Besides its OFC copper chassis, the NW-WM1Z has a plethora of technical features, some unique and some carried over from earlier successful Sony designs. The NW-WM1Z has a dual-clock oscillator system that employs two newly developed, 100MHz-compatible, low-phase-noise quartz oscillators. The reason the NW-WM1Z has two is so it can handle both 44.1 and 48kHz PCM.
The primary reason that that the NW-WM1Z is larger than its predecessor, the NW-ZX2, is so Sony’s engineers could design the NW-WM1Z’s layout with individual components spaced farther apart, which reduces noise throughout the system. To further reduce noise the audio and power/digital blocks are kept physically separate in the NW-WM1Z’s optimized substrate.
The NW-WM1Z includes several proprietary Sony signal-processing methodologies. Multi-mode DSEE provides five user-selectable modes that, according to Sony, “restore upper frequencies that are truncated by lossy compression processes.” The NW-WM1Z also has something Sony calls its “DC phase linearizer,” which according to the player’s menus “makes the low frequency phase characteristics of the player closer to a traditional analog amplifier.” The linearizer offers six different settings with names such as “Type A Standard” and “Type B Low,” which are less than self-explanatory.
The NW-WM1Z has a “full digital” output amplifier called the CDX-3779GF that was developed especially for portable devices and is able to deliver native DSD output, high power, and a true balanced signal. You can also tailor the NW-WM1Z’s sound to your own specific tastes via the 10-band EQ and tone control. Once you obtain a setting you favor you can save it via three unique and selectable saved sound settings. You can also bypass all the sound treatment options via a “direct” setting.
As you would expect from a flagship player, the NW-WM1Z supports DSD up to 4x and PCM up to 384/32, as well as MP3, FLAC, WAV, ALAC, and AIFF formats. The only format the NW-WM1Z can’t play natively is an MQA file, which will play back at its base sample/bit-rate rather than in higher resolution.