Music and media giant Sony has produced a high-resolution music player for the twenty-first century – and given it a twentieth-century brand name. The Sony Walkman, a pocket-sized portable cassette player, became a icon of the 1970s. It made music portable, so that it could be enjoyed on the move – a revolution in its day.
The new Walkman looks more like a narrow version of Apple’s i-Pod – slim, light and discreet. Its revolutionary quality is Hi-Res sound – an immersive experience that separates each element of the music and seems to weave and braid it through your head to create an emotional journey. Lovers of old vinyl records may recognise this sensation, which seems to put back the warmth and depth that is often missing from regular digital recordings.
Sony’s Eric Kingdon (pictured above) is a self-confessed vinyl man and sound buff, and old enough to remember the original Walkman. He says the new gadget from Sony has fans amongst the older generation. But it is teenagers who really notice the difference from a standard mp3 player. ” I’ve been in Tokyo and at an electronics fair in Germany and young people come up to the stand and think they’ll just have a quick listen – but the sound is so rich that they stay for longer and really listen. You can see it on their faces – it’s a new experience for them” he says. Eric explains here how the new sound is achieved:
The Walkman can be used with standard headphones but the manufacturer recommends special HiRes products – made both by Sony and by other companies, always displaying the HiRes logo. For the best sound quality it should be used on specially-created music tracks – but will give an enhanced quality to all music files.