OK, so the walkman has been dead for a while and mp3-players like the IPOD are fashionable outdated. Streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal or others, on our smart phones or computers have replaced CDs, Vinyls and cassettes, to my own chagrin. So why am I writing this post about a Sony Walkman then? Well, that is because Sony is back, and it is in the shape of High Definition Audio players.
So, Sony have bunch of digital Walkmans nowadays, Walkmans of different sizes and prices. Most of them not even worth mentioning. But this post is about the grand masters, the NW-WM1A and the NW-WM1Z. And to be honest, these DAPs are just awesome. The differences between these two models are:
- NW-WM1A has an aluminium alloy frame, whereas the NW-WM1Z is enclosed in a high-grade gold-plated oxygen-free copper frame.
- NW-WM1A have oxygen free copper cables, whereas the NW-WM1Z have Braided KIMBER KABLEs all the way to the jacks.
- NW-WM1A have 128 GB build-in storage, whereas the NW-WM1Z have 256 GB.
- NW-WM1Z is delivered with a protective case, the NW-WM1A does not, which is kind too frugal of sony because these are not cheap DAPs at all.
I believe thats is really it. And to be brutally honest the differences do not support the price difference (1200 $ vs 3200 $).
The main features of these DAPs are:
- Both offers outstanding sounds quality. Unfortunately I cannot find any figures to substantiate that statement, e.g. figure of the THD, SNR etc. However the DAPs are able to play Hi-Res Audio file formats (typically 24-bit files in 96 or 192 kHz sampling-rate). Owning one by my self now for 6 months, and I can verify that these players sound great, given of course that you are using good head phones or a capable system.
- Native DSD (Direct Stream Digital), AAC (Non-DRM), AIFF, ALAC, FLAC, HE-AAC, Linear PCM, MP3 and WMA (Non-DRM) audio formats are supported.
- Balanced 4.4mm jack, 3.5mm Stereo mini jack, WM-PORT outputs and microSD slot for extra storage. (The balanced output can be used to get a high power output and either connect to an balanced input amplifier, or it can be converted to a normal line-in connector). The VM-port is used for charging the unit and for file transfer (VM to USB type A, and yes the unit can be used as an external SSD.
- LDAC Bluetooth and NFC wireless output.
- The OS is Sonys own (thank you very much).
- Last but not least, a 4″ touch screen for controls and information together with the additional “quick buttons” on the side of the unit gives more than enough control.
The NW-WM1A and the NW-WM1Z are sturdy high quality DAPs that are capable of Hi-Resolution Audio. They sound awesome and feel excellent. They are responsive and you are able to customise the main menu as well as a bunch of setting in the Sony OS that runs the DAPs. They make as excellent options to playing everything off of your computer, or as a mobile player. I would recommend either of the two DAPs any day.
So what is less good with them?
- They are not cheap.
- For the price I would expect also the less expensive option to be delivered with a case. (But it is not a very nice case I guess, so…)
- Some configuration option would be nice. Of course that would mean different price levels as well.
- Menys are not always logically organised. (In playback for example, certain functions should be easily accessible, but one might have to scroll through the menu to find them. One such thing is Lyrics, if that interests you. I use it for mixsets tracklists.)
- Ohh yeah, the last and also the biggest downside of these players are the prices of accessories like cables. I simply ended up building my own cable and sew my own protective pouch (images below).
To find out where to get one, check the Sony webpage.
If you are in Sweden, you cannot trust the webpage though, Elgiganten for example will not be able to help you. Webhallen, however, will if you give them 1-2 months. Sweden is kind of crappy when it comes the interesting or nearly stuff. Anyway, I recommend using Webhallen if you are in Sweden, unless of course you have been able to find it in your local Hi-Fi store.