Review of the MP3-player Sony NW-WM1Z

Have heavenly silk in my hands
Embroidered with the light of the sun and the moon …
Transparent, dull or dark silk,
Starless night, sun and moon.
I would spread silk at your feet.
But I am a poor man, and I have only dreams …
I spread dreams under your feet!
Go easy, you trample my dreams …

Premium portable player, 4 “touch TFT-display, DAC / amplifier S-Master HX, Bluetooth artX-HD / LDAC, 256 GB memory, microSD slot, headphone outputs: 3.5 mm and balanced 4.4 mm, operating time 30 h, dimensions 73х124х20 mm, weight 455 g.

Content

  1. First meeting
  2. Contents of delivery
  3. Design and ergonomics
  4. Filling
  5. Interface
  6. Communication capabilities
  7. Accessories
  8. sounding
  9. Instead of a conclusion
  10. Conclusion

First meeting

In 2016, two of the largest players in the Russian audio market, Sony and Doctorhead, having thrown off their budgets, organized one of the most iconic and large-scale events in Europe – an event called LoudHead. Almost the entire assortment of players and headphones from the store on Arbat was taken to the spacious two-storey pavilion of the Sokolniki Exhibition and Convention Center and anyone who wished was allowed to touch and listen to it without asking. We invited merchandisers of foreign companies, brought in almost a ton of vinyl for sale and the same amount of full-size acoustic equipment.

Also, a Japanese delegation from the Sony corporation arrived at the exhibition to show Russian connoisseurs of sound three new flagship devices: a strict and laconic combination of a DAC + headphone amplifier TA-ZH1ES, exorbitantly huge elite MDR-Z1R monitor headphones with 70mm emitters and, finally, artsy-gypsy WM1Z portable music player made of gold and leather. All three devices have undoubtedly passed the Hi-Res Audio certification and have no alternative received the corresponding gold-plated logo on the box with the device.

You can briefly see how it all happened in the video:

The scope and organization of the event pleasantly surprised, people moved between expositions with undisguised surprise, with genuine enthusiasm. As for me, I was fascinated by this portable shiny novelty, which gave me the dense and velvety sound of Dire Straits guitar riffs. The device easily coped with the amplification of the bulky full-size MDR-Z1R, which further exacerbated my stalemate. “We’ll have to buy,” said an inner voice.

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Why has the review been published for 4 years? During this time, Sony managed to add two new space-based devices in terms of technology and price to the Signature Series line – a portable player-suitcase DMP-Z1, which has a fantastic output, sufficient for any headphones, and pure power from a built-in battery, and no less amazing in-channel IER-Z1R headphones, more like silver earrings from Swarovski. And the “golden brick” WM1Z itself acquired a younger brother WM1A with simpler components inside and an aluminum frame outside, then they were joined by the already greatly simplified circuitry, the cheaper kid NW-ZX300 and still the same, only with the “android” 9.0 on board the NW- ZX500.

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For a long time and persistently, under pretexts of varying degrees of severity, I managed to hide from writing a review of my favorite device, to which I have become attached with all my heart over the years.

Each listening session over time turned into a justifiable dialogue with conscience. As a permanent tabletop device, the player seemed to reiterate the need to write a review, like a locomotive peeping out of the corner, in the movie Naked Gun 2 ½“With Leslie Nielsen

AC Robin Mist rebar TWS review

I dare to assure you that even though WM1Z is already a little old, it is just like Leslie, it can give a pepper to any modern remake, and over the years it received several updated firmware, overgrown with new functions and in general it only became more beautiful. As you know, gold does not fall in price.

Contents of delivery

Unpacking your device will not be a memorable experience for you. Apparently, because everything is standard here – the design of the box is similar to other Sony products, with photographs of the player on a white background, inside – completely black cardboard recycled materials. Personally, it’s not entirely clear to me why I pulled the MDR-Z1R headphones out of a chic leather chest, and here – only the usual nondescript cardboard packaging. No premium or mystery of the process for you.

Inside we find a data cable, a pile of waste paper, a useless cord and a stupid hard leather case that only partially protects the device, leaving the top and side edges bare, and even leans down from top to bottom.

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Design and ergonomics

A pound of dense mass, which somehow is meant to be carried in your pocket, Karl!

Yes, you will love these 455 grams of net weight and the sensations they give if you decide to take this object in your hand. A qualitative thing, psychologically speaking, cannot be lightweight or feel hollow.

Inside, of course, nothing dangles, the assembly is monolithic. The movement of the buttons located on the right side of the player is pleasant, and the click is quiet, the pressing mechanism clearly contains a soft pad. The Vol + and Play / Pause buttons have small humps for blind control in your pocket, after a short getting used to, they are unmistakable, all button controls are flush with the body, accidental presses are excluded.

The beveled edges on the case are amazingly processed, the device is comfortable to hold, the tactile sensations are very pleasant, including due to a piece of leather glued into the cutout on the back of the player.

On the bottom there is a strap eyelet and a microSD card slot with a moisture-resistant cover in the color of the case.

Separately, it is worth mentioning how the 3.5 and 4.4 headphone jacks are mounted inside – they are not tightly soldered to the printed circuit board, but instead are mounted on a rubber suspension, have a small (specially designed) backlash, the connection of the connectors with the board is made using high-quality conductors from the notorious Japanese company Kimber Kable. So if the headphone cord accidentally snags on the Patek Philippe 1527 on your wrist and you tug on it hard, the gimbal will cushion and leave the vital components of the turntable intact.

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The weight of the device still imposes restrictions on its use. Not everyone gets used to the weight and dimensions of the device over time, some owners buy a belt holster, others refuse to walk the device outside at all. I found a way out to pack the player in a shockproof FATBEAR case and, after gluing the glass to the screen, throw it in any bag or backpack without any idea. The device is controlled by a wireless remote control RMT-NWS20M. Because Bluetooth is dual-channel here, you can freely transmit and receive music without wires, while operating the device also remotely, without wires.

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To display information, the device is equipped with a quite pleasant color TFT display with a diagonal of 4 inches and a resolution of 854×480. The responsiveness of the wheelbarrow is good. At near-maximum values ​​of the backlight, the display remains readable in the sun, but there is no sensor for automatic brightness control. It is not assumed that you will stare at the player’s screen all the time, content consumption still occurs through the ears, not the eyes. Album covers look moderately colorful, without fusion tints, but the interface is ascetic, white icons and inscriptions on a black background. To add a riot of colors to it, as on gypsy carpets, will not work.

Perhaps the only flaw in the device’s ergonomics is its proprietary 22-pin WM-connector instead of USB-C or at least microUSB – the cable must be protected and a couple more in reserve. Data transfer speed – up to 480 Mbit / s, USB 2.0 interface.

Filling

The body of the device was carefully milled from a single piece of oxygen-free copper by the most industrious and precise robot in the factory, the technological process looks as elegant and accurate as in the videos from Foxconn about the production of Apple phones.

At the next stage of the assembly, a thin layer of gold plating is evenly applied to the case for even clearer electrical conductivity and protection of copper from oxidation, and for an indescribable tactile sensation from the device, of course. Cleaner materials also produce cleaner sound, the developer says.

Then, after cutting the threads and installing the clamps, the “wedding” of the chassis with the pre-wired motherboard, switching, adding shielding elements and, finally, the display take place. The radio part, represented by the Bluetooth module and the NFC antenna on the motherboard, is separated and isolated from the audio path to avoid interference, interference and other spurious signals. Of course, the quality of assembly, soldering, selection of components, capacitors, resistors, crystal oscillators and streaming drives is at the highest level.

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By today’s standards, the already outdated Bluetooth 4.2 protocol is not an important drawback. The main features of the wireless module are its support for AptX HD (with its transmission rate of 576 Kbps) and, more importantly, the proprietary Sonia LDAC – an audio codec for wireless transmission of high quality audio streams. It is capable of operating at a speed of 990 Kbps, which, together with streaming compression, ensures transmission of at least CD-quality and without loss. The main thing is that the receiving device also supports LDAC technology.

The built-in memory in the device is a generous 256 GB, you can expand them with memory cards, I read 512 GB. According to unverified information, 1 TB is possible, but I personally cannot vouch for their compatibility with the player.

Regarding the type and capacity of the battery, there is no reliable information on the network, the average operating time when listening to audio files of different quality levels is 30 hours. The device can work in parallel with charging, and also, for example, perform the function of a USB-DAC from a PC, while replenishing its charge.

The heart of any audio device, the place where all the magic of sound originates, of course, is its digital-to-analog converter (DAC). Here the Japanese decided to outsmart everyone and not use public solutions from the same Cirrus Logic, Burr-Brown, Asahi Kasei or ESS Saber.

The DAC is based on an ingenious FPGA (Field-Programmable Gate Array – programmable logic integrated circuit, FPGA), it is also affectionately called “gate array with programmable logic”.

Describing in simple language – FPGA is the same transistor microcircuit. Of course, you cannot change the connection order of these transistors. But architecturally, the microcircuit is built in such a cunning way that you can change the order of switching signals between blocks of transistors. This is achieved due to the fact that the entire microcircuit is permeated with configuration memory cells. Thus, the logic of the microcircuit can be reconfigured countless times, in contrast to traditional DACs, where the logic of operation is unchanged and programmed by the manufacturer at the factory.

In fact, you can switch between different types of sound “on the fly”, while other manufacturers are forced to operate with a much more meager set of instructions and settings when designing their devices. It is enough to implement a high-quality piping of the output amplification stage, and then practice programming the gate array for as long as you like, until the maximum potential of the microcircuit is reached. In fact, this is exactly how it happened, with each new firmware the level of sound quality of the “golden log” only increased. By the way, firmware for WM1Z continues to be released until now, all the flaws have long been eliminated, but functions are added every time, and the sound is tuned. If you don’t like the sound of the new software, you can roll back to any of the previously released firmware.

A couple of years ago, such giants of the IT industry as IBM and HP have already begun to look closely at FPGA technology, because such solutions are more versatile and flexible, and, if vendors wish, they are more economical in finance.

The network is full of talk that the FPGA architecture in this player does not show its full potential, the device is deliberately strangled at the software level so as not to compete with more expensive devices in the line, the same DMP-Z1, for example.

The amplifier is a digital portable 1-bit S-Master that has long been tested by the Japanese in a new, modified version of the HX, even more energy efficient, with increased gain and the possibility of balanced connection.

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Connectors. Standard 3.5 mm mini-jack, aka TRS, time-tested, familiar to everyone and widely used up to now for 50 years in a row. And the second, non-standard 4.4mm pentacon (Pentacon – five pins, hello pentaprism!) This is nothing more than a joint development of Sony Corp. and Japan’s Nippon Dics Corp., which aims to become the new unified audio standard for high-quality wired connections.

Thicker in diameter, which means more flexural strength and easier soldering when making custom headphone wires. In addition, the large-sized jack is almost firmly fixed in the socket and does not shake it from the inside. The wide diameter also means a larger contact area for high currents with less loss. We did not forget about users who need a microphone on a wire – one contact is left for it on the jack.

Before the introduction of the 4.4 standard, balanced connection was implemented using two 3.5-jacks in wearable devices and XLR connectors in a hospital. The occasional 4-pin XLR was very bulky for a portable device, and the very common 2.5 balanced 4-pin jack was still too thin to bend.

I must say that the standard is gradually and confidently taking root, the fresh top models Cayin N8 and HiBy R8 already have 4.4 mm connectors on board, and the same Sennheiser already equip their HD820 with jacks of this standard, TEAC puts such a connector in its DAC amplifiers, etc. etc.

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Interface

The device turns on slowly and imposingly, for about 25 seconds, showing an unpretentious splash screen, and for another 15 seconds it scans all the memory in case you have added new songs since the last turn on. New items will be reflected in the appropriate section.

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The main menu, which is also the library menu, offers to use sorting: by folders, albums, artists, genres, playlists, release year, composers, SensMe channels – or just play all the songs in random order. The SensMe feature selects the music to suit your mood, but in fact it turned out to be unclaimed due to the fact that the analysis of the compositions takes place through the thoughtful software on the PC.

Also, from the main menu, USB-DAC modes are activated for receiving and amplifying audio from a PC via a data cable and Bluetooth-DAC mode for receiving and playing a signal from any other devices using the appropriate wireless protocol. In both cases, the sound is reproduced without delay.

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We pass to the playback screen – through the swipe up from the main menu. Here, in addition to the PLAY / PAUSE, FF, REV, shuffle and repeat buttons traditional for all players, you can admire the visualization, display of song words and information about the song, add it to your bookmarks.

In general, all basic manipulations with the device occur through swipes on the playback screen:

  • To the left – the play queue – a list of tracks in the folder or album you are in.
  • To the right is a list of your bookmarks – in total, you can make 10 lists, adding tracks from the music library to it, managing the lists completely through the player.
  • Up – back to the main menu.
  • Down – the sound settings, which we will talk about in more detail, but a little later, there is also a lot of Sonia’s “know-how”.

In principle, the control of swipes is so intuitive that it could be limited to them, but just in case, auxiliary elements are added at the very bottom of the screen, like androids – buttons that are constantly present on the display, in any menu: return to the previous menu, return to playback screen, go to the main menu, settings.

It is suggested to set up: screen brightness, enable / disable / pairing Bluetooth, enable the wireless remote control, sleep timer, 3 shuffle variations, built-in clock and date, NFC on / off. The rest of the settings are of little interest.

Also, entertaining annotations are sewn into the settings menu regarding the very high sound quality in this device and how it is achieved. A hint in case you forget.

Naturally, it has its own operating system without the possibility of adding third-party applications, widgets or other functional expansion. If something extra appears here, it will only come with official firmware updates.

The volume control has 120 steps.

Communication capabilities

The device can be called a DAC + amplifier combine for home and portable use. The thing is that you can send an audio signal of any quality, of any format, from almost any medium to the WM1Z. The Bluetooth module works both for sending and receiving. Wirelessly transfer audio from any smart TV, laptop, tablet or smartphone to the player and enjoy the purest sound.

Through the data cable from the USB port, you can take an audio stream from any device on a MAC / Windows. Unless it will not work right away with Linux without shamanism, and I think that the signal will not go from the Playstation via the USB port of the set-top box via cable, only through HDMI to the TV, and then from the TV to the player via Bluetooth.

Wi-Fi was not added here deliberately due to the fact that the player is positioned exclusively for consuming audio content, and not for watching TikTok-meat shaker or celebrity-short films on Instagram. Also, the second radio module is both additional heating, and power consumption, and a radiating antenna with decent gain. “Sony” did not begin to fence a vegetable garden where a flat meadow is needed.

To the operation of the simplest NFC chip – no questions, it stably does exactly what it was implanted for – it transmits a tag for pairing to the device that was brought to it.

Accessories

The complete leather case was sent back to the box on the first day of use. I recommend using the elegant Dignis leather cases if your hands have a good grip, but if anything happens – only thick rubber ones, with Aliexpress.

The miniature wireless remote control, which has already been mentioned above, is a real must-have for all WM1A / WM1Z users due to the fact that it is the most convenient, miniature and, it seems, runs on batteries for ages.

Of the very exotic, but useful gadgets, you can get an adapter from a WM-port to a microUSB – the WMP-NWM10 model. As far as I know, the adapter was sold only in the domestic Japanese market.

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sounding

Before we move on to the subjective taste, which differs from listener to listener and strongly depends on the nature of the listener, his mood, fatigue, ear training, musical preferences and other things, I will tell you objective reliable facts recognized by all owners of this device, without exception:

  1. There is a very strong difference in sound quality between the 3.5 mm unbalanced “standard” headphone output and the 4.4 mm balanced connection in favor of the latter. And the point here is not only that the left and right channels are divorced and each feeds independently, catches less interference. Another important parameter is the separation / interpenetration of channels – the less the signal from the left channel is “mixed” into the right one and vice versa – the cleaner the sound will be and the better the positioning of sound sources in space.
  2. The balanced exhaust is noticeably stronger in terms of power output and is capable of delivering sufficient gain for any in-ear and over-ear headphones, as well as many full-size monitor ears. By the way, complex multi-armature and hybrid headphones also require serious amplification to unleash their full potential.

Personally, I heard a ton of negativity about the device from those people who “tried” only the 3.5-connector and did not feel at all the attractive audiophile magic that was promised to them. So when buying headphones in a pair for this player, pay attention to the fact that the cable is removable in order to subsequently replace it with a balanced one, with a 4.4 jack, or to get this cable already included.

Conventionally, there are 3 categories of devices on the portable player market:

1. Frankly budget something… The quality barely differs from that in smartphones, which still have a 3.5-headphone jack. In terms of the frequency response, there will be an unconditional fiasco by ear, a noticeable dip or rise somewhere at low or medium or high frequencies, which will only become more noticeable over time. There is a high probability that the sound will have an unnatural coloring, synthetic or metallic aftertaste. The sound may be either overly assertive, which causes fatigue, or too sluggish, boring. The stage will probably be narrow or even absent. Complex passages will be mushy, timbres will be unreliable.

The purpose of such devices is to be a device that is not scary to leave in a taxi while intoxicated, or to act as a source of background music for sports, but the whole point of such things is to push the user to buy a more worthy option after a while.

2. Middle class… Confident moderation in everything, with small excesses for the better or worse, without strong distortions. An excellent technical level, the sound in general is reliable, distortions are minimal, elusive by ear. And it’s good if you manage to brake right here. A common problem with such devices is that they are dull, like the everyday life of a watchman. Something may be happening, but outside the window. It seems that there is nothing to complain about, but in general the music does not carry away, no matter how intricate the composition may be. The sound is averaged, so that it “fits” everyone, but without zest and without special atmosphere, without interesting accentuation. It’s like that good guy, whose name no one will remember later, he did not mow, but he did not stand out in anything.

And the second commonplace reason is that the best is the enemy of the good, and if you can’t resist comparing, you can lose all peace of mind, and the device defeated in comparison will no longer please as it used to.

3. Flagship expensive end-game devices… Do not require any addictive adaptation. A pleasant, literally tangible sense of realism, filling the air space with a palette of live musical images. With a high sound level common to all players in this category, each of them sets its own nuances in sound reproduction. For example, very powerful, collected and deep bass, but a small stage, this is preferred for rock / metal / alternative. Or another representative, with a wide spacious stereo panorama and deliberately emphasized by a certain zone in the mid-high frequency range, which psychologically makes the music abundant in details and details. Listening to orchestral music on such a player is what the doctor ordered.

The previous paragraph very briefly described the main competitors of Sony WM1Z at that time – the Lotoo PAW Gold and Astell & Kern A & ultima SP1000 players. And if Lotoo didn’t really impress me during the introductory listening (mostly with the manner of presentation), then ultima was awarded more attention.

Both Astell & Kern and Sony – both demonstrated the highest class of devices as of 2016, but their presentation was almost diametrically opposite. The SP1000 sported a very detached and cool presentation, with bright high frequencies, therefore it seemed oversaturated with details and unnecessarily detailed, naturally overwhelming the head. “Sony”, on the other hand, are cozy home slippers that can be worn indefinitely: warmly, softly, while the same audiophile “air” is still around you and makes you believe in the concert taking place through wearing headphones. In addition, Sony also played more broadly in a stereo panorama and painted thicker sound sources in space, did not try to embellish the sound with “festive pseudo-detail”, as Astell did, so for me personally, gold seemed much more realistic in sound. In addition, the WM1Z was much more synergistic with most of the test headphones than the SP1000, and had significantly more powerful output gain.

Surprisingly, as new firmwares were released, both devices more and more resembled each other – in the Sony there was a noticeable decrease in the “warm lamp” color, analyticity and speed were added, but the sound of Astell became much warmer, which, in my opinion taste, it only benefited him.

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Now more about every aspect of the WM1Z sound:

Low frequencies… Dense. Full-bodied. High-speed. Structured. But not always biting enough for overly meaty genres. No artificial swap, which they like to do in the middle and cheap price segments. The number of lower ones is slightly more than it should be, the very taste, the trademark of the sound of the device. But this is far from BASS-BOOST-ON, everything is within the bounds of decency.

Mid frequencies… Good “body” and density in the mid-range, excellent resolution and detail. In this range, the light warm tint of the device is felt most of all, but it is decorated unobtrusively, does not focus on itself, does not cause fatigue.

High frequencies… An excellent balance between detailed sounding and unobtrusive presentation, beautiful and clear sounding, sparks unnecessarily and rings only where it is intended in the recording.

General feed… The player sounds more soft and energetic than sharp and energetic. The general color is warm, natural, soulful, not technical, cold and aloof.

Scene… One of the widest in the class. The depth is not a record, but sufficient for the overwhelming number of compositions, honestly, I can’t imagine why you need to move sound sources away from the listener at distances greater than those preset in WM1Z. The stage is built around the listener.

Tool positioning… The uncompromising handheld device. Both vertical and horizontal. If you find time for quiet, thoughtful listening, visual images suggest themselves. The sound is detailed, the instruments are precisely outlined, the stage is holographic and complete at the same time.

Vocals… Sounds authentic, pleasant, engaging and atmospheric. What is important – the vocals have their own “body”, which allows you to mentally visualize the singer, and not just a sound from nowhere.

Sibilants… Will be voiced only if recorded. The device does not tend to generate or accentuate sibilant consonants by itself.

Naturalness… There is no audible distortion or distortion in the frequency response.

Recording quality sensitivity… Everything is simple here. For this class of devices, the minimum acceptable quality material is not lower than mp3 320Kbps, otherwise you will simply drown in the shortcomings of the recording caused by the compression of the lossy codec.

Universalism… WM1Z cannot be called the most versatile device. There is no one-size-fits-all recipe for the perfect and correct sound of a device that would suit all genres. Either you lack the pressure for thrash metal, when your Slayer and Megadeth are not expressive enough, but Antonio Vivaldi and Giuseppe Verdi are voiced exactly as required and are as soulful as possible. And if the pressure in the musical presentation is over the edge, then fatigue will come in an hour and a half. So the golden “Sony” is not universal, but, for my taste, it is very close to that.

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Now let’s take a closer look at the sound processing (sound settings) available to the user by swiping up from the playback screen.

Tone controls – you can add or subtract up to 10 Db on low, medium, and high. With two clicks, the knobs change to a more flexible 10-band EQ. By ear – equalization works perfectly, does not “twist” the phase, does not add ringing.

DSEE HX – an upsampler, or “enhancer” of the sound quality of lossy compressed compositions (AAC or mp3, for example). the missing details are completed by an algorithm developed over several years based on the analysis of the entire vast music library, which the Sony Music label has. You can set the type of program operation for standard, male or female vocals, strings, drums, depending on what you are listening to at the moment.

Phase response linearizer Is the most interesting and most mysterious function of all sound settings. Because there is a linearizer in other Sony players and often raises questions from users, I will describe its principle of operation and adjustments in more detail. This function adjusts the bass phase shift to simulate the sound of analog amplifiers. There are 6 presets in total – Type A: Low, Standard, High; and Type B: Low, Standard, High.

  • low: Improved sub-bass handling. Not to say that the emphasis is shifted directly to the sub, but it is felt that the energy and dynamic density are shifted towards the very bottom bass.
  • Standart: Similar effect, but extends to the entire low end, instead of focusing on the lowest bass only.
  • High: here the effect is still the same, but the focus is shifted to the upper bass or even more to the “upper midbass”.
  • Type A: the preset works for the entire stereo panorama, the bass actively spreads over the spherical field. Less tiring sound, compatible with most genres.
  • Type B: The bass is concentrated in the immediate vicinity of the listener. The result of this focusing is reflected in the vocals as well, it also becomes closer. The setting is great for jazz and various ballads.

Dynamic normalization – equalization of the volume of all tracks that you listen to one level.

Plate imitation – perceptibly colors the sound in a rich and dear to heart “warm tube”. You can add: standard color, tonearm resonance, turntable resonance, surface noise.

In a word, there is where to roam in order to adjust the sound to your preferences, adjust the presentation for various genres. It should be noted that all the “improvement” work more than worthy. But if your hand is tired of turning all these endless controls, or you are not a fan of enhancers, there is also a Direct button, which disables all the above modifiers at once.

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Instead of a conclusion

If you, like me, advocate the “division of labor” between devices, then you probably clearly understand why, for example, even a modern smartphone will never produce a photograph as flexible and voluminous as a DSLR / mirrorless camera with a decent lens is capable of.

A modest size photomatrix, studded with millions of tiny pixels noisy from heating, looking at the world through a small lens with the simplest optical scheme – smartphones only have to finish painting the picture using software, machine learning and other tricks.

With high-quality music playback in modern wearable devices, things are even worse. The last few years, there has been a very dubious trend – under any sauce to take, and shake out the 3.5 headphone jack from the device case. Say, but now you have protection against water, a more capacious 50 mAh battery, a one-piece body without holes, etc.

Fewer manufacturers are asking themselves the question of a high-quality audio path in a smartphone. Devices with a separate audio DAC and its harness on board have almost died out, sound processing is increasingly being outsourced to wireless headphones, adapters with a built-in DAC and amplifier inside, Bluetooth receivers, Yandex stations and other rattles. The end user with his favorite wired headphones, to which he is so accustomed and with which he was not going to part, is left helplessly to throw up his hands or fiddle with inconvenient commutation through crutches.

Freedom and independence from wires is good and a joy only as long as the wireless device does not run out of charge of the built-in battery. Or until you compare and feel the difference in sound between a quality source with a wired connection and wireless sound, even from the best representatives of true wireless models. For example, paired with Sony WM1Z wireless Sony WF-1000XM3 and wired Sony IER-M7, connected to the same source. The difference in such a comparison will be stunning and clearly not in favor of wireless in all aspects of sound. It is impossible to rewrite the matrix and change the laws of physics by stuffing a wireless receiver, a powerful amplifying part, and a high-quality digital-to-analog converter into a miniature earpiece, while not forgetting that it would be nice to put the emitter there (or better, several), and a microphone, and the processor – to manage all this, and all this must somehow be powered from the battery. High-quality wireless sound is quite possible, through the same LDAC, for example, but with the current level of technology, such headphones will live on a single charge for 10-20 minutes, and they promise a revolution in rechargeable batteries for many years now.

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Conclusion

The official price tag as of September 2020 is 180 rubles. The amount is considerable, although very democratic for this class of devices. And even more than modest in comparison with comparable full-size stereos. Of course, the Japanese will have to pay decently for a wearable sound of this class.

It is clear that at present such an amount does not fit well into the budget, and most likely is far beyond its framework. And without that, you need to pay a loan for an SUV, the dacha is falling apart, there is also a tax on water from a well, a child should be equipped for school, plus the video card should be changed so that the long-awaited Cyberpunk 2077 does not slow down.

However, when once again you manage to free yourself from routine affairs – be sure to take the opportunity and listen to any of the representatives of the portable players of the hi-end league. Devices like the Sony WM1Z will certainly not leave you indifferent.

Until next time!

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Dmitry Tumanov (dima-t3@mail.ru)

Published – 10 September 2020

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