According to my ears it is a huge step-up in clarity... (don't know if something was wrong with my A17 for sure) but I noted high frequency distortions like warblish sound esp during a big chorus singing in a cathedral, also happened with Harpsichord recordings, like it cannot render well the high end spectrum and distorts it (akin if it introduces noise or foesn't make it to blend the voices like sopranos, tenors, bass)
Soundstage wise ZX100 has a bigger one (detectable at least with my mDR-1R, bass impact is less warm than A17, i feel the timpani drums to kick very natural like if they were soft explosions (as they shall sound!) unlike A17 they sounded rather boomy with much slap of the membrane....
If i swtch to my XBA-A3 IEM, it retains all sonic characteristic but loses soundstage... already thinking of upgrading stock cable of those
what i get suprised quite a lot is the naturalness of the osund, so organic to the point each isntrument gets identified clearly and at least for me, none gets veiled (with my A17 sometimes got veiled instruments namely in orchestral pieces, most common "accompaining" instruments to a main "actor" instrument.. f.e a bach soloist canata with viola da gamba, flute and harpsichord... the flute and soprano sound clearly but the other two get "muffled" in the A10 series output... which does not happen with the ZX100, i get a clear picture of each instrument, they are put at their correct distances/volumes so the gamba sounds softer but sounds like a gamba same for the harpsichord.
in summary ZX100 is very detailed and all those are 16/44... it is able to extract "all the juice" from the recording. To make it more cleapicture a solo flutist, a soprano, a cellist and a harpsichordist in a "horseshoe" shape formation or better U-shape ensemble... now imagine A17 is a camera that lost the focus on the gamba and the cembalo is more blurred than the others... and the ZX100 like a professional camera that captured all performes clearly unobstructed
Edited by gerelmx1986 - 10/20/15 at 1:50pm