As soon as you add DSD capability, you have to add even more battery capacity and the battery is already too big. You can't have everything. This is a portable player with hi-resolution DAC and a great built in audiophile grade digital headphone amplifier section. It already takes up too much battery life to play 24/192. Sony knows what they're doing. You want DSD, get the PHA-2.
I was commenting on how the two devices were designed to work together, yet come across as two totally separate products. Each one is fine on it's own. The whole idea Sony is pushing regarding high-res centers around DSD, a feature this player doesn't have. I assume we can't even store DSD on it for playback over the PHA-2, which it was supposedly designed to interface with? Other portable players manage to support DSD, so I don't think it's purely a battery life issue. I mean, Sony invented DSD, if they can't make a portable solution for it they might as well abandon the whole thing. I say the preceding entirely because I disagree with your statement that they can't do it due to battery concerns. The hardware design also exhibits no collaboration in the design process of the two devices, except maybe some late-stage scrambling to account for the battery bump. Again, I am not so much deriding the ZX-1 or the PHA-2 on their own. I think they're great devices. I just don't see a unified portable/high-res product strategy exhibited between the two. I mean, they don't even look particularly "good" together. They look fine on their own, but share zero design elements between the two. I know they don't HAVE to look good together for audiophiles to buy them, but come on, that is low-hanging fruit. I really think they could have designed both of these as a shining example of portable audiophilia. In that regard, they completely missed the mark.
Speaking specifically about the battery bump, I don't think they really thought that one through. There are plenty of solutions for this just staring them in the face. One of them being, make the entire device just a little bit thicker. This would allow for an even larger battery. It may even allow for some added unforeseen benefits. Granted some of these aren't really 100% necessary, but could make an already great player an even stronger contender. Add more storage. I think 128GB is a good start, don't get me wrong, but it wouldn't hurt to be able to offer an expanded version at some point. Maybe a Micro-SD card slot(or MemoryStick, if they must)? I mean, that wouldn't suck. The point is, they really don't get credit for that extra-thin portion at the top of the device with the battery bump still there. They might as well have made something out of the space. By stretching out the battery some, they probably could have reduced the overall thickness a bit, ironically.
In conclusion, again, I am not saying either one of these are bad products. I'm also not saying that Sony doesn't know what they're doing, in general. I am simply stating that they could have done much better with regard to the pairing of these two seemingly disparate devices, without much additional effort. I am also speaking from a design/feature standpoint, as I know these devices do perform well, from an audio standpoint.
Edited by Speakerphile - 1/19/14 at 1:07pm