Update: 2nd Generation Sony Walkman players have been announced for 2022, replacing the models mentioned below.
Sony just announced their ultimate high resolution personal audio listening system consisting of four new products — the MDR-Z1R headphones, NW-WM1Z and NW-WM1A Walkman players, and the TA-ZH1ES headphone amplifier. Each product earns ‘Signature Series’ status and is engineered with meticulous attention to detail, using the highest quality materials to deliver exceptional sound quality with High Resolution Audio. A complete Signature Series package will cost either $5700 or $7700, depending which model Walkman is chosen.
The new flagship NW-WM1Z Walkman features an entirely new, gold-plated, oxygen-free, copper chassis to help reduce contact resistance and oxidation while minimizing magnetic interference. It incorporates a dual clock circuit with low phase noise quartz oscillator, which achieves superior sound reproduction at virtually any volume setting. To further reduce noise, both the WM1Z and WM1A utilize separate analog and digital circuitry as well.
Both models also support virtually every popular Hi-Res music format, including 384kHz/32bit recording and Quad (11.2MHz) DSD native playback if used with a balanced connection and a compatible listening device, such as the Z1R headphones. Additionally, they feature selectable multimode DSEE-HX signal processing with five settings: Standard, Female Vocal, Male Vocal, Percussion, or Strings, to carefully upscale lower bit rate files to near High Resolution Audio quality. High output S-Master HX technology and a power supply that uses newly developed FT CAP high polymer capacitors to improve bass response.
To further enhance the user experience, the WM1 Series includes a new touch panel UI design with more intuitive operation and elegantly recessed side panel controls. Plus, the WM1Z provides refinements that one expects only from Sony, including being the first music player using cable engineered with Kimber Kable.
The new MDR-Z1R headphones are optimized for hi-res personal listening enjoyment. The headphones utilize a 70mm, magnesium dome HD driver for the widest frequency response (up to 120kHZ) possible; along with a lightweight aluminum coated LCP edge diaphragm, and a powerful neodymium magnet, ensuring greater velocity, less signal loss and more natural sound.
Spatial resonance is minimized thanks to the Z1R’s resonance-free housing in which an acoustic resister is used to optimally control ventilation. The headband is constructed from lightweight, flexible beta titanium for more elasticity. Both the headband and ergonomically correct ear pads are covered in genuine leather for added comfort. The balanced cable uses the new industry 4.4mm plug and the ear cup connection jack utilizes a non-magnetic plated Corson alloy jack for low resistance.
Most significantly, the MDR-Z1R was developed in collaboration with one of the top mastering engineers at Sony Music Battery Studios, who benchmarked its overall performance in comparison with his super high-end reference speakers.
Finally, the TA-ZH1ES is the first headphone amplifier to carry the coveted ES brand. It features a new D.A. Hybrid Amplifier Circuit, which utilizes the combination of Sony’s full digital amplifier S-Master HXTM together with an analog amplifier circuit, preserving fine detail sound of S-Master HXTM and low distortion sound with the support of an analog amplifier circuit.
Additionally, the new ZH1ES supports the vast majority of Hi-Res music formats, including the highest resolution native DSD and PCM recordings. For preserving the feeling of original sound, ZH1ES has new DSEE HX, which has selectable multimode for up sampling lower resolution music and DSD Remastering Engine which converts PCM sources to DSD 11.2MHz
The newly developed Frame/Beam/Wall (FBW) chassis combines Wall structure with the familiar FB chassis that has been cultivated in the ES series. The Wall is created by shaving extruded aluminum and realizes a ridged body that can suppress unnecessary vibration. Also, the Acoustically Tuned Panel achieves the ideal sound while controlling vibration and resonance. It also supports a wide variety of headphone connectors, including both balanced and unbalanced designs without any compromise.
Pricing and Availability
- The MDR-Z1R Signature Series headphones – $2,299.99 (Nov 2016)
- The NW-WM1Z Signature Series Walkman – $3,199.99 (Nov 2016)
- The NW-WM1A Signature Series Walkman – $1,199.99 (early 2017)
- The TA-ZH1ES Signature Series headphone amplifier – $2,199.99 (Nov 2016)