The Official Sony NW-WM1Z/ NW-WM1A Flagship DAP (Live From IFA 2016)

Discussion in 'Portable Source Gear' started by thatonenoob, Sep 1, 2016.
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  1. thatonenoob
    The Sony NW-WM1Z/ NW-WM1A
    Step Aside, NW-ZX2
    A Table of Contents

    1. Design/ Philosophy Notes (Directly Below)​
    2. Transcription of Technical Interview (Internal Link)​
    3. General Impressions By This Author (Coming)​
    4. General Impressions by Other Members (Coming)​
    5. Event and Release Videos (Internal Link)​

    Links To Related Threads

    MDR-Z1R ​

    An Introduction From The Ground ​

    Hello all!  It’s thatonenoob here, A little while back, the Sony Singapore Team reached out to me, saying that they had a rather interesting proposition.  I figured that it was probably going to be something along the lines of a new product release, and was naturally quite curious.  A couple of calls and a few emails later, and I found myself booked for a flight to the 2016 IFA in Berlin.   As it is now slightly past 1:15 PM here in Berlin on September 1st, I’m finally able to discuss in an official capacity the immensely exciting new Sony Hi-Res lineup. I know there’s already been some “info” that has arrived beforehand from a Chinese (?) source, but by nature of things I won’t be commenting on that channel.  Rest assured though, everything you see here is official, so speculation begone!   
    Currently, the atmosphere here at the press conference is hectic and filled with a great deal of excitement, and in the coming hours I will be posting all my impressions, photos, and videos right here in this thread.  In short, I will be bringing the Sony experience directly to y’all Head-Fi’ers.  Stay tuned. Also, if you have questions, just let me know below, and if it can't already be answered I will try my best to make sure they do.
    ETA to Next Update
    I'll be rolling in updates as we go along.  I will eventually be posting the bulk of the the photos and videos in the coming day, and will be updating the threads as soon as I can.  Also, if you have questions, just let me know below, and if it can't already be answered I will try my best to make sure they do.

    Model Name
    Walkman® NW-WM1Z
    Hi-Res Audio Player
    Walkman® NW-WM1A
    Hi-Res Audio Player
    Hi-Res Audio
    Memory Size
    External Memory
    microSD, microSDHC, microSDXC
    Digital Amplifier
    S-Master HX™
    Audio Output
    4.4mm Balanced Standard Jack, 3.5mm Stereo Mini Jack
    Sound Character
    High quality, detailed, natural acoustics
    High quality, detailed sound
    Gold-plated Oxygen-Free Copper Chassis (Purity 99.96%)
    Aluminum Chassis
    Internal Wiring
    4-wire Braided Cable Engineered with KIMBER KABLE®
    Oxygen-Free Copper (OFC) Cable
    Sound Register
    Fine Sound Register
    MELF Register
    Power Supply
    FT CAP (High polymer capacitor)
    Output Power
    (JEITA 16Ω/mW)
    Balanced standard-jack: 240mW+240mW
    Stereo mini-jack: 60mW+60mW
    Display Size, Resolution
    4.0-inch with new user interface, FWVGA(854 x 480 Pixels)
    Bluetooth® v4.2 (SBC, LDAC)
    Sound Enhancements
    DSEE HX™, Dynamic Normalizer, DC Phase Linearizer, 10Band equalizer / Tone control, Direct Source
    Battery Life
    Approx. 33hr (MP3 128kbps); 26 hr (FLAC 192kHz/24 bit);
    15hr (DSD 2.8MHz/1bit); 11hr (DSD 11.2MHz/1bit)
    USB Charging Time
    Approx. 7 hr
    Supported Formats
    MP3, WMA, FLAC, Linear PCM, AAC, HE-AAC, Apple Lossless, AIFF,
    DSD Native (up to 11.2MHz)
    Dimensions  (WxHxD)
    Approx. 72.9 x 124.2 x 19.9mm
    Approx. 455g
    Approx. 267g
    Supplied Accessory
    Leather case

    USD Prices (Projected For Asia)​

    WM1Z - 3199
    WM1A - 1199
    ZH1ES - 2199
    Z1R - 2199
    1000X - 399


    Design/ Philosophy

    Key Features
    There's several key aspects of the DAP:
    1. New DSD Native Support (11.2 MHz)
    2. S-Master HX, SEE HX, and LDAC
    3. 256 GB Internal Memory (Gold), 128 GB Internal Memory (Black)
    4. New FT Cap, strengthening power supply
    5. Optimized substrate layout - Improved SNR
    6. 30 Hours Playback w/ Hi-Res Audio

    Currently, there are two new Sony DAPs.  The NW-WM1Z represents the TOTL DAP offering from Sony, while the NW-WM1A represents the more conventional and slightly more price-conscious option.  Primary differences between the two models are the internal memory size (Z has 256 GB, A has 128 GB).  This is inline with the Sony tradition of providing a decently sized internal memory storage option.  The WM1Z is made from a solid OFC ingot w/ a gold-plated copper chassis for high-stiffness and low-contact resistance.  According to Sony this makes for more “pure high notes and more powerful, clear bass notes”.  I expect there will be comments from both sides regarding this point.  The WM1A uses an aluminum chassis.   The internal wiring of the WM1Z is  a 4 wire braid collaboration w/ Kimber Kable.  The WM1A uses OFC cable instead. Last but not least the WM1Z is going to come in at a very solid 0.5 kg, whereas the WM1A is going to weigh in at a more conservative 0.25 kg.  
    It would seem that this time around, output power on the DAP has been a focus, especially after what occurred with the NW-ZX2.  Sony reps confirmed that this was an issue they understood, and were looking into it.  I am glad that they are hearing the community's requests in that sense.  However, the output impedance once again seemed to be a point of contention.  Sony engineers did not feel that it affected sound.  When asked they provided this figure instead: 250 mW into 16 ohms.  Also worth noting, the device cannot be played while connected to a USB port, and will not be able to function as an external DAC/Amp (charging or not).  It seems that high quality components are a focus.  S-Master has not been fully explained yet, and the DAC chip remains a proprietary secret.  If you watch the technical interview, you can tell that several of us were trying to wrap our heads around what was behind the really fancy systems. Sony has said that they will send out more info about its operation. Perhaps the best thing though is the native DSD support.  That, I am sure, will be a highlight for Sony fans.
  2. thatonenoob
    Technical Interview

    Our extremely interesting technical interview with the Sony Engineers.  It's got quite a bit of everything, and I've more or less kept track of the conversation via a numbered list of captions.  We had some issues with the translation, and I think I will elaborate more.  Some of the initial concern was that the press info was not as technical as some may have liked. We also didn't have a technical ready translator on hand (i.e. engineer trained etc.) Last, it was rapid fire style as we did not have all that much time. To me, it was still informative, and despite not being too smooth something I'd still like to share.
    General Impressions By The Author

    Definitely Interesting
    The NW-WM1Z/A is a very loud design.  From a purely aesthetic standpoint, the NW-ZX2 looks better to me.  I get that the DAP is supposed to resemble a solid block of metal, but it's really quite big.  And if you got the NW-WM1Z, it's also incredibly heavy  However, the rounded edges work immensely well in the DAP's favor, and are much better in the hand than AK players. The buttons are huge and tactile, but feel very solid (not flimsy at all). The only thing that troubles me is that there are a lot of buttons, and not exactly far apart.   So if in pocket-operation is something, then this will have to be a consideration.  Apart from that, I'm not a fan of the gold, but that's just me.  I prefer a more understated player in general.  
    The connections were fairly reassuring, and I get the sense that the ports/ jacks were made to last.  It's also really good to see that the Micro SD card slot has been covered to protect it from dust and the like.  Personally, I would like to have 2 expansion slots instead of one.  Which brings me to the next point - I like that Sony has once again brought back large internal memory.   It's convenient and friendly.  However, I would also have liked to see both units are equipped with 256 GB of memory.  The UI is a dream, and has been well optimized to suit music playback.  At least on the version I tried (and I'm not sure if it is going to be like this for production), things were smooth and there was not much bloat.  Now, I didn't bring a low impedance, or particularly sensitive earphone to test this player (you'll see the ER4 in the photos), so I can't comment on the extent to which the noise floor concerns from previous DAPs has been resolved.  It is heartening to see more output power though.  Sound wise, I felt that the player had good body and that it struck a nice mix of richness and air.  Overall, I can't wait to have it in for review.

    Unboxing Video

    It's nice...possibly therapeutic.  ​
    earfonia and proedros like this.
  3. thatonenoob
    Member Impressions/ Reviews

    Here I will try to compile impressions/ reviews from members as well as external sources.  Feel free to just drop me a PM if you would like to be linked to in this section.  I sometimes have difficulty keeping up with all the thread posts.  Thanks!
    1. Headpie Impressions by Mimouille
    2. What Hifi Impressions
    3. Phileweb Review by 
      Tadashi Yamanouchi​
       (in Japanese)
    Event and Release Videos

    The Official Sony Press Video for the NW-WM1Z/ NW-WM1A.​
  4. deafdoorknob
    android? with wi-fi?
  5. goyete
    What Android versión?
  6. deafdoorknob
    not android. - confirmed by this article :/
    (use google translate)
  7. leylandi
  8. goyete
    The standard Walkman doesn't have internal Kimber Kable cords... You can see it in the photos of Sony Spain:
  9. goyete
    And Sony Spain days original SO is Sony for the standard Walkman. For the gold version it says Android plataform...
  10. goody
  11. Sound Eq
  12. Soundsgoodtome
  13. NPWS
    very interesting with this dap
  14. Zaroff
  15. LajostheHun
    Gold version is $3200, the Black is $1200
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