Tag Archives: DAP

Los Angeles Headshots by Richard Sumilang Richard Sumilang Los Angeles Headshot Photography

Sony NW-WM1Z Walkman Review

Signature Series

★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

After trying the A&K A&ultima SP2000T, there weren’t many other options that met my standard as to what I was looking for in terms of a user interface. I wanted something that locked me into a media player experience and not an experience that felt like phone with audio outputs.

Only a few devices seem to catch my attention.

  1. Cayin N8
  2. FiiO M17
  3. Sony NW-WM1Z

The Cayin N8 seemed like the SP200T with the ability to choose between tube and solid state. It has an asking price of $3,299 which would be the most expensive item on the list and I’m already well over what I wanted to spend initially on this journey, ~$700 hah!. The reviews I read on it are only great. My biggest issue is the design, though completely subjective. The physical design of this device looks like a late 1990s rendering of a player with heavy photoshop bevel effects. The interface itself looks pretty well dated too. I couldn’t get past the mere aesthetics of this device for the price.

Next on the list was FiiO M17. This was really interesting at a price point of $1,799 with the THX certification. I’ve listened to some THX systems done right before and they have been the creme of the crop. They’re packing a lot of features in this device which also seems to be the biggest drawback for me. This device is borderline a desktop amp. It seems like a desktop amp that you can take on the go and thats not exactly what I’m looking for when I’m working in my shop and wanting a DAP in my pocket.

Finally we have the Sony NW-WM1Z. This is a 6 year old device coming in at $3,000. Looking at this device just screams sex appeal and the ergonimics look like a total win. The NW-WM1Z is the premium version of the Sony NW-WM1A which I would’ve opted for if I could find a new one. But because these devices are so old, it was a miracle I could find a new NW-WM1Z.

The FiiO M17 and the Sony NW-WM1Z both look like they have an Android device due the footer navigation buttons on the player screens, but the Sony actually runs a homegrown OS. After experiencing the A&K daps, I wanted to get out of the Android experience completely and try the Sony’s known warm sound signature. Lets dive in!

Read More
Feb 11, 2022 11 min read

Astell & Kern SP2000T Review

Crash and burn

★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

The search for the perfect DAP continues! This journey began with the A&K SR25 MKII and I suggest giving that a read first as this is part of a series and referenced at times.

So, you’re probably wondering how I started at $750 DAP then jumped over 3x time the prices to a $2,500 DAP. It wasn’t an easy pill to swallow but with enough time and effort, I’ll probably able to rationalize anything. When I took another look at the products out there, A&K still made the most the sense to me. I really like their locked in Android UI and what their DAPs have to offer. The SA700 in vegas gold really captured my attention for the next purchase. Unfortunately I found enough negative critisms for me to pass it up. If I was going to be paying so much for a DAP, at this point I figured I should look at whats the latest and greatest, and what has the most interesting features.

This is where the SP2000T stood out from the rest of the lineup. I haven’t heard of a DAP with both vacuum tube and solid-state amps built in. Not only did it let you select between the korg tube or the OP amp, it also let you combine the two for a warm yet accurate sound in a hybrid mode… Well, at least according to the marketing material. At any rate, this was a technological masterpiece that I thought would be worth it’s asking price. Lets dive in!

Read More
Jan 22, 2022 17 min read

Astell & Kern SR25 MKII Review

So close yet so far

★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

I set out looking for my first DAP. I tend to look for the highest quality before the law of diminishing returns takes into too great of an affect. To me, this is the point where paying more only gives you a fraction more performance. Some would argue that’s where the magic is in audio equipment. (I’ll table that for another write-up.) Along with my bag of requirements are a few things:

  • Build quality.
  • Aesthetics.
  • Ergonmics.
  • Accessories.
  • User Interface and Software.
  • Modern features.
  • Customer support.

In this search I found the Astell & Kern SR25. An absolutely beautiful device that seemed to check all the boxes. It was about the perfect size to be portable on walks. The system was android but it didn’t feel like a phone with a headphone jack. It felt like a device whose sole purpose was music. While researching the device, I found out the mk2 version was only a couple of weeks from being launched so I put my money towards that and waited. I was excited to have this new toy in time for the winter vacation.

Read More
Dec 27, 2021 13 min read