Samsung YP-T9 : Part 1 – Overview

The Samsung YP-T9 comes in a smallish cardboard box. Included accessories include 1) earphones, 2) proprietary USB to DAP cable for file transfer and charging, 3) Samsung Media Studio CD, and 4) quick start manual. The full manual can be found as a PDF file on the CD.

Appearance & Build
The T9 obviously trumps all of my other DAPs in terms of size, thickness and weight (see photo below). The T9 feels solid, well built and is a beautiful little gadget. It fits into trouser front pockets with no problems, and is light enough that it doesn’t really make shirt pockets droop. I prefer its slightly shorter and ever-so-slightly thicker body to the iPod Nano – I think it “feels” more sturdy and less likely to snap into two in my trousers. The damn thing is a magnet for finger prints on both the front and back. The screen is not recessed into the front and will probably get scratched soon. Overall, tactile feel is good.

t9-02.jpg

One of the nice features of the T9 is the eye candy Samsung has created for the menus. Samsung offers users plenty of customization options for background screen color to screensavers and visualizations during playback. The T9 has the nicest looking interface when compared to my other DAPs. Battery life is listed to be around 30 hours for audio playback.

How long does it take to load up the player?
I loaded 279 MP3 files in one folder totalling 1.81 GB onto the T9 via drag-n-drop. This took just under 10 minutes. Subjectively, it seems slower than either the H320 or the ZVM, but much much faster than the iFP-795, which takes me generally 20+ minutes to load 500MB. Transferring files through Samsung Media Center appears slightly slower.

Loading is done via a proprietary socket to USB cable included in the package. Charging is also done via this cable. I would have preferred a standard mini-USB socket.

Can you drag-n-drop music onto the T9? And do the ID3 tags work properly?
Music can be browsed and selected in 2 ways, via ID3 tags or by file directories. Many have claimed the T9 to be a drag-n-drop player. This is true with a caveat. You can load the DAP via simple transfer of files via Windows Explorer, but in this scenario, you can only browse for music under the File Browser menu and NOT using tags under the Music menu. To enable browsing via ID3 tags, you need to use the Samsung Media Studio either to transfer the files or the refresh the music library.

Another caveat is this – the T9 is erratic with regards to ID3 tags. My T9 reads some ID3v2.4 tags but not all of them – I had blanks in artist, album as well as genre tags in some but not all my files. I reloaded the songs via Samsung’s software. I also used the software to compile a playlist and use that to sync songs over to the player. BAD MISTAKE. Upon restarting Foobar, I discovered that the Samsung software screwed up all the tags on the tracks it transferred. I had to re-tag all of these 200+ tracks!! I am now convinced that one should simply avoid using the software for anything except refreshing the DAP library. The downside is one can never be sure whether the DAP will recognize tags of all the songs transferred over via simple drag-n-drop.

To be able to browse media under the Video and Photo menus of the DAP, you will also need to transfer these with the Samsung Media Studio. It is possible to just drop jpegs into the appropriate folders by drag-n-drop, if you don’t mind using the File Browser (without a preview thumbnail) to find and view them. The file structure inside the DAP is pretty self-explanatory and the folders are clearly labelled as Music, Photo, Video, Text, Playlists, Recorded, and System. The folder names are not cryptic.

Next post : how does it sound?

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Cowon D2 : A real beauty

Cowon D2 – one of the most highly touted DAPs currently in the market. Apart from looking really cool, it features :

  1. 2.5 inch 16 million colours QVGA LCD touch screen
  2. Long battery life : Music playback over 50 hours / video playback around 10 hours
  3. Extendible storage with SD / MMC card slot
  4. Strong output : 76mW @ 16 ohm
  5. TV output
  6. Lyrics display
  7. Supports OGG andFLAC on top of more common file formats like MP3, WMA
  8. Clock, Alarm, Pre-Scheduled Recording, Sleep Function, Power Saving Shut down
  9. Supports ID3V2, ID3V1, FileName

Samsung YP-K3 – a nice alternative to iPod Nano

This new DAP from Samsung is very very attractive. The YP-K3 is essentially the YP-K5 without the sliding mechanism and the built in speaker. The YP-K3 gains from this reduction in hardware feature set – the newer model is small, thin and is reputed to feature excellent sound quality and a nice user interface.I just hope they come in 4GB and 8GB models with a reasonable price tag. And let’s hope the files can be transferred via drag n drop.

As a side note, I recently went to Samsung’s flagship showroom and laid my hands on the YP-T9. Being the top-of-the-line flash DAP from Samsung, I found the form factor of the YP-T9 very nice. Pricing is abit ridiculous though, it’s 4GB is just HK$100 cheaper than the 8GB iPod Nano!!

Link to Popco.net product introduction page

ATH-CM7Ti first impressions

This year I received a very nice set of earphones for Christmas – Audio Technica’s ATH-CM7Ti. The CM7Ti is housed in a classy titanium casing (hence the Ti) and features an extremely solid build – probably the best finishing I have seen on an earbud or canal phone. It looks like the CM7Ti can really stand up to intensive use for quite some time.

In terms of sound quality, the CM7Ti also delivers exceptional audio reproduction. I found bass to be abundant and with a nice impact. The buds also do mids and highs very nicely. The CM7Ti were easy to drive and very sensitive, in fact it was much easier to get significant volume from it than my Senn PX100, Sony EX71 and Creative EP630. This does make it ideal for portable use. The buds don’t provide much isolation from outside noise, obviously.

My only word of caution for would be owners would be this – depending on the shape of your ear, you may or may not be able to achieve a good seal with the CM7Ti. If you do manage a nice fit, it can be reasonably comfortable and the sound is astonishing. With a less than ideal seal, however, the bass may be lacking. They are also less comfortable than either Sony’s EX71 or Creative’s EP630.