SONY NW-WM1Z / WM1A
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So just some 100% clear. The Sony WM1A/Z doesn't allow for a digital out or a balanced line level out to connect to an external system? Is it strictly a headphone/IEM device? My plan was hoping to use with my home 2-channel pre/amp setup with or without the dock, I just not 100% sure on using the 4.4mm output to input my preamp via dual XLR. I really don't like the idea of double amping. Sure I could always purchase a Sony HAP-Z1ES, but why? If the WM1A/Z could theoretically do the same thing.
I am using 1Z 3.5 mm out to 2 RCA to tube Preamp and tube amp.
Sound very good with Magnepan 3.7i
As good as CD player to PA to Amp.
 
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Quasimodosbelfry

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I keep hearing people say that the 1A/Z can't handle a line out and attempting to do so will result in crappy sound due to double amping.

However this seems to be a gross oversight on the part of Sony and I can't imagine this is so. Others have pointed out that you can put an analog signal out through the 3.5SE to an RCA and that works, and it's apparently even documented somewhere. This is the method I use to connect my 1A to my WA7 and it works fine. I've seen someone explain that this is due to some magic of electronic engineering which I'm not smart enough to understand.

Can we put this to bed once and for all? Is it documented or not? And surely others have done it and it's worked well for them?
 
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Whitigir

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I have always said this, the Wm1A/Z is an excellent analog source from both 4.4mm or 3.5mm
 
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ryaneagon

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I keep hearing people say that the 1A/Z can't handle a line out and attempting to do so will result in crappy sound due to double amping.

However this seems to be a gross oversight on the part of Sony and I can't imagine this is so. Others have pointed out that you can put an analog signal out through the 3.5SE to an RCA and that works, and it's apparently even documented somewhere. This is the method I use to connect my 1A to my WA7 and it works fine. I've seen someone explain that this is due to some magic of electronic engineering which I'm not smart enough to understand.

Can we put this to bed once and for all? Is it documented or not? And surely others have done it and it's worked well for them?
This is great info. I’m asking because I won’t receive my WM1Z until next week to test, also I’m interested in others opinions. I’m trying to get as much info as possible for options. Cheers!
 
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bflat

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Here are the potential problems with double amping and why it’s irrelevant for most portable headphone devices:

Short version - Think of your Sony DAP as a variable line out device in the same mould as portable Chord DACs.

1) Obvious distortion and clipping

Line out spec is generally 2.1 - 2.5V. If your source outputs more than that, then you risk exceeding the line in spec of your amp and that could create obvious distortion and clipping. For most portable headphone devices like the Sony DAP, the max output voltage for SE is about 2V. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the official Sony specs, but based on my experience using the SE out to my KSE1200 amp, I’m pretty sure it is around 2V. Even so, most modern amps can accept higher input voltages so this is even less of an issue. As another data point, the default line out voltage for Chord products is 3V. Obviously if you tried double amping with speaker amps, your would most definitely run into this problem.

2) Input voltage too low, therefore increasing the noise floor of the amp

This assumes your amp’s noise floor increases with output volume. Some amps do, better amps don’t. If your input voltage is too low, then you have to crank up the amplification level of your amp, thus raising your noise floor. But for portable headphone devices like the Sony DAP, you have a volume control that can raise your output voltage. Even better, if your output voltage is around 2V, then just set your volume level to 100% and don’t worry about it.

3) Double amping doubles the noise and distortions

Technically this is true. Your net noise and distortions (SNR, THD, etc) is the sum of both amps so more than the individual amps. But ask yourself this - is there any line out source in the world that has zero noise and distortions? Of course not. Unfortunately again, I cannot find the official Sony specs, but I am willing to bet that the headphone out of the WM1a/z measures as good or better than many pure DACs in the same price range. If anyone can confirm this even better.

4) The measurements

All manufacturers post their specs in the most ideal scenario which is no load. Line inputs are universally high impedance in the order of thousands or tens of thousands of ohms. That is basically no current flow and no load. Whatever the Sony DAP measurements are, you will get those when used as a line out source. The same DAP connected to a headphone will meaure worse especially with IEMs that require high load due to low impedance. Want to see a speaker amp literally catch on fire? Connect a home amp to car speakers in parallel that drops impedance to 0.5 ohms.

5) Other considerations

For the SE out, just get a simple dual RCA to 3.5mm adapter. For balanced it’s a little more tricky. I don’t believe Sony DAPs use the 5th rung ground on the 4.4mm jack. Assuming that’s true, you need to know if your XLR balanced uses the 3rd pin for chassis ground. If it doesn’t, then it’s a simple 4.4mm to dual XLR adapter. If 3rd pin is used, you will need to connect ground to something on the Sony DAP. Usually that would be the common ground on the 3.5mm jack, but I would want to confirm that with Sony first. If you don’t close the ground, you will likely get ground noise.
 
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So just some 100% clear. The Sony WM1A/Z doesn't allow for a digital out or a balanced line level out to connect to an external system? Is it strictly a headphone/IEM device? My plan was hoping to use with my home 2-channel pre/amp setup with or without the dock, I just not 100% sure on using the 4.4mm output to input my preamp via dual XLR. I really don't like the idea of double amping. Sure I could always purchase a Sony HAP-Z1ES, but why? If the WM1A/Z could theoretically do the same thing.
I recently tried using the 1Z with the dock to Cambridge Audio DacMagic Plus USB and it didn’t work, nor using the dongle and USB.

I also tried to go mini-USB (with dongle) out to a FiiO E17K Alpen 2 to use as an external DAC and it didn’t work.

So i’d think it’s safe to say the dock or dongle isn’t always going to get the 1A/1Z to be a digital transport out for a DAC. Though there is a couple of Sony products that are documented to work; including the TA DAC/amp.

Also be aware there are 4.4mm plugs that don’t seems to be what they are advertised to be on EBay. There are no 4.4mm to 2X RCA cables which exist. Though maybe 4.4mm to dual XLR could be found. Your probibly best going directly to a power amp for speakers with 3.5mm to 2X RCA and turning the volume up and power on after it’s all ajoined; that way you avoid double amping.
 
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Quasimodosbelfry

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Your probibly best going directly to a power amp for speakers with 3.5mm to 2X RCA and turning the volume up and power on after it’s all ajoined; that way you avoid double amping.
Hang on a sec.
While this is exactly what I do and I get great results from it, isn't this "double amping"? And it's supposedly bad?
And I can understand that in all other DAPs, this would be a no-no, but I'm pretty sure it's been discussed in this thread that Sony had documented that the engineers had designed the 1A/Z to be able to handle this function without the distortions associated with double amping.

Ooh, me head hurts. I'm gonna go sit down and listen to some.music, me thinks.
 
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Quasimodosbelfry

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I recently tried using the 1Z with the dock to Cambridge Audio DacMagic Plus USB and it didn’t work, nor using the dongle and USB.

I also tried to go mini-USB (with dongle) out to a FiiO E17K Alpen 2 to use as an external DAC and it didn’t work.

So i’d think it’s safe to say the dock or dongle isn’t always going to get the 1A/1Z to be a digital transport out for a DAC. Though there is a couple of Sony products that are documented to work; including the TA DAC/amp.

Also be aware there are 4.4mm plugs that don’t seems to be what they are advertised to be on EBay. There are no 4.4mm to 2X RCA cables which exist. Though maybe 4.4mm to dual XLR could be found. Your probibly best going directly to a power amp for speakers with 3.5mm to 2X RCA and turning the volume up and power on after it’s all ajoined; that way you avoid double amping.
This is great info. I’m asking because I won’t receive my WM1Z until next week to test, also I’m interested in others opinions. I’m trying to get as much info as possible for options. Cheers!
Get a screen protector and a leather, or silicon, case. You're all set.
My 1A is by my side all day, hanging from my bag. It's my go-to source and great for walking about.
 
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Hang on a sec.
While this is exactly what I do and I get great results from it, isn't this "double amping"? And it's supposedly bad?
And I can understand that in all other DAPs, this would be a no-no, but I'm pretty sure it's been discussed in this thread that Sony had documented that the engineers had designed the 1A/Z to be able to handle this function without the distortions associated with double amping.

Ooh, me head hurts. I'm gonna go sit down and listen to some.music, me thinks.
0B75820A-84B5-47E1-8D90-2EA80C8DAF4C.jpeg


Typically this would be an edgy thing to do. I have a power amp at my Uncles house so I can’t test it where I am. But.......a true power amp is not going to have a preamp in it. You join them with preamps. And it’s not double amping as far as I know because the 1/A 1/Z is the preamp.

Maybe the better definition is your not using two volume controls.
 
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It is still double amp, but we do not need to worry about it as the output is good and if we do we will not able to enjoy listening from it because of thinking of the technicalities. I am using my WM1A using 3.5mm to 2X RCA into Cayin 265ai Class A amp when I still have my home setup with good results
 
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A connecting to a naim pre 3.5/rca works like a charm
I wish i had a remote app to make it a true streamer
Sp1000 is far better in that
 
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Quasimodosbelfry

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A connecting to a naim pre 3.5/rca works like a charm
I wish i had a remote app to make it a true streamer
Sp1000 is far better in that
What kinda app? For it to stream music to another room or something?
 
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purk

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I'm using my 1Z with XLR out to a SuSy Dynalo amplifier with a great result!
 
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It is still double amp, but we do not need to worry about it as the output is good and if we do we will not able to enjoy listening from it because of thinking of the technicalities. I am using my WM1A using 3.5mm to 2X RCA into Cayin 265ai Class A amp when I still have my home setup with good results
Yes, but your still using two volume controls. It all comes down to what sound you enjoy and what works. Hooking the 1Z with a 3.5mm to 2X RCA to my Asgard One sounded horrible. And the Asgard and Sony TA are relatively the same level of power. But bypassing one volume control and going digitally into the the TA amp is another world.

Two volume controls are truly not optimal and never have been. Unless your this guy?
80964AC1-F79A-4AD7-B1EC-E73B19A43516.jpeg
 
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