NEW SONY NW-ZX500
Jul 8, 2020 at 4:48 PM Post #4,021 of 7,675

goody

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
Apr 2, 2009
Posts
1,384
Likes
282
I just did some listening via 3.5mm for first time after your post and agree, sounds really great without balanced too.
yep that last sony firmware update was something else
 
Jul 8, 2020 at 11:10 PM Post #4,023 of 7,675

Star Mastering

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jul 7, 2020
Posts
145
Likes
112
Location
Japan
Seeing 'DAC in a PC sony nw-zx505 ?' prompts me to write this:

Certainly it's strange to have Android models get rid of the USB DAC functionality.

I also would like clarification on the sony nw-zx505. JD sells it at a reasonable price. But I want to dig deeper into the sony nw-zx505. If all the DSP effects were removed from it, would the Sony House Sound (Sony hardware only) still be worth that (still) high price when compared to

DeviceSINAD (dB)SNR (dB)Vrms
Apple USB-C to 3.5mm981131.039
Values from AudioScience.

Or Tempotec HD Pro, which is the only cheap yet high specs product (other than IVX's USB DAC prototypes) in AudioScience currently.
Anyone can use Android on a phone obviously, and if 3.5 mm is now on par with balanced with the latest firmware, and by December Sony will port DSEE HX AI into Music Center for PC, then anybody should be able to use a PC, install software, plug in the Apple USB-C ( CS46L06-CWZR ) and use Sony MDR-ZX110 to achieve good Sony sound with just $35 AUD. All the praise I have read in this thread is not yet enough to make one grab nw-zx505 and flash its firmware, then grab MDR-M1ST and perhaps Kimber Kable for balanced connection.

Seeing as the beloved A105 walkman has such bad specs over 3.5mm, what is one to say about Sony's incredible audio? Do the engineers know something secret about good sound with bad specs and bad sound with good specs? Isn't a USB cable far more cheaper and portable compared to the large frame walkman?

My background in audio includes CXD9872 of Sigmatel, IDT found in VAIO, which could record DSD over mic in when it changed to ALC889DSD in 2008, and ALC1220 (DSD128 capable) found in game boards, which unfortunately isn't able to work with VAIO software in the same way...then recently ALC4042, 4050, 5686 all can do DSD256 but the implementing engineers often turn DSD mode off. I'm a fan of onboard audio and more recently, of these USB C adapters which were a dream only a few years ago. I collect DSD CDs (SBM Direct processed off Sonoma software) and upscale SBM-D 24/44.1 files back to DSD, trying to find out if it's the same as the source DSD master. SBM-D sounds good, and it seems (subjectively) that no other DSD2PCM converter, Philips, Saracon, TEAC or others can match it. I also do 60000 taps FIR filter processing to upscale PCM to DSD, using the software Ama Ama Audio Visual の sunacchi 様が作成された PCM-DSDコンバータ version1.5. Finally, before DSEE HX got ported to PC, Wave Pcm Upconvert Player was the only PCM upconverter available as freeware.

Finally, I have to say, walkmanuser's writing makes one want to try out ZX505.

And if Cirrus Logic sounds better compared to sabre-like ESS, how does Cirrus Logic compare vs S-Master HX?
 
Last edited:
Jul 9, 2020 at 1:07 AM Post #4,024 of 7,675

Sonywalkmanuser

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Nov 26, 2019
Posts
1,579
Likes
2,131
Location
Singapore
The key difference between the Sony S-master HX and other DACs is that the digital to audio conversion is very elegantly done. There is less potential for electrical interferences and less jitter in the overall signal path.

Modern Sony Walkman:
Audio data > S-Master HX chip(DSP/DAC/AMP) > headphone output.

Other DAP:
Audio Data > DSP/FPGA processor > Processed Data via Printed Circuit Board wiring > AKM/ESS/CL DAC > Analog Signal via PCB wiring > Texas Instruments/Analog Devices Op Amp > headphone output.

Also Sony Engineer pays alot of meticulous attention when it comes to it's electrical layout and electrical shielding. This all results in very low jitter and low interferences especially since the Walkman is running on a electrically low noise ARM processor.

This is something that is very hard to achieve with desktop audiophile computers that have to deal with high speed processors/high noise I/O, USB transmission jitter/PLL reclocking noise, USB cabling issues.

All the praise I have read in this thread is not yet enough to make one grab nw-zx505 and flash its firmware, then grab MDR-M1ST and perhaps Kimber Kable for balanced connection.

In my opinion, the Sony walkman combo of zx505+M1ST+balanced kimble you mentioned will outclass your VAIO solution by a significant level due to the fact that the Walkman has much less interferences and jitter.

Also you are getting a completely well tuned Sony proprietary written Walkman Music software and DSP that is directly coupled into it's S-Master HX hardware.

As compared to the trial and error of mixing and matching different brands of audio playback software, different upsampling algorithms and dealing with Microsoft/Apple/Linux Operating Systems driver layer differences.

Infact I did find that with the new firmware, Direct Source ON sounds so good with all types of file format: lossy,16bit,hi res that you don't really have to use any DSP at all to enjoy the ZX507.
 
Last edited:
Jul 9, 2020 at 5:17 AM Post #4,026 of 7,675

Star Mastering

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jul 7, 2020
Posts
145
Likes
112
Location
Japan
Many thanks for your reply.

I’m honoured and grateful for your time and efforts.

In regard to the A100 measurements in Sony NW-A105 Digital Audio Player Review by amirm, one could perhaps reason that ZX507 is vastly different to it if measured.

Going back to my post I can see I was trying to explore in general how Sony could create a walkman anybody could buy, not just loyal fans or Japanese customers. There was a time walkman was very popular after all. Sony marketing had me falling for Sony products once upon a time. Sony VAIO from 2005-2011 had these DSD audio codec chips from IDT and Realtek with SNR 107dB; just imagine the cost-performance – DSD player (and Recorder – line in on windows xp and mic rec on Win Vista, unsupported on Win 7) comes free with a PC you needed anyway?! That doesn’t happen with walkman. I have beside me a tape walkman with TV reception and an MD walkman. This brand has power too but pricey also.

Not to mention DMP-Z1 doesn’t mention S-Master anywhere, I read somewhere. The ultimate sound doesn’t use S-Master! And I am waiting for somebody to port DSEE Ultimate from Xperia 1 II. I’m terrible with Android.

A105 is easy to defeat – amirm’s measurements and its inability to play DSD native, which has never been upgraded, all these years I have checked. Walkmans share an inconceivable price gap based on flash memory – such that ZX505 16 GB is not sold anywhere other than China as it would hurt ZX507’s sales!? Has the microSD been forgotten?

Computer onboard audio is definitely never going to be perfect, although Mr Ayataka Nishio (member of original DSD inventor team) came very close to doing so on VAIOs. But if it’s a USB dongle fed with clean USB power and ASIO or WASAPI (DoP) data from either foobar Philips DSD256 upsampler, WPUP 32/700kHz+, or MCfPCv2 384kHz or Sony DSD processor DLL (dates back to 2005!), and the dongle itself is measured by everyone and found to be incredible (like the $63 AUD Sonata HD Pro SINAD 113-14dB from amirm’s HIDIZS S8 USB-C Headphone Adapter Review – S8 being identical internals to HD Pro), then perhaps it is a very cheap and powerful contester in terms of sound for people of any social standing. The walkman would, functionally, just meet a few people’s needs. Dongles are now the mainstream.

M1ST+balanced kimble MUC-M12SB1 is a setup found in an article on AVWatch I think. Unfortunately I only have an old 900ST which is never used, and I find MDR-ZX110 is pretty much the same sound as the 900ST, just with differences that aren’t exactly detrimental, added portability and far cheaper price.

Nevertheless, it is pointless to try and compare anything about audio. It’s attempted all the time? This thread already has the reminder that each person is vastly different yet the products are not too different.

So if this walkman is the greatest sounding DAP out of all DAPs and computers and USB dongle DACs because its playback process is simple like DSD originally was, and because hardware and software is integrated like Apple products are, then yes, for the most enjoyable sound, this walkman zx505 is a good buy. I focus solely on the playback hardware here, without considering the speakers or sources.

I wanted to point out though that the walkman boards seem to have a lot of components. Perhaps achieving that portability along with amazing features isn’t necessary to achieve the most enjoyable sound. If outdoors, generally one would fare better with dongles or other noise cancelling products. The S-Master HX should be put into a USB dongle and be sold for $9, to be used with Music Center apps. It would be a good contester against the 24/48 limited Apple dongle. Or is there more reason to the differences between Xperias and walkmans.

Players should have a gripping interface like that of VAIO DSD Direct Player.

These days it is more common that buyers are not seeking to simply use their wired 3.5 mm jack products. They seek to overcome the 24/48 limit imposed on all PCs and (some) phones (now they can do 2496 and even 32384 - but no upsampler!), and to achieve the highest quality at the cheapest price (Tempotec Sonata HD Pro is an example). While the Apple dongle is available across the globe, I believe it is important to provide 32/384 and DSD 256 at an affordable price, at the minimum. A few years back, the VAIO was STILL the only cheap DSD player, with a COZOY dongle just coming out, very expensive! And A45, 55 never got DSD native.

Software developers and sound engineers could provide dongles as a software and hardware 'package'. One of the first goals would be designing an ASIO driver, plus overcoming limitations of USB Audio 2.0 and Android audio. Users should ideally be able to upsample all sources to 32/384 or DSD 256, at the minimum. The software processing that exists to do that needs better GUIs to attract users' attention and increase ease of use. The app or software can also be tuned/designed to work better with each specific dongle. Basic compatibility for Android, iPhone, PC, and Mac will be tested widely and thoroughly. They’ll analyse different cables, plus desktop and wearable speakers and the effects they have on the sound depending on the product. It is anticipated that dongles are very similar in sound quality to each other.

It is obvious to all of us that the Apple-initiated PCM 24/48 limitation on all devices post-2018 has gone too far.

I read somewhere ‘Sony engineers are beyond others, however their products are a lot different from the real prototypes - “watered down” versions’. Only Sony has the full DSEE HX AI that uses 100% CPU power to achieve the best quality. And Sony guards their code strongly.

The old DSEE HX achieves smoothing only, not soundstage enhancement I presume?

For those who haven't upsampled yet:

Only if you've got time, you could try out these audio players with some headphones and mp3s. It should bring out details - restore musical details and nuances - that random players can't achieve, and with DSEE HX, it should sound less digitally compressed and more open. In some cases mp3s will sound no different to its Hi-Res equivalent! I am an expert in DSEE HX and it has been Sony's consumer audio jewel since 2013. At first they used separate algorithms for each segment of songs but for ease of use, lower risk and greater stability they 'averaged' it out to a single one-size-fits-all. This was then tuned for different regions/countries and for different products. But it is mostly useless and makes no audible difference despite the extra audio data. Still, larger files naturally sound better due to the mechanism of most DAC chips. Now DSEE HX AI is able to analyse the song in advance and apply a multitude of different algorithms to match each segment of a song. So it is closer to the original idea they had but not yet perfect. The 1991 SBM and 1998 Sony SBM Direct are my go-to algorithms for authoring the best CDs.

Instructions:

Software: wpup.html.xdomain.jp/

Also: musiccenter.sony.net/

Click Add or Import files to add mp3s etc

Use WASAPI (or ASIO if you can) as the output setting to bypass the kernel mixer and achieve bit-perfect performance. Any PC Realtek HD audio should be ok but if you have a USB DAC it would be better. For WPUP use 32 bit to avoid white noise ( Realtek has that problem). For Sony's MCfPC it works without problems using their old 2013-2018 DSEE HX algorithm. It is not DSEE HX AI but we're still asking them to upgrade it. Sony has always been generous (think VAIO Sony Oxford plugins), but not recently.

The likely result is: it makes no difference to sound. But I believe that DACs perform best at their highest supported specs.

My response to Sony Audio AI technology - a guide for investors:
that first step of removing noise is problematic - IC Recorders always had that problem of making speech messed up, and what if that noise itself is information to change into text? I dislike elimination of anything. Speech recognition isn't a highly sought after feature at all anyway. It's old!
Creating information based on reality (how we use language) and grammar (books) to create meaning; good luck doing it for so many languages.
Deep Learning - baby steps yet Sony! Stop boasting. Walkmans with weak batteries and weak CPUs using 96 kbps mp3s to create hires? Has it been done yet? No. Neural Network Console for PCs also doesn't really do much yet. But that open sourcing was good, I'd asked heavily for open sourcing something else...
Learning how to behave in an environment to maximise success - clearly gets out of hand once humans cannot check whether that learning is truly 'learning the best way' and a 'success' for us. Perhaps it 'successfully' destroys us.
Using the cloud to integrate and sense multimodal stuff. Analyse big data to increase earnings. Far from reality. Absolutely no bearing on the lives of so many people who need to be saved and improved.
Walkmans - yes, enjoy your harmless music. Any further, and technology-crazed humans are looking for more trouble than solutions to occupy their time with. I'm disappointed with the overall tech market. All the useful stuff, like body cameras or individualised AI to support you make your life the best you can, especially in hospitals, either isn't prevalent or doesn't exist. Sony is one of the way better ones. Too bad humans have never done much good.
 
Last edited:
Jul 9, 2020 at 8:02 AM Post #4,027 of 7,675

Sonywalkmanuser

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Nov 26, 2019
Posts
1,579
Likes
2,131
Location
Singapore
I feel that finding a setup that suits your listening preferences is more important than using measurement of SINAD as a penultimate basis for judging sound quality/performance.

Take for example most of the ESS DACs out there boast higher measured Dynamic range than the typical AKM based products but yet there are so many out there that prefer the sound out of the AKM based DACs.

In my opinion, there is more to perceived sound quality than as to a single measurement.
 
Last edited:
Jul 9, 2020 at 10:40 AM Post #4,028 of 7,675

Sonywalkmanuser

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Nov 26, 2019
Posts
1,579
Likes
2,131
Location
Singapore
The older DSEE HX version which only upsamples to 24bit 96KHz applies more of a high tone correction and smoothing effect to the sound.

This version of the DSEE HX AI found on the ZX507 does more than just smoothing effect, it does changes to the soundstage height.

I find that ZX507's DSEE HX AI still has room for improvement. It gets right most of the time but there are hi res recordings which you can hear that it adds additional unwanted vocal simbliance in this current firmware. I would predict they will correct this further down the road.

Anyway Sony is now in a technology leadership revival. They were once a great tech company back in the early 90s but they lost their way. Right now they are leading in all manner of things in audio visual, camera sensors and PlayStation. It will only get better from here. I can't wait for them to make a 4k smartphone with balanced analog output.

Video explaining the decline of Sony (video made 3 years ago)
 
Last edited:
Jul 9, 2020 at 3:32 PM Post #4,030 of 7,675

feverfive

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Feb 17, 2006
Posts
2,073
Likes
2,131
Location
U.S.
My JDM ZX-507 was delivered today. Less than 48 hours between placing my order and receiving it in Midwest U.S. from Japan. Not so shabby, hahaha.

I haven't even turned it on yet. Immediately removed the plastic film and plugged it in to charge fully (almost two hours ago; still charging). All the documentation is in Japanese, and I like that this came with the plugs for all the outputs.

How long should I expect this initial charge to take (using a, I think, 5V iPhone USB adapter)?

I have a new IEM cable from DUNU (modular plug design) on its way to me, so all I have currently is 3.5mm single-ended.

IMG-0990.jpg
 
Last edited:
Jul 9, 2020 at 4:12 PM Post #4,031 of 7,675

Sonywalkmanuser

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Nov 26, 2019
Posts
1,579
Likes
2,131
Location
Singapore
You can enable battery percentage indicator in your status bar.

Settings > Battery > Battery Percentage

Do note that the first time you using the Walkman or doing a factory reset, the estimated remaining battery hours is inaccurate as it relies on your historical battery usage data of the device.
 
Last edited:
Jul 9, 2020 at 5:15 PM Post #4,033 of 7,675

feverfive

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Feb 17, 2006
Posts
2,073
Likes
2,131
Location
U.S.
Hmmm, weird. I updated firmware to 2.01, changed some of the settings afterwards, and I can't get the device to do a complete shut down. I press and hold thr power button, get the pop-up and select shut down, but it just re-starts. I don't get it.
 
Jul 9, 2020 at 5:28 PM Post #4,034 of 7,675

feverfive

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Feb 17, 2006
Posts
2,073
Likes
2,131
Location
U.S.
I did a factory reset, and I still can't do a complete shut down. It always just re-starts. I'm not digging this.

EDIT: O.K., it seems I can only turn this device completely off when unplugged. I have tried this three times now: if I try to shut down while plugged in, it just re-starts. If I unplug, I can do a complete shut down, but as soon as I plug it back in, it boots up. When I first unboxed this a few hours ago and plugged it in, it did not start up. If I short pressed the power button, it temporarily displayed a battery icon, indicating it was charging.

I don't get why now plugging it in turns the device on and also restarts as opposed to shutdown when plugged in as well.
 
Last edited:
Jul 9, 2020 at 6:32 PM Post #4,035 of 7,675

feverfive

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Feb 17, 2006
Posts
2,073
Likes
2,131
Location
U.S.
Does anyone know: Can we "side-grade" the firmware? meaning, I updated to 2.01 (Japanese version) OTA. I have the international version of 2.01 firmware package downloaded on my Mac. Probably won't do anything to address my shutdown issue, but might as well try if I can.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top