If you're someone who's unhappy with the sound of music on your smartphone, then there are a couple of things you can do.
Upgrade your headphones.
Buy a portable deck.
Or better than a deck, buy a dedicated player.
The Cowon Plenue 1 is an excellent sounding portable music player, which will pretty much play any format you can throw at it.
But it's not cheap, at around $1000 Build quality is excellent as the whole thing is carved out of aluminum and it feels solid and cool to the touch.
The device features a 3.7 inch [UNKNOWN] touchscreen which also comes with physical playback controls.
But, sadly, these controls aren't lockable and also you can't easily operate them by feel when they're in your bag.
There's no tactile nubs to help guide you.
The menu system is pretty easy to use, and the player supports almost everything, including FLAC, Apple Lossless, and even ripped essay CDs.
The player lacks any wireless connectivity though, so there's no Spotify or Tidal.
Sound quality is excellent, with a very open detailed sound that isn't harsh or overly base heavy, like the competitive Sony ZX2 can be with some recordings.
This player will also drive most headphones, even esoteric ones.
At a $1,000, it's got the sound and build quality to compete.
Even if it isn't the best value for the money around.
But if you're looking for a simple high end player, it's a good choice.
This is Ty Pendlebury for www.cnet.com.