[Adolygiad]I tried using the new Walkman “A300”. Finish that adheres to “completely wireless school now” – AV Watch

New Model Series “NW-A300” of “Streaming Walkman”

New model “NW-A300 series” of “Streaming Walkman” released on January 27th. You can now use the “DSEE Ultimate” sound quality upgrade even with third-party apps such as Amazon Music and Apple Music, and when connecting wirelessly to LDAC. “If the streaming service I usually listen to can also have high sound quality…”, the author, who had completely stopped carrying a DAP, was actually using it, and once again he realized the strengths of a “music playing machine”.

I’ve been carrying the “NW-ZX100” Walkman for many years, but when Apple Music started delivering spatial audio, I joined the music subscription for the first time. I couldn’t resist that convenience, and now I’m a completely smartphone + completely wireless person, and I no longer take my Walkman or my wired earphones outside.

However, if you’re using a streaming service on your smartphone, you’ll still be worried about the battery draining. Also, while the problem can be avoided by pre-downloading the songs, the increase in traffic due to streaming is also a cause for concern. So, I thought that by putting the new Walkman to good use, I could enjoy streaming services with higher sound quality than smartphones while preventing battery consumption from smartphones.

The main color of the body is grey, blue and black. The back has a wavy shape.

The NW-A300 series is the successor to the conventional NW-A100 series. In addition to improving battery life, which was often requested by users of the previous model, the minimum storage capacity has been changed from 32GB. “NW-A306” with a storage capacity of 32GB and “NW-A307” with 64GB are available, and the actual selling price is about 46,000 yen and about 57,000 yen, respectively. There are three colors available: grey, blue and black.

“DSEE Ultimate” can be used with all apps and wireless connection to LDAC

The biggest feature is that “DSEE Ultimate”, which upgrades compressed audio sources and CD audio sources to the equivalent of high resolution, supports all apps such as streaming apps. Previously, it was only available when using a wired connection and using the “W. Music App”, but the new model supports all apps. DSEE Ultimate itself also supports lossless audio sources, and can expand 44.1kHz / 16bit music up to a maximum of 192kHz / 32bit equivalent.

In addition, DSEE Ultimate can be used even when using the LDAC codec from Bluetooth. With this, for example, if you use headphones / headphones that support LDAC, such as Sony’s “WF-1000XM4” completely wireless earphones, you can wireless upscale songs distributed on Amazon Music, Apple Music , Spotify, etc. with DSEE Ultimate. be enjoyed. In addition, when connecting to Bluetooth with LDAC, playback at a maximum of 96 kHz / 24 bit is possible.

Other features include a cut aluminum chassis for the housing. It contributes to lower resistance and better sound quality in the low range, while at the same time realizing high rigidity. In addition, the technology of the flagship model “WM1AM2” is also introduced, and high-quality sound is achieved by adopting high-quality solder with gold attached.

The size is the same as a business card holder. Good compatibility with LDAC complete wireless

Size comparison with “NW-ZX100” (right) used by the author

The one I tried this time was NW-A306 with a capacity of 32GB, and the housing color was grey. For me, this is the first Walkman since the NW-ZX100, and since the ZX100 did not support touch operations, when I received the NW-A306, I could not hide my surprise because of its thinness, lightness and smallness.

The houses are almost the size of a business card holder

The external dimensions are about 55.7 x 11.8 x 98.2 mm (width x depth x height), which is almost the same size as a business card holder. It weighs about 113g, so you can easily slip it into your trousers or jacket pocket, and you can spend stress-free time with your smartphone.

When entering characters, you may feel that the screen is a little narrow

The case has a satin-like texture and the wavy shape of the back fits comfortably in the hand, giving it a good grip. The screen size is 3.6 inches, which is much smaller than the iPhone 13 Pro I use as my main, and I sometimes felt that the screen was narrow when entering characters or searching with Apple Music , but after I got used to it, especially No problem. I almost didn’t feel like I was caught in the operation of the home screen or the behavior of the application.

“High resolution streaming” is available in the “Sound” item in the settings app

First, pair the WF-1000XM4, which supports LDAC, assuming it is used with a smartphone. At this time, if the wireless playback quality of “Connected Devices” → “Connection settings” → “Bluetooth” in the settings is set to “LDAC audio quality priority” or “LDAC connection priority (automatic)”, or “Audio Let’s check if “High resolution streaming” in the item is turned on.

For WF-1000XM4, if you change the connection quality from the “Sony | Headphones Connect” app, it will change to LDAC

Also, in the case of WF-1000XM4, if you change “Bluetooth connection quality” in the “Sony | Headphones Connect” program from “Connection Priority” to “Audio quality Priority”, it will switch to LDAC connection. It should be easy to understand because “LDAC” is displayed at the top of the app.

Moreover, in the case of Apple Music, you can choose the sound quality from high audio quality (AAC 256kbps), lossless (maximum ALAC 48kHz / 24bit), and lossless high resolution (maximum ALAC 192kHz / 24bit) in the settings within the app Let’s check it out. This time, Wi-Fi streaming and downloading are set to high resolution without loss.

Listen to “First Love (2022 Mix) / Hikaru Utada” on Apple Music

While turning DSEE Ultimate on and off, listen to Utada Hikaru’s “First Love (2022 Mix)”, which is gaining attention again in the Netflix drama. On Apple Music, both are classified as 48kHz / 24bit ALAC lossless audio sources.

When DSEE Ultimate is turned off, the high-frequency description of the flowing piano at first is rough and gives the impression of being a bit ear-piercing, but when DSEE Ultimate gets turn it on, the high pitch corners are removed and the listening comfort is smooth. When DSEE Ultimate is turned on for the reverb part of the chorus, you can feel the vastness of the sound field that reverberates in a large hall, and at the same time, the bass that sinks into it is rich.

In addition, I listened to “Shinjidai/Uta” (lossless), “Official HIGE Subtitle/Dandistics” (lossless), and “Who is the flower? -From THE FIRST TAKE/STU48” (lossless loss). Ultimately, I got the impression that the smoothness of the high frequencies and the sinking of the low frequencies increased.

If you want to enjoy higher sound quality, use wired earphones

If you are using the NW-A300 series, you want to use wired earphones as well as completely wireless ones. I searched for wired earphones made by Sony in the price range of about 10,000 to 30,000 yen, which are easy to use together, but when I look at the direct sales site “Sony Store”, there are almost no wired earphones at that price. range.

At around 10,000 yen, there is the “MDR-EX650AP” (Sony store price of 8,360 yen) which claims to be compatible with smartphones, but in terms of specifications, it is quite unsatisfactory in terms of specifications when combined with the NW-A300 series, which sells for about 46,000 yen.

As for the price range above that, it immediately jumps to “XBA-Z5″ (Sony store price 74,800 yen), and this time there is a sense of over-spec. “Wired earphones with specifications and prices that can easily be combined with the entry model Walkman have disappeared from the Sony series …” I felt the flow of times.

By the way, the previous model had a model with wired earphones, but it was abolished in the NW-A300 series. At the same time, the noise canceling function of wired earphones is not installed.

Of course, wired headphones can also be used. Wired can enjoy music with higher sound quality

So, this time I tried to use wired earphones like Shure “SE215 Special Edition”, Fender “FXA2”, Ultimate Ears custom IEM “UE RR”. Compared to DSEE Ultimate on + LDAC completely wireless, wired listening is much better in how the sound rises quickly, the low range sinks in, and the expression of the sound field. The goodness of the complete wireless treatment is attractive, but when it comes to sound quality, I was once again reminded that wired earphones are better.

In case, when comparing the author’s own NW-A306 and NW-ZX100 with wired earphones, the sense of resolution has improved, and even in songs with more instruments, the NW-A306 can reproduce every tone that is easy to listen to. On the other hand, I felt that the NW-ZX100 was more subdued in the low range volume.

You can also use video apps like YouTube. These apps can also enable DSEE Ultimate

You can also enjoy videos like YouTube and Netflix with the NW-A300 series. Since the screen is small, the list of search results and registered channels is inferior to smartphones with larger screens, but personally, the screen size is enough to watch live games, product reviews, Vlog videos, etc. I was to be able to watch movies with subtitles without any problems. It’s nice to be able to use DSEE Ultimate even with these video apps.

By the way, Apple Music can play music even offline if you download the music to the terminal. If you download it before going out, you can enjoy music without relying on tethering a smartphone on the go.

The evolution of DSEE Ultimate makes it a series that is easy to use even when completely wireless

The NW-A300 series allows you to enjoy music and videos with a higher sound quality than your smartphone, despite its compact size that fits in the palm of your hand and light weight of about 113g. There are no restrictions on the apps that can use DSEE Ultimate, and DSEE Ultimate can now only be used with wireless headphones when connected to LDAC, so even those using headphones can wireless mainly benefit from it.

Complete wireless compatible with LDAC has also appeared not only from Sony but also from companies such as Anker, making it easier to prepare the environment than before. Combined with such a wireless combination, it seems that you can enjoy using it properly, such as completely wireless with noise cancellation when traveling by train, etc., and wired earphones when taking a break in a cafe .

However, in that case, I would like the fully wireless side to support multi-points that can connect to a Walkman and a smartphone at the same time. With a multi-point model, you can respond to incoming calls and notifications on your smartphone while listening to music on your Walkman. Right now, I can’t wait for the update announced “this winter” for the WF-1000XM4, which doesn’t support multipoint.

My personal concern is the storage capacity. As mentioned above, Apple Music has a function to download songs, but if you save them in high resolution lossless quality, the storage will decrease quickly. Although a microSD card can be used, the 32GB model (actual usable area around 18GB) is quite unreliable when it comes to storing the high-resolution audio sources at hand.

A 64GB model (actually usable area around 47GB) is also available, but in that case, the price will rise to around 57,000 yen, which is annoying. Still, the NW-A300 series was an attractive model that attracted me to the “suffering of spending money”, “If you can enjoy music with high sound quality …”.

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