Sony gold-plates a Walkman for high cost, high quality sound

Peter, 01 September 2016

Everyone knows that headphones with gold-plated cables just sound better. So what if someone, say Sony, were to gold plate a whole music player? Well, for its 70th anniversary, the legendary company decided to indulge and go wild with noble metals.

The Walkman

The NW-WM1Z Walkman - "Not just a player but an instrument" - is the result. Its oxygen-free copper chassis has been gold-plated to minimize magnetic interference, contact resistance and oxidation.

There's a WM1A variant coming a few months later, but it's cheaper and lacks the gold plating (hey, you can listen like a king or like a peasant, your choice).

Both Walkmans support Hi-Res music up to 384kHz/32-bit as well as Quad DSD - that's a Super Audio CD that has an 11.2MHz sampling rate. That's 256 times the sampling rate of the regular CDs you grew up with!

The multimode DSEE-HX signal processing has five settings - from Standard, through Female and Male vocals, to Percussion and Strings. Those take the standard definition sea shanty music you listen to and turn it into near Hi-Res operetta.

The amp

You can't just plug in a pair of headphones into that Walkman, though. Well, you can, but you'll only transcend audio planes of existence if you use the TA-ZH1ES headphone amplifier. Or learn an important lesson about credit overdraft.

The headphones

With all that, you absolutely need the MDR-Z1R headphones, which were developed by the top mastering engineers at Sony Music Battery Studios and tuned to match super high-end reference speakers.

The headphones use 70mm drivers with a magnesium dome, a powerful neodymium magnet, a "lightweight aluminum coated LCP edge diaphragm."

The headphones deliver a frequency response up to 120kHz - enough to hear bat echolocation. Which is fine, since Bruce Wayne is one of few people that can actually afford these.

Even the headband is built from beta titanium and covered with genuine leather. Probably fits well under a bat suit if you, happen to have one.

The cost

Aside from the shamefuly non-golden NW-WM1A Walkman, these components of musical bliss will be available this November for your window shopping pleasure.

If you actually intend to buy one, well, we did drop subtle hints along the way, but here are the numbers:

  • Walkman - $3,200 ($1,200 for the poor people version)
  • Amp - $2,200
  • Headphones - $2,300

Well, to get all these in ensemble you better start saving now or you'd better have one solid Dear Santa letter in your drawer.

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Reader comments

  • Anonymous

"Seinheisser Orpheus" thats a real thing. Just checked Seinheisser site and Seinheisser Orpheus 2 cost "just" 59000 US Dollars.. Now that's a audiophile price

  • Anonymous

Audiophiles, who love pure sound and can let them pay those prices. I know few people word wide that pay thousands of euros (10k and more) for separate rooms just to specialise for pure music enjoyment.

  • AnonD-306244

nobody is asking you all to buy it - its for pure audiophiles !! but yes its expensive for common people. Think about the change Sony is bringing; most mobiles companies will start having 24 bit audio processing. it will change the way you listen to ...

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