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Sony Walkman A45 MIni Review | Balanced Sound High res/HD music redefined

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Old 02-01-2018, 10:44 PM   #1
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Thumbs up Sony Walkman A45 MIni Review | Balanced Sound High res/HD music redefined

*I create this mini review as it seems the appeal for Sony Walkman
without Android. Not many want to use it since it lack streaming
Services.
Why? I will share in this thread.

Side note, Despite I am a HTS and AV field guy, due to my spending power these days have drop. I no longer can play with latest AV stuff that often.
I hope one day I could open my own AV lab/store to play with
all AV stuff to write review and etc.
That is my goal.



This year August IFA 2017 announced the updated model for Sony Walkman A35 the A45.
Design wise still stays pretty much with the previous model but
it is a refine version of A35.
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Old 02-01-2018, 10:44 PM   #2
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Design



Design POV it seems Sony wants it to make it feel like it is
like smartphone not to mention unlike previous Walkman.



Finally A3X/A4X have touchscreen which unlike A1X/A2X design
uses navigation buttons. A3X/A4X body feel more robust
and not to mention the premium build with it's glossy body.

Since F887 and ZX1 era, Sony have dropped Android for future Walkman design. If you need streaming services, unfortunately A3X/A4X doesn't supports them.

The OS wise is Sony own Walkman OS and it is really easy to use.
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Old 02-01-2018, 10:45 PM   #3
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Why Sony OS but not Android?

Many will wonder why Sony drop Android.
Here are what my findings from early Walkman.



F887 - Android based so sound quality still is hamper by Android OS.
It is 50% software and 50% hardware.
A1X/A2X - Sony OS so purely 100% hardware.
A3X/A4X- Sony OS so purely 100% hardware and leaning against
stereo amps

Before A3X/A4X, if I want better sound quality usually I use Sony headphone amps. However for A4X, for me I feel there is no need
for a DAC since the sound is really balanced and powerful.

Something I have long for so long and finally it is here.
For me buying HDtracks as well as ripping CD still beats
streaming services hands down.

Especially if you play it through loudspeaker, you can clearly
hear the difference. For what I know I am still the very few
people that still rips CDs.

That is why no streaming services if you want the best music experience.
Same with watching movies, 4K UHD disc still beats Netflix or Android boxes.
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Old 02-01-2018, 10:52 PM   #4
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The sound quality of Sony Walkman A4X.

Don't let the price tag fool you as it can deliver a pleasant music experience.

Setup
Music Management software (Ripping/Transfer): Sony Music Centre
*replace Media Go
Windows 10 with Creative soundblaster (ASIO)
*Music centre finally support Creative SB ASIO
Source of tracks, HDtracks, HIFItrack, CD rips, Tidal Web Store
- Headphone used: Sony MDR-1A (1st batch during it's launch here in 2014
so it is a seasoned headphone).
- Headphone cable: Stock cable for Sony MDR-1A, previously I had
MUC-S12SM1 but it is faulty. Waiting to buy a new one as there is no stock.
- Sony CP-AD2 USB Charger to charger the Walkman.
*Recommended do not charge through PC.

Walkman Sound Setting

Word of advice, don't turn on Clearaudio as it makes music really bright
DSEE HX - On Upscale low bitrate files like MP3 320kpbs to CD quality
*FLAC files and etc. DSEE HX will not upscale it
- DC Phase Linearizer
This makes low frequency response like a top end analog amplifier
- Dynamic Normalizer
Ensures the volume stays the same

Music test

Playing Sam Smith Too Good At Goodbyes High res file at 24bit/88.2KHZ.
(Around 2.4mpbs VBR)
The vocal is really clean, natural than when the bass hits.

The bass isn't overpowering but balanced among vocals as well as other instrument. This is something I have not heard of without using a DAC.
Not to mention Sony MDR-1A is rated at 48ohms and it seems
there is no problem driving it properly.
The output is rated at 35mW+35mW (Balanced output through 3.5mm), it is pump up from previous Walkman.

Using MDR-1A since it supports balanced/Left and right channel, the soundstage is really amazing.

Let's try a FLAC CD rip of A-lin 一直走 GO, the vocals were clear.
The bass as well as low frequency are nicely produced.
It's been so long I have never hear of such sound signature without a need
for a DAC.
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Old 02-01-2018, 10:53 PM   #5
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Conclusion

I have been support Sony High res players for so long.
Each generation, brings in a whole different experience.
A4X series by far have made my music listening experience
whole lot pleasant.

Not to mention budget friendly for mainstream users to buy.
There is also FM radio if you want to listen, FM radio quality
is also very good.

Are there any areas need to improve/refine?
I doubts so, it is interesting that A3X/A4X adopts a smartphone type
of feel.

Power output as well as driving power for power hungry headphones like
MDR-1A. The A4X is doing really well not to mention, the battery is really impressive even if using a really high impedance headphone.
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Old 02-01-2018, 10:57 PM   #6
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Additional remarks

I applaud Sony for always improving their products as well as
catering to customers.
However HDtracks/High resolution tracks are still far from
being mainstream.

Most recording studios still prefer CD format as it is easier
to sell. Take note music that are upsampled from 16 bits/44.1khz are still
16 bits 44.1khz files.

So even if it is in 24 bits 96KHZ you won't hear much difference unless
the track is native recorded in it.
High resolution audio you need products that are labelled High resolution audio
to enjoyed it.

Between 24 bits and 16 bits, for untrained ears you won't be able to hear.
For me I have been listening to HDtracks for so long that I still prefer HDtracks due to the depth as well as more details.

However that is if you are listening using a full sized High resolution headphones so you can hear the difference.
Almost half of my music collection are in High res while the others are either FLAC rip or Tidal store.
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Old 09-01-2018, 01:45 AM   #7
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Thanks for the review
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Old 24-01-2018, 08:05 PM   #8
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Thanks for the review .

If I buy this and use it with the Shure SE535 (not sure if it support high resolution), would I be getting the high resolution audio?
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Old 24-01-2018, 08:44 PM   #9
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great product from sony

I am a sony fan ... once again...
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Old 25-01-2018, 03:52 AM   #10
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Thanks for the review .

If I buy this and use it with the Shure SE535 (not sure if it support high resolution), would I be getting the high resolution audio?
If you ask me whether you need High res audio.
It really depends on the earpiece/headphone used.
As to be frank between High res and CD-Rip/standard 16bit/44.1KHZ.

It is really hard to hear any difference.
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Old 25-01-2018, 08:23 AM   #11
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If you ask me whether you need High res audio.
It really depends on the earpiece/headphone used.
As to be frank between High res and CD-Rip/standard 16bit/44.1KHZ.

It is really hard to hear any difference.
>hard to hear any difference

>previously shilling

>still continues reviewing

>OMEGALUL
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Old 25-01-2018, 02:41 PM   #12
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If you ask me whether you need High res audio.
It really depends on the earpiece/headphone used.
As to be frank between High res and CD-Rip/standard 16bit/44.1KHZ.

It is really hard to hear any difference.
Thanks for pointing out. I understand the practicality but would like to at least know whether the Shure SE535 would be able to deliver the sound if HRA is available.
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Old 03-05-2018, 09:25 AM   #13
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Old thread but I just got this audio player and got a lemon set. The player will freeze and restart when any Bluetooth is connected it, even Sony headphones. WTF, waste my time... Sony QC is like cheap China products nowadays is it?
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Old 03-05-2018, 11:37 AM   #14
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all by luck one lah
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Old 03-05-2018, 11:41 AM   #15
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Old thread but I just got this audio player and got a lemon set. The player will freeze and restart when any Bluetooth is connected it, even Sony headphones. WTF, waste my time... Sony QC is like cheap China products nowadays is it?
My set no issue even with BT.
Pay service center a visit to see what is wrong.
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