S755 sound quality question
I just got a NWZ S755 and discovered what people have been talking about in other threads here: the sound is low, apparently because of EU rules. I've been comparing this new player with Creative Zen V Plus (2007 EU purchase) and Sony NWZ A816 (2008 EU purchase). Using the same headphones, playing the same song and choosing maximum volume, the difference between the players' volume is indeed noticeable: the old ones are louder. Also, even though S755 has a lower max volume in general, it seems to me that it doesn't work that well when it is low (below 15 out of 30 volume bars): when I used my Zen V Plus on the train I was able to hear the music well enough (6-9 out of 25 bars) without needing to make it so loud that other passengers could make out the lyrics, but with the S755 it feels like I must have the volume higher in general (to hear the song myself) while also being unable to make it really loud if I wanted to. But if the volume is due to EU legislation and still feels low to me even with AVLS off, I guess there's nothing to be done. It's another, more general impression that I was wondering about.
Even though my old players had higher max volume, as I've been testing this new S755 it feels to me that my ears start hurting despite its lower volume. Somehow the sound seems harsher and sharper: the music isn't "smooth" the way I'm used to on my old players and my computer's Winamp, and the singing feels like it comes closer to screeching that it does when listening to a track in other ways; I have the same headphones for computer and mp3 players so it shouldn't be because of that. I've tried pretty much all the player's music/common settings and nothing seems to make a big difference.
While the low volume is unfortunate I'll just have to get used to it if it's inevitable in the EU, but the other issue (sharp music/singing that hurts my ears more) is troubling. What do others here think of S755's sound quality? Does it sound perfectly good to you? What could be responsible for the impression of sharpness? In my case, it's somehow more unpleasant than before to listen to the player for an hour, which is a real shame since I like Walkman's design and wouldn't want to spend money on buying another new player.