After the Sony NW-ZX505 firmware upgrade: reborn!

Nowadays, smart phones can basically meet the daily needs of users for listening to music. In addition, TWS headphones have gradually become the mainstream, which has gradually changed people’s listening habits.

However, there are also some users who have a very high pursuit of sound quality and are still using wired headsets and players. As the saying goes, “There are specialties in the art industry”, in front of professional audio equipment, smart phones can really only be regarded as a younger brother.

On October 16, 2019, Sony took advantage of the 40th anniversary of the Walkman and launched a variety of products, NW-ZX505 is one of them. This new product can be said to be Sony’s first player equipped with Android 9.0. It not only supports downloading and streaming streaming media, but also freely install Android App.

However, the NW-ZX505 first version firmware has some problems, such as some Android functions, which are almost useless for a professional player; some apps will speed up the power consumption and cause the player’s battery life to decrease; music playback settings are not enough Details etc. To this end, Sony recently pushed the latest firmware for NW-ZX505 users. This upgrade has solved many problems and also allowed this product to have all-round improvements in sound quality, operation, and battery life.


Sony’s black technology blessing makes the sound quality more HiFi

Sound quality can be said to be the focus of this firmware upgrade. Before starting to test the sound quality of the NW-ZX505, we might as well have a brief understanding of the hardware stack of this product.

Compared with NW-ZX300 series, NW-ZX505 uses DMP-Z1 (commonly known as “Sixty-six million”) capacitors and lead-free solder of the same level, and the internal structure materials also have NW-ZWN1 (commonly known as “bricks”) technology Decentralized.

Of course, the firmware upgrade is aimed at the software level. After the NW-ZX505 firmware is updated, the audio engine is upgraded from the original DSEE HX digital enhancement engine to the DSEE UItimate digital sound enhancement engine flagship version. When the device is playing audio with a lower bit rate, it can recognize the style of music through AI technology, and dynamically restore the high-frequency signals lost in the audio source compression process. In addition, DSEE UItimate can increase the 16bit/44KHz CD sound source to the highest 32bit/192KHz, while the dynamic range of the sound has been further expanded, while retaining more sound details.


To experience the DSEE UItimate digital sound enhancement engine flagship version, the premise is to prepare a wired headset. We chose Sony’s own mid-to-high-end wired headset MDR-Z7M2. In order to verify the actual effect of DSEE UItimate Digital Sound Enhancement Engine Ultimate, we listened to many different styles and languages of music. Here are a few representative examples.

The first is LiSA’s “Rally Go Round”. The overall style of this song is more cheerful. After turning on the DSEE UItimate mode, you can clearly feel that the human voice has become brighter and the electric guitar background music details of the climax part are also richer. The most important thing is that the entire sound field feels wider, so it may be too abstract. You can think of the sound field change here as the phone’s camera switching from the default focal length to ultra-wide angle.


The above one is a Japanese song with high-resolution audio, and then change to a lossless Mandarin pop. Everyone must have heard Jay Chou’s “It’s Clearly”. After all, this song won the third annual global pop music chart in April 2013 “the annual longest-time champion song” award. To be honest, the DSEE UItimate mode is not easy to detect the improvement of the male voice, but Jay Chou’s songs have one characteristic, that is, they are unclear.

When the DSEE UItimate mode is not turned on, if you don’t listen carefully, it is really not easy to distinguish which character Zhou Dong sang is inaccurate. After turning on the DESS UItimate mode, it seems that your sense of hearing is magnified, and you can basically hear everything clearly. The pronunciation of a word. At the same time, the background music details of the piano have become more abundant.


Taylor Swift (nickname: Mildew), “Safe And Sound”, must have been heard by many people. Since the song belongs to the MP3 format, the compression is relatively strong. After the DSEE UItimate mode is turned on, as long as you are not fungus, you can clearly feel the difference, the vocal will become fuller, and the guitar sound will sound brighter than before. , The sound field has also widened a lot.


It is worth mentioning that the new firmware supports custom sound effects in Bluetooth mode. Users can customize their favorite sound effects through the equalizer and dynamic volume equalizer. In order to verify the actual effect of these sound effects, we used Sony’s latest WH-1000XM4 and NW-ZX505 for Bluetooth pairing.


After the actual experience, I personally feel that the volume output of the song will become more even after turning on the dynamic volume equalizer. When the sound effect of the equalizer is adjusted to aggressive, the effect is most obvious. You will feel that the sound will move forward and the low frequency part has been further enhanced. The other sound effects have not changed too much, and it is difficult for ordinary users to hear the difference.


In general, the low-frequency part of NW-ZX505 has a sufficient dive, and the volume is slightly larger, but it is not procrastinated, and the flexibility is also obvious. It is more in line with Sony’s consistent tuning style and is very suitable for pop music. In terms of vocals, the thickness is good, the voice is raised slightly forward, the female voice is sweet, and the male voice is thick. The high frequency part will not sound particularly bright and harsh.