Sony NWZ-ZX1 - 35th Walkman Anniversary model
Nov 19, 2014 at 8:41 PM Post #6,496 of 7,687

OK-Guy

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Purk... could you please tell me what the sound improvements you are getting with the PHA-3 over the PHA-2... I know there a balanced-hp sockets but are you still limited to hi-res/DSD for DAC use via the ZX1 or can you now use all formats?... cheers in advance.
 
Nov 20, 2014 at 9:49 PM Post #6,497 of 7,687

Anthony1

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Ive managed to read the last 200 pages and if its been mentioned I apologise in advance. In relation to amping this DAP
 
* Does the ZX1 have a noisy 3.5 line out and do you get hi res FLACs playing this way
* Does the WM LOD allow high res line out.
 
Always interested in a decent DAP that I can externally amp/DAC, brick stack for transportable listening.
 
Nov 21, 2014 at 2:38 AM Post #6,498 of 7,687

purk

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  Purk... could you please tell me what the sound improvements you are getting with the PHA-3 over the PHA-2... I know there a balanced-hp sockets but are you still limited to hi-res/DSD for DAC use via the ZX1 or can you now use all formats?... cheers in advance.

In general, the PHA-3 has a slightly warmer tonality and more refined presentation compared to the PHA-2.  The bass on the PHA-3 goes deeper and has better definition & volume compared to the PHA-2.  The presentation on the PHA-3 is more 3-D with better depth & width as well as better imaging.  You are more "there" compared to its lesser sibling.  The PHA-2 does a good job driving easy to drive full-size cans but struggle with my Sennheiser HD800.  The PHA-3 does a really good job with easier to drive full-size phones such as my Qualia 010, but still I don't think it has enough power to really drive my HD800 properly.      
 
Nov 21, 2014 at 10:03 AM Post #6,499 of 7,687

OK-Guy

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Ive managed to read the last 200 pages and if its been mentioned I apologise in advance. In relation to amping this DAP
 
* Does the ZX1 have a noisy 3.5 line out and do you get hi res FLACs playing this way
* Does the WM LOD allow high res line out.
 
Always interested in a decent DAP that I can externally amp/DAC, brick stack for transportable listening.

 
the ZX1's headphone out is noise free... yes you can play hi-res/DSD that way using headphones or into a Amp..
the WM-Lod allows you to play hi-res/DSD into a Amp.
 
Nov 21, 2014 at 10:05 AM Post #6,500 of 7,687

OK-Guy

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cheers for your thoughts Purk, appreciated... I might have a little tickle on the PHA-3 in the new year...
beerchug.gif
 
 
Nov 22, 2014 at 3:34 AM Post #6,502 of 7,687

purk

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  Does this Walkman support ClearAudio+ when playing a HIGH-RESOLUTION file? The NWZ-A17 only does on Redbook files. Also, how does this compare in sound to the A17?

The ZX1 has better and more powerful sound compared to the my A17.  The basic sound signature is the same between the two players, but the ZX1 is more powerful in the bass region with better dynamics.  The A17 is noticeably leaner sounding compared to the ZX1.  Still, the A17 to my ears sound great especially considering its size, storage capacity, battery life, and price, it is a good deal IMO.
 
Note that if you like a lot of bass and own difficult to drive phones, the A17 may not be for you.  With my A17, I found it to be a really good match with my JH13 pro.
 
Nov 22, 2014 at 6:00 AM Post #6,503 of 7,687

vilhelm44

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I have a PHA-2 coming in the post (thanks P). In the meantime and out of curiosity as I've never used an amp before I picked up the Fiio E12. I notice some hiss when turning it on, with the gain on and off, no bass boost and crossfeed off. I'm using the Fiio L5 to connect to the amp with JH13 Pros.
 
Is this a usual thing to happen as I thought the noise floor was pretty decent on the amp or should there be hiss? I'm guessing there is no way to reduce it?
 
The amp makes a nice difference to the sound, the details are clearer and the bass is more upfront and tight. Can't wait to see what the PHA-2 is like :).
 
Nov 22, 2014 at 6:46 AM Post #6,504 of 7,687

salanos

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Just finished setting up my ZX1. I'm wondering if anyone else here using Poweramp can give their input on whether it works better with or without DVC?


Besides that, definitely a very pretty looking player. Compared to my older F806 from two years ago I'd say it's warmer and more organic sounding. The F806 sounds more 'full', to me, but also more digital and cold. More analytical, I guess.
 
Nov 22, 2014 at 3:33 PM Post #6,506 of 7,687

salanos

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So I have to ask would you say this player is worth the price tag, based on sound quality alone?  

I'm no definitive authority seeing as I haven't gone through many players besides my previous Walkmans or smartphones/tablets, especially in this price range - the ZX1 is my first such "enthusiast level DAP", since I don't have the greens for getting too deep into this hobby.

But asking me whether I would buy the ZX1 purely on sound quality; no. It's definitely different from my two-years older F806, as I've outlined above, but whether that's better is a matter of pure taste. While I was demo-ing it at the store it was hard to be certain which was which when I asked a salesperson to sort of help me blind test, especially since i don't have a proper switch and the salesperson while well-intentioned tended to mess with the volume or accidentally change tracks.
What I was initially thinking was "better sounding" was actually my F806, since like I've said it sounds more 'full'. After some more listening to the ZX1 however after buying ... while it's not way ahead in an appreciable way like it is versus a typical smartphone, my judgement is that its bass is less emphasized, but its treble extension and sparkle is greater and more effortless, with stronger mids and more forward vocals, resulting in a warmer, brighter signature, versus the F806's colder, darker signature.

tl;dr
Compared to a phone, yeah - it's way better. Definitely excellent, clear and three-dimensional. Compared to the older Walkman, not way better, but certainly different. Compared to a cheaper F886, I don't know - I haven't listened to those.
The ZX1 drives the MDR-1Rmk2 fairly effortlessly and does well for (low impedance, at least) IEMs (I can't detect any hissing on my XBA-3), but I recall it didn't deliver much on the max volume with, say, higher-end cans like the MDR-Z7 I tried at the hi-res audio launch event.
So based on SQ alone not properly justifiable for my money (but I'm still a pleb.). But it has 128GB, (claims to) supports Hi-Res and its got faster system chipsets than my older player, which together with the SQ made it seem like a fine choice to spend on.
Mind you; I got it at a discount by trading in an even older Walkman.

Remember; SQ is a matter of personal taste - some even like the sound of clipping distortion caused by "low quality players". I for example like analytical sound and my choice of earphones/headphones are described as "cold as ice".
Also, well, I have other hobbies that are just as expensive as hi-fi, so ... unfortunately I reserve smaller amounts of money for splashing on audio gear.
 
Nov 22, 2014 at 4:31 PM Post #6,508 of 7,687

salanos

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How did you feel it did driving the Z7s?

Sadly, I can't remember clearly. That was a month ago and I only had a very brief opportunity. Furthermore, with demo tracks and not music of my own that I was familiar with.
But, I can say that it was still quite good. I can't be any more precise than that, I apologize.
 
Nov 22, 2014 at 9:01 PM Post #6,509 of 7,687

yakkosmurf

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Sadly, I can't remember clearly. That was a month ago and I only had a very brief opportunity. Furthermore, with demo tracks and not music of my own that I was familiar with.
But, I can say that it was still quite good. I can't be any more precise than that, I apologize.

No apologies necessary. More info than I had before. I'd like to get the Z7 this year, as I'd like to get some large headphones. Then get a PHA3 next year.
 
Nov 22, 2014 at 11:08 PM Post #6,510 of 7,687

AT1987

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I tried out my ZX1 with MDR-Z7 several times. I have a feeling that ZX1 hasn't enough power to drive the Z7. Bass has high impact but less sustain. The mid is dull. The treble is quite dark.
 
However when I used PHA-3. The sound of Z7 is now what it should be. Bass has more sustain. The mid is more clear and the treble has more detail.
 

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