Sony’s Walkman is a brand that gets resurrected on a regular basis, and Sony is now launching two new members of the family – with the rather cryptic names NW-WM1AM2 and NW-WM1ZM2.
“What use is a Walkman in 2022?”, you might be thinking. Well, one thing is for sure – these are no ordinary Walkmans! They do have Bluetooth support, but their main purpose is for you to use them with (expensive) wired headphones, as the two models include an expensive amplifier, capacitors, and a balanced headphone output made to reproduce sound in very high quality.
The main difference between the two models is that the ZM2’s chassis is made from “99.99% purity (4N) Gold-plated Oxygen-Free Copper (OFC)”, giving it a rather striking gold design, while AM2 has to settle for a chassis made of aluminum alloy. The gold-plated copper isn’t just bling, according to Sony, who says “it realizes a stronger digital ground and higher rigidity, enabling clear, expansive sound, so you can experience each instrument as if it were performing live.” We here at GiGadgets cannot vouch for their claims, but we can tell you the gold-plating nearly triples the price.
It needs to be said that these are products made by and for enthusiasts, with the associated price tags: the NW-WM1AM2 will retail for £1300 in the UK and $1600 in the US, while the golden model NW-WM1ZM2 will set you back £3350 in the UK and $3200 in the US.
The latter also has a cable between the amplifier and the headphone socket from luxury manufacturer Kimber, while the AM2 has to settle for an oxygen-free copper cable. The storage capacity is also different, with 128 GB for the cheaper model and 256 GB for the gold player, but both have a microSD port so you can add additional storage yourself. Sony also boasts upgraded capacitors and power supply from its predecessors. They both have touch screens of five inches, and run Android 11. Wifi is supported, so you can use them both with streaming services and with music files you upload yourself.
FLAC up to 24-bit / 192 kHz is supported, PCM up to 384 kHz / 32-bit and MQA support are also in place. For compressed files, you get Sony’s DSEE Ultimate technology, which “upscales” the files and tries to recover what has been compressed away, and players can also resample PCM audio to 11.2 MHz DSD (Direct Stream Digital).