the new range produced by industry experts Sony in their new drive towards high resolution music. The A15 has proven very popular already, and it’s no surprise.

 

The A15 is the world’s smallest and lightest Hi-res audio player, making it great for listening on the go and features both Bluetooth and NFC support. The 16GB player also features a Micro SD card slot with support for up to 128GB.

 

What makes the A15 great?

Very portable and easy to use

Expandable memory with 16GB built-in

50 hour battery life

 

What’s not so good?

Proprietary port for charging/syncing

 

See the Sony NWZ-A15 here:

Sony NWZ-A15 High Resolution Walkman

 

Astell & Kern AK240 High Fidelity Sound System

Astell & Kern AK240 - £2199.99

Astell & Kern AK240 – £2199.99

The Astell & Kern AK240 is unquestionably the best player on the market at the moment. Designed and built by a division of iRiver, the AK240 will bring you closer to your favourite artist than you probably thought possible.

 

The Grand-daddy of portable audio players, the AK240 features a sleek UI and a space-age body. Inside, the AK240 has 256GB of memory and supports expansion via Micro SD card up to a massive 384GB. A Dual DAC design, balanced output, DSD support, MQS streaming and USB DAC functionality mean the Astell & Kern AK240 is truly the best sounding piece of kit in the portable audio market at the moment.

 

What makes the AK240 great?

Huge 384GB memory (with 128GB Micro SD card)

Great file support, including high resolution formats

MQS streaming

The best sound quality of any potable audio player on the market

 

What’s not so great?

The odd shape may not suite everyone’s taste

The price

 

See the AK240 here:

Astell & Kern AK240 256GB Portable High Fidelity Sound System

 

FiiO X3 All New 2nd Gen High Resolution Digital Audio Player

FiiO X3 2nd Gen - £159

FiiO X3 2nd Gen – £159

Lastly, but certainly not least is FiiO’s X3 High Resolution player. Despite being at the lower end of the market, the X3 2nd Gen can still hold its own against more expensive players. With support for all the usual file formats (including DSD and ALAC), the X3 2nd Gen offers immersive sound quality that belies its low-end price.

 

The X3 2nd Gen will do double duty as a digital audio player and USB DAC when connected to your computer, satisfying your music needs at home and on the go. With a Micro SD card slot supporting cards up to 128GB you can literally bring your entire music library with you.

 

What makes the FiiO X3 2nd Gen Digital Audio Player great?

Excellent sound quality for the price point

Doubles up as a USB DAC

Support for in-line remote

 

What’s not so great?

No internal memory

Scroll wheel and UI can be fiddly

 

See the FiiO X3 All New 2nd Gen High Resolution Digital Audio Player here:

FiiO X3 All New 2nd Gen High Resolution Digital Audio Player

The brand new Plenue 1 - £740.00

The Cowon Plenue 1

The brand new Plenue 1 - £740.00

The brand new Plenue 1 – £740.00

 

Cowon’s brand new hi-res player the Plenue 1 has finally arrived, and it sure looks good. Cowon have used the experience of many years (and many players) to truly build something special.

It’s easy to see that Cowon have really upped their game with the Plenue 1. Out of the box the player itself is stunningly designed and yet simple, and once turned on the design of the UI immediately appeals to the eyes. Even if you’re not a huge fan of the default skin, there are several others to choose from so everyone’s kept happy.

Building strongly on the success of such players as the excellent X9 and Z2 the Plenue 1 is aimed squarely at the growing number of audiophiles out there who are demanding better quality sound. With a Burr-Brown DAC on board and featuring DSD support, the Plenue 1 is not messing around. Mind your back Astell & Kern, there’s a new kid on the block.

Comparisons with the recently launched Astell & Kern AK100 ii and AK120 ii are perhaps justified – apart from being pricey and featuring DSD support, the P1 even looks a bit like the A&K range. Heck, it even comes with a free genuine Italian leather case – sound familiar? All this being said, it may not be a bad thing that Cowon seem to be emulating A&K as it means that they have a pretty high target to aim for.

 

The Plenue 1 features a beautiful new UI

The Plenue 1 features a beautiful new UI

 

Impressively, the P1 ships with 128GB of internal storage on board. Perhaps not the most exciting feature of the P1, but it is incredibly important. As I’m sure most people will be aware high quality audio takes up a lot of space than your average mp3 files, so if you have encoded all your songs to FLAC then this on board storage is going to be quite important. And this is upgradable too as Cowon have fitted the P1 with a Micro SD card slot on the bottom so you can expand the total memory up to 256GB. Both the AK120 ii and the AK100 ii feature on board memory (128GB and 64GB respectively) and memory expansion via a Micro SD card slot (up to 128GB on both), but it is impressive that Cowon have managed to cram in 128GB and still keep the price down. Ahem.

The build quality and design are definitely worth mentioning as the P1 is certainly a very nice looking piece of kit. The outer part of the player is made from a single block of Aluminium which lends the player a nice heft, but also gives the impression that your brand shiny new P1 can take a bit of rough handling. Despite being a touch-screen device, the P1 features the usual play/pause, skip track and volume control buttons. Also a nice touch, the on/off ‘Digi-Logue’ switch located on the top right of the player is fitted with an LED light which glows a lovely blue colour when connected for charging and the button itself is oddly satisfying to depress when powering on or off; not all that important, but nice nonetheless.

 

Cowon P1

Perhaps the best element of the design of the P1 is the new UI. For those of you already familiar with Cowon products, the UI in the new P1 will be a big change and will probably be considered a step in the right direction by many. From the first use, users will notice that the screen is much more responsive than Cowon’s previous efforts, bringing it much closer to a user experience that will be familiar to any smart phone user. The GUI itself looks great on the 3.7” AMOLED display and is very easy to navigate. Don’t like the look of the interface? With the inclusion of 5 skin options, Cowon have it covered. Also new are the 2-channel Level Meters which bounce up and down in relation to whichever song is being played at the time.

Cowon weren’t being shy when they claimed that the P1 gave the ‘World’s Best Hi-Fi Audio Performance’. Sonically, the P1 is definitely impressive, and is certainly a great sounding player – just what we’ve come to expect from Cowon products. The heart of the P1’s power comes from the Burr-Brown PCM1792A DAC chip inside each one, enabling support for DSD and 24bit/192kHz PCM as well as all the usual suspects in terms of file formats.

 

The Plenue 1

 

There may be a few less pricey options that offer more tricks, such as the Sony NWZ-ZX1 which runs on an Android system and offers Bluetooth and Internet connectivity, but the P1 was designed to put sweet sounding music in your ears which it does with ease. The higher end of the market seem to be going back to basics and focusing on getting the music to sound as good as it possibly can.

The Cowon Plenue 1 really feels like a serious contender in the higher end of the portable DAP market, especially when you consider the price of the top-end Astell and Kern AK240 and AK120 ii. The P1 even has advantages over the AK100 ii – it’s cheaper for a start and it comes with twice as much on-board memory and boasts a slightly bigger screen. It may not be as funky looking as the space age Astell & Kern range with their signature sticky-out volume knob, but certainly is a great looking device. The Plenue 1 is looking like it could be a bit of a dark horse, and it’s certainly something consumers should consider when looking at the higher end of the portable DAP market.
The Cowon Plenue 1 is available from Advanced MP3 Players now, and if you are a music lover we are sure that the Plenue 1 will take you to audio bliss.