Disclaimer: Ares II IEM cable was sent to us by Effect Audio. It is terminated with a 4.4mm jack for me to try out the balanced output of Sony WM1A. To check out previous Picture Sunday posts just click HERE.
4.4MM BALANCED CONNECTION
For some time, 2.5mm balanced has been a widely accepted standard for DAPs, especially Astell&Kern had been the pioneer. Sony on the other hand came up with a different balanced standard. Ares II IEM cable is supplied to us by Effect Audio to hear the difference.
4.4mm was introduced in 2014 and it is not a Sony proprietary jack. This is supported by Japan Electronics and Information Technology Industries Association (JEITA). WM1A and WM1Z are the first products that support both 3.5mm and 4.4mm outputs. This new standard already has it’s own place in the industry. So aftermarket cable makers just have adapted themselves to this.
Effect Audio cables are known for their good perfomance and quality, and my experience is no different with Ares II. The cable is very lightweight, not bulky or thick for portable usage, and the craftsmanship is top notch. 4.4mm balanced jack is very sturdy and sticks to Sony very well. I’m very satisfied with the cable’s performance and ergonomics, and 4.4mm jack gives a very durable feeling compared to 2.5mm jacks for sure.
As for the Walkman WM1A, the balanced output performs extremely well, putting this DAP among the very best right now. The power output is stronger than single-ended, and it can play Native DSD through balanced as well. When I post its review I will give the details and all the other stuff.
But if you own a WM1A or WM1Z, you should at least try out the balanced output immediately.