Sony this week announced their latest modernisation of the ‘Walkman’ brand of personal music players. The well-established trademark is remembered by most as a tape player but has undergone decades of revamps and renovation.
The original Walkman was released in Japan in 1979 for ¥33,000 … at the time almost $400 USD
The new 2015 ‘NWZ-ZX2′ boasts super high-res audio capabilities, allowing it to play studio master quality 24bit/192kHz files but interestingly using Sony’s ‘S-Master HX’ digital amplifier and DSEE HX audio processing can also upscale CD and mp3 files to what Sony claims is ‘near Hi-Res quality’. A bold declaration indeed.
The NWZ-ZX2 has a 128gb memory (expandable with an SD card to 256gb) and is powered by Android 4.2, so naturally plays games, videos and connects to the internet. The wireless compatibility is also state of the art, using a new Bluetooth codec, said to be ‘three times’ more efficient that previous bluetooth technologies at delivering audio.
It all sounds very slick and exciting, and possibly a worthy rival for Neil Young’s PONO player we reported on in May, but with a price tag of almost £1000 it is hard to imagine this being a mass market success any time soon. Pocket-portable High-Def audio looks destined to stay as a hobby of the elite for now, until Apple can pack it into the next iPod/iPhone, and Walkmans themselves may simply remain a nostalgic kick for generation-X-ers the world over.