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Sony NW-A105 Digital Audio Player Review

Archsam

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#21
I do question the reason for a A105 level DAP to exist today. It is the audio equivalent of a point and shoot pocket camera. Once upon a time there was a reason to have them, namely an affordable way to take decent pictures without spending big bucks on proper SLR gears. But with the emergence of smart phones and the phone camera, the affordable point and shoot camera is obsolete. Ditto affordable audio players.

I read that this kind of device is still somewhat popular in Asia though. Things are different there - for example SACDs are still a thing over there and far from gone. I know this, because over the last year or so I have been amassing a sizeable collection of c-pop DSF files made available by local fans and available for download. A lot of popular artists / albums from the past 20 - 30 years are being reissued in limited edition SACDs today, and they get snapped up immediately upon release - you can't even buy them if you have the money, and they are very expensive.

But the recent development of high end DAP are really awesome. My WM-1A has 128gb of internal memory. I put in a 400gb microsd card and I can carry nearly my entire collection of DSF and high rez PCM music with me whenever I travel. If I go visit my folks in Canada for a few weeks I will even take my Focal Clear + 4.4mm balanced cable with me, and I can enjoy my music in quality close to my home system.
 
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#22
So just out of curiosity I looked up the current asking price for the LG G7 with Quad DAC. Under €150,- you get a smooth android experience with a 109 dB SINAD DAC.
 

wwenze

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#23
Has ASR measured iPhone yet? Oh right, iPhones already removed the 3.5mm before ASR existed.

But at least the dongle still does the job pretty well.
 

Dana reed

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#24
Has ASR measured iPhone yet? Oh right, iPhones already removed the 3.5mm before ASR existed.

But at least the dongle still does the job pretty well.
heynow, I got my iphone SE after ASR existed. I'd imagine it's on the same par with the 5S and 6S that had headphone ports
https://www.kenrockwell.com/apple/iphone-5s-audio-quality.htm

My favorite DAP lately is the HibyR3. Tiny, has dedicated buttons, and stacks perfectly with the Mojo if I want to drive higher impedance headphones. No android though, so I just use it for SD card playback
 

q3cpma

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#25
I do question the reason for a A105 level DAP to exist today. It is the audio equivalent of a point and shoot pocket camera. Once upon a time there was a reason to have them, namely an affordable way to take decent pictures without spending big bucks on proper SLR gears. But with the emergence of smart phones and the phone camera, the affordable point and shoot camera is obsolete. Ditto affordable audio players.

I read that this kind of device is still somewhat popular in Asia though. Things are different there - for example SACDs are still a thing over there and far from gone. I know this, because over the last year or so I have been amassing a sizeable collection of c-pop DSF files made available by local fans and available for download. A lot of popular artists / albums from the past 20 - 30 years are being reissued in limited edition SACDs today, and they get snapped up immediately upon release - you can't even buy them if you have the money, and they are very expensive.

But the recent development of high end DAP are really awesome. My WM-1A has 128gb of internal memory. I put in a 400gb microsd card and I can carry nearly my entire collection of DSF and high rez PCM music with me whenever I travel. If I go visit my folks in Canada for a few weeks I will even take my Focal Clear + 4.4mm balanced cable with me, and I can enjoy my music in quality close to my home system.
If you mean commercial reason, the cheap ones have almost no reason to exist anymore, and they don't. The expensive ones are for cable buyers.
But if you mean "reason to exist" as in "is there a usecase?", thank god, I can still listen to music without having Big Brother in my pocket
; and that in the form of a fragile fashion accessory with very rarely a replaceable battery running some shitware OS that should make every competent programmer hurl.
 

DDF

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#26
DAPs have niche appplications that are really very useful.

When flying, the small form factor of my Sony NWZ-A818 has me reaching for it over my phone, tablet or pc. It sits unnoticed in my shirt pocket, freeing up my hands to navigate airport lineups, seating etc with luggage. It holds far more music on the plane than my corporate issue iphone and its lack of sd card, and using it preserves phone battery life for those long trips, avoiding me having to tether myself and my phone to a charging station between connecting flights.

Even protected in my pants pocket, my iphone and dongle freeze out after 20 minutes of a typical Canadian winter walk. Not the dap.

For these uses, SINAD doesn't matter, given the outside background noise.
 

AudioSceptic

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#27
heynow, I got my iphone SE after ASR existed. I'd imagine it's on the same par with the 5S and 6S that had headphone ports
https://www.kenrockwell.com/apple/iphone-5s-audio-quality.htm

My favorite DAP lately is the HibyR3. Tiny, has dedicated buttons, and stacks perfectly with the Mojo if I want to drive higher impedance headphones. No android though, so I just use it for SD card playback
iPhone 6 measured by Archimago >https://archimago.blogspot.com/search?q=iphone> Not bad at all, and probably more than anyone needs for a portable player.
 

Dana reed

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#28
iPhone 6 measured by Archimago >https://archimago.blogspot.com/search?q=iphone> Not bad at all, and probably more than anyone needs for a portable player.
I'm going to be sad when I have to replace my SE with a phone that doesn't have a headphone port. Then I'll need 2 dongles. One that just goes to a 3.5 mm, and then another one that has both a 3.5 mm and a charging port so I can keep listening while charging
 

JEntwistle

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#29
FYI, I have the lower end model (NW-A45), and it can be used as a USB DAC. There is a setting called "USB DAC Settings" (edit: I looked in the user manual, and the USB DAC functionality is described; you access through the Library icon. I only tried it out once, so have forgotten how it works.) I'm not sure if this is what you are referring to. Does this model not have the same functionality?

I bought this before I found ASR, and I am not sure I would buy it again, knowing what I have learned here. I used it on flights when I traveled for work and am happy with it for that purpose.
 
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wwenze

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#30
One reason for existence is they double as a headphone amplifier (high output power, low output impedance) so we don't have to lug 2 items.

And also hopefully avoid the Android 48kHz limitation.

Well, it really depends on how much your phone does not already give you. Some phones measure worse than 0.01%. iPhone 4 to 6 are good, but may not have enough power.

But as phones and dongles keep getting better and better, the less and less reasons for DAP's existence. Actually I was using BA IEMs with my PSP anyway (output-z 15ohm!) so I don't give too much (insert word here).
 

pavuol

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#32
Supporting both LDAC and aptX HD, IMO this little cutie is aimed more on a wireless scenario than performance over cable. (at the same time I as an "oldschooler" somehow also agree that this is not an excuse for lower cabled performance than "audio" smartphones).
As mentioned, hardware buttons rocks!
 

Jimbob54

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#33
I have both the sony wm1a and the A&K SR15 (pre ASR buys)

Suspect my Meizu pro and Hidizs s8 plus phone beat them both but would love to see them tested- the Sony at least has a dac mode, not sure about the A&K- worth investigating shipping from UK @amirm ?
 

Nango

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#34
I vote for @amirm ordering an A&K Kann from Amazon with prolonged return deadline until end of May due to corona virus. Before I see how it measures and sounds in his headphone suite I am not willing to admit dongles are the best option vs DAP.
 

Archsam

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#36
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#37
I have two iPods that contain 120GB+ of music and hold a charge for a week. Works perfectly with my music collection. Why would I want anything else? The premise that any modern music player needs a big touchscreen is wrong. The iPod clickwheel is destined for the design collection of MOMA, and for good reason. Modern interfaces are a headache by comparison.
 

AudioSceptic

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#38
I'm going to be sad when I have to replace my SE with a phone that doesn't have a headphone port. Then I'll need 2 dongles. One that just goes to a 3.5 mm, and then another one that has both a 3.5 mm and a charging port so I can keep listening while charging
I had a 6s, the last iPhone with an analogue output, but I wanted 256 GB of storage so I got a 7 (used, of course, like the 6s). With the £9 adapter it sounds the same as the 6s, but I've also found the SQ to be excellent using BlueTooth with RHA IEMs. I'm not sure I could tell the difference, in fact.
 

AudioSceptic

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#39
One reason for existence is they double as a headphone amplifier (high output power, low output impedance) so we don't have to lug 2 items.

And also hopefully avoid the Android 48kHz limitation.

Well, it really depends on how much your phone does not already give you. Some phones measure worse than 0.01%. iPhone 4 to 6 are good, but may not have enough power.

But as phones and dongles keep getting better and better, the less and less reasons for DAP's existence. Actually I was using BA IEMs with my PSP anyway (output-z 15ohm!) so I don't give too much (insert word here).
Yes, but this Sony does not have high output power. It's truly pointless.
 

AudioSceptic

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#40
I have two iPods that contain 120GB+ of music and hold a charge for a week. Works perfectly with my music collection. Why would I want anything else? The premise that any modern music player needs a big touchscreen is wrong. The iPod clickwheel is destined for the design collection of MOMA, and for good reason. Modern interfaces are a headache by comparison.
Yes, a true masterpiece in HID <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hardware_interface_design>
 

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