The Walkman Is Back, and Boy is it Expensive

The staple of the '90s is reborn for the sort of music lovers willing to pay $1,100 for a Walkman. 
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The staple of the '90s is reborn for the sort of music lovers willing to pay $1,100 for a Walkman. 
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Remember the Walkman? That big yellow cassette player which adorned the waist of every school kid, jogger, and roller-blading dancer rockin’ high socks in the 1990s? Well, it hasn’t really gone away. Sony has been producing Walkmen in one form or another for the past thirty-five years, and yesterday introduced a new edition that might promise the greatest audio quality in a portable music player available. The price? $1,100, so don’t expect anyone to attempt much roller-blading with this thing on.

The Sony ZX2, which is retailing at twice the price of its predecessor, is entirely focused on delivering a high-quality audio experience in this age of streaming and ear buds. By aiming for the audiophiles of the world, Sony is hoping to have consumers upgrade their audio devices to catch up with their headphones, which have steadily improved as audio players themselves have remained somewhat stunted. By focusing on those that fetishize sound quality, the ZX2 will hopefully re-spark the more-than casual listener’s desire to experience the highest quality possible, and, on top of that, to download their music instead of just listening to Spotify.

With advances in storage capacity for small players, music enthusiasts can now download thousands of huge music files, finally closing the quality-gap between the files they download and their music player. Along with Neil Young’s PonoPlayer, the new Walkmen is looking to reignite a post-iPod world, where the market looks like it is moving towards the higher end. Eventually, high quality headphones and players will become so cheap, everyone will be bragging about the quality of their FLAC download of the new Rihanna album.

Photos by Sony