Originally Posted by cn11
Now that I've had the ZX1 for a couple weeks I thought it's about time to make some observations.
Again here no unboxing videos or unpacking descriptions (I really don't see the value of them and won't do them in my write-ups)… It's a darn box (Ok well the case is pretty terrible- I hope something aftermarket turns up soon)!
Like the way the X1060 impressed me upon receiving it, the ZX1 is much the same, but at a whole different level. It's chunky and even more meaty, metallic and weighty. Jonathan Ive should be doing his typical cheesy industrial design speak video about its machined aluminum case and such (but thankfully it's not an i-Device). The physical buttons are awesomely tactile, and remind me how much I missed that functionality on the F807. I actually like the leatherette on the back of the case… it helps keep the DAP from sliding off surfaces.
Regarding the UI, it's typical Sony if one is familiar with any of the recent Android pieces. But it moves through menus in an extra snappy manner which is nice. The menu location for sound adjustments is a touch different, and took me a couple tries to find. But all
On to the sound… Much of this will be comparing the ZX1 to the F807 and the X1060. I like to think of it as somewhat of a combination of the two, but with a nice jump in overall sound quality. With the X1060, the bass seems to be the star (along with a nice amount of detail while having no trace of harshness). It's nice and weighty, and sort of the anchor to the sound without overwhelming the midrange. The F807 perhaps doesn't have quite the bass weight, but is more open/detailed/layered and spacious. Now enter the ZX1… it has the bass punch of the X1060 (while maybe being cleaner at the same time), and spaciousness of the F807, yet adds in even more spatial definition and expansiveness. I think the F807 has the edge over the X1060 in refinement due to that detail and placement, and the same is obvious again with the ZX1 over that player. But when doing close A/B'ing back and forth, initially it can seem that the difference is very minimal until you happen upon a track which has a very large sense of space. That's when the difference becomes very noticeable-- the ZX1 excels at conveying that larger scale when your music material shows it. Then when settling in and doing some extended listening it's obvious that you can hear deeper into your music, and sense the black space between instruments more. The window goes deeper inside I suppose you could say.
The ZX1 definitely has a considerable amount more power than either the F807 or X1060. It drives my dynamic driver IEMs with more ease. With the GR07 mk2 it creates more space and sense of ease.
But it truly shines with the FA-4E, and the results are wonderful. I think the balance of detail combined with edge (or lack of due to the FA-4E) is just about ideal. The soundstage gains of the ZX1 are really noticeable, and help to expand the capabilities of the Fischer Amps IEM without any bite (the smoothness offered by the FA-4E). I feel like the player expands upon the strengths of the FA-4E in the ideal manner. I truly cannot think of any negatives sonically with this simple rig (amps not needed in the slightest manner). I look forward to other reviews which show how it pairs with other earphones.
Apologies in advance for poor writing and bad grammar.