Sony Unveils $3,500 Gold-Plated Walkman

If you’re a music lover or audiophiles who is nowhere close to satisfied with the quality of audio produced by your smartphone, Sony has a new Walkman that just might be exactly what you’re looking for – assuming those pockets of yours are deep. $3,200 deep.

Sony releases ultra-high-end Walkman

At IFA 2016 in Berlin yesterday, Sony CEO Kaz Hirai reminded those audiophiles among us with deep pockets not to forget about the Walkman. He unveiled the brand-new “Signature Series” devices, including the NWM1Z and NWM1A Walkman, MDR-Z1R headphones and TA-ZH1ES headphone amp. The $3,200 NWM1Z Walkman is literally gold-plated, which not only makes the device “bling,” but supposedly reduces “contact resistance and oxidation,” according to Sony.

The NWM1Z is a super-high-end revision of the already-high-end Walkman that Sony introduced for playing lossless audio files last year. Basically, this model takes last year’s and modifies the hardware slightly to prevent subtle interference that could harm sound quality. While these modifications are likely to be very minor sound quality improvements that only serious audiophiles with equally high-end headphones will notice, it could be solution for that niche audience.

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The brand-new Walkman has a copper body that has been plated in gold, which reduces the device’s contact resistance and magnetic interference. Internally, the device’s analog circuitry is now supposed to be completely separate from its primary digital circuitry, which will aid in reducing interference even further.

The Walkman also has a “dual clock circuit with low phase noise quartz oscillator,” which is part of the digital-to-analog conversion chain and will theoretically lead to sound quality improvement.

For serious audiophiles only

While it’s not that much different, the Walkman’s design has been changed ever so slightly. The headphone jack is now located on the top of the device. According to pictures, it seems as if there might be two separate headphone jacks this time around, although Sony has yet to publish details regarding this feature.

The physical controls along the side of the device seem as if they’re less recessed and possibly easier to press. Apparently the Walkman’s interface has also been completely redesigned as well, though Sony hasn’t yet shown what it looks like.

If you are in the market for such a device, the ridiculously high-end Walkman will be available for purchase sometime early next year for the bank-busting price of $3,199.99. A “standard” version of the Walkman will also be available for the still-insane price of $1,999.99, which will most likely still have the same design but none of the gold plating and fancy circuitry of the top end model.