OK, a couple of clarifications/comments. I did a lot of A/Bing yesterday on the plane from Tokyo to Singapore, and this AM here in Singapore.
1. The text DOES scroll for longer song titles, but not album titles. That is a big plus and definitely fixed from the X series. How about porting that back to the X, Sony?
2. I would say the X1060 and A846 soundstage appear to be the same. I don't notice any difference at all.
3. Volume matches exactly on the X1060 and A847. After a lot of A/Bing, I can say that for sure!
4. Re: Hiss. Basically the same hiss on the X1060 if you heard it there, but I find it much less pronounced with the Final Audio Design FI-DC1601SB vs. the IE8.
4. If you change the EQ on the A847 to have 1.0kHz set to -1, you basically get the same sound as the X1060 at flat. It's a hair off now, whereas it was not out of the box. So Sony definitely tweaked the sound on the A847. The A847 seems to still have a slightly forward presentation (again, a hair) as compared to the X1060.
The highs are definitely bit more clear and I think it sounds like a tad more resolution, which could account for the slightly more forward presentation. But with that EQ tweak, they are SO close but not exactly the same - mainly in the upper frequencies.
Interestingly enough, if you tweak 16kHz to -1, it takes that slight edge off and the A847 becomes as laid back as the X1060 and it's more indistinguishable between the two. I'm not convinced this tweak is worth it, but only interesting from a pure A/B comparison.
No matter what, the mids/bass are still a touch "congested" on the A847; I don't think you can completely EQ it out. A good example is the song "Beat Crazy" by Joe Jackson (from the box set that came out in Japan a year or two ago with all of the albums in mini-LP sleeves; that is a unique mastering of that album). Graham Maby's bass (at that point, a Fender Precision - which I also play, so I know it well) has a bit more accuracy and defnition on the X1060 versus the A847 where it's not as defined and a bit more "blurry" .. and really only when a lot is going on (another example would be "Mad at You" when the chorus is in full tilt; when the bass is on its own, it sounds basically the same). With 16kHz at -1, I don't think it helps here since you lose a touch of the upper definition. When you leave it at 0, I think it sounds better. It depends what you want ...
I'm splitting hairs here. I know it - my new IEMs are not helping that
With the IE8s (not the Final Audio Design), the EQ tweaks work, but the other subtleties kinda go away. The FADs are a bit more revealing, so in some ways, better for doing a comparison. If you have any of the popular IEMs, I bet you couldn't tell the difference since they're all in the same class.
My verdict after comparing more: the A847 is a good sounding player in its own right that with tweaking can be made to sound pretty much like the X1060 and not its own signature out of the box. They are both musical, with the overall edge in my opinion going to the X1060.
Sony only tweaked the sound signature slightly, so if you want more capacity, virtually the same sound of the X, don't need a slightly bigger screen (you don't miss it for music, and my videos are formatted for the X so not going to translate exactly on the A - can't do any video comparisons yet), or a touchscreen, get the A847. I don't think the A will have as good a battery life, but to some degree I expect it ... what big battery are you shoving in something that thin?