Sony Signature Series WM1Z - impressions by Mimouille
Head Pie 6:36 PM
As you have seen, earlier today I booked a trial with the new Sony DAP at the Sony U Space in Beijing 798.
I listened for roughly 20 to 30mn using my music, Redbook and high-res flac, and my iems, the SE5 Ultimate with a Beat Audio Prima Donna 8-braid cable single ended. I could not use the balanced out as I did not have the adequate cable. For some reason my SanDisk 200g didn't work, maybe it has to be formatted in a certain way, so they put my tracks on the internal memory.
First of all, the player has a nice size, great screen, very cool and convenient flip case in plastic and leather. It weighs a ton, the Lotoo Paw Gold could be a feather next to it, but I don't really mind. UI seems very good, fast, intuitive, not buggy, clear functionalities.
I post some pictures of the UI, as you can see it is confirmed that the native DSD is only for balanced out. By the way, I really like the Sony balanced out jack, I tested it when testing their new headphone, it is compact and robust.
Power wise there is all you need. I was using the headphone out and one third of the volume was plenty for my SE5 Ultimate, and two thirds for the MDR-Z1R. Imagine with balanced out and high gain. And not only in terms of volume, but we will come back to that later.
Now to the sound, as usual take this with a pinch of salt, this was a short session, and I did NOT compare to my other DAPs. Well, to cut tot the chase, I am going to buy this DAP, so you understand, that given its price, I really liked it.
The key thing that you notice, is that is is 3D and full bodied, the power in this beast is put to good use. The music is very well fleshed out and layered. When you listen to AK DAPs, even the top ones, it is usually very detailed but lacks power and depth, lacks body, in my opinion. Not the case here. The overall tonality was to my ears slightly warm, but this could be an effect of the fuller sound. It is all very resolving and detailed, but the details are not pushed forward slightly unnaturally like on the AK240 for instance. Bass reaches deep and rumbles very impressively, mids are full and textured. On highs, the jury is still out for me, I need to try brighter iems as well. It sounded very good, but on the SE5 Ultimate, they were maybe a tad too smooth and not so sparkly. However take this with a pinch of salt, because it could be due to the SE5, or to the fact that I had a wedding party last night with a LOT of wine, and that I had to take a few advils this morning.
The overall effect (of the different elements of sound, not of the advils) is very musical, very visceral, non fatiguing but with all the details and layers of the music clearly present.
It has comparable authority to the Lotoo Paw Gold, but seems to be more on the musical side, where the Lotoo is more reference sounding. The WM1Z is thicker and fuller sounding, with a wider stage. All this is from memory because I didn't have the two side by side.
I should be able to pre-order on the 9th in China, for an unknown delivery date. I am very curious to here my iems balanced. Also, I am quite curious to pair this with the KSE 1500, as my gut tells me it is going to be THE COMBO.