Turn your old Cowon X5 into a Compact Flash toting powerhouse of audio nirvana and flash goodness

Thursday, May 14, 2009 5:00
Posted in category Audiophile, How-To's, customization


For many, MP3 player is synonymous with iPod.  However, in terms of audio quality, the iPod is far from the top of the heap.  Back when hard drive mp3 players were big, units such as the Rio Karma, iRiver iHP-120 (my favorite…mine still works), and Cowon’s X5 were the real kings of audio when actual audio quality was considered - something that seems to have fallen by the wayside today.  If you want to bring some new school love to an old friend, in this case an old Cowon X5, reinvent your dying love with some new compact flash goodness.  Of course this is a DIY project and as always you run the risk of rendering your precious sound gem into a nice heavy ‘ol paper weight.  But it’s all good.  Just think, with dual CF to IDE connectors, you can pair together two 32GB CF cards and have a 64gig CF X5 monster with storage and awesome sound to boot.  Willing to take the risk? Come inside for a quick blurb on the Frankenstein project as well as some pictures of the madness in action.

Installation was pretty straightforward, I only had to cut/saw the plastic bit off one side of the adapter’s IDE connector to fit. I also had to shorten the master/slave jumper so it doesn’t poke the PCB and battery, use a slimmer jumper bridge, and electrical tape on the backside. Speed with a 300x Lexar CF is blazing, bootup is almost instantly. Too bad there’s no affordable 300x 32GB card available, so I have to see which 16 or 32Gb card is fast enough to be useful in the X5. I’m leaning towards a Kingston Elite Pro 133x (should be faster than 133x in reality), or a Hama HighSpeed Pro (should have similar speeds as the twice as expensive SanDisk Extreme III). On another note, the X5 is now also quite a bit lighter than with the 1.8″ HDD inside.

For more info, check out AnythingButiPod for the goods.

Source: Ubergizmo

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