I bought this as an upgrade for the NW-E405 which I've been using for the last couple of years. I wanted Sony because of the quality and I'm not disappointed in the NW-S706F build. It's a beautiful little player - very solid.
However, like others I have real issues with SonicStage and it's about time Sony listened to their customers. For starters I upgraded from version 3.0 to 4.3 which was the wrong thing to do. I couldn't find the icon or process to create a new playlist ands in sheer frustration I deleted it all and re-installed version 3, which is not great but at least I understand it.
Another gripe is with the USB lead. Sony have now decided to supply a lead with their own plug attachment at the end whereas before they supplied the standard USB `small connector' at one end for MP3 players etc. This is ridiculous and means you cannot use an industry standard lead if you damage or lose the Sony one.
Unfortunately I can't use the noise cancelling earphones because they are `in ear' bud types which I'm hopeless with - I have to have the ones with ear loops. However, that's not a Sony fault - it's me.
Despite this the quality of the sound is excellent, and I love the FM Radio - another reason for me buying it. Easy to tune and establish preset stations (up to 30, which is a real bonus). All in all, a great MP3 player and radio, badly let down by the software and USB connector.