Sony Walkman NWZ-A15 Review - High-Res Music For All


It was with great pleasure that I placed my hands on the Sony Walkman NWZ-A15 a couple of weeks back. Now I've grown up listening music the the walkman of yesteryears, so when I heard this entry level music level that plays hi-resolution music, I could not wait to get my hands on it. For one who is really new to high resolution music, this unit has to be the perfect entry point into the high res world.


Sony Walkman NWZ-A15 Review
Sony Walkman NWZ-A15 Review



A dedicated device just for playing hi-res music, some videos and the occasional radio listening, the Sony Walkman NWZ-A15 is devoid of all the bells and whistles of today's gadgets, including wifi, touchscreen and customizable applications. What you see is what you get, the basics. But of course, for its price point, plus it does what its suppose to do best, play high-resolution music.


The Sony Walkman NWZ-A15 paired with my Klipsch R6i In-Ear Headphones
The Sony Walkman NWZ-A15 paired with my Klipsch R6i In-Ear Headphones
I'm all set to enjoy some good hi-res music
I'm all set to enjoy some good hi-res music

To listen and fully appreciate the high resolution music and files, I paired it with my Klipsch R6i In-ear headphones, in the hopes of getting a better sounding output. From what I found out, in the market so far, only bulky, expensive music players and high-end smartphones have been able to decode the FLAC and DSD files that are capable of such incredible clarity and detail. Sony aims to change that with the Sony Walkman NWZ-A15


The set came with some hi-res audio music download to fully utilize the device.
The set came with some hi-res audio music download to fully utilize the device. 


Touted to be Sony's smallest and lightest high-resolution audio player ever made, I could not agree more. Measuring 44 x 109 x 9mm gives this Walkman the advantage of true shirt-pocket portability and weighing just 66g, you hardly feel it's weigh. Perfect for that gym session.


Weighs just 66gm
Weighs only 66gm
A shot of the back, with the SIRIM sticker attached
A shot of the back, with the SIRIM sticker attached


The screen measures 2.2in, with a resolution of 320x240 pixels only functions as a display and offers no touch capability. A diamond-shaped directional pad adorns the front, with enter/play/pause at its centre. The right side has volume keys and a ‘lock’ slider to stop you from accidentally hitting play. The bottom edge has a 3.5mm headphone socket, and a proprietary port for data and USB charging.

Side view
Side view
3.5mm headphone socket, and a proprietary port for data and USB charging.
3.5mm headphone socket, and a proprietary port for data and USB charging. 

SO how does this thing play? I mean, the main reason we get one of these toys are to enjoy the truly good unadulterated songs that is better than what your iPhone 6 can churn out. Here, the Sony Walkman NWZ-A15 has the capability to play FLAC, AIFF and ALAC files without converting them first. I tried playing some 24bit 200+ MB FLAC and WAV files on the device, and I must say, it sounds way superior than the usual CD or MP3 that I'm used to.

The NWZ-A15 has video playing capabilities too
The NWZ-A15 has video playing capabilities too
Play those hi-res audio without any problems
Play those hi-res audio without any problems

The FLAC and WAV files that I downloaded were sampled at a higher frequency in the mastering studio and not compressed for CD, or MP3, so there’s a lot more music data available. To hear the difference, you will need hardware that can reach this extended frequency range, and hopefully my Klipsch R6i does the job. There’s more depth to the bass and generally a better sense of separation between the synthesised sounds.


Some of the default hi-res audio in the device
Some of the default hi-res audio in the device

Battery life is impressive with 30 hours of playback (or 50 if you stick to less challenging MP3 files) which I find to be more than good enough. The internal storage comes with 16GB which can't really hold lots, but the good thing is I'm able to add extra storage with microSD cards whenever I need to keep more music to enjoy.


It comes with subtitles !
It comes with subtitles !

File compatibility includes MP3, WAV, AIFF, WMA, AAC, HE-AAC, FLAC and ALAC. If you are looking for the best in sound quality and features, the Sony Walkman NWZ-A15 isn’t what you’re looking for. But if you’re like me, only beginning to start appreciating high-resolution music, this is a very highly recommended set to start. More information can be found from the official Sony Malaysia website (http://www.sony.com.my/product/nwz-a15) but for now I leave you with the specifications below.

Sony Walkman NWZ-A15 Specification
Sony Walkman NWZ-A15 Specification




1 comment :

  1. It certainly did not look like that in my younger years - the reason why my eardrums vibrate when I go clubbing these days, so can't do that anymore - can be quite painful when the music is so very loud. Maybe the technology now is better so will not end up like me but still, listen...and just make sure you turn the volume down.

    ReplyDelete

Always appreciate the comments. Thanks!

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