Sony ZX300

Discussion in 'IEMs and Portable Gear' started by Stuff Jones, Jun 21, 2018.

  1. Stuff Jones

    Stuff Jones Friend

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    I know there's a lot of talk on this but I haven't seen a dedicated thread. The ZX300 deserves one as it does a lot of things very right in terms of what I and I believe others here look for in a DAP. I value: 1) form factor (i.e. small), 2) battery life (> 15 hours), 3) SQ (good but I'm not willing to pay for great for on the go) , 4) build quality (good enough not to have to be babied) and 5) price (~500 max) in a DAP. I don't need streaming or android features but DAC functioning is a nice plus.

    1. Form factor. It's not as slim as the same form factor as the Iphone SE and AK Jr, but is about twice as thick. I wish it were slimmer, but it's still much smaller than most of the serious other DAPs, including the ZX2. Easily pocketable unless you're a complete hipster.

    2. I haven't tested battery life yet but it's supposed to be about 20-25 hours which bests nearly all (all?) non Sony DAPs. (a)

    3. I haven't burned in the capacitors for 200 hours as Sony recommends. I also have not used the balanced output which by many accounts is much better than SE. Nevertheless I'm impressed. It's more detailed and the bass has better texture than the AK Jr. It shares some of the rich sound of the ZX2 (from memory and with different IEMs) but seems a little brighter and less analogue. Maybe that will change with burn in. I hear very little hiss with the MD Plus, where as with my GO the hiss is annoyingly loud.

    4. Build is good and so far seems on par with the ZX2, with one exception. The SE output has a plastic insert that is asymmetrically aligned with the surrounding metal. Not sure if this is of consequence. The male end still click in with satisfying snugness and an audible click.

    5. You can get it from joybuy.com for ~350 with only 16 GB internal memory. That's a steal, IMO.

    Some negatives: 1) The USB DAC has about a 1 second delay in switching between tracks. I don't know if this can fixed. Otherwise it works fine, unlike the AK Jr. 2) Sony still does weird things with artwork and you need to embed some pictures to get them to show up. 3) Sony still insists on its exclusive cable, which means I'll be screwed if I'm traveling somewhere without a Sony store and lose the cable. 4) It insists on creating a database every time you disconnect from your computer or turn it off and on. This is annoyingly time consuming and I haven't found a way to disable the feature.

    Overall if your preferences are at all like mine I think you will be very happy with this as your go to DAP.

    (a) I believe both form factor and battery could be improved if power wise the ZX300 was optimized for IEMs and not headphones. However given how many people complained about the power of the ZX1 and ZX2 I understand why Sony bumped up the power in their next generation of DAPs. Still I would like to see them produce an IEM only DAP that is even smaller and with better battery life than the ZX300.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2018
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  2. deafdoorknob

    deafdoorknob Wow, I made it this far without being a friend?

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    also by turning off the "charge when connected via usb" you could use it as a dac to stream your smartphone, i have been using it that way for spotify and apple music without the 1 second delay (or i didnt notice)
     
  3. Gemini

    Gemini Almost "Made"

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    Thanks for the joybuy tip; I just ordered mine. I'm curious to see how it compares to the AK70. From the reviews I've read the ZX300 is more resolving and nuanced compared to the more dynamic/punchy AK70.
     
  4. BeerNuts

    BeerNuts Rando

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    I just got mine and I am working on the burn in. I was able to get in used in Japan but it was reset so I have no idea the hour count on it.

    I am using it with my Andromeda's and I did notice a difference between the SE and BAL output but I don't have the same cables so that may also be a factor of course. I was using my stock andro cable but after reading so much about the balance out put on forms I grabbed a Nobunaga Hybrid 4.4 cable (used as well) and there was a noticeable slight depth and warmth to the music after that. It was hard to describe but there, so I went with the cable.

    I really like the build quality on it. E-Earphone in Akihabara had a TON of Daps to try out but I find the sharp edges and spinny wheels kinda lame. The nice rounded edges and slim size of the player are perfect for fitting into any pocket. sexy silver even matches my Mac.

    Album art is very annoying like you mentioned. Even with flac files that have the art embedded into them often they still don't show up. The custom cable also sucks I wish it was just USB-C but they seem easy to find if I lose it, also that little adapter from mini usb to sony input as well.

    Super happy with mine thus far.
     
    tarhana likes this.
  5. Stuff Jones

    Stuff Jones Friend

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    Have you found a way to make library update manual?
     
  6. gixxerwimp

    gixxerwimp Professional tricycle rider

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    Sony DAPs are picky about album art having EXIF tags. If the embedded images have those, they'll display just fine.

    If the pic you have doesn't have EXIF tags, just open and resave it an image editing app and they should get written in.
     
  7. Stuff Jones

    Stuff Jones Friend

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    I just do a batch attach image in foobar and that does the trick.
     
  8. BeerNuts

    BeerNuts Rando

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    If you go to settings > reset/format there is a Rebuild database option there.
     
  9. gixxerwimp

    gixxerwimp Professional tricycle rider

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    I think @Stuff Jones means "manual" in the sense of not-automatically "every time you disconnect from your computer or turn it off and on" and only when he feels like it.

    I doubt it, as Sony prolly wants its devices to know exactly what you put on them and not run into any, "Hey, where'd that go?" errors.
     
  10. BeerNuts

    BeerNuts Rando

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    Ah yeah, no way to turn that off. System function to make sure you can actually play the songs it says are there.
     
  11. Broberto

    Broberto Rando

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    I don't have any experience with the ZX300 but I own a WM1A and most all WM1A/Z owners I know just put the player in sleep between uses (just unplug your headphones and short click the power button to turn off screen as usual, you will here some internal clicks 30 seconds later after no use as the device goes into "sleep"). Device comes on instantly out of sleep like turning on the screen of a smartphone, no library check

    I cant even remember the last time I fully powerered down my DAP and AFAIK/have experienced it has no negative effect on the battery, I charge it about once a week. This felt a bit unnatural to me when I first got the player but after reading around this is common practice for the WM1 series, believe it may be similar for the ZX300


    Edit: also, with regards to the plastic bit of the headphone jack being asymmetrical - in the WM1 series Sony doesn't actually mount the headphone jacks to the PCB, they are wedged in there securely but actually free floating so that repeated plug/unplug on these jacks won't eventually bust them off or start to disconnect. The flip side to this is that the jacks have a bit of wiggle to them or may appear a bit assymetic as you noticed. (Again, I'm 100% sure this is how things work on the WM1 series but I haven't done much research into the ZX300 and don't own one, I just have to imagine Sony used some of the same tricks)
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2018
  12. BeerNuts

    BeerNuts Rando

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    Another thing to do is go into device settings and tell it not to automatically turn on mass storage when you connect to USB. This way you can plug in and use DAC features and not have to rebuild the database. The only time it will rebuild is when you fully turn it off and on, and when you use mass storage to add songs. Since mine sleeps like Broberto mentioned I hardly ever have to deal with the database rebuilding.
     
  13. Ice-man

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    Just picked this up a few days ago. I have to say that this DAP has impressed me. I previously owned the 1a but couldn't live with the sticker price, weight and lack of pocket-ability.

    While the zx300 is only around 90% on sound quality of the 1a, I'm really not missing that last 10% all that much. The form and function of this player is outstanding. Battery life is also impressive. UI, while not completely flawless, is excellent to use.

    I really like the sound signature coming from the zx300. It's got a slightly tube based signature. It has rubber grommets for water resistance.

    And the ability to drive full sized headphones is impressive when using the balanced output. Paired with the 58x, this would make an impressive work rig.

    The matte screen is very easy to read and smudge resistant. I much prefer a matte screen to glossy.

    Still in the honey moon phase, so I'll chime back in with more impressions in about a week. Need to do some break in.
     
  14. Stuff Jones

    Stuff Jones Friend

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    The bluetooth (AptX) on this sounds really good going to my Vanatoo T0s. Noticeably better than from my laptop.
     
  15. Poleepkwa

    Poleepkwa Friend

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    Any owner here have problems with the 3.5 mm headphone jack becoming more loose after usage? It used to be pretty tight and friction fit, but now it feels like it will just fall out. Probably have to send it in for repair.
     
  16. eastboundofnowhere

    eastboundofnowhere Almost "Made"

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    Awesome, glad you like it. Picked up the Gilmore lite based largely on your comments. I think between the Andros and the zx300 I can finally put any portable upgrades aside for the foreseeable future. Curious about the balanced output but personally very stingy concerning cables when it comes to money.
     
  17. bengyeow

    bengyeow MOT: Porta-Fi (A Porta.Fi rip off)

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    Sony Walkman® Project Leader / Senior Electrical Engineer Tomoaki Sato has during the public session on the new DMP-Z1 at the Hong Kong High-End Audio Visual Show 2018, announced that users of the Sony NW-WM1Z, NW-WM1A, and NW-ZX300 can expect a firmware update in Autumn 2018.

    Admin Edit (@ultrabike): Removed link to Goh Beng Yeow's little ad-driven personal website. This kind of shit will not be tolerated. Thread carefully.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 22, 2018
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  18. Ice-man

    Ice-man Friend

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  19. Panohm

    Panohm Almost "Made"

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    Thanks for the info, I'm gonna grab two of these for my Dx200 & WM1A.
    Onso was my go-to but the sheath near the earhooks is coming undone and VEClan cables are twice the price of these yinyoo ones.
     
  20. Ice-man

    Ice-man Friend

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    Let me know how it works out. This cable is very resistant to tangling and has low microphonics. Initially it looked a little "thick" but in practice I really like how it works. Hard to believe for the price.
     

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