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Cowon, REO and the art of walking through Lynx

Wharfedale Evo 4.2

srramanujam

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My initial take on RE0, alongwith the relief of getting a new Cowon to replace my lost piece.

To my horror, two days after I loaded my Cowon with a 32GB card, it was flicked from office, alongwith Ultimate Ears phone. Sunk cost was upwards of 23K. Luckily the music was also intact at source, half in my laptop and the rest at home.

I couldnt settle on any other model as a replacement, certainly not the IPODs. The day I saw Cowon at throwaway price in Croma, I signed on the charge slip. Cowon (shining black 16GB) was in my hands the next day, an add on 32GB card within the next two days. What was left was the ear phones and it took me a while. Till then I had to make do with the stock headphones, which incidentally are not too bad.

The search
God bless gentlemen like Mr Asit. I could recollect his meticulous search for an in ear phone for his sons I-Pod and that was the first thread I hit. Klipsch and RE2 were added to my shortlist based on the thread. I was still locked on the Ultimate Ears, which I had bought before they were taken over by Logitech and became more popular. They sounded excellent but the buds were a bit too large for my ears. Rather than be in ear phone, they would pop out frequently and were more out of ear phones.

Head-fi, hifivision and techenclave convinced me to look at RE2 or RE0. RE0 is praised to heaven in many places and the lure was good enough for me. The added attraction was that I could order it from Chandigarh, and that set off some experience.

The ordering
If you are the conventional browser-buyer, sites like lynx-india make you believe in the brick and mortar world. The what to buy guide in the site is like the instruction manual for a family pack of RDX. Any wrong step in the process, the site warns, the world, your computer and your by now sunk money will explode; and dont call us or e mail us, we are too busy servicing customers!. It took me some courage to place the order on 10th February, knowing that Lynx doesnt care if there is any damage to the shipment. The status said awaiting payment. After making the payment, I am supposed to join their forum (buy one get one free, the free membership to their forum), start a thread and post my payment details. Only that you need to register again in their forum, with all details including underwear size. I gave up and pursued the other option in their site - online help. The girl (atleast the person had a feminine name, how does it matter in cyberspace) joined the chat and promptly said, I dont know sir, amarbhir processes all the order himself. I said all the best, do tell him that a customer wanted to say hi. Late that night the site acknowledged my payment and said the item is under dispatch. So it stayed for the next four days. When I was about to make that call the site advises against, a small packet landed on my desk.

The package
Chinese dont believe in the many Ps of marketing. The only thing that matters in their business is price. Even the product is only an unwanted but necessary distraction in the business. Given a choice they would sell you just the price tag. The package (for the not so cheap 4000 that I paid), was more like what the cat would bring home (I wish I had a cat that brings home an expensive ear phone). The earphone is packed very generously in a cardboard box, and looks like a bunch of rotis rolled in the days newspaper. Sharp contrast to Ultimate Ears, which had a package as large as a mixie, had a 32 page instruction manual (for an earphone!) and had statutory warnings cautioning you castration if you were to insert the bud in the wrong ear. I guess the extra 100$ that Ultimate Ears charged went to the lawyers and the dispatch clerk. Still, I wished that Chinese had a bit more aesthetics. Shorn off the packaging!, the phone was in a small plastic box sealed(!) with a cello tape. All this made me wonder if it was some recycled stuff, helping China comply with what they promised in Copenhagen. All in all, not the best way to receive your moneys worth. I seriously suggest that you ship your orders directly to your book store and ask them to deliver it to you gift wrapped.

The earphone itself
Is quite unattractive, and may just beat the ear wax in a beauty contest. It comes with a quite a few filters, some white flanges and some black ones. Without an instruction manual (which may have actually been in Chinese and may have been a copy paste of a tampon), I could only do the trial and error and succeed, I managed to settle on the right buds that fit my ear. If ever my wife came to know of this purchase (she still doesnt know that I lost the Cowon, and certainly not the price of the earphones that I lost), I would be hard pressed to justify that something so unattractive could create palpitations. Such is life.

The experience
The first song I played was Doreswamy Iyengar. I had to crank the volume upto 26/50, while Ultimate Ears would boom at 14/50. Thats the health warning that REO comes with. Didnt sound too impressive, certainly not better than the Ultimate Ears. I switched to Lobo and ditto for the effect. The revelation came when I heard L Subramaniam and Yehudi Menuhin (Journey 2).The violins were so clear and deep. It struck me suddenly that this sound is magical and far far better than what Ultimate Ears could produce. I heard Neil Diamond and could swear (easy to swear when you have your ear phones on) that I heard new instruments. Maybe my ears are playing tricks. But the voice of Neil Diamond is certainly more throaty with REO. The need to crank up the volume doesnt hurt much since Cowon itself puts out a lot of power. I anyway listen to music that mends rather than hurts ears, so I guess that part is going to be okay. Its only been some four or five hours and I dont want to believe in break in effect. It sounds fine even now. Whether break in is a reality or placebo, I hope it sounds better as the hours go by.

So, after three weeks of anguish at the loss, I am back with Cowon D2+, another 32 GB card and hopefully better earphones. I have also walked the minefield of Lynx successfully and this new tougher meaner self can now confidently negotiate with the Patels in Lamington Road.
 

srinisundar

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Nice One I enjoyed :lol:, mixing tales of horror / thriller / atlast musical. Journey to enjoy Music will be like this:lol:
 

iaudio

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Srr, Lovely post. I really dig your writing style. I am happy that you liked the RE0. In the beginning with all the negative stuff I thought I should go and delete my post in your thread where I recommended the RE0 and Klipsch s4 to you!
Thank God, all turned out well.
Btw, I am supposed to recieve my Sansa clip Plus next week, will keep ya posted.
 

esanthosh

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RE0 does require higher volumes, crazy levels compared to other IEMs. I'm always worried whether I'm losing my hearing or mind or both cranking up volumes like that. Glad it's not the case ;)

Give it 40-50 hours and you might like it even more. Only Phonak PFE for a bit more has RE0 beat for my ears.
 

iaudio

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Do you have the Phonak PFE? Where and how did you purchase it?

OT Santosh, Aint you getting Sansa clip Plus too?
 

esanthosh

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Do you have the Phonak PFE? Where and how did you purchase it?

OT Santosh, Aint you getting Sansa clip Plus too?

Phonak PFE: I ordered it online at Null Audio, Singapore and have my friend pick them up. But, it's a slight disappointment - I got the V0 which has "cracking" issues and not the new ones. Kevin Wang of Null Audio answered my query of whether he's selling V0 or V1 after one week and of course, in the middle I had to buy because my friend was returning that week :(

But, I had to wait for one month to get them in my hands as my friend dropped it off another friend's residence at Chennai and he brought them after a month postponing his trip forever. He did not trust couriers :)

It cost me USD 99. I've already contacted Phonak and they've assured that they will send V1 as replacements should any problems occur within the warranty period of 2 years.

Sansa Clip+: I already have the 8GB ones for sometime now. Brought them for more portability over S9. I did not want to risk losing S9 carrying them around for trips :)

If you are referring to GO on TE for Clip+ 4GB, they are for my friend at Chennai :)
 

iaudio

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Exactly! I was referring to the GO. I am also in it. Hope to get the Clip to replace my D2.

Null Audio doesnt ship to India I guess.
Have you heard the Nuforce Iems? Seems we have a dealer here in India.
 

esanthosh

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Null Audio doesnt ship to India I guess
Null Audio does ship to India. But, I was saving the shipping costs by having my friend pick-up (as he worked near the area). BTW, Kevin Wang is still a student as my friend picked it up from his "hostel room" :)

Have you heard the Nuforce Iems? Seems we have a dealer here in India
This Indian dealer :mad::mad::mad: right after I order my uDACs from US and pay a higher cost :sad:

Nopes! I have not heard the NuForce IEMs. NE6 seems to be the only IEM worth buying. NE8 does not get that much attention or affection.

On Clip+ Vs D2, I'd love to read your impressions once you get them. Clip+ EQ sucks, btw. I like both S9 EQ-ed and Clip+ w/o EQ, but my ears are rusty iron and not golden ;)

Oops! hope I am forgiven for straying off the topic too far :)
 

iaudio

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Null Audio does ship to India. But, I was saving the shipping costs by having my friend pick-up (as he worked near the area). BTW, Kevin Wang is still a student as my friend picked it up from his "hostel room" :)


This Indian dealer :mad::mad::mad: right after I order my uDACs from US and pay a higher cost :sad:

Nopes! I have not heard the NuForce IEMs. NE6 seems to be the only IEM worth buying. NE8 does not get that much attention or affection.

On Clip+ Vs D2, I'd love to read your impressions once you get them. Clip+ EQ sucks, btw. I like both S9 EQ-ed and Clip+ w/o EQ, but my ears are rusty iron and not golden ;)

Oops! hope I am forgiven for straying off the topic too far :)


I know the Clip+ eq isnt anything great. Damn OT again, lets take this to appropriate threads,esantosh.
Couldnt afford a D2 again, thats why.
Pl post about your Nuforce DAC in one of our dac threads or start a new one, please!
 
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