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IFA 2016: Sony’s gold-plated Walkman

Things are slowly wrapping up here at IFA 2015 in Berlin and it would be injustice not to mention that Sony has a new ‘Signature Series’ line of what it calls high-resolution audio devices.

Counted among these new devices is the MDR-Z1R headphones, the NW-WM1Z and NW-WM1A Walkman devices, and the TA-ZH1ES headphones amp. All four devices are stylish, especially the NW-WM1Z Walkman with its gold-plated copper chassis. According to Sony, that design keeps down magnetic interference and contact resistance/oxidation. Whatever that means. 

Both the WM1Z and WM1A audio devices boast separate digital and analog circuitry and both support high-resolution music formats, among the supported ones being 384kHz-32bit recordings and Quad 11.2MHz DSD when paired with applicable devices, the Z1R headphones being one of them. Users can choose between different DSEE-HX signal processing modes, of which there is “Female Vocal,” “Male Vocal,” “Percussion,” “Strings,” and “Standard.”

Those MDR-Z1R headphones are designed for similar high-resolution audio enjoyment, featuring a 70mm magnesium dome HD driver that, says Sony, provides a frequency response up to 120kHZ. This is joined by an LCP edge diaphragm coated in aluminum as well as a neodymium magnet. Sony uses a resonance-free housing paired with an acoustic resister, while the headband is made from flexible beta titanium and leather, as are the ear cups. Unlike most headphones, the cable features a 4.4mm plug.

Of course, if you’re aiming for audiophiles, you’ll need a headphone amplifier, which is where the TA-ZH1ES comes in. Says Sony, this is the first headphone amp that has the ES brand, and it comes with a DA Hybrid Amplifier Circuit alongside the S-Master HX digital amplifier.

The amp includes support for “the vast majority” of high-resolution audio formats, according to the maker, including high-res PCM and DSD recordings.

Sony plans to launch the Signature Series audio devices this November, with the exception of the WM1A Walkman, which will launch some time early next year. I would share the pricing, but heaven knows the dollar//rand exchange is not in our favour. 

Papi Mabele
Tech enthusiast at heart. Lover of all things digital. Papi is the founder of SA Vibe and has been sharing his love for gadgetry since 2010. Papi sees no need for wearable tech in his busy schedule and considers the Xbox One as non existant. He may come across as bias at times, and still holds a grudge at BlackBerry for creating the 8520.