Sony's iconic Walkman brand first came out in 1979, becoming one of the poster boys of the 80's musical generation. The Walkman was the symbol of portable music wherever you go, setting music free from the constraints of wall outlets and bulky hi-fi gear that often took the better part of the living room.
With the advent of the iPod and the smartphone, however, with the iPod digitally replacing those stacks of cassette tapes, the Walkman brand went on the defensive as people began opting more and more for digital convenience over analogue bulk. Sony made efforts to maintain relevance by creating digital Walkman models to compete with the iPod, but then the smartphone revolution came along and the Walkman brand fell further into obscurity and irrelevance, as people eventually transitioned to having their phones take on the role of a Walkman and then some.
Sony isn't having any of it, however. At this year's IFA, they launched the Sony WM1 series of Walkman players, not just releasing a new Walkman, but staking the claim as the highest class of audiophile portable digital player in the world.
There are two different models, 1Z, and the 1A. These aren't your everyday music player; these are serious audiophile-grade components worth thousands of dollars. The main difference between the two is in the casing; The WM1Z is made out of solid copper and plated in gold. The WM1A, on the other hand, is made of solid aluminum. This, of course, isn't just a matter of bling; there's a reason why the most expensive WM1Z is made that way.
Sony has made sure that every component in the system delivers as pure a signal as possible. There is nothing here that will degrade the signal and reduce the fidelity of your music, from the four-wire braided Kimber Kable to the S-Master HX digital amplifier, to the oxygen-free copper used for the body, you are looking at a premium casing and signal track to keep your music as awesome as the day it was recorded. It's unspecified what DAC was used in the new Walkman line to reproduce the music, but if the components are at least as good as Sony's previous Walkman X and Walkman Z lines, they should be well up to the task. The new Walkman units support most modern high-end formats including MP3, FLAC, DSD and PCM, and should let you load up any kind of music you have in your collection.
And for the price: the premium NW-WM1Z will set you back USD3,200 (or about PHP150,400), while the "lower-end" NW-WM1A will be an inexpensive USD1,200 (PHP56,400).
- Images from sony.co.uk