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Sony’s latest audiophile-grade Walkman has a suitably premium price

This ain't no iPod replacement

Sony Walkman Signature Series hot stuff lifestyle image on black background

With the iPod now officially dead and buried, dedicated portable music players exist purely to please the ears of audiophiles. Sony’s latest Signature Series Walkman is unashamedly high-end, with a gold-plated chassis that’ll set you back more than some complete home stereo systems.

The catchily-named WM1ZM2’s body is made from 99.99% purity, gold-plated oxygen-free copper, which Sony says helps create a stronger digital ground for eliminating interference from other internal components. Even the solder used contains gold, which is supposed to be good for “improved sound localisation”.

Inside there’s a S-Master HX digital amp, which is hooked up to the balanced headphone port by a thicker Kimber Kable, like the eye-wateringly expensive DMP-Z1 music player. It’s all in the name of deleting distortion, and delivering the best possible sound quality.

It’ll play extreme bitrate formats including 11.2MHz DSD, 32-bit, 384kHz WAV and MQA audio, along with 96kHz FLACs, which puts most “high resolution” streaming formats to shame. The built-in battery is good for 40 hours of continuous listening, and there’s overhauled upscaling tech for when you’re “only” playing CD-quality 16-bit, 48hKz tracks. 256GB of on-board storage should be enough for a decent hi-res music library.

The Signature Series runs Android, with a 5in, 720p display and the same side-mounted physical controls as previous high-end Walkmans. There are two headphone ports (one balanced) and USB-C connectivity.

It’s available to order right now, straight from Sony, for £3299. You’ll need to supply your own headphones – and you’ll want some good’uns to truly appreciate the WM1ZM2’s sonic abilities.

There’s also a (slightly) more wallet-friendly NW-WM1AM2, which swaps the gold plating for an aluminium alloy chassis, drops the storage down to 128GB and uses an oxygen-free copper cable between its amp and headphone port. It’ll set you back £1299 direct from Sony.