Keep in mind matchbook quotes, these little sayings written on complimentary matchbooks you might decide up in high-end bars or resort lobbies? Ought to the Cowon Plenue D3, a matchbox-sized moveable music participant, have come adorned with its personal saying, it may need learn, ‘Be cautious of individuals whose actions don’t match their phrases’.
The third-generation Plenue D participant arrives with no boastful fanfare, regardless of each its earlier iterations gaining five-star evaluations and even What Hello-Fi? Awards. The demure black packaging divulges little about this machine, aside from the truth that there’s now a Cirrus Logic CS43131 twin DAC on board, whereas the final technology used only one.
There’s additionally Bluetooth assist, so you possibly can pair your wi-fi headphones or speaker, and a brand new rotary quantity wheel. No matter its embellished lineage and all these helpful extras, the D3 is just barely pricier than its predecessor, the Plenue D2.
As we’ve come to anticipate from this line of miniature portable music players, the PD3’s construct is minimalist and stylish, with a black mirror end on the back and front, a matte end for the edges, and a silver metallic panel throughout the highest of the participant. It’s additionally out there in a gold end.
Cowon’s isometric edge design – the place two faces meet, every edge has been minimize with exact calculation – creates clear traces and proves that magnificence actually is within the element.
Cowon Plenue D3 tech specs
Audio file codecs DSD, FLAC, WAV, AIFF, ALAC, MP3, WMA
DSD DSD64, DSD128
Bluetooth model 3.Zero aptX
Battery life 45 hours
Dimensions (hwd) eight x 5.Three x 1.6cm
The brand new Plenue D3 is just a few millimetres longer and thicker than the unique Plenue D, however until you place the 2 aspect by aspect it’s virtually not possible to inform. The additional depth is right down to a cracking new quantity dial on the highest proper of the participant, the place the facility button used to sit down.
This superb rotary wheel looks like an homage to Astell & Kern and feels simply as premium as its pricier competitors. As with the A&K Kann Alpha, a recessed mild additionally shines out from beneath the dial. Right here, it periodically flashes blue when enjoying, or glows purple when charging or loading music, however you possibly can flip it off within the settings menu in the event you favor.
The ability button has been relocated to the highest proper aspect of the participant and, as a result of there’s no want for quantity buttons right here anymore, the three different little round controls for play/pause, skip ahead and skip again are actually even simpler to find and use in your pocket. And the participant nonetheless weighs simply 103g.
The touchscreen is similar 2.8in wide-angle LCD (240 x 230) show as on the earlier mannequin. Should you assume one interface appears a bit of dated, you possibly can select between three completely different ‘skins’ and in addition alter the textual content font.
The PD3 responds properly, shows album paintings and presents simple navigation and grouping of your music. Contemplating the difficult quantity of display actual property it has to work with, that’s no imply feat. When you get used to hopping by means of the settings and again to your music, the Plenue D3 is a pleasure to make use of.
The PD3 boasts a battery lifetime of as much as 45 hours in the event you’re enjoying MP3 recordsdata, or a stable 30 hours when listening to hi-res recordsdata at ‘regular’ quantity. There may be assist for 24-bit/192kHz WAV, FLAC, ALAC and AIFF recordsdata and 64GB of built-in storage, which is expandable to 192GB with the addition of a 128GB microSD card. The PD3 boasts DSD128 file compatibility too – and that assist is native, so DSD recordsdata aren’t transformed to PCM throughout playback. Once more, there’s balanced 2.5mm and unbalanced 3.5mm headphone jacks.
So why must you improve to the PD3? If the brand new quantity wheel doesn’t tempt you, Bluetooth 3.0 (with assist for SBC and aptX codecs) may. We go into the PD3’s Settings menu, hit the Bluetooth tab and choose our Earfun Air Pro wi-fi headphones, and later our Tribit Audio Stormbox Micro Bluetooth speaker, to pair. Each join – and routinely re-pair – with ease.
Should you’re going away for the weekend and desire a tiny sound system on your room that’s each ultra-portable and leaves your cellphone free for precise calls, it is a prime resolution. Go to the JetEffects tab in Settings and you’ll stream your music with results akin to ‘X-Bass’, or ever-more inventive profiles akin to ‘Really feel the wind’ or ‘Reverb cathedral’, in accordance with your room or tastes.
There are 48 of those JetEffects in whole, together with 44 named presets, 4 person presets you possibly can create with a five-band equaliser and 9 particular ‘reverb’ modes. Need to hear a observe as much as 50 per cent slower or at 1.5 instances its unique pace? The PD3 can oblige right here too. Though DSD recordsdata can’t be performed over Bluetooth or with JetEffect sound profiles, most of your music will work with all of those features.
The PD3 costs through USB-C and takes round 3.5 hours to totally cost. Loading tracks through the identical port is a breeze. We hook it as much as our MacBook Professional, discover it below our ‘units’ tab and drag and drop recordsdata into the ‘music’ folder – no third-party apps required. You continue to have to bodily join the PD3 to your supply so as to add music, however when including recordsdata is that this simple it genuinely seems like the easiest way to do issues.
We get pleasure from toying with the PD3’s Bluetooth connectivity and JetEffect options, however the bulk of our testing is completed with the wired Grado SR325e headphones (with a 6.3mm to three.5mm adaptor) and with sound profiles set to ‘Regular’. However within the Audio Output tab right here, you possibly can choose between in-ear ‘earphones’ or harder-to-drive ‘headphones’, simply to optimise the efficiency.
We cue up Queen’s Best Hits (16-bit/44.1kHz FLAC) and there’s a wonderful quantity of separation on supply from the outset of Fats Bottomed Ladies because the band sings the anthemic refrain. Freddie Mercury’s vocal is central, however the devices shine too – an in depth drum fill in direction of the raucous finish of the observe, vocal trills, guitar concepts – proving there’s an additional stage of element on supply right here that some gamers can’t entry. The album continues to Bicycle Race and the character of the vocals and the playful bass completes an thrilling, zealous and clear pay attention.
The bicycle bells in direction of the tip of the observe are glowing, separate and distinguished by means of the treble. It is a gifted participant that is sonically related in character to its older siblings, however there are small upgrades available when it comes to rhythm, timing, element and musicality.
From the beginning of Michael Jackson’s Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’ (24-bit/192kHz FLAC) the bass riff is notably deep and agile in our left ear and the central melody is zealous and remarkably energetic for such a tiny field of tips. The layers of vocals are dealt with with precision so that every is impactful throughout the frequencies.
Switching to Hans Zimmer’s Gotham’s Reckoning (24-bit/192kHz FLAC) from The Darkish Knight Rises unique soundtrack, the pensive and fast-paced percussion builds to a full-bodied snap of thunder inside a brooding and expansive combine, brimming with emotion and forceful low-end punch.
However when you’ve got the recordsdata and like the thought of pairing your moveable music participant both to a wi-fi speaker or pair of headphones for one of many smallest wi-fi methods you’ve seen, there’s no higher shout presently in the marketplace for the cash.
The Plenue D3 retains issues easy: it performs your hi-res music – and it does that very properly certainly.
Learn our information to the best portable music players
Learn our Astell & Kern Kann Alpha review
Learn our Cowon Plenue D2 review