NEW! SONY NW-A30 SERIES

Discussion in 'Portable Source Gear' started by leylandi, Jul 30, 2016.
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  1. SiFi
    Was that the over ear Momentum M2? I had the in-ear version, which sounded dull and veiled with the A35, but actually better with my old A15.
    Otherwise, I agree with all of your points. Better separation and vocals with the A35, and it feels nicer to hold. I like the pairing with the Sony MDR-100aap and Focal Sphears.
     
  2. Twizzle
    I received the NW-A35 on 23 December and have been testing for over a week with a small number of sample albums and playlists from my 21,000+ track digital music library, stored on a Synology NAS drive, and accessed via a Windows 10 laptop. I bought the NW-A35 with a 200GB MicroSD card to replace my old broken iPod Classic.

    I have very conflicted feelings about this device, as I love the look, size, weight, sound and feel of it, and it has a lovely clear display, but there are four BIG, fundamental "howevers" making me consider getting a refund (dependent on the feedback I receive from Sony on whether there are, or they are working on fixes):

    1. Around 50% of my album art didn't appear on the player, but appears on every other digital music device I've used (iPod, Logitech Media Server, Samsung Galaxy A3). Some heavy Googling determined this is because they were "progressive" jpgs, and the player can only read/display "baseline" encoded jpgs. Several hours of testing and research online led me to using the free IrfanView image editing software to losslessly convert these jpgs into baseline within the folder structure the media library and cover art images sit in. I'm now having to spend two days using the excellent Bliss software to un-embed album art from all my digital library tracks, then re-embed my entire library all over again in order to "refresh" the images that have changed to baseline so that they will (hopefully) all appear in the Sony player. Several days of faffing over the Christmas period just to deal with this issue - why can't Sony upgrade the firmware to make it read (the very common) progressive JPG format? This is a problem I'd imagine the casual user wouldn't have the time, knowledge or inclination to investigate and resolve, and Sony really do need to address this urgently, as they also need to with the next one to make it a true iPod alternative...

    2. Gapless playback doesn't appear to work - to stop those extremely irritating momentary silent gaps that stick out like a sore thumb when listening to albums containing continuous music across multiple tracks (such as live albums, mix CDs and many "concept" type albums [remember 'War of the Worlds'?]). Almost all of the music I have transferred to the device is transcoded (converted) to 192kbps m4a format (i.e. dithered down to a lower sound, to fit all my 21,000 tracks on the device). Any albums containing continuous music have an audible glitch a split second into each track after its transition from the previous – so it's not true "gapless" audio. This is another fundamental flaw in this device, as it is aimed at people with large music collections that used to own iPod Classics. Such users will invariably own several albums where true gapless playback is required to enjoy their albums as they originally sounded. I'm interested to know if Sony plan to fix this, or if they know of a workaround (such as transcoding into a different, but equivalent format when transferring music to the device).

    3. Sony's Media Go and (more recent) Music Center software are both dreadful, slow and not fit for purpose – Instead, I have imported my old iTunes library into MediaMonkey, which I now use to synchronise my music and playlists with the Sony player. Sony should ditch both pieces of software, and focus on making devices syncable with as many established pieces of music software as possible – and fixing the album art and true gapless issues that other portable media players do with ease.

    4. Some mp3 files won't transfer to the device or appear in playlists. MediaMonkey throws up an error that some (but not all) of my mp3 files aren't in a format compatible with the device. However, if I drag and drop these mp3 files into the device's 'MUSIC' folder, I can play them directly from the device – so they clearly are compatible. The particular mp3s are all long ones (between 00h 59m and 3hrs in length) and were all created in Sony Sound Forge some time ago. Not sure why these are considered incompatible, as they play on all my other devices and are a standard mp3 format (128kbps CBR, 44.1kHz, 16 bit). Nothing I've found online can tell me why these won't synchronise with the device or appear in playlists.

    So, in summary, I'm unsure about whether I should keep or return this item. I really wanted to keep it as a long-tern replacement for my iPod Classic, but it is a player with complications, that lacks the intuitive, ease of use the iPod had. I will hopefully finish replacing my progressive jpg album covers with baseline versions, then will test the player a bit further. If I'm still unable to see all my cover art, and if Sony don't have immediate plans to update the firmware to enable true gapless playback across all audio formats, I'm very likely to return this for a refund, and wait until the true iPod replacement materialises.
     
  3. SiFi
    @Twizzle Regarding the album art, are you a PC or a Mac user?
    I went through the same with my previous NWZ-A15, but had success with a Re-embed Artwork plugin for Mac iTunes from dougscripts.com . I imagine there should be something similar available for PC iTunes.
    The NWZ-A15 was the replacement for my old iPod Classic, so I know the frustration.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2018
  4. iLFuma
    All my tracks are Flac, DSD, MP3 320, and Gapless playback works like a charm :worried::thumbsup:
    and Sony Music center lacks a little bit of responsiveness on Windows 10, but the transfers are fast and the overall album management is solid.
     
  5. iLFuma
    I have zero experience with music in this type of format, but you should try using MP3 or FLAC and see if gapless works and some album art show. Rest of the opinion that m4a is an unusual format for digital music.
     
  6. Twizzle
    I'm a PC user, alas. Bliss is currently running on my NAS, clearing and re-embedding all my art, but it's a very slow process - almost 2 days so far just to clear the art. Never thought changing a portable music player would cause this much additional work!
     
  7. Twizzle
    But m4a is the very widely used format of iTunes store tracks - which iPods and Poweramp on Android have been able to play gaplessly with ease for years. So I find it very disappointing that the NW-A35 cannot. I'm 95% sure I'll be returning this player now, unless an easy fix materialises.
     
  8. iLFuma
    Then consider an Ipod touch, fully optimized for itunes and Apple environment, ready right out of the box. Switching from the itunes library and an Apple environment to another has always been complicated. My personal opinion is that itunes both as software and as a store sucks if you use it with a non-apple device. In this case, the best choice is to manage the itunes library alongside another main library.
     
  9. DrKrFfXx
    Yes, I'm talking about the M2 Over the Ear, but I also have tge MDR 100AAP and also pair ridiculously well, although they are a bit of a downgrade from the M2, with grainier detail, and thinner sound, although the soundstage sounds more natural.

    With the B&W Beo Play H6 the pair somewhat good to extract fine detail, although overly bright to my taste and the bass gets lost in translation, maybe due to the weakness of the amp.

    Sennheiser Urbanite XL pair awfully, they sound muddy and thr bass extension drowns everything down. But they are awfull headphones.
     
  10. WilcoRoger
    This is an issue with a third-party software (MediaMonkey) not with Sony, as you yourself are saying (it does play on the device)
     
  11. WilcoRoger
    It's weird, I have a couple of albums bought on itunes, the m4a files play without an issue.

    Even Sony says the same here http://helpguide.sony.net/dmp/nwa30/v1/en/contents/TP0001154788.html
     
  12. Gosod
    what is the latest firmware for this player?
     
  13. Twizzle
  14. Twizzle
    iPod Touch doesn't have enough memory for all my music and can't be expanded with memory cards - hence why I bought the NW-A35. Plus iTunes is very slow on my PC, so wanted to import the whole library into the much faster MediaMonkey.

    This just strikes me as very basic stuff to expect from any portable media player these days. It's not 2005 anymore and iPods plus Android apps handle gapless as a matter of course. Guess I'll stick to struggling with selected playlists on my Nano and a slow iTunes experience for now! Thanks for the feedback though!
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2018
  15. iLFuma
    1.20
     
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