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After the disappointing revelation the NW-A105 (with Android) doesn't support 24bit streaming through 3rd party apps, I figured a 'downgrade' to the A55 would still be a solid tactical move, thanks to the inclusion of the LDAC Bluetooth Receiver. This 'new' feature, previously included on the ZX300, basically let's you stream 24bit audio from your phone to the A55 in up to 990kbps.
But that's about all it does.
Compare the A55 to the Fiio M9 and the differences are night and day.
A55 * Proprietary USB connection * No WiFi * Very low output * Proprietary DAC serving both channels
Fiio M9 * USB-C connection * WiFi AND LDAC Bluetooth receiver * High output on the 3.5mm jack PLUS a 2.5mm balanced connection. * Dual AK4490EN DAC - one for each channel
I picked up the M9 for an extra fiver compared to the A55 - and returned the A55 in just a day of testing...Disappointing effort from Sony
2020 and a touchscreen mp3 that you can't search on... even my old trusty NWZA-15 A allowed search by first letter... with hundreds of albums to scroll though it's a poor interface experience imo. Sounds great but the over all experience is certainly compromised for me.
Following a bit more use another odd feature, maybe it's just me, but you can turn the Bluetooth receiver on from the main screen, it has it's own dedicated icon, but to turn the Bluetooth transmitter on you have to navigate through the settings menu... I personally can't think of many occasions when I'll want the device to receive rather than transmit via Bluetooth and would have preferred these functions to be the other way around, or to add the transmit to the front screen too, seems to be plenty of room to do so.
Im Grunde ein toller Player wie ich ihn lange gesucht habe. Gute Menüführung, intuitiv zu bedienen und sehr kompakt. Der Klang ist super und Bluetooth hat er auch. Damit kommen wir auch schon zum Schwachpunkt. Bei der Verbindung mit einer Bluetooth-Box, lässt sich die Lautstärke nicht am Player regeln. Bei manchen soll es funktionieren, bei meinen (u.a. Amazon Echo) leider nicht. Ist ein altbekanntes Problem bei Sony Player, was leider nicht abgestellt wird. Wollte ihn deshalb eigentlich zurückschicken, zumal die angegebene Akkulaufzeit von bis zu 45h nicht mal ansatzweise stimmt. Nach 8-10h ist der Akku leer.
Ich habe ihn trotzdem behalten, da er eine 512 GB Speicherkarte problemlos erkannt hat und das Aktualisieren der Datenbank nach dem Ändern am PC für so eine große Datenmenge relativ schnell geht. Auch das Menü ohne großen Schnickschnack hat mich überzeugt.
Wenn das Problem mit dem Bluetooth behoben würde, könnte ich über den schwächeren Akku hinweg sehen und würde auch 5 Sterne geben.
I wanted to love this and use it for all my listening on the move.
The sound is impressive but in my opinion the equaliser which has a 60Hz lowest preset does not allow the bass to be boosted enough. Philistine - I hear you say!!
I bought the 15th Anniversary Cassette Walkman EX1 in '94 - still works and the sound is full and rich, smooth and bassy (for cassettes). Although the HiRes player here makes the music sound sharp and clear - it just does not have the warmth and richness I am looking for. It could even be describes as slightly harsh. If you already own it and you are not happy - try buying some bassy earphones. The Sennheiser's HD460 and even my Bose NC35 just cannot do enough to save it.
The advantage over my Sony XZ1 smartphone: the NW-A55L can output a much higher volume, especially if you use the Rockbox SonyNWDestTool to change the firmware region and disable the EU volume limiter (also re-enables the built in FM Radio). But that's it. Everything else is worse than the same manufacturer's smartphones. The output impedance of the headphone socket is clearly far too high as it kills the sound quality of multi balanced armature earphones, turning them from precision wonders into muddy thumpers or thin, anaemic raspers depending on their design. It works OK with headphones which don't sound different according to output impedance, but none of them sound great, just louder than out of a smartphone. Other disappointments: the Sony is a database based player with touchscreen input but has no search! You can't simply search for a title/album/composer/performer despite all this info being there.....doh! No random folder advance or random album advance. You can add tracks to a playlist but not whole albums. All the sound & EQ settings only make the sound worse, and I say this as someone with good headphones and IEMs (HiFiMan, Shure, Massdrop/Drop, Koss, Sennheiser) and even a pair of fully compatible Sony Noise Cancelling earbuds which are OK with this device but not great in terms of audio quality or noise cancelling.
Plus points: plenty of power! It will drive my HiFiMan planars. It does true gapless playback with flac. It plays back all my flacs whether 16 or 24 bit, 44.1/48/88.2/96/192kHz. It's tiny, about a quarter or a third the size of a modern smartphone and very tiny compared to old hard drive based players like iPod, iRiver, Cowon etc. It has huge battery life. It has physical buttons that are where you might expect them to be and do what you expect them to do.
It's a beautiful piece of design and obviously very nicely made. But it's a dedicated HiFi player which doesn't sound better than a good smartphone and doesn't have the software to let you enjoy a large music collection as you might like.
So I'm sending it back for a refund and have put my 1TB microsd back in my huge, ugly, clunking old LG V20 to use as a dedicated audio device. Sony got so close, but no cigar.
Cannot fault Sony on sound quality. Bluetooth capabilities is where this player falls way below par. When I could get it to recognise and pair with another device, getting it to connect was futile! When it did connect, once switched off, would not connect again without manually selecting other device from menu. I also feel the processor is not up to much. It struggled to build a data base with only a few Gbs of music on a micro sd card. Faulty unit? I don’t know for sure... I have sent back for a refund.
Much better construction and richer sound than Sandisk MP3 players but obviously much more expensive. Battery life good but I don't think it's anywhere close to 45 hours and I'm using old fashioned in-ear headphones with NFC etc., turned off. Bought with £50 off on Prime Day, still think it was a tad overpriced at that level, if it's still working in 5-10 years time it will be a bit more justified.
As others have noted it takes a bit of time to boot up when first turned on 'building playlist' which is a bit annoying, when I don't have a lot of music on there.
After spending a few hours listening to music with this Walkman and comparing it with FLAC music files that's on my Samsung Galaxy Note 9, there's no real difference at all in sound quality whilst I was playing it in by car over Bluetooth. The Walkman's software is dated at 2018 and there are no more updates for it. I have returned it as I feel it's a waste of money for what I want but overall the music quality does sound very good.
Dispositivo dal bel design, buoni materiali, e qualità costruttiva, software del dispositivo valido (lo preferisco ad Android dei modelli superiori), ma il software di interfacciamento con il PC migliorabile (iTines è un altro pianeta), l’unica pecca del dispositivo è il volume, perché anche disattivando l’AVLS, la qualità dell’output determinata dall’amplicazione interna non è propriamente soddisfacente, anche perché con l’aumentare del volume verso gli alti regimi si creano delle ovvie distorsioni che alterano la qualità audio. Ovviamente non ci si può aspettare chissà che amplificatore interno da un minuscolo dispositivo come questo, però c’è da chiedersi che senso ha produrre e vendere un minuscolo device con queste compatte dimensioni per l’hi-res quando poi l’amplificazione offerta non permette una qualità audio soddisfacente. Sarebbe gradito (dalle descrizione commerciale) consigliare quale impedenza di cuffie utilizzare (ad esempio un range di 25-32 ohms), perché ho letto domande dei clienti con risposte clamorosamente errate, come addirittura sostenere che cuffie da 150 o addirittura 250 ohms funzionano bene con questo dispositivo. Oppure offrire consigli con le specs per l’acquisto di un amplificatore esterno