The new Sony Walkman ZX2 is an audiophiles dream


walkman zx2

The calendar just flipped to 2015, but it’s time to talk about the Sony Walkman. Back in the 80’s and 90’s the Walkman was as ubiquitous as an iPod. As cassettes become obsolete the Walkman fell out of popularity. Sony is trying to bring the Walkman back again at CES this year.

The Sony Walkman ZX2 is an Android-based music player for audiophiles. It’s running an older version of Android (4.2), but this device isn’t trying to be a smartphone. It’s all about the audio. The ZX2 supports DSD, WAV, AIFF, FLAC, Apple Lossless, and more. It supports Bluetooth for wireless streaming and NFC for one-touch connection to speakers and headphones.

This is the Walkman for people who need the best audio possible, and they’re willing to pay for. The Walkman ZX2 will retail for a whopping $1,000. Will audio snobs be willing to pay that much?

[via Verge]

Joe Fedewa
Ever since I flipped open my first phone I've been obsessed with the devices. I've dabbled in other platforms, but Android is where I feel most at home.

Watch the Sony CES 2015 press conference live stream right here

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  1. Eff that.

  2. Uh, I’ll just buy some vinyl.

    1. You’ll be the guy walking around with a turntable on your shoulder ala early 80s boombox

  3. I’d rather spend 1/5 of that and get an older Cowon Z2 Plenue running Android 2.3.

  4. lol, no

  5. A toy for rich people.

    1. Stupid rich people.

  6. There are no real details at all here. Although I cannot afford this, nor would I ever but I’ve, I am still interested in what is inside.

    1. Android 2. Something is inside of a shiny Sony logo labeled box, marked 30% higher than a top end smartphone…

      For me it’s no Scooby Doo mystery. I couldn’t care less what’s inside. All that I know is that my money will stay inside of my wallet. LOL

  7. That’s too much

  8. It all sounded good and Sony had my support… Until the ridiculous pricing.

  9. Why not find a Nexus 4 or 5 and turn that into a 16 or 32gb beast of a audio machine. Just root, strip it down and install your audio mod. Voila..

    1. You really think that this thing has the same DSPs, audio hardware, etc. as a Nexus 4? Come on

      1. It may not have the same DSP but it has the same DPS as far as I’m concerned. If I was an audiophile I might care about crazy audio features and hardware but my old S3 with headphones and Youtube area just fine for me.

    2. Surely you don’t think a Nexus 4/5 can beat a dedicated DAC/Amp found in the Walkman… right?
      Software EQ is a lot worse than built-in hardware.

    3. I take it you’ve never listened to real high fidelity audio before. No phone can create that LMAO.

      1. Lots of professional DJs and musicians work directly from iPads or iPhones; Apple put OSX’s CoreAudio technology in iOS. With Android 5 Lollipop adding native support for USB audio, Android is beginning to catch up to Apple. Granted, DJs usually add/attach an audio interface, by-passing the “native” audio hardware. However, that iDevice + Interface setup would EASILY match anything Sony could make, and it wouldn’t cost $1,000+.

      2. From the online Apple store, an iPad Mini 2 + an Apogee Duet USB Audio Interface is $945, plus any tax and shipping. Apogee Duet includes a LOT, so to match it the Sony would have to have:

        Two combination Line/Mic/Instrument inputs
        Two balanced line outputs, +20 dBu maximum output level
        One independent ¼-inch stereo headphone output
        Two microphone preamps with up to 75dB of gain
        MIDI input/output (USB-A type connector)
        Low-latency monitoring, complete input/output control with Apogee’s Maestro software (iOS and Mac OS)
        DC power supplies charge to iPod touch, iPhone, or iPad
        Selectable 48V phantom power, Soft Limit, and phase invert
        USB 2.0 audio with 24-bit/192kHz A/D and D/A conversion
        Works with any Core Audio compatible app on iOS or Mac including GarageBand, Logic, Final Cut, Ableton Live, and Pro Tools

        BTW, the four outputs let you send different stereo mixes to your speakers and headphones.

        EDIT: Downgrading to the Apogee ONE, which has fewer output options (ones likely to be on the Sony), will save you $250.

  10. I would have to smash hella cans to get this device!

  11. 30 years ago the original Sony Walkman I had was just over a hundred dollars. Like $115. If basing this on 3% inflation for 30 years then that price may not be too far off. However, the alternatives for playing music will make this a very niche market. Maybe musicians, DJs or recording artists. The average person will never pay this, but look at how many over priced Beats headphones have sold. $300 for headphones and $1000 for the device to play super clean amazing music. We could all be surprised.

    1. So True about the head phones.

    2. 3% on $115 for 30 years is $279. You’d need 25.89% inflation for 30 years to hit $1k.

      The Sony Discman I had 20 years ago sounded far better, was – what? – $200? – and digital by design.

      Today I have an M8 with the Harman Kardon DAC – and it’s awesome.

      Not sure what they would add to that to hit $1k ok.

      1. I don’t know what I was thinking. My math in my head was way off. $250 would be a good price point except its still limited in use unlike your M8. This product will never fly. Waste of time and over valuing the walkman brand. A walkman watch might be better.

    3. You sound right about that. I don’t think the average consumer is the target here. If you’re in the music industry, you’re already spending a lot of money for equipment.

      Me and some friends want to make a YouTube series. A great camera and we’re spending around $1500-$2000 per camera. An average consumer would say just use your phone or buy some $300 camera.

  12. atleast they were smart about which version of android to use, rather then the need to root to properly access sd of KK

  13. Audiophiles are to audio what pedophiles are to 8-year-olds.

    1. You understand that all the better sound engineers designing audio products are audiophiles, yeah?

      Without audiophiles everything you own would sound no better than this –

      A world without audiophiles – the price is just too high!

    2. Umm, no, not at all. Some of the tech in today’s overpriced audiophile gear will be in tomorrow’s affordable consumer gear. They’re the early-adopters of the audio world.

  14. As an amateur audiophile (or broke audiophile) I’m always looking to Sony to feature and affordable option, every year they let me down. I actually tested Adele’s 21and Blink-182 enema of the state on FLAC on the LGG3 w/ Audio Technica ATH-M50s and I was blown away..still need to try Sony Z3’s HD audio offerings…

  15. bruh I have a pair of SE846 I bought. As much as id love spending another 1k on a Walkman (no seriously I would) im currently enjoying the sounds of a rooted and hacked motoactv smartwatch. Yeah the one from like 2011 – has better sound than my LG g3 and its ultra portable – perfect for spotify.

  16. I was like “oooooh… Ahhhh…” until I saw the $1,000 price tag. That’s when I said, “WTF, Sony!!!”

  17. I think if someone is truly a snob they might buy it. I don’t consider any of the people who use android to be a snob though. I consider the apple followers to fall into that category more than android fans. I think $1000 is suicide for the device. That price is definitely out of the main stream users league. That price is reserved for the Professional’s and the filthy stinking rich!

    1. “Audiophile” gear is always crazy high priced, and the audiophile snobs eat it up. This isn’t intended for mainstream users.

  18. Phuck that.

  19. F*** u, f*** u…oh yeah, Sony: F*** u. Even if that thing was 2″x1″ & 12TB…I’M astounded by that price. It should be THE phone, mp3 player, x-ray scanner, & projector of the decade for that price.

  20. Audiophile’s dream u say? U have any evidence to show for it? What about the audio processor? What about the equalizer?
    Don’t want to research a little more before saying something like this?

    1. Its to my understanding that an audiophile would like their music as untampered as possible, hence the FLACC format. So an equalizer would be a huge no-no.

      1. Normally good quality audio players use hardware equalizers, which are more accurate when changing frequencies, and less strenuous on the battery, compared to software eqs.

  21. Meh, I’ll keep using my old Galaxy nexus for this purpose… That price tag is idiotic. I’d drop $150 max for something like this.

    1. I’m pretty sure this device isn’t meant to be used as a cheap mp3 player…

      1. Understandable, but 1k?

  22. Already have support for FLAC, ALAC, WAV, AIFF, PCM and more with an HTC One M8 with the Harman Kardon DAC and Neutron Player.

    Sounds awesome. Includes Bluetooth and NFC.

    And I have a camera on it that I can shoot raw images with.

    Not sure what this brings to the table at $1000. Better have a ton of storage and a battery that lasts for days at this price.

  23. Seeing as there’s nothing audiophile about headphones and that an EQ should only be used to correct for an environment, this thing should be no more than a media server. And it’s way over priced for that. No need for converters, amps, and EQs in a media server/streaming device.

  24. This product is stupidly overpriced…

    1. “Audiophile” devices always are.

      1. Not always FiiO does excellent devices for less then $500 many for less then $200

  25. A non-starter if I’ve ever seen one. The walkman was NEVER an audiophile device. It was simply the ONLY way to have portable music. We’ve already HAD a “Walkman” for years! It’s called an iPod. Now with Phone storage (At least those that take a large SD card) iPods are a hard sell now as well. Who wants to carry multiple devices? There simply aren’t enough compelling reasons to do so.

  26. Unless it can play vinyl through a tube amp it isn’t an audiophiles dream, nothing beats vinyl played on a nice turntable, preamp coupled to tube amps through some Magnepan speakers.

  27. If there is no support for enhanced podcasts with chapter search, it’s effing useless.

  28. FiiO X series anyone? AKA the FiiO X1/X3/X5

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