Those new stupid-expensive Sony Walkman models are finally coming out

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Even though the iPod is officially dead, there’s no shortage of Android-based dedicated music players on the market. While there are plenty of budget-friendly options or even ones that will cost you as much as a new flagship phone, Sony also seems to be trying to fill the niche of dedicated music players that cost as much as a used car.

When Sony announced the April release of the flagship NW-WM1ZM2 DAP and the slightly more budget-conscious NW-WM1AM2 at $4,200 and $1,600, respectively, that information was intended for the Asian market release. Now, these devices have come to the North American market, and both have come down from what we expected to just $3,700 and $1,400. Sony says both are on sale now, but we’ve yet to see stock appear on the manufacturer’s website or any third-party retailers.

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Even though both of these are Android-based devices, very little about them resembles a modern phone – even ignoring the dual headphone jacks. For one, both are made out of solid machined metal blocks for more rigid construction. That’s gold-plated oxygen-free copper in the case of the NW-WM1ZM2 and anodized aluminum for the NW-WM1AM2.

Every bit of the internals on both devices seems geared towards delivering an ideal listening experience, right down to what kind of solder (lead-free gold-infused) was used to make the boards, which are also mounted to gold-plated oxygen-free copper plates on both models for more optimal grounding and noise shielding. Between that and the solid copper wiring in both devices, Sony isn’t settling for any of the materials.

The internal wiring of the 4.4mm balanced jack on the NW-WM1ZM2 is even made with cable manufactured by renowned brand Kimber Kable. Sony isn’t leaving any essential electronics up to chance, either. Sony exclusively designs all the DAC and amp chips for the Walkman lineup. Sony seems to have spared no expense, and that’s why the price reflects that.

No matter if you opt for the $3,700 NW-WM1ZM2 or the $1,400 NW-WM1AM2, Sony boasts an expected 40 hours of 96kHz high definition listening, even with a new, more powerful power supply. Both Walkmans also sport larger 5-inch 720p displays than the 4-inch displays from the previous generation models. Both models run on Android 11, sport microSD card slots for extra storage, a USB-C connector, and two headphone jacks in both standard 3.5mm and balanced 4.4mm varieties.


Both models also support WAV files up to 384kHz/32bit, FLAC playback up to 384kHz/24bit, DSD playback up to DSD256, full MQA decoding, and Sony’s DSEE algorithm to upscale CD quality 44.1kHz/16bit tracks to 192kHz/32bit.

While most people will balk at these prices, the dedicated audiophile community Sony is targeting has much to be excited for. There are always more budget-friendly options from competitors for anyone not wanting to break into the 4-digit price range.

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