Never let it be said that Sony lacks the courage of its convictions. The company that introduced the $1,200 Walkman at CES last month is now preparing to release its perfect companion: a 64GB microSD card engineered for better sound quality. It's difficult to fathom how the transfer of digital information could ever be made more silent, but Sony's internal measurements have shown its audiophile-friendly memory card producing less electrical noise when reading data.
Costing a cool ¥18,500 (roughly $155), the SR-64HXA is a Class 10 microSDXC card, the likes of which Sony already sells for a more reasonable $90 in Japan. If you are willing to go with Samsung, that price falls to $50, and if you're buying from the US, you could get the same amount and speed of storage for just over $30. Of course, only Sony's new card is emblazoned with the golden-lettered "for Premium Sound" tagline.
More placebo than cure
As bullish as Sony appears to be about the benefits of high-resolution audio, the company itself admits that it's not sure there'll be a market for this particular card. The Wall Street Journal cites a Sony spokesperson as saying, "We aren’t that sure about the product’s potential demand, but we thought some among people who are committed to great sound quality would want it." While it's true that any high-end audio system is only as good as its worst component, the actual benefit of marginally quieter data transfers would seem to rank alongside homeopathic medicine: more placebo than cure. Media players only read the memory card sporadically, storing songs in their buffer and minimizing the cause for any related electrical noise.
For a company desperately seeking to define its new identity, Sony seems oddly willing to continue indulging in such uneconomical and niche products. Then again, with the lofty price of the SR-64HXA memory card, the only risk being taken here is by the prospective buyer. The new card is going on sale in Japan on March 5th.