HI! I am looking for a portable music play! I have hifiman901, ak 120 and sony NW-ZX1 in my list. Give me some advises!!
I heard sony NW-ZX1 can beat the ak 100 and able to compare with ak 120.
That was from a very rough Japanese review. Get the RWAK120 (not -S) if you want to have the best sounding DAP; get the ZX1 if you need Android; get the 901 if you need a high power amp or go balance.
For IEMs you do not need a high power amp. You really can't go wrong with any of the DAPs above. However, for me the 901 (aka the iBrick) is just too big and old fashion. You can always buy an external DAC/AMP later, so why pay for features that you can't really use?
I bought the RWAK120-B paired with the ALO Mk3 in balanced mode.
The point is that I informed Vinnie that in Balanced or SE modes sound is saturated in high trebles or low bass (very audible on AKG3003 for example).
I don't know if it is a problem of impedance or output level saturating the Mk3 input (balanced or SE inputs). Volume can't be modified on the RWAK.
I haven't compared with a standard AK120.
I posted back my RWAK120-B to Vinnie and he found that both Wolfson chips had to be changed (chips or connections problem).
I should get the device back next week. It is the best portable sounding device.
People go for the 901 when they want a lighter balanced PD but in my case it doesn't matter and I prefer the RWAK connected to an ALO Mk3.
Consider also that you can feed with an AK120 a DAC through the TosLink output, very convenient music server.