Hi-Res Portable Player on a Budget?
Back in November 2015, I was in the market to buy a Hi-Res audio player. But I did not want to spend over $200.00 just for another device I would have to carry around and worry about damage or theft. I wanted something that was both affordable, easily transportable, and able to play Hi-Res audio. My options were either: get a cheap mp3 player or spend hundred of dollars for a Hi-Res player. I did not want to choose option 1, so I searched a bit for something that fulfilled by strange criteria.
Instead of a big name electronics company, or an overly expensive audiophile company, an emerging company called Cyberdrive offered their affordable Hi-Res player: the Seiun. At the time, they had three flavors: Seiun (basic), Seiun Pro, and Seiun Pro X. I decided to buy the basic Seiun Player, that could play up to 24-bit/192kHz files, both for price and size.
Now with many smartphones, you can play most of the formats and resolutions of your HiRes Audio, and you might not need a second device solely for music. Yes there are those that have a “Portable Audio Stack” and would gladly bring a brick of audio clarity around. I prefer a compromise of convenience and quality (and esp price). I gave up the DSD-capability the Pro and Pro X offers, but I do not have too many DSD files (and I can convert anyways).
My Requirements Fulfilled
Yes, Cyberdrive had what I wanted, and then I pledged and 1 month later got my mini player. Used it for bus trips to work, and also for the few times I went to the gym and walking. Very light, easy to use, great play time. Although I also use my phone for music listening, having a dedicated device is better depending on how you will use it.
But as of last month, this player stopped charging. While plugged in, it would play fine, but once the USB cord gets unplugged, it would not even turn on. Basically it is dead for its purpose of portable Hi-Res audio. Sure, I can use it when it is plugged in, but I have my computer and speaker setup I can enjoy more with my audio.
What Do I Do With This Dead Player?
(New unit on top, old one at bottom. Not much difference?)
Whenever I have one of my devices fail on me, I would try to open them up and see if I can replace a part or two myself. But like more modern smartphones with a unibody design, the Seiun Player cannot be opened easily without extensive physical damage. No screws or snappable parts were present.
Well, I did something many would either do last or forget to do: contact them. Now, you would think that contacting a company for replacement parts and items would be a no-brainer right? If you had similar experiences like mine you would be hesitant to contact a company and get any timely response, or any response in that matter.
But I emailed them, got a response in two days, and said they would send a replacement package in the mail. When I finally got my replacement package, to my surprise it was a brand-new unit, complete with new packaging and a set of their earbuds (my original pledge did not include earbuds).
The replacement unit did not make a “rattling” sound the old unit had (and possible problem related to the defective battery). Works great, and I am back to cheap and portable audio bliss!
Great Indie Customer Service
Now this is great service, especially for a small yet growing California-based company. I did not have to call them explaining how it broke, nor had many back and forth emails. My single email was all it took, and they sent the replacement immediately. I did not even have to return the old one, now it is a “trophy” that sits in my room.
Now the unit itself is $70 USD, but when I pledged back in 2015 I payed only $35 USD. They do have the Pro and Pro X units at higher prices, but they are still cheaper than most of bigger companies offering their portable Hi-Res players. Their basic Seiun player fulfilled my criteria of affordable, Hi-Res capable, and small enough for maximum portability.
I was happy with the player, and more than satisfied with their customer service. Great customer service has won me over from just being a one-time purchaser to now a fan that will buy from them again.