Sony NW-A45/B Walkman with Hi-Res Audio, Grayish Black
|Connections||Bluetooth, USB, NFC|
|Component Type||Memory, Amplifier|
About this item
- Make sure this fits by entering your model number.
- Truly authentic sound with Hi-Res Audio , Maximum Power Output - 35 Mega Watt + 35 Mega Watt
- S-Master HX digital amplifier for pure sound quality
- DSEE H upscaling restores quality to compressed files
- Easy Bluetooth connectivity with NFC One touch
- Ambient Sound Mode to keep you aware of your surroundings at all times
- You can enjoy up to 45 hours of music play back
- 16GB of memory built in
- In the box: Walkman (1), USB cable (1), Startup Guide, Instruction Manual
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From the manufacturer
Precision engineered for superior sound
New solder maximizes clarity
High-quality, lead-free solder creates a more efficient electronic connection between components, including the S-Master HX amp. Enjoy purer audio playback with enhanced vocal clarity, every time you press play.
New circuit board for pure, solid bass
The circuit board has been optimized to improve electricity flow, making the power supply stable. That means you experience clearer sound and pure, solid bass in your music.
Compare with similar items
Enjoy superior sound quality, wrapped up in the colors of your world. High- Resolution Audio lets you hear music as the artist intended. Go wireless with NFC and Bluetooth streaming, and Ambient Sound Mode to keep you aware of your surroundings at all times. Display Type: TFT colour display with white LED-backlight Capacitive touch screen
Visible screen diagonal
4" / 8 cm
Top reviews from the United States
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This player does not have any WiFi connection, and this cannot do streaming services such as Spotify. So that's not what this is for. This player also does not have any "apps," nor does it play video. It is a music player, a classic "mp3 player" in the iPod mold.
Which was fine for me. I have a nice stereo speaker in my dining room to play music while cooking and having dinner. I had been using a Sandisk Clip player to supply music (I am not a Luddite, we do have an Echo for streaming music, but I have a substantial CD collection), but was constantly running up against its limit of a 32gb maximum SD card size. So I wanted a player that could take 128gb or higher cards.
When you start looking for those, you quickly see that either you will be looking at cheap Chinese knock-off players that have very spotty build quality and reliability, or at "mid-range" players like this, the FiiO X1, or the Cowon Plenue D. The FiiO X1 runs about half the price of the other two, and I was THIS close to pulling the trigger on it, but reports of balky scroll wheels and non-functional features put me off. So I went with Sony because I have nearly always enjoyed the build quality and performance of their products.
This player does have Bluetooth, which means it can connect to speakers and headphones. It does so easily and the connection is quite secure (no dropouts). AptX is available via firmware update.
This player also plays every Hi-Res format you can throw at it: AIFF, FLAC, WAV, DSD. I will discuss that below.
So, as you can see from the attached pictures, this is a small unit. I have slightly above-average sized hands, and this player feels small in them. It's bigger than an iPod Nano but smaller than a Touch or hard-drive model. It is hefty but not overly heavy. The body feels metallic, perhaps aluminum with a milled "matte" finish (if it is plastic, it's a very convincing approximation of metal).
The 3.1" touchscreen is nice looking, and can get bright enough to compete with sunlight. I will say though, on the bad side, there is no oleophobic coating, and the screen picks up fingerprints quite easily, which take a good hard wipe to remove. I have been wiping it on my shirt, and no scratches are evident. UPDATE: I purchased the IVSO tempered glass screen protector. It ameliorates the lack of oleophobic coating on the screen and has both cut down on fingerprints as well as increased the ease of swiping. I highly recommend it.
The USB connector is 2.0, which is plenty fast for most audio file transfers. Unfortunately, Sony went with a proprietary connector on the unit. This is a real pain, and I wish it had been USB-C (or at least micro). Another annoyance is that packed into the box, Sony only included that cable, no charger. The unit charges just fine with the various USB cellphone chargers I have, but for safety's sake I would vastly prefer to have a unit chosen by Sony to be a good fit for the player. The battery charges pretty quickly, and Sony's claims of 45 hours of listening time seem quite believable.
Overall, as is typical for Sony products, the fit and finish is excellent. No buttons are wobbly, there are no gaps or creaks, and the whole thing inspires confidence. Only the proprietary connector and non-oleophobic screen irk me.
The software is Sony's own interface. It is mostly pretty good. As you can see from my attached pictures, there are four touch icons along the bottom - back, now playing, home, and settings. There are also swipe gestures - from the left gives you track listing, from the top gives you home, from the right is a bookmark menu, and from the bottom are equalizer and sound enhancements. Things are mostly peppy, although a large list of albums with pictures can lag a tad before swiping smoothly, as the images populate. Loading a large amount of music onto an SD card necessitates "Building Database" when you power it up for the first time, and this can take two or three minutes for a large collection. Subsequent additions to your collection take less time, more like 15 seconds.
Speaking of album art, I ran into a problem where files that had art tagged would not show the art in the player. Initially I thought this was an issue with resolution, that they had to be very small. It turns out that actually the issue is with the format of jpeg file used. "Progressive" jpegs will not display. "Baseline" jpegs will. So if you have Photoshop, you can just open the file and do a "Save as" and be sure to check the "Baseline" option when saving. You can use quite a large file if you so choose (though 500x500 is plenty big for this screen).
Two things I like quite a bit about the software are that 1. you can choose to sort artists only by the album artist, which negates the irritation of having albums broken up when there is a guest artist, duet partner, etc. So everything stays together. 2. there is a separate breakout menu for Hi-Res files, which is nice because typically, I would imagine most people have a smaller selection of those files than standard mp3 or FLAC files.
There is an optional suite of software you can install on your Windows PC. I did not do so. The player appears as a USB storage drive when you plug it in, like any Android phone or tablet. I dragged and dropped my music this way. The SD card slot accepts larger cards like 128gb and 256gb. I have not tested it with anything higher, though I've heard reports of 400gb working just fine.
I do any critical listening with my Sony MDR-7506 studio monitor headphones. Over these headphones, regular mp3 music files sounded ever so slightly cleaner than from the Sandisk Clip player. There are various "enhancement" modes in the equalizer, mostly they just seemed to crank up midrange sounds, and I left them off (nicely, they are set to Off by default).
I ripped some of my CDs to FLAC, and downloaded a few Hi-Res AIFF and DSD files. The sound quality over my headphones was excellent. I did some comparisons to ripped mp3 files, and I will say this - compared to a 320kbps mp3, Hi-Res is almost identical to the ear. On a lower bitrate mp3 (e.g. 128kbps) You can pick out slightly cleaner details on things like bass guitar riffs and cymbal hits, which seem to get lost or muddled a bit on mp3. But it is NOT night and day, so don't go in expecting that. What you are buying here is NOT an entirely different experience. To make an analogy, this is not the jump from VHS to DVD, or DVD to Blu-Ray. It's more like Blu-Ray to 4K - you can spot the differences if you know what you're looking for, but it's still easy to enjoy the lower-res format because the difference is not overwhelming (whereas watching a VHS is like medieval eye torture now). While listening to 128kbps mp3s, I still got lost in details and enjoyed the music quite a bit, often thinking "wait, was this Hi-Res?" only to check and see that it wasn't. I guess this is a long way of saying, all of your music will sound good, as long as it was sourced from a CD or a reputable online store.
UPDATE: I recently purchased the Sony MDR-1000x noise canceling headphones, which can pair via Bluetooth using Sony's LDAC codec (which is also available by default in Android 8.0 smartphones). I was not really a believer in Bluetooth sound until trying this. Wow! It sounds great, with not even a perceptible difference between wired and wireless sound quality (there IS still a difference, as LDAC does compress things - I just cannot hear it). The NFC function of the player is really nice, too. You just tap the player to your headphones and they connect right away. Having things "just work" is great.
UPDATE 2: I have purchased a pair of Sony MDR-Z7 cans for home listening. This player can power them quite easily (they are 70 Ohm impedance headphones). I run the player between 60-70 on the volume meter, or 50-60% of maximum. The player sounds wonderful. So for anyone wondering whether this can power a higher-impedance headphone, I think the answer is certainly yes. My guess would be that if you own cans that run at 150 Ohms or greater, you might need an amplifier.
This is for people with a large off-line digital collection of music who don't want to use their phone as their primary player. It is NOT a streaming music player. Ideally, this would be used in a quiet home environment with a nice stereo system, or paired with a good mid-range or higher set of headphones for commuting. I would not recommend this player for exercise, as it is overkill and for my money too expensive for the risk of dropping (although there is a lanyard hook, FWIW). It is solidly built, plays everything you can throw at it, and has the ability to use very large SD cards.
I am happy with my purchase, even at this price. With it, I have more capability than Sandisk's perfectly fine line of players (which I would recommend for exercise). This is the player that works well for my home stereo use case. I have no problems recommending it to someone who needs it for home or commuting use. Do I wish it were 25-50% cheaper? Sure. But sometimes, you get what you pay for. This unit competes with the Cowon Plenue D quite well on price, and is certainly less expensive than a smartphone.
This is a great player with great sound, if you’re like me and own your music. Personally, I don’t have any use for a subscription service that is a waste of money since you have nothing to show for the money spent on it as soon as you cancel it. Anyway when deciding on whether or not to buy this the negative reviews had me a bit worried but luckily I bought it anyway. I’d like to address most of the low score reviews.
Impossible to sort music? Not really, sounds like somebody is stealing music, all my ripped music is perfectly sorted.
This doesn’t come with headphones, learn to read.
The “Music Center” app has run flawlessly for me so far but there’s no reason to use it, just drag and drop your music to the device. It’s simple to do and the “Music Center” app is a waste if you just want to transfer music.
The volume can be controlled with the Bluetooth speaker, you have to turn on “Enhanced Mode” in settings / Bluetooth / Audio Device Connection Settings. A little reading would have fixed this issue.
No cover art? Your image is using progressive quality, you either need to fix it or download new art. I easily fixed them with TagScanner.
The Bluetooth connection issues might be with your car, I haven’t had connection issues with any of my devices, including 2 cars.
The software that is used to add files to the Walkman is not bad, but it's not I-Tunes either. I found it to be a little quirky at first, but I soon got the hang of it to add or remove music to the device. Do yourself a favor and buy a Micro SD storage card to add extra storage, 16GB is all you get. And with the potential to save higher bitrate files, you will soon need it if you have a lot of music in your library.
The battery lasts a decent amount of time and you can place the unit in a standby mode when you are not listening. If you like good sounding music or you are an audiophile on a budget, then the player is a recommended buy.
If you only want to play your MP3's, then there are cheaper options out there that won't sound as good as the Sony. Good luck!
Top reviews from other countries
However, the PCM-100 is too large, and clumsy as a player. I love that it runs on AA batteries, and has micro USB - but I just couldn't carry it around. I put up with my phone and low quality rips for a few years.
Finally, for Father's Day I picked up the NW-A45.
I want to start with what I'm disappointed with - and what I think was a huge missed opportunity for Sony. With the HAP-S1, it comes with software for the Mac (Windows too) and it's great for transferring every format of music. You can even select if you install it on the internal HDD or external etc. Why, Sony couldn't incorporate a Hi-Res device like the A45 to work with that music transfer program that's already installed on your computer. And, why not have it able to plug into the USB in the back of the HAP for transfer of music? Much like to can rip CD's etc directly into the HAP using USB. There's just so much potential.
But if you don't have a HAP then all of that is meaningless to you. Let's talk about the A45. The size is practically identical to that of a business card and the thickness of any normal smart phone these days. So pretty thin, and pretty small. One of the deciding factors for me to buy this as opposed to all the others I saw, is the buttons on the side. Physical buttons, laid out in a practical way. I listen to music every night, falling asleep to it. I need to be able to control my music without looking at a screen. Just clicking buttons. Perfect. I'd been using a Xduoo2 for a few years now at night. No more. Oh, and the Sony has an easy to flick Hold button too! perfect.
So, a proprietary cable? That's fine. I bought an extra for $5 on Amazon. Plus all my Apple gear uses proprietary cables and it's never been an issue. Otherwise, not much to see. 3.5mm audio jack.and a lanyard anchor.
For testing I had to play material that I've heard hundreds of times before on my other Sony DSD gear. Pink Floyd's WYWH in DSF format. Also, my own music as I've been recording and producing music for years, recording in 24/192. As with any portable audio - a huge part of your experience comes from your headphones. I've seen people say DAP xyz has no power, or lacks bass etc - but with another set of headphones all of a sudden the sound is great.
VOLUME - I just wanted to quickly add - that one of the best things here is that the device has 120 clicks of volume. You can get any level you desire which is important to me especially late at night falling asleep. The small increments are a great help. Don't miss the volume shortcut by tapping the volume level at the top of the screen!
SOUND & POWER - My headphones are 24ohms. I put on Shine On You Crazy Diamond and I found volume at 100/120 was about the highest I could go without it hurting my ears. However, 75/120 is perfect for me. So while the amp in the device isn't the most powerful, it's perfect for its size and should do you well even in noisy environments. Now, I'm listening to DSD and perfectly mastered material - but even at full volume (I put volume to 120/120 for the intro of Shine On You Crazy Diamond, and there is no hiss, no noise at all. It's dead quiet except for the music. Fabulous stuff!
Lots of audio options. Preset or manual equalization, Clear+ audio, DSEE HX, phase linearizer, normalizer etc.
INTERFACE - Very easy to use and understand. You can customize which features are on the home screen. Everything is legible and easy to read. Screen will show you if you are listening to Hi-Res material. You only need to learn 4 swipes. One in every direction. And the volume shortcut I mentioned earlier. You can delete your songs directly from the player if need. You can create playlists on the device.
For the $, I think it's an excellent value. Very portable, easy to use, sounds fantastic with good headphones (and maybe even without). Interface is fast and responsive. Really, there is nothing more I would want on this player.
UPDATE: I just wanted to come back to this review for some thoughts, and I have uploaded some photos too compared with a iPhone SE for size comparison.
This player is fantastic. The battery life is great. I play mostly DSD and high bitrate FLAC and the player goes forever. There's an option in settings called battery saver - where the device, when charging will never charge higher than 90% full. I've been using this and still fabulous battery life.
If you look at the photos, I am playing a DSD album. I just wish the display would show the format/bit-rate of the song being played.Instead it will only show as HR or nothing at all for lower resolution files. However, you can get extremely detailed information on every song that is playing, including all the specifications easily from the play screen.
I've (don't laugh) been testing this at night with some $2 in-ear phones. See, I fall asleep with my music device every night - and I learned over the years that what I wear will eventually get broken from being tugged or crushed etc. So, I wear cheapie at night. Still - while the sound is obviously not as good - I can accept that - and it's the form factor of the device that's perfect for me. fits in my hand, every physical button easily identifiable by touch.
If the build quality of this wasn't so good, and it didn't seem like it would last forever, I might buy a spare - but as it is - I think this is going to stay around and last for a long, long time. Get it while you can.
BUT AND THERE IS A BIGG BUT.... :) if your an audiophile ready to face the mess, then what you get from the minute you put on your headphones is pure unadulterated heaven, the sound that this thing produces is utterly amazing, it takes even your most crappiest files and converts them into a whole new experience, the only other system that produces quality this good are CDJ 900/2000 nexus and they are fully fledged DJ turntables. So to sum it up, the reason i gave this 5 stars is simple, because it make me feel awesome, walking down the road looking at all the morons with their expensive $1000+ iphones and their $200 beats, meanwhile im chilling with my cheap walkman and my $20 marley headphones knowing that no matter what they buy or do they can never match whats going on in my ears :)
The reason I only will rate this 3 stars is because of issues with music transfers. Having a proprietary cable is pretty lame, but the real problem is the software designed for transferring music. "Music Center for PC" is abysmal, truly terrible. It's slow, it has poor organization, and it constantly has issues with shifting information (especially ratings). I've had many times where I have had to reupload content onto the device because it gets changed by the program without me knowing it. Trying to upload playlists is a nightmare- I've tried 3 times uploading a ~1000 song playlist and it constantly fails to upload the entire playlist without giving any indication as to why. I am aware that I don't truly need to use the software in order to run the device, but for something that is supposed to make the process of loading the device easier, there is no excuse for how poorly it functions.
However, the software is terrible. Similar to another reviewer, it is an absolute pain to listen to music. Say you are listening to a track and want to find another artist. You have to back --back-- back --back --- folder -- artist -- scroll all the way down (no fast scrolling) -- album -- song.
Takes forever when listening to music. Severely limits enjoyment of music having to spend an eternity finding a track.
Also, what's with the stupid placement of the headphone jack? Placed at the bottom, interfering with the ability to hold the device well.
And finally, there really is no way other than loading tracks by putting your microsd card into your computer. The transfer software is absolutely garbage.
While the sound is great, I would NOT recommend this device based on the software limitations. I regret having bought this.