Sony D-NE20 my personal REVIEW
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hifiboom

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So, after ~2 weeks of testing around, using different headphones I have come to the conclusion on the Sony D-NE20:

Okay here we go:

STYLE/DESIGN:

Very nice design, ultra slim and very light. do layer 8 CDs together and you got an impression of how big the unit is. Its not really much bigger than one single CD. really has the Sony "woahhh" factor.
Sorry I cannot make some pics because I have no digicam


BUILD QUALITY:

seems to be very good, the magnesium case does seem pretty stable. My version is the red one, and colour seems to be sprayed on the magnesium case, so it doesn`t look like magnesium-alu finish. nothing bad to say here. Quality of this device is really stunning.

REMOTE:

You can say it is as functional as the old remote ( on my D-NE700). Altough I liked the old one a little bit more: previous track move the stick left, next track, move the stick right. But if you get used to the new remote, it is about the same as the old.


FEATURES:

Really stunning. I`d say: Sony is the leader when it comes the feature.

ATRAC is a best sounding compression with the oportunnity to store many songs on a single disc. I love this feature.
Also it support natively mp3 CD disc, which I think does not sound that good, and the Sony mp3_decoder seems to do good but not the best work.

I also love the Sonic Stage software 3.1 which seems to be faster and more bugfree than earlier versions. Well done, Sony....


BATTERY LIFE:

Absolutly the best I have had on a walkman over the years.
You can use this device everyday about 5 hours and at the end of the week it still has battery life.STUNNING! Maybe this is due to the digital amp. Which brings us to the last point..... the sound quality

SOUND QUALITY:

what can I say?
For me this unit is sounding AWFUL. Why: Okay I`ll try to describe it:
I already had the D-NE700 which I found to sound much better, maybe due to the analog amp. ( I sold it because the EU volume cap)
Compared with that unit, the digital amp on the D-NE20 produces a muddy undetailed sound that lacks in bass and at the treble.
There really is no soundstage and the sound seems to be flat in my ears.
Bass seems to be more dull and not kicking into your head....
That would really be a NOGO if I would work for Sony.

Sonys Digital Amp: its not a feature, its a bug!

I showed the device to a friend and he was amazed at how good it looks, but when he heard it(I didn`t tell him my opinion about the device) he only look a bit confused. He told me it sound terrible, too.
EDIT: I will retest this and give a new statement when I get better earphones. I not sure but I think with good headphones I can get acceptable performance out of it.....


CONCLUSION:

JAAAA, what can I say: A perfectly designed device with nice build quality, excellent features and an extremly high battery life but not perfect at soundquality!


PS:These days my D211 should arrive that I bought on ebay. Maybe I ll be a little bit more satisfied....
Thx Ducan for your nice reviews. I hope I`ll like this device, too










 
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JWFokker

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Maybe you got a faulty player? I can't imagine so many headfiers have listened to it and liked it over the lower end of the line and it's high end predecessors. That said, I've heard it but wasn't amazed. It's not THAT much better than the bottom of the line D-NE3xx. A bit more refined but is it worth 4x-5x more? I don't think so.
 
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Ubijza

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hifiboom:
Was it a European(ie capped at 1,5mW) DNE20?

I have too say that i agree with ALL of your points, although I have not heard the DNE10 line and can't compare the two... My US DNE920 sounds a bit synthetic to me( and my another guy I know from these forums who also has got one - doussia1), and a bit flat, dull, and ... overall unimpressive(compared to my D211 and D303 and also my little brothers cheapo Sony DEJ360
)

I will hold on to my DNE920 untill i get Shure E4 phones for the ultimate judgement though...
D211 blows DNE20/920 CLEAN out of the water - with ANY phones, there is no doubt about that


PS i think I'll be converting to iPod/X5
 
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Zweroboi

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I agree with you Ubiza, synthetic and (almost) lifeless dne920 is. I have sold my unit a month ago.
 
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hifiboom

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Ahh, its the Worldwide version, I think made for US but not sure, bought it from Singapore.

Just did a compare of the D-NE20 line-out and my soundcard optical out into my AMP, and both seemed to sound very equal. (with same music) Although the line-out is much quieter than a normal line_out. I do not have the best setup......but my cantons quickly show bad sound.... So line out is a bit better. Maybe its the low volume. From my point of view the d-amp cannot hold enough power at higher volume and distorts/weakens at bass and treble sound quality......
Whats your experience?

I`ll wait now for Tuesday when I get the D-211 and will burn two Redbook Cds for comparing the headphone audio qualiy of both devices.

So I got two devices : One for hearing music
and one for features. LOL Stupid


 
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hifiboom

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Zweroboi
......synthetic and (almost) lifeless dne920 is.


hey Zweroboi, did you recognized that your sentence sound like one from Yoda(the one in star Wars)
hahahah
 
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titaniumx3

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Quote:

Originally Posted by hifiboom
hey Zweroboi, did you recognized that your sentence sound like one from Yoda(the one in star Wars)
hahahah



LOL, that was funny, an overdose of star wars I guess?


I totally agree though. If the D-NE20 sounds anything like my 1.5 mW D-NE10 then it definitely sounds lifeless. I think the main culprit is the 1.5mW amp, it just seems to suck the life out of the sound. I mean, I'd rather cutdown the battery life by 50% and have better SQ. Also with the top end discmans, sony only use one battery stick; why not use two? (I'm pretty sure theres enough space to fit 2 battery sticks on the D-NE10)
 
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hifiboom

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Quote:

Originally Posted by titaniumx3
LOL, that was funny, an overdose of star wars I guess?


I totally agree though. If the D-NE20 sounds anything like my 1.5 mW D-NE10 then it definitely sounds lifeless. I think the main culprit is the 1.5mW amp, it just seems to suck the life out of the sound. I mean, I'd rather cutdown the battery life by 50% and have better SQ. Also with the top end discmans, sony only use one battery stick; why not use two? (I'm pretty sure theres enough space to fit 2 battery sticks on the D-NE10)



Stars has come to cinema here in Germany 3 days ago, but I haven`t seen it yet.

Its a must....

Back to topic:

I`m sure my D-NE700 was the same line as the D-NE10 and has same soundquality. Man, if the D-NE10 sounds like the D-NE700 it sounds much cleaner and better than the D-NE20.
I was happy with the soundquality of the D-NE700, it wasn`t the best but could easily offer a good resolution and depth on treble sounds, good mids, a little bit lag in bass.

For me bass is not sooo important as the treble, high resolution.

With good treble sound you can listen to a film soundtrack and easily hear the different instruments, the strings, the snares,.....
Of course it is nice if you get a superbe bass hit..
But I hate bassy sound without treble resolution.....every track is loosing the "swing" without detailed highs.

My favorite Test disc is "We were soldiers"-OST, which is classical film music. While the film was quite a piece of crap, ehehe,I like the OST very much and it easily spots the strength of ay audio device.
 
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Ubijza

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So to sum it up:
In my impression Sony has completely lost it - their famous portable audio equipment can no longer be admired for the SQ, only the artistic design of their products has stayed stellar. The lack in sound quality depratment seems to carry through all of their *recent* portable devices - PCDPs, HDPs, FlashPs, (don't know about their MDPs, but I've heard that Sharp's "Auvi" is the leader there)...
I am not bying any more SONYs
 
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hifiboom

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Ubijza
So to sum it up:
In my impression Sony has completely lost it - their famous portable audio equipment can no longer be admired for the SQ, only the artistic design of their products has stayed stellar. The lack in sound quality depratment seems to carry through all of their *recent* portable devices - PCDPs, HDPs, FlashPs, (don't know about their MDPs, but I've heard that Sharp's "Auvi" is the leader there)...
I am not bying any more SONYs



hard words ... true

sadly there are no good sylish alternatives on the PCDP market, Pansonic?
 
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hifiboom

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Okay now I got my used D-211, which at least did work one day... LOL

I copied 2 different audiocds and compared soundquality between the two, and Yes there is a little difference between the two but it is very subtle difference and not very big.

The D-NE20 performance is not that bad, as I thought, the D211 has a little more pressure in bass response, and the highs seem a little more clean. But its not THAT BIG difference I thought and may differ with other headphones.


Now I have to get some better headphones, maybe the Ethmonics ER-6i.

PS: The D211 does somethimes read the discs and manytimes not. If it is reading, it does play the disc fines....... 60€ bye bye
 
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MdRex

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You mean that your impressions were coming from test with the stock buds?
 
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hifiboom

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Quote:

Originally Posted by MdRex
You mean that your impressions were coming from test with the stock buds?



ah no I have 6 headphones ..... and I don`t wanna walk around with my Koss Pro4 AAA


I tested all, but different headphones sound different on different amps, so its really really difficult to say something about the soundquality....

And believe me it did so much A/B testing that I thought I get crazy....!!!


Sometimes I found differences to my amps headphones out and when I compared it to the D211 I did not found too much difference.
D211 has little better bass presence and is litlle cleaner at the highs, but the Sony NE20 does not sound that bad at all.

But I need even better phones to hear if there is much more differnence and as I want to stay using the D-NE20 as main player, real good headphones will not be a bad investment, also if I sell the D-NE20 after that....

they will improve any portable player...
 
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Ubijza

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SACRILIGE!
hehe But we'll give a bit more time for comparisons


No honestly, every person that I gave the two (211 and 920) to compare, everyone has said the same thing: WOW! D211 is FAR better!..


The highs on DNE20/920 are "synthesised", where as the triangles, sax, piano etc sound much more lifelike on D211. The base is quite a bit tighter on D211... oh it almost feels like the resolution of 211 is something like 50% higher in every register...

Quote:

The D211 does somethimes read the discs and manytimes not. If it is reading, it does play the disc fines....... 60€ bye bye


I had the same problem with my first D211 and CDRs (you can read my posts on the matter in the discman repair DIY thread).

EDIT: Beautifull pictures in your review BTW
DNE20 is a real looker - no doubt about that... Great example of "great form and poor substance"
 
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hifiboom

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Ubijza
SACRILIGE!
hehe But we'll give a bit more time for comparisons


No honestly, every person that I gave the two (211 and 920) to compare, everyone has said the same thing: WOW! D211 is FAR better!..


The highs on DNE20/920 are "synthesised", where as the triangles, sax, piano etc sound much more lifelike on D211. The base is quite a bit tighter on D211... oh it almost feels like the resolution of 211 is something like 50% higher in every register...


I had the same problem with my first D211 and CDRs (you can read my posts on the matter in the discman repair DIY thread).

EDIT: Beautifull pictures in your review BTW
DNE20 is a real looker - no doubt about that... Great example of "great form and poor substance"




The D211 now does not read any disc anymore. LOL

*****


sounds good but doesn`t work anymore...mhhhh It also doesn`t read bought disc, on which site of the repair thread will I find something?



Now to the D-NE20

I now routed the D-NE20 headphone output into my mixer pult and compared it with the lineout of my better end analog output of my terratec soundcard which has a very linear frequency response.

I now used better Sonys and Koss headphones to compare. I need the mixer because the Koss only has a 6,5 input ( no screw tpye )

If I would give ratíngs:
Soundcard 1-
Sony D211 2+
Sony D-NE20 3+

It is not that bad sounding, but has some negative aspects, but considering 10x more times of listening time and alll the other comfort you get it is a well designed walkman with average sound quality......( my first statement : sound is totally crap is not right.....)
 
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