NEW SONY NW-ZX500
Jan 12, 2020 at 12:59 PM Post #1,591 of 7,712

Sonywalkmanuser

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This is my main evaluation points that I came out with when it comes to auditioning of gears like DAP and Headphones. You may use any songs which are familiar to you, Hope this would serve as a guide for those who are trying to evaluate many gears at one time and trying to find out if the equipment is right for you.

Bass:
How Fast?
How Punchy?
How Weighty?
How Deep?
Any Decay? Is it too fast or too slow or just right?
Does it feel one noted?
How is the texture of the drum beats? Does it allow you to hear the difference between big and small drums
Does it showcase the skill and strength of the drummer?
How does it integrate into the midrange? Does it cause coloration of the vocals?

Equalization:
How well does it handle Equalization? Try pushing the Bass, Mids and Treble up one by one and see if the equipment distorts

Vocals:
Are Female Vocals sibilant?
Are the Male Vocal throaty/Manly enough?
Are there any unusual graininess in the vocals?
How are the vocals presented in the sound stage?

Treble:
Is overly bright or too dark or just right?
Can you feel any airness?
Timbre:
Violins and Strings, does it sound silky smooth or just a blurry mess?
Piano: Does it have overtones, decays and the striking sound of hammer(in some recordings)
Guitar: Does it have Twanginess
Distortion Guitar: Is it fast enough to deliver all the nuances of the distortion?
Shaker instruments: does the sound of the beads shaking sound well defined and moving around?

Coloration:
Is it warm or neutral or cold/sterile?
Are there any parts of the frequency spectrum which stands out too much or too little? (Try playing frequency sweep)

Soundstage:
Is it 3D like? Does it present layers? How is the vocal positioned in relation to the other elements?
How much Depth?
How much Width, Is it too wide or too narrow or just right?
How much height? (this is pretty hard to identify with most ordinary gears, live recorded music is recommended)
Stereo Panning: Is the left and right channel Independent from each other?

Dynamics, Micro-detail, Timing/Speed:
Does the loud transient feel right? Is it too slow, too fast or just right?
Does Cymbals Clashes sound right? Is it overly sharp or too recessed or just right?
How is the hand-clapping sound from the audience, does it sound real? Is it blurry or well defined(texture wise)
Can you hear the "air intake/exhale" from the singer?
Does it portray the emotions(vocal chord straining) from the singer well?

Volume Control/Loudness Handling:
Does it provide enough detail when you play at very low volume levels? Any noticable hissing?
Does it distort/congest when you try to play at extreme high volume levels? (e.g. overshouty)

And the final question would be:

Do you find the equipment to provide you with an extremely satisfying sound quality experience that you don’t wish to stop listening at all? That’s when you know this equipment is a keeper or not. Trust your own ears and instincts as everyone listens different music genres and also have certain sound signature preferences. One man’s meat is another man’s poison applies here(pun intended).

Hope this will help you guys to find the proper gear.
 
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Jan 14, 2020 at 3:40 AM Post #1,593 of 7,712

proedros

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The WM1A would not have been a better option for me, since I’ve owned and sold it twice. Having had personal experience with it, I can say with confidence that the 1A has piercing treble, and sounds a bit thin in the mids.

having clocked 3500 hours with WM1A , i think you either

a)got a defective wm1a
b) did not burn it in
c) had one of the early FWs
d) all of the above

i don't get any of the symptoms you got with wm1a , so yeah either a or b or c or d

cheers
 
Jan 14, 2020 at 10:28 AM Post #1,594 of 7,712

equalspeace

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having clocked 3500 hours with WM1A , i think you either

a)got a defective wm1a
b) did not burn it in
c) had one of the early FWs
d) all of the above

i don't get any of the symptoms you got with wm1a , so yeah either a or b or c or d

cheers

I’ll go with e) none of the above, or possibly c). It’s quite well known that the WM1A has a bright sound signature. I found it to be bright even after burn in, almost unlistenable at times during. I also found it to have thin mids after burn in. That’s what I heard. YMMV. I’d say both the ZX300 and the ZX500 have thicker mids from memory. Maybe the newest firmware calmed down the trebles, but I haven’t heard WM1A with the newest version firmware. I had the WM1A for the last time some months ago and I believe it was on firmware 3.01, so I’m not going back that far w my assessments as it relates to firmwares.

Try to remember we all hear things differently. So if you didn’t hear what I heard that makes total sense and is okay. These are just my impressions, and I stand by them.
 
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Jan 14, 2020 at 12:15 PM Post #1,596 of 7,712

Sunova

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Jan 14, 2020 at 7:24 PM Post #1,599 of 7,712

DONTGIVEUP

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I must say Z1R meets most of this with 1Z, but I can’t recollect air inhale/exhale on any track as I haven’t gone that in-depth on a track.
Man thanks for this masterpiece!
This is my main evaluation points that I came out with when it comes to auditioning of gears like DAP and Headphones. You may use any songs which are familiar to you, Hope this would serve as a guide for those who are trying to evaluate many gears at one time and trying to find out if the equipment is right for you.

Bass:
How Fast?
How Punchy?
How Weighty?
How Deep?
Any Decay? Is it too fast or too slow or just right?
Does it feel one noted?
How is the texture of the drum beats? Does it allow you to hear the difference between big and small drums
Does it showcase the skill and strength of the drummer?
How does it integrate into the midrange? Does it cause coloration of the vocals?

Equalization:
How well does it handle Equalization? Try pushing the Bass, Mids and Treble up one by one and see if the equipment distorts

Vocals:
Are Female Vocals sibilant?
Are the Male Vocal throaty/Manly enough?
Are there any unusual graininess in the vocals?
How are the vocals presented in the sound stage?

Treble:
Is overly bright or too dark or just right?
Can you feel any airness?

Timbre:
Violins and Strings, does it sound silky smooth or just a blurry mess?
Piano: Does it have overtones, decays and the striking sound of hammer(in some recordings)
Guitar: Does it have Twanginess
Distortion Guitar: Is it fast enough to deliver all the nuances of the distortion?
Shaker instruments: does the sound of the beads shaking sound well defined and moving around?

Coloration:
Is it warm or neutral or cold/sterile?
Are there any parts of the frequency spectrum which stands out too much or too little? (Try playing frequency sweep)

Soundstage:
Is it 3D like? Does it present layers? How is the vocal positioned in relation to the other elements?
How much Depth?
How much Width, Is it too wide or too narrow or just right?
How much height? (this is pretty hard to identify with most ordinary gears, live recorded music is recommended)
Stereo Panning: Is the left and right channel Independent from each other?

Dynamics, Micro-detail, Timing/Speed:
Does the loud transient feel right? Is it too slow, too fast or just right?
Does Cymbals Clashes sound right? Is it overly sharp or too recessed or just right?
How is the hand-clapping sound from the audience, does it sound real? Is it blurry or well defined(texture wise)
Can you hear the "air intake/exhale" from the singer?
Does it portray the emotions(vocal chord straining) from the singer well?

Volume Control/Loudness Handling:
Does it provide enough detail when you play at very low volume levels? Any noticable hissing?
Does it distort/congest when you try to play at extreme high volume levels? (e.g. overshouty)

Hope this will help you guys to find the proper gear.
 
Jan 14, 2020 at 10:06 PM Post #1,600 of 7,712

Sonywalkmanuser

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I must say Z1R meets most of this with 1Z, but I can’t recollect air inhale/exhale on any track as I haven’t gone that in-depth on a track.
Man thanks for this masterpiece!

Breathing of the singer is usually heard more easily on unplugged live music.

Example of inhale from the Singer, 1min, 09sec of this track:
Heaven (Live at Sydney Opera House 2013)
Tidal:
https://tidal.com/browse/album/21983389
Itunes:
https://music.apple.com/in/album/live-at-sydney-opera-house/1444221038
Blu-ray:
https://www.amazon.com/Live-Sydney-Opera-House-Blu-ray/dp/B00DW8CYI8/

This well recorded Bryan Adams concert really allows you to hear the sound stage height of the Sydney Opera House. I feel that the whole album tests the ability of the audio equipment to deliver a live like performance, as in you can use this album to do a shootout against two daps or two headphones/iem. Evaluate the soundstage performance, clapping and cheering & whistling from the audience, the unplugged instruments and the vocal chord straining from Bryan Adams.
Vocal chord straining is very evident on this track:
(Everything I Do) I Do It For You (Live At Sydney Opera House / 2013)

For those with ZX507 & IER-M9 Balanced, try this album with DSEE HX on, it's really amazing how much more soundstage height you will hear and the realism of the audience cheering and clapping.
 
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Jan 14, 2020 at 10:17 PM Post #1,601 of 7,712

jmills8

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Breathing of the singer is usually heard more easily on unplugged live music.

Example of inhale from the Singer, 1min, 19sec of this track:
Heaven (Live at Sydney Opera House 2013)
Tidal:
https://tidal.com/browse/album/21983389
Itunes:
https://music.apple.com/in/album/live-at-sydney-opera-house/1444221038
Blu-ray:
https://www.amazon.com/Live-Sydney-Opera-House-Blu-ray/dp/B00DW8CYI8/

This well recorded Bryan Adams concert really allows you to hear the sound stage height of the Sydney Opera House. I feel that the whole album tests the ability of the audio equipment to deliver a live like performance, as in you can use this album to do a shootout against two daps or two headphones/iem. Evaluate the soundstage performance, clapping and cheering & whistling from the audience, the unplugged instruments and the vocal chord straining from Bryan Adams.

For those with ZX507 & IER-M9 Balanced, try this on DSEE HX, it's really amazing how much more soundstage height you will hear and the realism of the audience cheering and clapping.
They should place a mic backstage , so we can hear the singer pass gas.
 
Jan 14, 2020 at 10:34 PM Post #1,602 of 7,712

Sonywalkmanuser

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Well, some of these audiophile equipment cost a bomb to purchase, so they ought to be able to reproduce a singer's passing gas sound accurately if thats present!
 
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Jan 14, 2020 at 11:57 PM Post #1,603 of 7,712

Vitaly2017

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Hmm I dont know but dsee hx is all software based this is not real recording or not at all how the artist ment it do be played. This software is using algorithms to add notes that where not there initially. This is all against the audiophile purist approach to sound perception.

Its a good thing we have direct source mode, from what I can tell is I always came back to direct source.
Its the cleanest and sweetest sound, also the most accurate and nuanced in comparison with all the filters that sony is offering....
 
Jan 15, 2020 at 2:26 AM Post #1,604 of 7,712

Sonywalkmanuser

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Ok here's my take on software enhanced sound and purist approach to audio:

I used to be purist. I got myself a R2R Audio-GD Master 7 and run it on Non-Oversampling Mode and bypass any filtering.
Customizable DSP on the audio-gd
http://www.audio-gd.com/Master/Master-7/M7EN_Use.htm

Yes the master 7 on NOS did sound good on soundstage but it is very jitter sensitive and you needed a really really good source to make it sound focused. NOS isn't perfect as transients sounded weak and 8x oversampling on the DSP is a trade off as the filtering isn't that good as the soundstage feels collapsed. You either had to pick a laid back NOS sound or a sharper sounding(transients) 8x oversampling with small soundstage.

But once I listen to Schitt Yggdrasil DAC, I realised that it's the DSP algorithms and filtering that makes the difference in the sound. It strikes a perfect balance between good soundstage and sharp transients. It is really a good R2R DAC that does PCM well as it is limited to 24bit 192KHz, no MQA or DSD.

Then comes to the Sony. On the zx2 you can also enable a mode that sounds like non-oversampling dac by disabling the sound adjustment app. It made things sound warm but it also make transients doesn't sound as sharp in comparison to sound adjustment app turned on and also DSEE HX turned on. With DSEE HX turned on, it sounded closer to Schitt Yggdrasil transient delivery but it also destroyed the soundstaging. I felt that the ZX300 DSEE HX also suffered from this soundstage collapsed issue.


When you attend a concert in real life, depending on your sitting position, the drums and cymbals transients really hits sharply and feels stronger than what you experience with playback of live recordings.(especially on portable daps and iems)

During concert recording, there are multiple microphones that capture the singer, the audience and the multiple instruments. What you are hearing from concert recording usually is already re-mastered/recreated by a sound engineer. Not to mention that the Analog to Digital Converters and equipment used record already has filtering algorithms and input compression(which affects dynamics/transients) to prevent overloading of the microphones. What I meant to say is that there isn't such a thing as audio purist as everything that is recorded digitally has been affected one way or another by limitations of microphone or analog processing and studio remastering.

What Sony has done is that they have ran simulation models between what is lost during the conversion from their studio master DSD/DXD files and the end result consumer PCM / AAC format that we usually listen to. Then they came out with this DSEE HX algorithm that can restore the audio back to near studio master quality.

This doesn't even take into account that our headphones and IEMs all have issues with soundstaging and freqency coherency, phase timing issues from the placement of the drivers and the use of crossover networks etc..

What I felt about the ZX507 DSEE HX AI is that it can deliver a sound closest to what you experience when you attend a concert in real life. Both transients and soundstaging feels just right on my IER-M9. I now take the approach that whatever sounds better to my ears is more important than having a purist approach as there isn't really a true purist approach in digital audio as you are already dealing with some kind of digital filtering and digital jitters in the first place.
 
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Jan 15, 2020 at 2:40 AM Post #1,605 of 7,712

Sound Eq

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MQA does work with Sony App. I have a single MQA file that shows as playing MQA.

As for testing, Audioflinger log files. Only Walkman App showing correct log details as track playing. MQA in Tidal not clear with the log file hence the question.

Some would say if you can't hear the difference does it mater and when comes out does sound great but my Dragonfly Cobalt rendering MQA does sound nicer (with iPhone or via PC).
hmmm, so u say using cobalt with your iphone and tidal streaming is better than the dap. Can you tell more
 

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