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Sony would love you to buy its $3,200 gold-plated Walkman

The whole package will set you back $7,700.
Steve Dent, @stevetdent
09.01.16 in AV
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At IFA 2016 in Berlin today, Sony CEO Kaz Hirai reminded rich audiophiles not to forget about Sony. He unveiled the new "Signature Series" reference devices, including the NWM1Z and NWM1A Walkman, MDR-Z1R headphones and TA-ZH1ES headphone amp. The $3,200 (£2,500) NWM1Z Walkman is literally gold-plated, which not only makes it bling, but supposedly reduces "contact resistance and oxidation," according to Sony.

Realistically, most people probably won't hear the difference between that model and the nearly identical-looking $1,200 (£1,000) NW-WM1A Walkman. Both support the 384kHZ/32-bit "Hi-Res" music format, which has separate digital and analog circuitry and technology that upscales low bit-rate files to "near high resolution audio quality," according to Sony. It also supports balanced connections if you have the right set of headphones.

Speaking of, there's Sony's $2,300 (£1,700) Signature Series MDR-Z1R headphones. They feature a 70mm magnesium dome driver, aluminum-coated diaphragm, and a neodymium magnet. All of that, along with the balanced cable and gold "non-magnetic plated Corson alloy jack," allow for less signal loss and natural sound, the company says.

Finally, any audiophile worth their salt needs a headphone amp, so Sony unveiled the $2,200 (£1,600) Signature Series TA-ZH1ES. The body has a "shaved extruded aluminum wall with a ridged body" to reduce unnecessary vibration, and supports a wide variety of both balanced and unbalanced headphone connectors. If you're keeping score at home, all three devices, including the high-end Walkman, will set you back $7,700 (£5,800). That's quite a chunk, but not a stretch at all for the Audeze or Orpheus crowd. We'll try to get a listen and report if they're worth it or not.

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Steve should have known that civil engineering was not for him when he spent most of his time at university monkeying with his 8086 clone PC. Although he graduated, a lifelong obsession of wanting the Solitaire win animation to go faster had begun. Always seeking a gadget fix, he dabbles in photography, video, 3D animation and is a licensed private pilot. He followed l'amour de sa vie from Vancouver, BC, to France and now lives in Paris.

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