Wayback Wednesday: Cowon Plenue D

Disclaimer: This article is about the Cowon Plenue D and is part of the Wayback Wednesday series.  Check out the other Wayback Wednesday articles HERE

Relevant links:
RMAA: Cowon Plenue D 24-bit
RMAA: Onkyo DP-S1 rubato 24-bit
Report – A case for the Cowon Plenue D
Review: Onkyo DP-S1 Rubato – Dehumanise
Astell & Kern AK380 Review – Headfonia
Review: Sony MUC-M2BT1 Wireless Audio Receiver
Review: Flare Audio Flares Pro – top spot
Review: Apple AirPods – pretentious genius

Small, fast, light, and great battery life: nearly all the hallmarks typical of Cowon. Plenue D even sounds good. Its screen is naff and there’s some UI lag here and there, but this is one of Cowon’s better players, and it’s among a small handful of high-quality compact players out there.

One thing the hiss king really appreciates about the D is that it barely hisses at all. In fact, it makes about as much electronic noise through sensitive earphones as an iPhone or AK380. That’s more than I can say for some players, irrespective of how much they tip the scales above 3000$.

Plenue D hasn’t the greatest stereo detail or separation, but its tighter image makes a lot of my favourite organic tunes really fall in line with what I personally consider ‘natural’. All in all it’s a great, if not perfect-sounding player. And it goes for comparative chump change all while being supported by a brand that knows the game, and which more than many, designs and builds quality gear.

So do I still use it? No, I do not. Even after I paid for a Ryuzoh upgrade. Sure, it performs a wee bit better, but again, I’ve gone wireless. That’s Flares Pro and Apple AirPods, or Sony MUC MMCX bluetooth cable. I listen to higher end stuff at my desk, and in preparation for reviews. But in my free time, I’m all iPhone SE, Siri, and a mix of lossy and lossless audio. And I don’t care.

Plenue D is buried in a desk somewhere. I checked it last week. It still holds a charge that last was injected sometime last year. Wow. Talk about battery fidelity. But where’s my gapless? Where’s my over-the-air update, ala Rubato? Damn, Rubato actually shows up Plenue D in many ways. And costs only a bit more.

I should have done this about Rubato.

Whatever, for me, the D is the walking dead. It’s great- in its niche, it may be the best that exists. But I do not now nor will I in the future use it. Call me Ryuzoh’s patsie. Call me a corporatist. Call me an insincere audiophile. I can take it. Just know my reasons. Oh, and anyone looking to buy a Ryuzoh-modded Cowon Plenue D?

I’ve got one safe in a desk with your name on it.

4.1/5 - (11 votes)

Back before he became the main photographer for bunches of audio magazines and stuff, Nathan was fiddling with pretty cool audio gear all day long at TouchMyApps. He loves Depeche Mode, trance, colonial hip-hop, and raisins. Sometimes, he gets to listening. Sometimes, he gets to shooting. Usually he's got a smile on his face. Always, he's got a whisky in his prehensile grip.


  • Reply September 14, 2017

    Barun C

    Nice. When is your way back Wednesday edition of iPod Shuffle coming, Nathan?

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.