Aluminum Hi-Fi bar: COWON PLENUE J

Korean company COWON is a vivid example of how from software was a manufacturer of music players. In 24 years on the market, the company name has become familiar to many, and some even remember for COWON Jet-Audio, a popular utility for processing and playback. And contrary to popular belief, the manufacturer is able to offer not only the players of the premium segment, but more budget models. Today our guest is a representative of the latest — COWON PLENUE J.

A little historical background. My first COWON audio player released in 2000, became the iAUDIO CW100 (Yes, the prefix “i” fell in love with not only Apple). The novelty quickly became popular among music lovers because it offered good quality sound at a very small weight (40 g), which even by today’s standards, impressive.

When Apple released the iPod, COWON, and many other manufacturers of music players, decided not to butt heads with such a big player and pay attention towards the premium segment. But unlike others, the company left the line of budget devices. In the premium line of audio players was the first PLENUE 1, and then saw the light PLENUE M, D PLENUE, the PLENUE’S…and our guest today, PLENUE J.

Features

  • DAC: 24-bit stereo DAC
  • Display: Touch LCD 2.8 inch (240 x 320)
  • Built-in memory: 64 GB
  • Additional memory: microSD Card up to 128 GB
  • SNR: 123 dB
  • Battery: 1050 mAh
  • Formats supported: FLAC / WAV / AIFF / ALAC / APE / MP3 / WMA / OGG
  • Audio codecs:
    FLAC, WAV, AIFF, ALAC: ~24bit/192kHz; -32bit WAV, WAV Tag Supporting
    MP3 : MPEG 1/2/2.5 Layer 3, ~320 kbps
    WMA : ~320 kbps, ~48 kHz
    APE: ~16bit/48kHz
    OGG: ~Q10, ~44.1 GCC
  • THD+N: 0.003% (24bit 48kHz)
  • Stereo crosstalk: -105дБ
  • Output signal: 1 Vrms
  • Output impedance: 0.5 Ohm
  • Play time: ~ 53 hours (MP3, 128 kbps) / 27часов (24bit, 96kHz, FLAC)
  • Output: 3.5 mm
  • Dimensions: 53.2 x 102.0 x 19.2 mm
  • Weight: 78 g

Equipment

The price of the player delivers the package — in addition to the player, in the box you can only find the charging micro-USB cable. Yeah, no tapes, covers or adapters is not here, but if you want dark blue branded leather case can be purchased separately. However, PLENUE J looks too stylish to hide it for accessories.

Appearance

The design of the audio player is made in the style PLENUE D or S PLENUE — aluminum ingot with a wide angle touch screen with a diagonal of 2.8 inches in almost the entire front panel. On the top there is a kind of “footprint” from the audio Jack is 3.5 mm. the screen size is small, but its enough for comfortable use. The role played by lightning-fast responsiveness and excellent screen readability in the sun.

On the top placed button switch with audio and other controls located on the right: volume rocker, which can be used to accurately control the volume (100 discrete positions), the button is play/pause and two buttons for scrolling and switching tracks. If the physical buttons to push don’t want to, you can always use the touch screen.

There was also a place for a micro-USB port and slot for memory cards microSD up to 128 GB. 64 GB of internal memory is hardly enough, if you listen to the tracks in lossless, so additional storage will not interfere.

The back panel is made in black color, and to ensure that the player does not slip out of hands, it is a relief. Black color not collect fingerprints, as if the panel was made of smooth aluminum or glass, and this decision looks original.

Interface

Interface COWON PLENUE J was pleasantly surprised in the first place the easy implementation of a menu. You can click the right button and get access to all sections: there are built-in file Manager, equalizer, and settings. The manufacturer adheres to the classical views and not experimenting with Android and its associated shells.

On the playback screen are buttons to control the track, album art and the top bar that displays the time, volume, and battery settings.

To adjust the sound the manufacturer also prepared the necessary tools. There are 44 built-in presets, 4 can be used for user settings. However, the latter are hardly necessary with so many built-in. Plus there are 9 levels of reverb, but really appreciate this feature professional musicians.

The battery life of the player was increased to 53 hours with continuous MP3 playback, while the thickness and weight of the device was lower, which in itself is a rarity.

Sound

In PLENUE J is used 24-bit DAC. There is support for 24-bit/192kHz sources, as well as a wide range of codecs, from simple WAV and MP3 to FLAC. Technology JetEffect 5 and BBE+ sound correct for the distortion caused by the listening environment or limitations of the receiver, and reproduce as close as possible to the Studio recordings sound.

We tested this player with no less interesting headphones — Audio Campfire Andromeda, and was pleasantly surprised by the voluminous and detailed sound. Perhaps discerning audiophiles not enough “naturalness”, but this problem can be solved by selecting the right headphones. For example, if you want good soundproofing, you should pay attention to models from Etymotic.

Genre PLENUE J versatile — you can listen to like hip hop with deep bass and complex composition like vocal jazz. Rock, classical and electronic music also “come” perfectly.

Some tracks for example.

David Bowie — Space Oddity. With vocals from J PLENUE is all right, and one of the best albums Bowie reveals it even better. The contractor owns a gorgeous voice, and this player is great.

Lindsey Stirling — Crystalize. One of the most interesting works of a rising violinist by which you can feel detailed sound. Only one violin, and sounds like a Symphony orchestra, and if in the same room with you.

The Weeknd — Starboy. A modern track with moderate bass and decent vocals, despite the fact that the artist loves to play around with auto-tune. Our “couple” opened it from a completely different side.

Insights

COWON PLENUE J — the Golden mean for many music lovers. It offers the best ratio of battery life, size and weight. This player without hesitation and running to take to the office, the pocket is not weighing. Pleasantly surprised and the price of 18-19 thousand rubles — for the quality from COWON it’s actually not such a big sum. In addition, the player will hit every invested ruble.

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