Sony's new $1200 Walkman targets audiophile true believers


#1

[Permalink]


#2

LG 800, eh? I might look into that; perhaps it will prove as capable as my Palm Treo.


#3

But does it play vinyl?


#4

No just MiniDisc.


#5

Isn’t that what the original cassette Walkman costs when it first came out? I think my dad chose to spend his money on the $500 5MB hard drive for our Apple //e instead…


#6

assuming they used high quality hardware to get good sound out of lossless codecs, the idea isn’t crazy (the pricepoint is). But the fact that it bothers supporting low bit-rate bluetooth audio is kind of a joke.


#7

Yes, well. But where’s my 1TB iPod Classic? Surely the market for that would be bigger. And if Apple doesn’t want to make it perhaps Sony could.


#8

“Fruit of continuous refinement” …?

I am not comfortable with that metaphor.

“Jam of continuous (fruit) refinement”, maybe.

“Apple butter of continuous (apple) refinement” … better not go there.


#9

Not only is the price point absurd, but so in the concept. Modern computers can support 96 KHz at 24-bit sampling. There is NO need for any audio applications over that. Even then, you don’t really need that kind of horsepower unless you are in a recording studio.

Even CD quality is darned near perfect if you have decent engineering behind the analog output part (decent low-pass filters, low-noise power to the amps, etc).

I do readily admit that 24 bits is hard/impossible to find on portable stuff (phones, tablets, etc.), but it should not cost an extra $1000 to add this to an Android device (more like $3), and software in Android should support FLAC just fine, thank you.

Another spectacular Sony fail. Betamax for the digital age, anybody?

Really, this is a toy for people with more money than common sense.


#10

Want that so bad. Even more if it had regular folder support (no Itunes) without replacing the OS


#11

“True Believer”


#12

CD quality would be fine… if it weren’t for the morons mastering / mixing the CDs.


#13

No amount of hardware will give you back what was lost, if its truly a product aimed at audiophiles, it should let you hear the imperfections in the medium.

But if its an audiophile listening, he’ll probably be able to discern the difference between an mp3 and a CD even if A/B’ing the source through tin cans and some string.


#14

clipping? Come on man, the kids want it LOUD.


#15

There is more to sound quality that the detail level of the digital format. The circuitry that produces the analogue signal is extremely important. Even if the original file is in 96/24, converting that to an analogue signal in the electrically noisy and physically cramped space inside a laptop is unlikely to be optimal. The kind of components in a high quality DAC don’t lend themselves to small, flat, surface-mount designs. I imagine this is why the Pono player is so three-dimensional.

This is still a ridiculous device though.


#16

Well, the vast, vast majority (or even ALL) devices that to 96/24 are generally intended for audiophile and/or professional markets – these are not the markets that skimp on the analog path. With that being said, one of the reasons for upping the sampling rate is that your filters do not have to be at tight.

I do happen to disagree about the size thing. With proper shielding and layout, there is no reason that you can’t have it tiny. Use a separate power and ground planes with some decent filtering at the input, put the thing in a metal can, and you are good. Analog quality is not about size and/or distance, but it is about filtering. If you look at anything with a TV tuner in it (tuner car for a PC, for example), the analog front-end is always in a metal can firmly soldered to the board that is connected to the ground plane.

Still, except for the metal can (which adds height, making designing the case harder), I would be surprised if you could not easily build a completely kick-ass 24/96 system to drive headphones without adding more than about $10 to the BOM. Modern boards handle multiple gigahertz signal easily, it is not exactly rocket science to handle 100 KHz if you take care.


#17

All macs have 24/96 capable audio cards and I’m pretty sure we’re starting to see this on the windows side as well. Pretty soon its going to be the only thing available. (Which I know does not make it pro gear)
Of course, the bit depth/sampling rate are not what make the sound good, its just that the older hardware is starting to be phased out.

If it weren’t for the morons ordering the guys mastering / mixing the CDs to make it loud.
FTFY


#18

There are no fools like the audio fools. And there is no end to the money they will spend to make “improvements” they can’t actually hear. Anyone remember the “green magic marker” bit of stupidity? http://www.snopes.com/music/media/marker.htm

They just couldn’t wrap their heads around the idea of digital music. You could tell them that it’s just ones and zeros, but there were convinced that if you bought the most expensive optical cable, and put rubber edge bumpers on their CDs, you would somehow get better ones and zeros. I guess companies like Monster Cable wouldn’t exist without such fools.


#19

I don’t begrudge high-end audio development, but this is a rip-off. One thing I think is interesting is that it apparently upgrades MP3 to lossless files. If you have a large collection of MP3s that you nicked, you might be able to acquire legal copies thereof that are worth a fair bit more than the player.

Just buy a Sansa Clip, though.


#20

Raspberry Pi has a I2S header (unpopulated but the holes are there). From that you can have your own player with all the specs you dream of and a custom-designed user interface to fit your peculiar tastes.