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This is not a smartphone replacement. A smartphone can stream music and take photographs but a dedicated device like the P2 will do a far better job with music reproduction. With the right headphone match, magic happens. The P2 provides a fantastic listening experience for me.
My hotel headphones are Fostex TH-909. Travel headphones are JH Audio Layla. My home headphones are MrSpeakers Etherflow C. The P2 is my first playback device that does not need any EQ for any of my headphones. iBasso, FiiO, and other devices have never been so fortunate.
My P2 is loaded with Classical, Jazz, and Rock at various bit-rates. The mp3 music sounds very good and better than many other DAPs playing the same song from a 24bit file. 24bit music with the P2 is another level beyond most players.
I will refrain from indulging too much in audiophile bingo with adjectives to convey what I hear. From Beethoven to Count Basie to the Beatles, I hear more detail in every note. The P2 conveys a larger sound stage and more layers of sound. Especially with Jazz and Classical, the instruments are better localized. I can count the musicians and know where they are sitting.
Volume is ample. In a quiet environment, I set the volume from 10 to 30. I bump it to 50 and 60 when I want to drown out external sounds. The volume will go to 140 which should drive a variety of headphones. Unlike other players I have owned or auditioned, the Cowon P2 sounds great at any volume. I don't need to turn it up loud to hear the detail of the music.
To my ears, the P2 gives about 95% of the music detail compared to the A&K SP2000 and about 90% of the A&K Kann Cube (the Kann Cube reveals more music than the Chord Mojo but the Kann Cube is too unwieldy for carrying in my pocket).
In addition to great "normal" sound, JetEffect 7 makes all the difference in bringing old Jazz or Classical recordings to life. BBE separates the instruments so they have more definition and proper placement in the soundstage. It can also clean-up the bass so it isn't muddy or lost in the mix. JetEffect 7 breathes new life into old recordings. It can really make small label pop music shine. This is a great justification to me of Cowon products rather than others.
JetEffect 7 can also help when there are competing environmental sounds. As I write this, I'm on an airplane and I'm listening to "Coherence Quartet" (acoustic jazz) and really enjoying it with the "BBE Headphone 2" setting. I don't hear the jet engines; I hear the music.
The P2 has a conventional 3.5mm plus a 2.5mm balanced jack. I get more volume and hear more detail with the 2.5mm balanced jack and have settled on balanced cables for all of my headphones. For testing, I used my old cables with the 3.5mm single-ended jack and was reminded of why I switched to balanced cables a few years ago. The industry is trending toward 4.4mm balanced jacks but time will tell if 4.4mm becomes a lasting standard. I'm not aware of a Cowon Plenue (except the R) with Bluetooth or other wireless support.
Amazon sometimes aggregates reviews of similar products. The Plenue P2 is not a PM which is not a P. The D does not have a balanced output but the D2 does.
In general, P2, S, and L all provide an outstanding listening experience. All have a similar interface, battery life, and balanced outputs. I bought the P2 for the AK4497EQ DAC. The S uses the Burr-Brown PCM1792A DAC. The L uses Sabre's ES9038PRO chipset and might appeal to someone who wants an extra punch or rapid attack to their sound. What is most important is the implementation of the chipset and Cowon excels with the P2, S, and L implementations.
The P2 has been on the market for a few years. The micro USB brings the P2 to a full charge in a few hours Transfering files is simple for a few albums but can require some patience when filling an empty 256gb SD Card. 256gb SD is the published max capacity card and my 256gb Sandisk card works perfectly with the P2. The battery suits my lifestyle and provides no-loss and 24bit listening for me all day long. I charge the P2 at the end of each day.
There are some new and compelling wireless offerings by iBasso, FiiO, and HiBy that are similarly priced but these do not sound as good to me. The Cayin N6ii sounds very good but costs about twice as much as the P2. I've read of users having quality issues with the N6ii so I will not own that wireless marvel anytime soon. (I just ordered the Fostex TM2 to pair my old Shure IEMs with my phone. The promise of a great DAP with wireless support is tantalizing to me).
The P2 without JetEffect 7 is one of the best DAPs in a very crowded field. Adding the JetEffects7 can make the difference between a disappointing sound experience and a very enjoyable one. Every album and all my headphones sound great with the P2 so I believe the P2 will stay with me for a very long time.
I've been wanting to write a review for the P2 for a long time, but I've been struggling with finding the right words to describe it. All I can say is that I am totally blown away - the sound is not only great but it also brings out so much details that I didn't even know existed before. With the balanced output, even a pair of entry-level audiophile headphones would be enough to give you eargasms. I am also impressed by Cowon's ability to constantly improve and make something already great even better, which is evident from the comparison between P2 and P1, as well as D2 and D1. If there will be a P3 coming out next year, I would consider getting it as well :)
My only complaint is not related to the product itself but to the price drop. Within 30 days of purchasing the P2 its price dropped by $200, and neither Amazon nor Cowon is willing to provide a refund for the price difference. Cowon did offer me a 10% coupon for my next purchase, but it still doesn't offset the price difference (plus the import fee I paid as a Canadian customer).
This was my first DAP. I am older and still have good hearing. The issue is that there is no way to evaluate this type of product without using it, since the main function is sound quality. I have 1 IEM and 1 over the ear headphone. I liked/loved the sound quality but soon discovered that the 2 dials were wobbly when turning. The overall build quality is fantastic but the only two mechanical touch points were inferior, I can't say that every unit would have this flaw but the one I received did.
Well it's been a week and no refund. This was fulfilled by Amazon and was returned to Amazon using their processes and UPS. My receipt from the UPS store shows the item was shipped back on October 30th, however the Amazon tracking has shown the same status since the day I shipped it. "On its way back". I live in So-Cal and the item was returned to a Las Vegas address as printed. SO, AMAZON , SINCE THERE IS NO OTHER WAY TO CONTACT YOU FOR AN UPDATE AND SEVEN DAYS HAVE PASSED, YOU GET A ONE STAR RATING ON A 4 STAR PRODUCT. IF YOU SHOULD DECIDE TO READ THIS PLEASE SUBMIT MY REFUND. If not, then I am sure an attorney would love to hear from me. It's now day 8 and no refund and no update from Amazon. BUYER BEWARE
Unique, indeed, as it has those 2 knobs. Some reviewers complain about redundancy. Wow! You can't satisfy everyone. You don't have to use it if you think it is unnecessary. I LOVE it and use the second wheel for the double volume. With no Line-out, that really helps. Wish Cowon would add Line-out and Bluetooth for emergencies. I use the 12 South dongle to stream to Audioengine BT1. What an excellent combination! The JetEffect is unparalleled among DAPs. The only other DAP that beats this one is the much more expensive Sony Signature Series NW-WM1A that I use for pure and unadulterated music. A purist's dream. Back to Cowon. For the price and features, the Cowon still stays in my collection. The design is a classic! Wish they had the jacks on the top. Terrible to use in pocket when jacks are at the bottom and wheels are at the top. Some redesign would be useful. The battery life is a bit underwhelming but is comparable to similar DAPs. Overall, for the price, this one takes the cake. Almost 2 years and still going strong. Exciting as it was the first day of use! That is something you can't say about every DAP.
I've been in the market for a DAP for quite sometime now. I've thought about an Android based device so I can stream a few services and save some phone battery, but none of the streaming service I subscribed to do high res. And my Android pixel 2 does aptxHD and LDAC via Bluetooth, so with a Bluetooth 5.0 adapter, I get about the best from online sources with the headphones I have. So my new criteria was a digital audio player that can play .wav files from my ripped CD collection, as well as my digitised LPs. I chose .wav over flac or high bit MP3 because I get that same feeling I had when I first played the CD in the CD player that I don't get from flac or mp3 files. Sonically I can't put my finger on it but it seems to be consistently there. And high capacity memory is so inexpensive now that I'm okay with the file size. Now I use a BBE Sonic maximizer at home in line in my system. My audiophile friends sneer at it but I see them tapping their toes now and then. I like what it does to the vocals in most tracks so I seem to prefer and use it fairly often. so seeing that this player has BBE built in immediately caught my attention. The only other alternative was a player with two stump boxes hooked to it and a pocket full of 9 volts Now that doesn't sound very appealing does it? So here take my money! This thing not only meets but far exceeds all my expectations about it. My expectations for the BBE circuit were relatively low coming from the fact that BBE had tried an Android app that's no longer available. not only does this thing sound great as a digital audio player by itself, but has tons of sound customizing settings built in. This thing is perfect for my Grado PS509e professional headphones. 10 band Eq settings BBE+ that adjusts the amount of processing and Mach 3 bass which is similar to the lo setting on home units and a 3D surround setting which I find very interesting as using very little of it seems to bring a little bit more space to a otherwise closed sounding environment that headphones normally give you, this works great with the open back Grados as well as the i-sane iem's Trolling around the settings menu opens up a lot of extras such as taking for presets up to 12 for user. Just for the build quality and the dac chip "what's that" alone it's worth it. This thing is a tank. Built from what seems to be a solid block of stainless with giant reinforced headphone jacks both balance to unbalanced. Can't even program the second wheel to be a times two volume knob for quick volume increases.
The device is a master peace of design, the sound is so clear that I will never comeback to regular MP3 players.
Just one small detail: The play/pause, next/preview buttons are in the left side and they are sensitive, so is easy to change songs or pause songs an the fly, I thing this might be for the leather case. Anyway, can be me!
It’s sounds expensive, but is not if you like music and compare the price with a last gen iPhone. Is nothing.
And you will be happy with this little powerful guy!
I've always liked Cowon DAP's, the sound quality of this one is fantastic, I have added a 400GB card (works best formatted as FAT32). I use a Plenue 1 as well and it took some adjusting when using the 2, the buttons are on the other side and easier to touch than on the 1, but small adjustment to make for such an incredible sound. Got a Dignis case to keep it safe, but the one that comes with it is just as good just think the Dignis looks better (appearance doesn't equal sound quality and this is all about the sound).
Sound quality was always mediocre. Lately it it seemed challenging to charge and held less and less charge in the battery. I bought new charger, new micro USB cables. It was not the tools. The battery no longer holds a charge. For a while it charged ...if I held it at an angle. Now that does not even work.
Good user interface and battery life. Clear sound but narrow soundstage and layering. Music felt claustrophobic, like I was in a box. I wanted to like it but I couldn't live with the sound so I returned it.