Sony took the wraps off its new high-resolution portable music player at CES 2015, bringing expandable memory, plus support for DSD playback and a new "superior" LDAC Bluetooth codec.

The NWZ-ZX2 Walkman follows in the footsteps of the ZX1, which was previously Sony's flagship portable music player for high-res audio on the move. It's due to go on sale in February 2015 for £950.

"Every stage of the audio pathway is upgraded", says Sony; the ZX2 Walkman pitched at "on-the-move music lovers who value the difference" (in sound quality, presumably).

MORE: Sony NWZ-ZX1 review

And Sony has addressed a couple of our gripes with the ZX1 - firstly by adding an SD card on the ZX2 (the internal storage remains 128GB) and bringing support for DSD audio files.

There are now two digital clocks inside, aiming to ensure the audio signal is prepared for whatever file and format you choose to throw at it.

More after the break

Also new is support for the LDAC Bluetooth codec, which claims to be "three times" more efficient than previous Bluetooth technology when it comes to delivering audio data.

MORE: High-resolution audio - everything you need to know

In addition to wireless Bluetooth for streaming music, there's also NFC support for one-touch connection to compatible devices - such as wireless speakers.

Support for studio master quality 24-bit/192kHz files is aided by the inclusion of Sony's S-Master HX digital amplifier and DSEE HX audio processing, the latter of which will upscale CD and lossy MP3 files, though we're not sure about Sony's "near Hi-Res quality" claim.

The ZX2 is wireless compatible, too, allowing you to stream music from your DLNA server over your home network, for example, and there's also a USB connection for connecting to a headphone amp or DAC. 

The 4in FWVGA screen (which is the same spec as the ZX1) is powered by Android 4.2 and the device is said to weigh around 235g. Meanwhile, Sony claims the ZX2 battery life is around 60 hours for compressed music, around half that for high-res audio. It will charge in 4.5 hours. Take a look at our brief hands-on video with the ZX2 on the CES show floor.

MORE: Sony NWZ-ZX2 hands-on review

CES 2015: All the latest CES 2015 news highlights

Comments

Graham Luke's picture

You what?

Not much change from a grand? Good luck shifting them...

Jota180's picture

I was reading the piece and

I was reading the piece and missed the price and was thinking "I'll have one of those" then saw your reply.  Couldn't believe it until I re-read the article.

That's me out Sony!

Graham Luke's picture

It's particularly galling

It's particularly galling when you find out that even the best DAC chips etc. are not very expensive; as Arfur used to say, 'they're havin' a laugh...'

Tibbyjonze's picture

Oh Sony!

Oh Sony, you ticked nearly all the boxes for me inc a high res player using Android (so you can use your Spotify account being the deal sealer!) Until I read the price! It's almost insulting and a price bracket I would reserve for my home audio set up not a portable device. This is not the way to increase popularity for mobile Hi-Res music is it now Sony. The F886 just didn't have the processing power to run Extreme Quality downloads from Spotify as it often skipped and jumped on me, so I sent it back. I was waiting for a player that had the grunt to support this too but back to disappointment, and maybe other brands?

aob9's picture

£950 for a portable device. I

£950 for a portable device. I didn't see a mention of digital line out or even proper analogue line out. Not a chance in hell Sony. I doubt this will turn Sony's fortunes around. 

holsen's picture

But Hows The Sound?

I was prepared to buy the ZX1 but it sounded horrible.  Flat, tinny, certainly not HiRes.  I ended up buying an Astell & Kern AK120 with Dual Dacs, 64GB on board memory and 2 X 128GB mSD Card Slots.  It wasnt cheap (like the ZX2) but it sounds amazing.  There are a couple of things about the AK120 I dont like, so I would be prepared to get one of these new Sony Hi Res Players but for that kind of dough, it needs to produce audiophile quality sound which the ZX1 definitely does not.  There is a market for these high end devices as AK, Fiio, iBasso and others have proven.  The AK240 sells for $2400 , but the question is can / will sony get a piece of it?  time and our ears will tell.

Green Bow's picture

What Hi-Fi liked the Sony NWS-ZX1 audio

They said it was the best portable they had heard. I don't know if they'd seen the Astel and Kern AK120 by then, or at all.

That's the thing though with these devices, they are never going to sound impressive anyway unless you put some startling headphones on them, like the Grado PS1000e. Maybe the GRado SR325e have enough to make them good, but i am hesitant to believe.

nick8858's picture

Ludicrous Price!

Save yourselves a fortune and go buy a Fiio X3. £150 and does what the Sony does but no wi fi. Why? Because its an audio player pure ans simple and by removing all the internet trash you can spend more on the audio components and get a better sounding device. At the price the Fiio X3 is unbeatable and you'd have £800 left to treat yourself to a good mini hi fi for the kitchen or bedroom. Anyone who shells out this amount of money for this is bonkers.

Also the Fioo X3 has a really good output amp. I suspect the Sony output will be poor like the ZX1 which is pitiful.

Also the Fiio can be used as a standalone DAC. 

And of course the usual caveat....if the original recording is rubbish the player will just reproduce high quality rubbish. 

Nil points Sony

Jota180's picture

Wi-Fi

The wi-fi on this player is a massive reason why I thought I'll be getting one of these (until I saw the price that is).  Streaming my music collection from the NAS to the bedroom appealed but thinking about it, I wonder what bit rate it streams at.  Probably not Hi Def.

aob9's picture

nick8858,

nick8858,
I have purchased numerous Sony devices over the years because of their high quality. But I now own the Fiio X3 you speak of. I have proven to myself recently that high quality doesn't have to require huge investment. To me the price of the ZX2 is a complete joke for what is on offer. As another poster commented the best DACs and amps are not expensive.

Green Bow's picture

I think there are cheaper options.

I am thinking a better plan is to get a cheaper model, by that I mean a much cheaper one. Then by USB add the Audioquest Dragonfly V1.2, if it's possible. I think it should be and since you are sidestepping the file players DAC your battery life should be similar.

Regarding memory, even if I choose the NWZ-ZX1 I think it has plently of space. DSD I would not use so it clean rules out any interest in the ZX2. Given the ridiculous price, why even consider it. Using just CD quality 16bit/44KHz, WAV or FLAC, the ZX1 has a huge storage. 24bit/192KHz will fit about 100 albums on the ZX1 and the chance of me buying any of those is extremely remote. Even 96KHz albums would fit about, I don't know, 300 albums.

Needing any more space is just pure showing off, if like me you have zero intention of watching videos. I never saw the point of buying a device that size to watch video.

 

All you do if you ZX1 gets full is pull a couple of albums off and put a new one on. A change is as good as a rest.