Note: early versions of this article mistakenly linked to CEntrance's Glove Audio A1 rather than to Lynx HILO. This has been corrected.
Disclaimer: I purchased this unit from e-Earphone's used department at about 30% off the retail price. e-Earphone rocks.
RMAA: Sony NW-WM1Z 24-bit
RMAA: Sony NW-ZX2 24-bit
RMAA: GloveAudio A1 24-bit
RMAA: MST Audio Chord Mojo-Kai (balanced) 24-bit
RMAA: Onkyo DP-S1 rubato 24-bit
RMAA: Astell & Kern AK70 Kai (Ryuzoh mod) 24-bit
RMAA: iPhone SE 24-bit
RMAA: Apple iPhone 7 24-bit
RMAA: Apple iPhone 6 24-bit
RMAA: Chord Mojo 24-bit
RMAA: Onkyo DP-X1 24-bit single-ended and balanced
RMAA: MS-AK100 24-bit new
RMAA: Astell&Kern AK380 24-bit
Sane-ish price, beautiful industrial design, good performance, and an interface that embarrasses most of the competition, the ZX300 is a phenomenal DAP. Like the Sony NW-WM1Z it hisses, but not horribly. And, it doesn't break the 16-bit ceiling in any meaningful way. But it nails DSD decode and playback, runs smoothly through albums/songs/artists, and with an artful UI to boot. I love this thing.
As they do in the WM1Z, artefacts at top volume and high gain somewhat mar the audio experience, but I'll be damned if anyone is listening to music beyond 108dB anyway. One thing the ZX300 kills is IMD/jitter and THD, even under load and blowing the drivers on a set of Earsonics SM2 or Audio Technica ES7.
The ZX300 isn't the performance monster Onkyo's DP-S1 is. Hell, Astell & Kern's AK100 (low Ω mod) goes neck and neck with it. In particular, its balanced output has a relatively high level of jitter. But, under load, it doesn't rise, and both with and without load that jitter is inaudible. But no one out there delivers such a good screen, smooth playback, and no one out there delivers Sony's build quality.
Source: Walkman® with High-Resolution Audio ZX300
ADC: Lynx Studio HILO LT-TB
Computer: 2012 27" iMac
Cables: 1,5m Hosa Pro 3,5mm stereo to dual 3-pin XLR (around 8$); bespoke y-split 2,5 TRRS to dual 3-pin XLR made by Musashi Sound Technology.
NOTE: RMAA shows a volume setting of 100. That is an input mistake on my part. The volume was set to 120 or 100% of the NW-WM1Z's volume scale.
NL - no load
SM2 - Earsonics SM2
ES7 - Audio Technica ES7
DT880 - Beyerdynamic DT880/600
24-bit HG SE VOL 120 @+0dB - all targets
24-bit HG SE VOL 120 @+0dB - NL summary
24-bit HG BAL VOL 120 @+0dB - NL / SM2
The ZX300 is a good player. Good performance, great physical styling, functional design, and great screen stand it out from a crowd increasingly racing to the bottom.