Sony's Walkman ZX1 Growing in Popularity Despite $700 Price Tag

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Xenux

Although there aren't many choices out there, $700 is asking a bit too much for an audiophile grade portable. You can get a FiiO X5 for $349 on amazon. 24/192 playback with dual microSD cards for a total of 256gb of storage. Even after buying the sd cards which would set you back an additional $100 or so each you'd still be better off with the FiiO than this sony.

http://www.amazon.com/X5-Resolution-Lossless-Music-Player/dp/B00I4Q9S32/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1406100643&sr=8-5&keywords=Fiio#productDetails

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TeamShadowGPX44

Not bad but the Battery Life isn't good 12 to 15 HR and it weighs 1 lb

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Xenux

I'd gladly trade battery life and weight for twice the storage and a lower price.

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NavarWynn

... I thought the Ipod touch's battery performance qualified as 'good'... at 1/4-1/3 (at best) of 12-15 hrs?

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BrainFlush

This is sarcasm for those that don't know, yet I feel the need to say it: Has Japan not heard of a smartphone?

I get the audiophile aspect but lets be realistic here. Who would use this and where? How many devices must one have? Is this something you take to a party and show off to people by jacking into their $10k speakers?

Sorry but the media player era has died for me since the smartphone revolution, sure they may not have the power of this device but my $300 headphones can't tell.

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Xenux

Yeah I'm sure you can't tell and heres why. As far as I know the only 2 smartphones capable of 24/192 playback are the S5 and the sprint harmon kardon edition of the HTC M8. And even if you had one of those phones you'd still need either ripped SACDS/Vinyl FLAC or HDTRACKS downloads to fully benefit. AND even still you wouldn't take full advantage of your headphones without adding a portable amp. Then on top of all that yeah it just boils down to how good your ears are. I can think of quite a few headphones for the fraction of the cost of whatever you have that would suffice for lossy or 16/44 listening. Please tell me they aren't beats. lol.

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BrainFlush

Did not realize I would get so many responses.

@Xenux "Please tell me they aren't beats. lol." that was pretty funny. And normally I would say the same thing seeing how many sheep are on the earth. Sadly they aren't that pro, they are only the V-Moda M100 which is the bottom of the med/high end scale, I listen to music to work and game with and it suits me perfectly. I also have a lowly Samsung S4. Man I suck.

@everyone There is a saying "Pay as much as you need to for something you want to enjoy regardless of everything and everyone."

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Xenux

@BrainFlush I can't speak personally on the quality of the M100s but from trolling head-fi.org and whathifi.com they seem to be quite nice. You said that you thought that there wouldn't be much of a difference with listening to a high res portable versus a smartphone with your headphones. I was just trying to point out that if you listened to an album on spotify or mp3 version with your phone then listened to the same album in a high res 24/96 version I'm fairly certain you'd hear some difference since you have a nice pair of headphones but the S4 tops out at 24/48 I believe. I say fairly certain because regardless of equipment yes it is true that not everyone's ears are the same and I get it that some people just don't care. So that leads me to you @Jbitzer. Some of us do have "magic" ears. It isn't always placebo effect. If I didn't notice a difference I wouldn't bother with high res audio.

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BrainFlush

I hear you, clearly. See that? I was just trying to break the tension between people's opinions. I know that I don't have that ear. That's why I myself won't spend an exorbitant amount on audio. Don't get me wrong, some of the hifi gear out there is impressive in design alone. Works of art actually. But just not for me.

Thanks for the response and one major question, how the hell did you post a link in your post above? I get banned for a day every time, it's ridiculous.

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jbitzer

Sure sure, do you buy $5000 pear cables reviewed as very "danceable" too?

Audiophiles have a psychological need to prove they are hearing subtle nuances the unwashed are incapable of hearing because they're special. That's how you get such bullshit arguments that shitty vinyl is superior for its "warm" sound compared to the digital perfect reproduction you can achieve by not having a needle scratch a piece of plastic.

In most music listening situations, the extra money is better spent elsewhere, unless you're in your sensory deprivation tank. My cheapass sony earbuds are just fine for listening on a subway getting jostled every 5 seconds. My truck speakers are fine for driving with the windows down, as perfect sound reproduction means crap over the engine and windows sounds, and honestly, I can tell the difference between HD and regular radio, but guess what? I'm driving so who gives a shit? I'm not concentrating on the flatness of the music, but rather the road ahead.

My phone can play lossless audio, but you know what? the original mixing is probably shit, and the space concerns are more important than the quality of the audio I am listening to over other sounds.

Go buy a $700 portable player so you can sit in a quiet room and just contemplate the subtle blend of melodies, if you like feeling special, or you know, buy something useful with that extra $500.

It's a portable player, it's not made to be a perfect reproduction of a live performance.

http://warmleftovers.wordpress.com/2012/08/05/no-flac-does-not-sound-better-and-you-are-not-an-audiophile-because-you-use-it-heres-what-it-actually-is-and-why-its-important/

Here are some more products you can use to boost your listening experience:

http://www.machinadynamica.com/index.html

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Xenux

No I don't believe the cable hype. Anyone that buys into that nonsense deserves to lose their money.

The Vinyl vs CD debate is way way too complex to get into right now.

Yes for most day to day listening in noisy environments mp3s or spotify is just fine. All I was trying to do in the above comments regarding Brainflush was to check out 24bit audio since he had the headphones that could really benefit from it just as an experiment.

So for the majority of what you wrote I agree but when it comes to albums I've listened to over and over the years there are nuances that do come out in the mix with a lossless format/cd/vinyl that I don't hear in mp3s. and now that I have the Fiio i can take that experience with me. Can the majority of non music nerds hear these things or even care? No. There's no right or wrong way to listen to music. Listen to what makes you happy in whatever format works for you. 24/96 makes me happy....and better than you. (sarcasm) :P

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jbitzer

yes the audiophile's "magically tuned" ears lawl.

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NavarWynn

I guess that for the random person who doesn't listen to music or audio much (in Quantity OR Quality) an Ipod, or smartphone would work alright...

...just like the 'camera' era is dead for someone who's photography consists of selfies and a few crappy family snapshots...

... Or the 'PC era' is dead for someone who's gaming consists of smartphone apps and Nintendogs (or Halo 14), and 'work' consists of Office Apps and the occasional terminal type interface, and 'play' consists of Netflix and surfing...

... And your $300 headphones? They, I assure you, CAN tell, it's the ears they are in, and brain (or lack of) that is (kind of) listening that can't.

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jbitzer

yes, tell me about your magic, sound quality detecting ears...

http://scientopia.org/blogs/goodmath/2011/12/30/audiophiles-and-the-need-to-be-special/

http://www.indiespinzone.com/other/highend.html

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TeamShadowGPX44

Yea the Only real Media player thats good and almost every one has one is the iPod Touch

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NavarWynn

I have an Ipod Touch (4th, 5th gen?), and haven't touched it in 6mo plus (much much longer if you count actual real use - the only people who regularly touch it are my children 6-12yrs old). That is it's best use. As a childs toy - yes, an entertainment platform -though not music (until you've used it as such while actually doing things you might not understand why) - but ONLY if you are tethered to the wall.. It's ironic that the 'standard' sucks so badly at actually playing audio files... no eq., poor organization, poor play quality, ...iTunes..., suck ass battery life (like a few hours at MOST), the odd 'touch' to a flat screen results in music/play stoppage at random intervals....

I also have a plenty smart phone which I use for a variety of things -listening to audio files isn't one of them (because at the end of the day, I still want enough of a fraction of the battery to actually DO something in a pinch.

I even have a tablet (a Samsung Note) which I use daily for taking notes, surfing, etc. ... listening to music regularly? Nope (kind of a smidge big for that)

OTOH, I have a Walkman nwz-E that I use every day at 4-6+ hrs per day. I listen to books and music - ALOT - though frankly I'm no audiophile. It comes with a job that requires less then 1/4 my brain power, and 2+hrs of commuting time...

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Renegade Knight

Not enough storage. If they are going to charge me that much money. I should at lest get 500 gigs of storage. As I convert my music to FLAC I need it.

I've been SOL for a music player since things moved away from Hard Drives.

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Xenux

Agreed. For $700 I wouldn't compromise on what to put on my portable. As of right now the best portable for the money is the FiiO X5. $349 base price with dual micro sd slots for 2x128gb cards.

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LatiosXT

Apple still sells iPod Classics. I suppose you could throw in a 500GB SSD since the form factor for that size is getting smaller.

EDIT: Never mind, they only have 160GB.

Welp, I'd still say Sansa Clip with Micro SD cards is your best bet.

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Xenux

Yeah I was looking at the ipod classics before coming across the FiiO x5. I can't justify spending $250+ on a discontinued player that doesn't even support FLAC or OGG. I'm not about to waste countless hours converting from an open lossless format to Apple's proprietary shit. I'd say the 160gb of space would be tempting if it were about $50-$100 less. Then I wouldn't be so critical of it and just use it for mp3s.

I've never owned a Sansa clip and was unaware that they supported micro sd cards. Seems it supports OGG as well which is a huge plus considering that OGG vorbis sounds better than mp3 at the same bit rate. Only downside is OGG decoding requires more processing power which drains battery life faster. Yeah $35 for a 4gb player along with a 32gb sd card for about $20 making a 36gb player isn't bad at all.

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imagonex

The sound quality coming out of these units are pretty much HiFi. I'm sure smartphones have better sound quality than they did years ago. However, dedicated music players like these are hard to beat if you pair them up with proper earbuds or headphones.

However, at some price point, you're getting good sound. For some, a $50 or a 90$ player will suffice. For many, the sound quality out of their Xperia Z2 (or others) will suffice for their taste.

Set at a flat frequency they should sound all pretty similar playing an high-bit sound source. When you start to fiddle with their EQ's, sound DSP's and all, that's where higher-end players like these shine.

Myself, going from a Cowon J3 to smartphone audio is like hitting a brick wall. The Cowon J3's sound quality and BBS audio processing makes most smartphones sound pretty much flat.

If one has never tried out better sound quality devices (they don't need to cost $6000 either), they should and they should compare to lower end hardware. Of course, again, at some price point, most hardware should output good sound.

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Xenux

+1

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TeamShadowGPX44

$700 for this
"Spec:
Internal Storage: 128GB
Screen: 4"
Resolution: 854 x 480
Screen type: LCD
Video Codec: h.264 / AVC, MPEG-4, WMV
Audio Codec: AAC, FLAC, MP3, WMA
Battery Life: 32HR of Audio, 5HR of Video
Weight: 4.9 ounces
Image Support; JPEG, PNG
Wifi:802.11 a, b, g, n
Bluetooth: yes
Speaker: Mono

simuler spec as the Lumia 520

in my point of view i find it expensive
i could get the Lumia 520 for like $80 and add a 64GB Micro SD for $50 even tho thats half the storage it is way cheaper i'm sure there are other Smart phone that has way better Spec for less.

and the Lumia 520 has More Battery Life then this.

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draconis123

This is geared towards audiophiles. Your standard smartphone doesn't have an amp capable of powering high quality headphones or iem's. If you don't own high quality headphones (not gamine headphones) then this isn't for you.

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TeamShadowGPX44

thats a good point,
but it's still no reason to charge so much it should be at least from $400 to $560

Even if it's a High Quality player

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Rift2

Kevin Bacon's footloose image comes to mind and foam orange Headphones cranked to the Max.

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LatiosXT

Eh, you can still get a SanDisk Sansa Clip with a custom firmware (I forget if it supports FLAC out of the box) and use MicroSD cards for your storage needs for a lot less.

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Neufeldt2002

Yup, they do support Flac straight out of the box.

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praetor_alpha

I wonder how the Pono Player will stack up to this. It's great that this is demonstrating that there is a market (in Japan, at least) for a high spec dedicated music player.

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TheMissingPiece

This is pretty awesome for those audiophiles out there. 128GB can carry a lot of FLACs, which would be listened through high end IEMs. Pity about the display, though. I know it's just a media player, but I would've expected at least a 720p display.

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FireGarden

I completely agree on the resolution. It should have been at a bare minimum 720p - ideally 1080p for a device of this price. I'd consider buying it then - especially if the battery life was good. I'm just waiting for the Note 4. :)