The Cowons are looking good…
Are you an EQ user, or not? I ask because if you’re not using their EQ and other sound enhancements, then they won’t sound any better than a Fuze or Clip+…although they do offer higher capacities (at least the J3, which is available in 32GB with a card slot).
My rockboxed Sansas, my Cowon i9, and my Touch 4G with the “Equalizer” and “EQu” apps all sound equally good to me with EQ’s/enhancements activated, except that the i9 has just a little bit more output power…but it’s not a big difference. Those in the know say that the Cowon i9, S9, and J3 all sound the same. Note also that I said rockboxed Sansas, with the rockbox EQ…the EQ in the Fuze original firmware quite frankly sucks…the newer Clip+ EQ is better, but still not up to the rockbox level EQ.
I’m not suggesting that you not buy a Cowon, not at all…just giving you an idea what to expect…after all, money doesn’t grow on trees! But the Fuzes are disappearing, and the Fuze+ looks like a fail…so it can’t hurt to broaden your horizons.