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About 12-13 years ago I made the rather annoying decision to encode my music in OGG Vorbis format. I say annoying as it has ended up being an awkward choice. I made the choice before I was even using Linux, I’m not sure what prompted it, but it might have been a PC Plus article, better Audio for smaller size.

All my music sat on my PC. Which was fine until about 2003 (possibly.. it’s all rather vague) when flash players first came on the scene. I’d always been reluctant to buy anything with moving parts (Creative Zen was about £400 back then) which was going to exist in my jacket pocket. I had a CD walkman.. it drove me nuts skipping like a drunk boxer.

So I started looking for a OGG player. And that’s where the realisation I may have taken “the road less travelled” dawned on me. Eventually I found one though. An iRiver iFP500, 256MB, Built in FM Radio. It cost me around £100 or there abouts. It was great, with a crazy 40Hrs battery life on two AAA’s and 256MBcapacity. But I outgrew it (2005), especially when LugRadio came along with it’s whopping 20-40MB files ! So I searched again. And after another long and annoying search found a 2GB Samsung YP-U1. It was perfect, again somehow costing me about the same.

All went well till I was out walking the dog a few months back. He saw a dog he took an instant dislike too. I had the player in my hand while changing track. It got caught up in the leash, I was too busy trying to play referee that I didn’t notice the impending doom. Player ripped from hand, falls to ground, my foot went through the player. Fail. (I feel like adding “it only had one day to retirement” Lethal Weapon style, but in reality I’d have kept using it till the flash couldn’t handle any more writes!).

So step forth the Cowan iAudio 7, thanks to Mr. Sweet’s recommendation in an episode of LugRadio I went about short cutting my previous anguish and finding a replacement. Again I somehow managed to find it around the 100 mark, €99 this time. Fantastic.

  • Small
  • 8GB storage
  • USB Mass Storage mode (Also can switch to MTP via in-built menu)
  • Works on Linux perfectly (ie. can firmware upgrade it without needing software)
  • Plays Flac, Vorbis and Wav aswell as all the usual freedom hating formats (MP3, WMA, ASF, JPG, MPG Video)
  • It’s got a diagonal touchpad for fast scrolling and while a *bit* sensitive, it’s really not bad and makes fast forwarding through long audio less of a chore
  • Has ridiculously long battery life (50-60Hrs)
  • And some other things like Lyrics, Colour Screen, Fancy EQ settings..

It also rather importantly sounds great. Well done Cowan! So if you don’t “hate the freedom” I strongly suggest one 🙂