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-   -   Sony NWZ-B143 too quiet/poor quality.. help needed (http://www.anythingbutipod.com/forum/showthread.php?t=49230)

Golden Ears 11-05-2009 04:59 PM

Sony NWZ-B143 too quiet/poor quality.. help needed
Hello abi people, I've benn a lurker for quite a fair while here. However, I really need a solution to a problem I have with my new dap I bought a few weeks ago.

Background: I was happily owning a Sony NW-E013 lipstick style player for a couple of years, until a couple of weeks ago when I left it on a shop counter, and when I went back some tosser had nicked it.
It had superb sound quality (considering it was the no bells and whistles model at the time), brilliant max volume, and a very user-friendly interface with a little LCD colour display. Even though I had to use SonicStage to transfer files, it didn't bother me too much because the hassle pays off with a great organisation of music/albums etc.

So, I couldn't go without a dap, you know. It just feels wrong to not have your music with you wherever you are, it's a basic fundamental human right. So I went to the nearest store selling mp3 players, and found out that my previous model was no longer produced by sony. Damn. So I went with what looked like the replacement, the B series stick type (because I don't care about video, radio, bluetooth, internet whatever). Just the basic Sony mp3 player. It looked uglier than my previous model, but I thought "ahh, you can't judge a book by it's cover, right?" Wrong.

Got home, charged it up by usb, found out that it no longer needed SonicStage (to my dissapointment actually), and only needed drag n drop or MTP by WMP. So a few of my favourite albums on there, and put in the stack cans. It sounded terrible. So quiet, I thought I had AVLS on, I checked, it was off. All my mp3s are encoded at 320kb/s and no less, becasue sound quality is top priority for me. But the tracks sounded more like 96kb/s, like Myspace Music quality. No punch, no life or crisp to the music, limited dynamic range.

I have been searching and searching and searching for an answer for my model, and I swear there must be a fix, either something to do with EU volume restriction or bad microcode in the ICs controlling the DAC circuitry whatever, firmware whatnot. But all the fixes online are for the NWA-xxx series players, and Apple iPods. I cannot find a way to get into the service menu of my stick, or hack the firmware, or whatever hocus-pocus needs to be done to get it sounding good.

Please, somebody shed their attention to this disgraceful model of players - they all seem to be receiving great reviews from people all over the place, have I got a duff model? Is it that Sony have decided after two years that the sound quality of their low-end players is no longer important compared to the HD video and other stuff of their high end models? Can I replace the DAC with one from my old Sony Discman?

Music is so important to me, even though I am not made of money, please help. Thankyou.

saratoga 11-05-2009 06:52 PM

You could run RMAA analysis on it and see if theres something obviously wrong with it. You'd need a semi-good sound card on your PC though.

Golden Ears 11-05-2009 09:04 PM

Thankyou Saratoga, excellent tip before I proceed to anything else. I'll do that just now - it's okay, I have a Digidesign Audiomedia 3 soundcard for studio work.

I'll post back with results so as not to leave the thread hanging.

saratoga 11-05-2009 09:44 PM

If possible, test with the headphones plugged in so you see how well it can drive them (you'll need a Y splitter in order to do this).

luckyberlin 12-26-2009 11:51 PM

Any luck so far?
I too am very unimpressed with the low volume and harsh equalisers available on the Sony NWZ-B143. I've updated the firmware to 1.01, tried multiple pairs of headphones, using only 320kb/s MP3s and different 3.5mm connections to hi-fis to see if it is just me, this individual MP3 player or perhaps I'm expecting too much from a cheap player. (?)

On a similar thread, I'm not too familiar with db levels and wonder if there is a significant difference between players that are charged via USB and players that utilise a power source such as batteries in terms of volume output. I previously owned a Sanas ClipDisk that was charged via USB and it too had a very low volume output. Any help/comments greatly appreciated.

pinarout 12-30-2009 04:07 PM

I bought this for my girl as an xmas pressie as she just wanted a small, stylish mp3 player with no excess i.e. video, internet etc

Today was the first time she's used it (in her gym) and its too quiet! I'm very disapointed with this, as its perfect in every other way. It seems like Sony are trying to "protect" us from hurting our hearing, we're ADULTS Sony, I WANT TO CHOOSE HOW LOUD MY MUSIC IS!!! Every other portable player be it MP3, minidisc, CD, original TAPE walkman etc have always provided this

Rant over, volume level 30 I have found a good level for listening to music in a quiet room should there be a track I really want to pump up loud, however throw in some background noise in a car, bus, gym, walking home and so on and its just not enough

So anyways I would be extremely grateful for a firmware hack, or similar. I fear, however that it may be hardware limitation. I'm sure that many people are annoyed about this, Sony has been idiotic on this one IMO, it ruins an otherwise near perfect player, which I will be returning if I soon cannot find a firmware hack or mod

thanks guys!

edit: you mentionned the 1.01 firmware, did this make a difference, what did the release notes say? I've looked on the Sony website and can't see firmware for this model (only the B135)

Sadman UK 01-12-2010 09:24 AM

Here's something to try to increase sony mp3 volume
If you have an mp3 player that's a bit weak in volume (hands up sony users)... try ripping your mp3's at overclocked volume.

Example - I use FreeRIP. In the settings you can adjust volume to rip at. Default is 100%. But if you pretend you're a football manager you can demand more than 100% from your team! Increase rip volume to 500% and rip a song. If it's ok you're done. If not - bang it up a notch to 800%. That should be plenty.

If you find a drop in quality just up the kb/sec to compensate. This doesn't help downloaded files. Maybe you can run those through a mp3 to wav converter and up the volume that way...

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