Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Cowon Plenue V vs. Plenue J: Now is the Time to Buy!

By Clay Valarezo




Ok, I am going to keep this one microscopically short! There are very few differences between the Cowon Plenue V and the Plenue J. The reason why I am writing this post is because both these devices are heavily discounted right now on Amazon. Both devices retailed for more than $300 a year ago, now the Cowon Plenue V and the Plenue J, are $150 ($120 with discount) and $160, respectively. Now is a great time to buy, especially the Plenue V!


Difference 1: Form Factor


The Cowon Plenue V looks, well, like a Corvette! It is shaped like a “V,” and even has an edged contour. I have the red version, and it looks pretty f-in sweet.


Cowon Plenue V Pic
Cowon Plenue V


The Plenue J looks like an Astell & Kern made forbidden love to a FiiO. It is an attractive looking device for sure, with its contoured headphone jack input. But the Plenue V is sexier!


Cowon Plenue J Pic
Cowon Plenue J


Difference 2: DAC/Amp Chips


Another main difference is the internal hardware. The DAC/Amp chips are different. The Plenue V uses DAC chips by Cirrus Logic, and the Plenue J uses, well, I’m not sure. They don’t specify what DAC chips they use on the Plenue J, but there is speculation that the device uses Wolfson circuitry, similar to the Plenue D.


Regardless, both devices sound stellar! As I have mentioned with Cowon devices, they seem to be designed in a specific way, so I am not certain if the sound differences, if any, are due to different circuitry.


I theorize that Cowon uses different DAC/Amp chips to optimize processor efficiency and battery life. But I could be wrong.


Reasons to Buy: Sound and Now, The Price


When the Plenue J came out, I was excited. At the time it promised more than 40 hours of battery life, and for a device that is so sleek, I thought I would be drowning in awesomeness, if not drowning in awesome sound.


In the end, I was certainly drowning in amazing sound, but the battery life was lacking. The same is the case for the Plenue V. I can get 9 hours of solid listening on both devices. While this is not horrible, I really wish Cowon tested the devices before advertising them as such battery mammoths. In fact, I don’t typically listen to files larger than AAC (16/ 44.1/ 256kpbs). Even then, I can’t get near the advertised minimum.


Anyways, if you can accept a 9-hour battery life, then the price might entice you to buy both devices. The sound, as you can expect with such a detailed Equalizer, is immaculate. The JetEffects EQ is the highest selling point of Cowon devices. If you pay close attention to the specs, these devices are typically overpriced and underspec’d (No blue tooth, and laggy UX). But that sound though…




The Plenue V is not only heavily discounted right now, there is a $30 coupon attached to the offer on Amazon. What was once a $300 gadget, is now less than half that price. I recommend it for exercising, studying, and planning world DAP-a-holic domination. For $130 total dollars, what do you have to lose (except $130)?


The Plenue J is a great device as well, certainly worth the new price of $160.


But which one is better? I can’t tell the difference in terms of sound. Yet, they both LOOK different; one looks like a pseudo-Astell and the other looks like a Corvette. I will leave the buying decision to you.


I like to end all of my posts with a “do you need it” segment. And, NO, you don’t. You could always buy it, and do what most people do, sell it on ebay if the device doesn’t suit your needs. But where is the fun in that? Budget DAPs aren’t meant to re-sell. Leave that to the flagship DAP that you mistakenly bought because you thought that you would have an unparalleled listening experience and didn’t.


Let’s continue to go to our school’s library, with DAP in hand. Let’s get those curious looks by others wondering why the hell we don’t listen to music with our cell phones. F them! We shouldn’t have to explain ourselves. We are unique. We. Are. DAP-a-holics! Until next time, stay listening!

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