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Sony’s new Walkman players are for serious and seriously rich audiophiles

Sony Walkman devices have become niche music players in recent years, whether it’s the old tape decks or the digital players designed to showcase hi-res audio.

Indeed, it’s easy to see why the latter category doesn’t have music lovers rushing to hand over their credit card details. Sony has this week announced the NW-WM1ZM2 and NW-WM1AM2 music players, which are priced at $3,699.99 and the comparatively cheap $1,399.99 respectively.

So what do you get for the extra money? The personal audio pioneer said the ZM2 provides “mind-blowing sound reproduction” which you’d certainly expect for the price of a high-end desktop computer.

Sony says there’s an S-Master HX digital amp with fine-tuned capacitors, while there’s a dedicated Kimber Kable to link the built-in full digital amplifier to the headphone jack.

The ZM2 chassis is made with gold plated, oxygen-free copper too. Sony says: “This realises a stronger digital ground and higher rigidity, enabling clear, expansive sound, so you can experience each instrument as if it were performing live.”

The materials aren’t quite as flush for the AM2, but it’s no less able to play CD-quality lossless audio, or better. While you don’t get gold plated copper, there is an “aluminium alloy frame which provides a highly rigid case that’s resistive to electrical noise and other interference creating a stable, high quality sound.”

These new models run off Android 11 and are Wi-Fi compatible too, making it easy to listen to your favourite streaming/download apps, while ensuring all of those high-end tracks you’ve downloaded onto your PC can be easily transferred over.

They both have a 5-inch display and up to 40-hours of battery playback when listening to 96kHz FLAC High-Resolution Audio files. There’s a USB-C charging/transfer port, along with 256GB of storage, expandable through microSD. The NW-WM1AM2 based storage is 128GB, but it’s also expandable.

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