Walkman物語(2) ZX300とNobunaga Labsのバランス・ケーブル
(for summary in English please see the end of this page)
(ZX300 & Nobunaga Labs Balanced Cable ''Kagemitsu-S'' on Shure SE846)
Amazon Japanで探したら、値段はあまり高くなさそうだしShure SE846との相性がいい、とのユーザー評価もいくつか目についたので、「ひとつ試してみようかな」という気持ちになった。
なお旧製品で「Kagemitsu景光(かげみつ)」(製品番号NLP-KGM)というのがあったらしいが、現行製品Kagemitsu-S (NLP-KGM-S)との違いに関して、同社のWeb siteには何ら記載なく詳細は不明。Nobunaga LabsのFacebookには「Sシリーズは銀メッキコネクタ製品」との記載あり(Jan 29, 2019付け)。ということは、新旧製品の差は、コネクター部分の銀メッキの有無だけなのかも知れぬ。なおeBayにも日本からのオッファーが出ているが、値段はAmazon Japanの倍くらいする。
（Summarey in English）
Kagemitsu-S(NLP-KGM-S) Balanced Cable for Shure 846
I’ve been a fan of button operated Sony Walkman, especially ZX100, because I am not good at touch screen operation. Also on my Walkman I mainly listen to classical music from the 1950s and 1960s. It means that the quality of the sound source shows some limitation. I thought that the button-operated ZX100 was the best for me in terms of price, usability, and sound quality. I even bought a second ZX100 unit before they would run out of stock.
The Sony Walkman ZX300 is a popular product, but the need for an unfamiliar balanced cable in addition to touch panel operation made me hesitant to upgrade to ZX300. However, when I did a Google search for the Walkman last fall, "Nobunaga Labs Balanced Cable Kagemitsu-S" caught my eye. At searching on Amazon Japan I found the price didn't seem to be too high, and the user's evaluation was favorable. Also it was stated to be compatible with the Shure SE846. I thought I should give it a try.
I ordered the Kagemitsu-S cable together with a good quality used ZX300 which was on offer. It was a bit of an impulsive purchase on Amazon. The cost of the cable was: Cable at ¥ 11,573(US$110 approx.) plus ¥ 1,232 (US$12 approx.) for shipping charges. It took less than a week from ordering in late September to arrival including customs clearance. Amazon Japan’s delivery was quick.
Replacing the cable of the Shure SE846 was straight forward. But the sound of the balanced connection out of ZX300 was surprisingly similar to that of ZX100, which was disappointing.
Since the player itself is a used product, the so-called "break-in" must have been completed. This meant that it was a cable problem, and for a moment I wondered if this purchase was a mistake. Nevertheless, after about 50 hours of continuous listening for about an hour every day, the sound gradually became mellower and richer. In other words, what used to be the reproduction of recorded music has become a clearer sound that seemed as if a veil had been lifted, and the sound became closer to what you would actually hear in a concert hall. In terms of sound quality, the balance connection of ZX300 is certainly a significant upgrade over the ZX100.
The wire of the "Kagemitsu-S" is hard, and when you touch it, you can feel a rumbling sound, which might bother some people when they are moving around. However, the ZX300 is a bit heavy, and I don't think I'll be using it while walking around with it in my pocket.
It has just passed about 100 hours of use, and it's been running smoothly without any quality problems such as "the MMCX connection is loose and comes off easily," which can be seen in the user evaluation of the Sony MUC-M12SB. It's one of the best products I've bought in a while.
Nobunaga Labs is one of the brands handled by ‘’Wise Tech’’ (headquartered in Tokyo), a trading company specialized in electrical equipment products. They apparently started manufacturing and selling replacement headphone cables around 2016. As of 2017, some product reviews on the Internet were not so good, but I can't find any bad reviews on the current ‘’Kagemitsu-S’’.
It seems that there was an older product called "Kagemitsu" (NLP-KGM), but there is no information on the company's website about the differences between it and the current product "Kagemitsu-S" (NLP-KGM-S).
It is quoted on the company's Facebook that the S series is a silver-plated connector product(Jan 29, 2019). So there may not be much difference between the old and new product except for the use of silver-plated connector. There are offers from Japan on eBay, but the price is almost double of Amazon Japan.
I'm not a cable expert, nor have I compared the ZX300 with similar competitors' products, but I thought I'd write about my experience in case there are people like me who are hesitant to get their hands on the ZX300 because of the balanced cable.
For the specifications of "Kagemitsu S" (NLP-KGM-S) and compatibility with earphones of various manufacturers, please refer to the website of Wise Tech as follows.
(List of compatible head phones)