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Sony made a $3,200 gold-plated Walkman

Sony made a $3,200 gold-plated Walkman


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Sony's gold-plated Walkman

Sony has built the perfect complement to your Apple Watch Edition: a $3,200 Walkman that’s plated in gold.

This is a super-high-end revision of the already-high-end Walkman that Sony introduced for playing lossless audio files last year. It basically takes that and modifies the hardware to prevent subtle interference that could harm sound quality. To be clear, these are likely to be minor sound quality improvements that only serious audiophiles with equally high-end headphones will notice. But for that niche audience, this may be a solution.

The new Walkman has a copper body that’s been plated in gold, which is meant to reduce contact resistance and magnetic interference. Internally, the Walkman’s analog circuitry is supposed to be separated from its primarily digital circuitry to reduce noise even further. It also has a "dual clock circuit with low phase noise quartz oscillator," which is an obscure part of the digital-to-analog conversion chain that's probably important to get right and difficult to measure the results of, but will theoretically lead to improvements in sound quality.

A less expensive, and less gold-plated, model will also be available

The Walkman’s design has been tweaked very slightly from last year’s model, too. Its headphone jack is now at the top (there appears to be two of them, although Sony has published very limited details so far, so I can’t quite tell), and the physical controls along its side look like they’re less recessed and perhaps easier to press. The player’s interface is supposed to have been changed up as well, although Sony hasn’t shown what it looks like yet.

If you want it, the insanely high-end Walkman will be available "early next year" for $3,199.99. A standard version of the Walkman will also be available for $1,199.99, which will presumably have the new design but none of the fancy circuitry and coatings of the gold-plated model. It’ll likely replace the 2015 Walkman, which currently sells for that price.