January 21, 2021

Sony NWZ-A15 Walkman Audio Player In-Depth Review + Rant

Sony’s stick of high resolution audio goodness. JUMP TO REVIEW SECTIONS BELOW!
00:00 Intro
01:14 Design / interface
07:00 Sound quality
12:14 Enhancements & EQ
17:20 ‘High Resolution’ audio rant
22:50 Downsampling Test & Blind Testing
28:18 Summary

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  • I guess Sony NWZ-A17 is Hi resolution player, they both share same software. So, the Hi-Res switch doesn't do anything in NWZ-A15 witch play low resolution always.

  • Would you say it’s worth buying in 2017? I used to have this back in 2010 but broke it after a month. I’m thinking of buying it again but I’m scared that it’s gonna be disappointing quality comparing with today’s standards. Your opinion?

  • for bass this one or nwz-b183f ? i have sony xb75ap earphone i want more vibrating bass pls also suggest me a best one earphones too.i love bass very much pls pls pls reply fast

  • So, according to this video, there is no need for any sampling rate in excess of 44.1khz because that can cope with up to 22khz audio. Quite so.
    The problem is there are, at most, only two samples made of the amplitude at that 20khz. That is not enough to adequately sample the different envelopes.
    How does the difference between square wave, sine wave, saw wave and triangle wave manifest itself at 44.1khz sampling? The answer is it doesn't. You need higher sampling rates for the difference in the envelopes to be apparent.
    That's why high sampling rates are required. It's nothing to do with reproducing sound at a dog whistle frequencies.

  • Here it shows a menu item with "Dance/Karaoke/Language." at 15:03 (https://youtu.be/fNIRC0kVvWg?t=15m3s) I have a A26 firmware 1.00 and this menu item is not present. Did they remove this capability from A10 to A20? Will a firmware update solve it? Does it depend on the track type? Thanks.

  • This thing often freezes, and it doesn't even have a super fast forward; so if you have an hour song, you will just sit there for 5mins fast forwarding it

  • Err… I am sorry, but the NW-ZX1 literally buries the iphone 5S in terms of sound quality. I am not sure what pair of headphones or hi-fi equipment you are using, but they probably suck.

  • well, the iphone 5s is now $100 new, so I suppose we should all just buy iphones seeing as it's cheaper and overall much better 😀

  • I have now had a good chance to listen to this device properly using Sony MDR ABN100 headphones, with both MP3 files (325 kb per second bit rate and 126 kb per second bit rate) and wav uncompressed files. The difference in sound between the different qualities is noticeable but not dramatic. The difference between the lower and higher quality mp3 files is that the sound is a little smoother and there is a bit more detail to be heard. When jumping from mp3 to wav file (cd quality bit rate) there is a further similar improvement in sound, but again not dramatic. I decided that the highest quality mp3 files provided the best compromise between quality and the size of the file. I am not interested in using high res, although I might try it someday. My opinion on the general sound of this player is that it provides a decent soundstage with a reasonable amount of detail to be heard in the instruments. However the lower bass sounds stodgy and the overall sound distribution is a bit too laid back for my taste. You get the best sound out of this player by playing it reasonably loud to hear the detail and get a decent bass. It has a neutral sound.

  • Can you comment on the Playlist function? One of the things I absolutely loathe about Sony Walkmans is the inability to create playlists on the go WITHIN the device. I have to go through either iTunes or Windows Media Player to create a playlist and import it every time I need to edit or create a playlist.

  • Thanks for your review, I have just got one of these because it was reduced to £100, not bothered about Hi Res, just want loads of memory to put my Cds into it, and blue tooth. My old player was an NWZ a816 and i tested it by putting two versions of the same album onto it, one sampled at standard mp3 bit rate, and one at Cd quality WAV file lossless. Listening through a pair of Sony MDR 100 ABN headphones I found it hard to hear a difference, except that the lossless file probably sounded a bit smoother with a tiny bit more detail. I concluded that higher bit rates will make an appreciable difference, but probably when listened to through a proper hi fi system, and not a tiny mp3 player. Seen as I just want a bit of background music in the gym, I don't think i'll bother with lossless files, or even Hi Res. BTW I don't agree with your comments on higher sampling rates, saying that it means that higher frequencies above 22 khz can be reproduced, which is a waste of time. Yes it's true we can't hear frequencies above 20 khz, but higher sampling rates means that the high end frequencies in music up to 20 khz will be reproduced in a more accurate way, in other words sampled 4 times per second rather than 2 times a second (44 khz sampling applied to a 20 Khz wave form means it is sampled just over 2 times per second; 90 khz sampling rate means the same wave form is sampled just over 4 times a second.

  • I noticed that the sony nw walkman series are extremely sensitive to charging in general.. If you overcharge the device, say maybe 4x, the battery is good as cooked. But everything else is good

  • he is chinese and jealous of sony. no chinese makers can get even close to sony's quality, design, and everything else.

  • Great Review. I just ordered Sony Walkman NWZ-A17B 64 GB and
    Sony MDR-1ADAC Headphone to go with it. I'm old school and like CD's so I rip to flac with EAC. I did however buy an album from HDtracks today in 24bit for shits and giggles. I'm definitely going to try to toggle and see if I notice a diff.

  • I;ve just bought an NWZ A 15, primarily for the bluetooth function, and I have tried everything but can't get it to recognise any of my devices, I am now about to see how many rimes I can hit it with a seven pound hammer before it disintegrates completely as I have had it with this devil machine, as an afterthought does this guy ever stop to take a breath.

  • 1. You believe that an iPhone 5s is high end audio.
    2. You believe that encoding to higher than 44.1 khz is simply about the highest frequency response that's achievable.
    3. I believe, and I don't mean this in a derogatory way, you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.
    Thank you.

  • Look for well mastered music rather than 'high res' – plenty of co called high res files that sound like crap because they never mastered to music properly in the first place.

    high res is ridicules but the fools will toss away their money regardless..

  • I'm very particular with the album art too and its disappointing that its not showing when its higher resolution

  • the iphone 5s is currently 150 dollars at walmart and this thing that just plays music with similar quality(perhaps slighty worse) is still currently 200 dollars………..Real tough decision

  • i was going to order the a17 but once you said that it sounded similar to iphone 5s , i was disappointed : cuz currently i have iphone 5s and a cheap $100 dragonfly v1,5 USB DAC , and the dragonfly audio blows out iphone 5s from the water.

    funny expected a $300 sony a17 to sound better than A $100 USB DAC :/

    THX FOR REVIEW anyway

  • Can it be that hiss is actually effect of compressor? You know that thing which usually is used by mixing mastering engineers.

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