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Removing the Volume Cap from European Sony Walkmans

Sony A-Series Walkman

One of the biggest complaints from Walkman owners in Europe is the volume cap that was imposed on the devices by the EU. While the service menu method used to work on some previous models to remove the cap, it did not work for everyone. Fortunately there is another method that helps remove the volume cap and restore FM radio function to the NW-A55L for example. In addition, for those wanting to change the language of their Japanese model to English, this guide is for you.

First, none of the following would not be possible without Amaury Pouly's work, so please visit their page here, and donate to help with the development of the software. Second, I should have made this tutorial sooner in retrospect. Now onto the tutorial.

  1. Changing the region to remove EU volume cap
  2. Restoring radio function
  3. Changing device language to English

In order the alter the region code of a Walkman to remove the volume cap and change the radio function, you will need to download SonyNWDestTool, the download link can be found here. Not all of Sony's Walkmans are supported by the software, so here is a current list of the supported devices:

  • NWZ-A10
  • NW-A20
  • NW-A30/40/50
  • NWZ-A810
  • NWZ-A840
  • NWZ-A850
  • NWZ-A860
  • NWZ-E450
  • NWZ-E460
  • NWZ-E470
  • NWZ-E580
  • NW-WM1
  • NW-ZX100
  • NW-ZX300/300A
  • NWZ-S750

None of the Android Walkmans support the software unfortunately which would include the new A100 and ZX500, the same goes for the following models:

  • NWZ-E360
  • NWZ-E370
  • NWZ-E380
  • NWZ-E390
  • NWZ-E440
  • NWZ-W270

I have NWZ-WH505, testing it with the tool shows it as non-compatible, since the program cannot grab the device ID. The same result for the NWZ-M504 unfortunately.

For the tutorial I will be using my NWZ-A845 and NWZ-A15. Both of these players are EU capped and I have been using them for many years capped with no issue but decided to uncap them to see if there is any difference in volume. The software uses command prompt, so if you are unfamiliar with it, I would recommend downloading the tool into your main Windows directory, so C:\Users\(windows username) since then it will be easier to find the file when launching command prompt.

Before starting, it is necessary to change the Walkman from MTP to MSC mode. Connect the Walkman to the PC using the USB cable, MTP should be visible on the screen. Next open up device manager (press Windows key and type in device manager).

Step 1 - With the device manager open, find Portable devices and expand the category to find your WALKMAN.

Device manager Walkman

Step 2 - Select WALKMAN and right click. Then select Update driver.

Device manager Walkman

Step 3 - In the next dialog box, choose 'Browse my computer for driver software'.

Device manager Walkman

Step 4 - Then select 'Let me pick from a list of available drivers on my computer'.

Device manager Walkman

Step 5 - Finally select USB Mass Storage Device and click next. The driver will update and the Walkman will reconnect in MSC mode. You can confirm this by opening up Windows Explorer, Windows Key + E, and see which drive letter your Walkman was assigned. For my Walkman it is D.

I will point out, I had to do this on my NWZ-A845 but not NWZ-A15. I do not recall if I already switched the A15 or if it shipped like this. With your Walkman switched to MSC mode, time to change the region.

Changing the region and uncapping the volume and restoring the radio.

Step 1

Open command prompt by pressing the Windows key and typing in 'cmd'. Command prompt should open up to C:\Users\(windows username). If you downloaded SonyNWDestTool here, then scsitool-nwz-v26 should be visible in this directory. Then type/copy the following into the command prompt:

scsitool-nwz-vX.exe H: dest_tool get

Replace X with your program version, version 26 in my case and H: to the drive where your Walkman has been assigned to, D: in my case. As you can see below, the region code for my NWZ-A845 is CEW (3), I presume this is another Western Europe code. The same code was present for my A15.

 
Step 2 

Change the region code to a one you wish to use, preferably one without the cap. I will be selecting Canada (CA), since it is uncapped and High gain output is available. Then type in the following:
scsitool-nwz-vX.exe H: dest_tool set <dest> <sps>
Again replace X with your software version, H: with your Walkman drive location, <dest> to the region you wish to you use and <sps> to off. In my case this would end up being "scsitool-nwz-v26.exe D: dest_tool set CA off". The destination codes can be found here. Supposedly the Sound Pressure Regulation (SPS) does not do anything in newer models, so switching to a region without the volume cap is more important than disabling SPS.

Uncap Sony EU Walkman

Step 3

You can recheck if the change has been performed repeating Step 1.To finalize the region change, unplug your Walkman, then go to Settings >> Common Settings >> Reset/Format >> Reset All Settings. Once you have done this, you are finished and your Walkman now has no more volume cap.

I did comparison tests for both the A845 and A15 to see if there was any major difference in the volume. I am not sure I noticed a major difference on the A845, yes it was slightly louder but the difference in volume was more noticeable on the A15. This might also be related to the better components in the A15 and the S-Master HX amp versus just S-Master in the A845.

If you have any Walkmans from the supported list and live in the EU, I would recommend uncapping the Walkman to see the difference yourself. You can always change the region back, but there is no reason to revert back.
 
To restore the radio function in the European NW-A55L and expanding to the full radio frequency for Japanese Walkmans, just switch the region to E or E2 for best results. Thanks to Bogdan Adrian for the tip about this in the comments. 
 
And with that, this concludes the region change tutorial. As always, post any questions, or problems in the comments.

One can use the same tutorial to change the language of a Japanese model to support English. Just follow the same steps when changing the region, but change it to a region where English is present. So here is an example:
 
scsitool-nwz-vX.exe H: dest_tool set <dest>
 
Replace the X with your program version number and H: the drive to where the program is located. Then set the <dest> to another region like E, CA, or U. This will change the firmware so English is available. One can all the different regions here at the end of the page. Leave any troubleshooting questions in the comments.

57 comments:

  1. Indeed, the driver part is not required for all models. At least all models starting with WM1 and A30 Series use the Mass Storage mode by default.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Is there a way for the Android Walkmans to remove the volume cap?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good question, does a true volume cap like on the older non-android walkman exist on the new A100/ZX500? Have there been any direct comparison's between the android walkmans from EU and elsewhere?

      I will point out the hi-res streaming firmware updates seems to have increased the max volume on the EU walkmans, as mentioned in a comment here.

      https://thewalkmanblog.blogspot.com/2020/05/sony-adds-support-for-hi-res-streaming.html

      Delete
    2. It should, as there is only one firmware for all regions, right? And if not, what keeps us from installing a firmware for another region? I saw tutorials for how to install the international version of the firmware for Chinese ZX507 devices.

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    3. You mind sharing that tutorial?

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    4. I’d also like to see that tutorial if possible please

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    5. I found it, its useless as it only works with ZX505 and not ZX507 (i tried it several times, the Walkman blocks it)

      There is absolutely no way to remove the EU Volume Cap right now. The only way seem to import it from an non-capped region like Japan

      Delete
  3. Wow thanks for this, i've been using a japanese a35 for a few years and now i can finally read it instead of looking for a video to see the settings in english.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Any news on volume cap for ZX507? Is it possible to remove/disable now? Did firmware update do anything?
    It would be nice to be able to power some higher gain headphones.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I tried it, but the Walkman blocks it. Right now there is no way.

      Delete
  5. Any chance of instructions on installing from a Mac please?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There does not appear to be a native Mac version of the application, only Windows or Linux. Only method of getting this to work on a Mac would be to install windows via bootcamp then following the windows instructions.

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  6. I recently bought an EU capped WM1Z and think I will change the region to Japan as apparently that offers a big improvement. If I do this, will the language on my walkman also switch to Japanese or stay as English? Apologies if this is a stupid question. Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. While having the J region set, the default language is Japanese, and it's not changeable. However, if you have the language set to English before changing the region to J, the language will not change to Japanese after changing the region. It's only that if you do a settings reset while having the J region, then the default language is Japanese, like I mentioned above.

      So set the language to English, change the region to J, and just restart the player (don't reset the settings, it's not needed).

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    2. Thank you MrWalkman, my WM1Z is now switched to J region. So good to finally be free of the EU volume cap and warning (I also have ZX1 and ZX2). The sound on the WM1Z is truly incredible!

      Delete
  7. Hi - when attempting run the tool - my ant-virus prevents it. Anybody else had this issue?

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hi,I hope you might be able to help. I am trying to reinstate radio and volume, on my A55L. I have followed the instructions given, putting this command, scsitool-nwz-v27.exe G: dest_tool get into the command prompt, but just get error messages, for this and, scsitool-nwz-v27.exe G: dest_tool set E2 off . Error messages say,Command not found Exception. And, Powershell does not load commands from current location. I have the A55 plugged in, and set to MSD. I have put the scsitool in a file on desctop named Walkman, and am oppening the command line from that window. I think i'm doing everything , as per instructions. But to no avail. Just keep gettin the error messages. Can you please advise me. Thankyou.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. are you located in the directory where the exe file is located in command prompt?

      Delete
  9. Hi. It doesnt work. It still tells me, that
    “scsitool-nwz-vX.exe H: dest_tool get is not recognized as an internal or external command, operable program or batch file”.
    I dont know where is the problem. Or how is the reason that doesnt work. If you know it, please help me with už. Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What directory is the file in? You need to replace the X and H with what I wrote. Check again the directions.

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    2. I did it. But it still tells me the same again as I wrote up

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    3. what model are you using? what is the drive directory the player is connected in?

      Delete
    4. I am using Sony NW A55L. Do you mean like C, D, E,.. ? Its in directory D.

      Delete
    5. connect the player, and type in scsitool-nwz-vX.exe H: dest_tool get

      Replace H with D and X with the version you have for the program, current version seems to be 27.

      So type in "scsitool-nwz-v27.exe D: dest_tool get" without the " marks.

      Delete
    6. It still does the same. I dont know why and where I make a mistake.

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    7. then I do not know how to help you.

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    8. Did you resolve this? I am having the same problem

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    9. If you mean me, so no.

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  10. Hello Mr Walkman, I ran the executable today and changed the region successfully on my NW-WM1A. An additional benefit is that I can now use the Remote Commander (RMT-NWS20) now that the Remote Control Settings have been enabled. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hi. I've done this for my A55L and it worked fine. In addition to the radio and volume fix some kind of recording symbol has appeared but I can't work out what it does. Does anyone know?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's for recording via a specific line-in cable provided separately in Japan. However it only has text showing up in that menu when the language is set to Japanese.

      Delete
  12. Anyone know if there is firmware to uncap the volume for the UK version of the ZX507? thx

    ReplyDelete
  13. Any idea how to do a volume uncap on a sony zx507 EU MODEL??

    Please suggest

    ReplyDelete
  14. if i know well android player can't get around the volume limit.
    you need to buy an asian model.
    I bought the nw-zx100 today. i am using linux and i want to use nw desttool.
    someone could write step by step what i need to do.
    I am a novice linux user.
    Thank you in advance for your help.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Step 1: Learn Linux
      Step 2: Your issues are solved

      Delete
  15. hi,just do a region change from 'CN' to 'J'.Do i need to reset the device to apply the changes?If i reset all all my music will be earase.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, you need to reset for the changes to apply. When you reset the walkman, you do not erase songs on the device, just the settings. plese do NOT format the device.

      Delete
    2. Thanks @Ascariss.Just done a reset.I noticed after region change the cue folder is gone.Anyway I'm enjoying the Project Z firmware with J region

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    3. You don't need to reset settings after changing the region on the A30, A40, A50, ZX300, or WM1 players.

      Delete
  16. Do you have solution for Removing the Volume Cap from European Sony Walkmans FOR SONY WS413

    ReplyDelete
  17. Can someone help me how to cancel the maximum volume limit in my sony nw ws413 . the maximum volume is very low and i want to up the volume but there is limit for volume and its sucks !!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't think there is a way to unlock the limit. I tried it with my WH headphone walkman and it did not work.

      Delete
    2. But as far i understand from this article you had succes to unlock the limit volume and because of that you can hear more volume in nwz series and other walkman like you wrote in this article , so why in nw ws 413 it cant be done? its differnt walkman ? please give us solution also for nw ws 413 i will appreciate it .

      Delete
  18. Worked superb on my 2 capped European NW-A55L Players.
    Now i have FM Radio as a Bonus, and a uncapped, louder Output!!!!

    Thank you very much for the Help @walkmanblog and to the people who wrote that program too!!!

    I was always very unhappy about the low Output when connected over my Hifi System.....
    .....so why do we all get "patronized" first, from this " you are not allowed to hear too loud Music EU Regulation Audio-Politician-police"????
    What is the sense behind it, for the missing Radio function in Europe......!????

    not amused about all this,..... but then i found the Solution here.....happy now
    Thx again!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. About the radio there is some regulation that radio devices must support digital radio (DAB) in EU, so Sony chooses to just not enable the function for EU devices.

      Delete
  19. Hello. I have a a55 model and was successful at changing the region but I can't figure out where to reset all settings on the japanese model, as I cannot read Japanese, hence why I'm doing this hack :) Please help?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Would this help you out?

      https://helpguide.sony.net/dmp/nwa50/v1/en/contents/TP0002342897.html

      Delete
    2. I have a45 and I figured it out. If you are stuck I can tell you the menu structure and you can count accordingly. Mine was Japan but I changed it to USA English after seeing a video with English menu and I figured it out.

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    3. I am thinking of buying an A55 or a ZW300 from Japan, I am worried that the change will be very complicated. Was it difficult for you?

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    4. You would help us too much.

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    5. On the A55 you just need to change the region and then restart the player. Reset is not needed.

      Delete
  20. Any news about new sony nw-wm1am2 ?

    ReplyDelete
  21. Works fine with NWZ -E354, good job ma friend 🤘

    ReplyDelete
  22. Gonna try with NWZ-E453……….

    ReplyDelete

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