While best known as the revolutionary portable cassette player of the 80s and 90s, the Walkman name has since been used on a variety of portable music and media players. At CES, Sony showed off a device that it hopes will once again make Walkman synonymous with cutting-edge, pocketable listening devices.
The Sony Walkman NW-ZX2 is a portable digital music player built with the unique ability to play hi-res audio files. Most of today’s media players and smartphones play compressed audio files, like the MP3, which suffer a noticeable loss in audio quality when they undergo compression. Even CDs suffer from this audio degradation. Hi-res audio files promise to offer a range of sound that’s better than typical digital files and even CDs, giving you a listening experience on par with a spot in the actual recording studio. Inside the ZX2 is the Sony S-Master HX digital amplifier, which makes playback of these files possible. An all new proprietary Bluetooth codec improves sound quality when streaming to wireless speaker systems, and extensive equalizer options let you tweak tunes to your exact liking.
Of course, as with all cutting-edge technology, it comes with a price. When it debuts, the ZX2 is expected to retail for $1299, and you’ll probably need a new set of headphones to truly enjoy this new, ear-opening format. Check out the video for Josh’s full interview.