Sony Walkman ZX2 software tweaks

Discussion in 'Modifications and Tweaks' started by Bill-P, Aug 28, 2017.

?

Are you ready to kill your ZX2?

  1. Yes

    5 vote(s)
    41.7%
  2. No

    4 vote(s)
    33.3%
  3. What's a ZX2?

    6 vote(s)
    50.0%
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  1. Bill-P

    Bill-P Level 42 Mad Wizard

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    I figure I'd start this thread now to get some of the tweaks out and consolidate them for those who are still wondering. I've tested and verified that these work with my ZX2 at least.

    Warning: ZX2 has NO fail-safe! Sony did not seem to build any fail-safe into this device, and so... if you do any of the following software tweaks (aside from disabling Sound Adjustments), there is a high chance that something may go wrong and you will most likely end up with a very expensive brick. So please be WARNED that this is a potential problem! Follow any of the steps below at your own risks! Seriously! Please take this to heart as I'm really really really not kidding!

    There IS a recovery mode(*) for ZX2 that I've discovered. Here's how to get to it:
    1. Completely shut down the device.
    2. Hold the Power + Volume Up + Previous + Next buttons simultaneously.
    3. When the device boots to the "Walkman" screen, you can release the Power button but keep holding on to the other ones
    4. Voila! You're in Recovery mode. Volume Up + Down move the cursor and Power button selects a menu.

    I haven't really tried to play around with this. (*)It doesn't really seem to do anything useful but alas, I'm too chicken to select anything other than "reboot system now" anyway. No luck trying to connect it to adb either, but I think some more crafty soul can probably get more use out of this than I can, so... just getting this out there.

    (may also work on ZX1 and maybe other Sony Android DAPs as well if you guys need "cheaper guinea pigs")

    I. Disable Sound Adjustments:

    The easiest tweak and one that's highly recommended to improve sound quality is to disable Sound Adjustments. Here are the steps:

    1. Go into the Sound Adjustments app and make sure nothing is modified. No EQ, no ClearAudio+, no Surround, etc... make sure nothing is on.
    2. Go into Settings > Apps > All, and look for Sound Adjustments (it should be near the bottom since the list is sorted alphabetically by default)
    3. Click on it, choose "Force Stop", "Clear data" (if selectable) and then "Disable."
    4. Profit!
    -----------------------------
    5. The following are extra steps in case you had to restart the device (maybe due to running out of battery?).
    6. Wait for the device to boot up then go into Settings > Apps > All again and scroll all the way to the bottom. Sound Adjustments should be there. Select it.
    7. Now "Enable" Sound Adjustments again and reboot.
    8. Once the device has finished booting up again, go back to step 1 to disable it again.

    The extra steps are just to make sure the process is properly disabled. I have experienced and read reports of its effects coming back on after a restart even when it's disabled, so that's that. It seems Sony really loves their software adjustments and they do not want these adjustments to go away.

    I.* Disable Sound Adjustments while keeping DSEE HX on:

    This is from reading a few posts at Head-fi, cross-checking with some other impressions here, and also from my personal listening but... apparently, keeping DSEE HX on before disabling Sound Adjustments results in:

    1. A louder sound volume. This is very very evident. It basically sounds like ZX2 now has more gain. But this only affects the built-in Music app.
    2. Depending on your preference, this could be preferable. It keeps the same "laid-back" sound signature that ZX2 has but it improves on high frequency extension for some tracks IME. Basically makes ZX2 somewhat U-shaped. Stock ZX2 is somewhat downward sloping. But again, it only affects the built-in Music app.
    3. The method for this is different from the other method (keeping everything disabled) for some reason.

    So, the steps for this are:

    1. If you did the above method, then just go and enable Sound Adjustments again, then go in there and make sure DSEE HX is enabled/checked.
    2. Restart your ZX2
    3. Wait until your ZX2 has finished booting up (scanned library and everything).
    4. Now go to Settings > Apps > All, find Sound Adjustments again. This time just press "Force Shutdown." Don't "disable" the app.
    5. Done. Profit.
    6. Occasionally, if you have left your ZX2 idle/sleeping for a while, the Sound Adjustments process may turn itself back on. So repeat step 4, and if you see that "Force Shutdown" is clickable/pressable again, then just... press it again.

    And that's that. I actually prefer the sound of this method better (it's basically brighter and louder than the other one), but the problem is the hassle of having to force shutdown SA every so often. Rooting will allow automation of this, though, so if you're feeling brave, you should root your ZX2.

    II. Root your ZX2:

    This is to gain system-level access and potentially be able to do more things with it like "fixing" the volume cap for the European model, for instance.

    But the problem is there are security risks involved, which may compromise your privacy and info/data. As such, this is highly not recommended, and I have decided to just leave this as an exercise for people to find out for themselves. Also helps if you know what you are doing because otherwise, as mentioned above, you will end up with a very expensive brick.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2017
    LauSing2, MellowVelo, brencho and 8 others like this.

  2. Spl4tt

    Spl4tt Rando

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    Really looking forward to your root guide. I need this thing rooted.

    I don't really understand why there must be bloat installed to root it, but once the device is rooted it's easy to remove all bloat again.

    As far as I understand, the root method is only in chinese, so it makes sense why I couldn't find any method.
    Thank you for translating it, really appreciate it.
     
  3. Merrick

    Merrick Friend

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    I'm not interested in installing Chinese rooting software filled with bloat on my ZX2, but I appreciate the DSEE HX tip, and will try that now!
     
  4. zerodeefex

    zerodeefex Ornery Admin

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    Bill, as someone who knows Android, I have to tell you: please do not install nor encourage the installation of random rooting tools from China, especially software comes with additional anything. You are going to end up with a compromised device. Who knows wtf is being sent where with this?

    The ZX2 is already on some old ass kernel (3.0 dude, 6 years old AND the FIRST supported LTS kernel for the CE industry) there's tons of CVEs and other security fixes that have been patched in LTS that it's already missing, don't install something that will most likely exploit some of those vulnerabilities and compromise your security and privacy.

    DO NOT BE A DUMBASS
     
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  5. Bill-P

    Bill-P Level 42 Mad Wizard

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    Well, yeah, I agree. Which is why I haven't posted anything on that yet. Too many considerations to make and too many things to turn off after the Chinese app is done with its deeds.

    But on that note, I use my ZX2 as mostly an offline music player these days so not much security risk. I use my phone more for Tidal. ZX2 works okay with Tidal but the app is just ridiculously slow and laggy. I think I'll be fine, but I can see where you're going with that.

    Since there are serious security risks involved (like someone using their ZX2 as more than a music player), I guess it's best to not reveal the rooting method then. The latest version of that app no longer seems to work anyway.

    Those who would like to root their ZX2 will have to do their own homework then. :p
     
  6. Melvillian

    Melvillian Almost "Made"

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    @Bill-P i was listening this morning and the background hiss is pretty loud. Do you have an idea why your ZX2 is quieter?
     
  7. Bill-P

    Bill-P Level 42 Mad Wizard

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    Oh, good question. I'm guessing it's the DSEE HX tweak. Have you tried that yet?
     
  8. Marvey

    Marvey Loves sex and records

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    Hahaha. PRC malware.
     
  9. zerodeefex

    zerodeefex Ornery Admin

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    You down with PRC?
     
  10. Merrick

    Merrick Friend

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    @Bill-P, I've done the force stop method for retaining DSEE HX on, and every time I go back into Settings->All Apps->Sound Adjustments, the "Force Stop" option is accessible Again. However, the Sound Adjustment doesn't show in the Running Apps tab. I see no "Force Shutdown" option. Is this correct?

    The ZX2 doesn't seem to be any less clear, but it is louder. Prior to this I was disabling SA.
     
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  11. Bill-P

    Bill-P Level 42 Mad Wizard

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    Yeah, that sounds about right. It's supposed to be much louder.
     
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