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Sony's Signature Walkman and Headphones Are $5,500 of Ridiculous (theverge.com) 99

Vlad Savov, writing for The Verge: Like a grand old dinosaur that's being left behind by the evolution of the tech industry, Sony is in desperate recovery mode here at IFA. The company has new phones, a rather nice pair of noise-canceling headphones, the imminent PS VR, and... a truly outlandish combo of music player and headphones that costs a mighty $5,499.98. I guess there had to be some outlet for Sony's classic wild-eyed grandeur. Sony's new Signature audio series consists of the gold-plated NW-WM1Z Walkman, which weighs in at 455g (1lb) and $3,200, the $2,300 MDR-Z1R closed-back headphones, and a desktop headphone amp whose price I haven't even dared to look up. First impressions? The portable media player barely qualifies to be called portable. This new 256GB Walkman glints beautifully under IFA's bright lights, and its hefty case is machined to a perfect finish, but its weight is overwhelming. I simultaneously love it for its looks and hate it for its impracticality. Typical Sony, then!
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Sony's Signature Walkman and Headphones Are $5,500 of Ridiculous

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  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Monday September 05, 2016 @03:06PM (#52830349)

    You're supposed to marvel and stare in awe while you buy the 200-dollar-value setup for 500 bucks and consider it cheap, for you have seen the one that costs 5000.

  • ... it better have tubes and the internal wiring better be from the people who make Monster cables look cheap [most-expensive.com].

    Either Sony is an idiot or this is the "top of the line steak they never plan to sell" that makes the "real" most-expensive item look affordable [jeremysaid.com].

  • by Anonymous Coward

    like massively outselling the competition in the console wars, while preparing to launch the cheapest and most accessible dedicated VR headset on the market.

    (Not a sony shill, just hate the verge)

  • by jmcbain ( 1233044 ) on Monday September 05, 2016 @03:13PM (#52830395)
    Take this reviewer's commentary with a grain of salt. As with all "audiophiles", he bases his opinion on just plain subjective emotion associated with product brands, individual tastes, and nationalistic biases, not any type of fact. He doesn't like the $5,500 Sony headphones? Then why did he like the Sennheiser $55,000 headphones [theverge.com] (yes, that's right, $55K headphones) or the Focal $3,999 headphones [theverge.com]? And I really hate to bring this up because it's ugly, but maybe his review comes down to simple nationalism? The reviewer (Vlad Savov) is based in Europe, and Sennheiser is from Germany and Focal is from France. And Sony is (duh) from Japan.
    • the reviewer (Vlad Savov) is based in Europe, and Sennheiser is from Germany and Focal is from France. And Sony is (duh) from Japan.

      Or maybe the Japanese still haven't figured out to make speakers and headphones that actually sound good?

      • by ITRambo ( 1467509 ) on Monday September 05, 2016 @03:41PM (#52830519)
        The trick is to pick the best speaker seeds. Plant them in luxurious gold sprinkled soil, Tenderly watch over then every day as you feed them love with direct disc music playing all around. The newly grown speaker drivers must be picked at exactly the right time to ensure proper impedance matching and optimum efficiency. Nah. The real cost is probably about $50 to $75 is just gouging people, I reviewed audiophile gear in the early 90's for two publications. A home made cable, using oxygen free copper that was a single crystal, sounded just about as clear and clean as silver cables. The hand made stuff was always sinfully expensive, while Parasound's made in Taiwan monoblock amps were a good value with near zero distortion. People mock audiophile listeners. The one thing that sets their gear apart from high priced Best Buy stereo equipment is lack of distortion in every component leading to an enjoyable listening session at any (reasonable) volume level.
    • Hope you're happy with your mp3s and Beat headphones.
    • I completely agree about these ePenis reviews -- they are more about bragging how stupid they are about how much money the wasted then actual technical specs:

      * Where is the double blind study?
      * What's the SNR on them?
      * The THD % ??

      You know, the stuff that actually matters.

      I like Headphone Reviews [headphonereviews.org] because you get a more realistic picture instead of some shill promoting a specific brand.

  • weigh the same model walkman without the gold plating, then weigh the one with the gold plating, and check the difference, are you getting at least that much in value in gold for the added extra cost? No? i would not buy it either, its just for rich fanboys that dont mind blowing money on expensive flashy gadgets
  • You know the saying:

    Audiophiles don't listen to music - they listen to music equipment. If you want to piss off an audiophile, find one with a really high end audio system. You can usually identify them by the $1000/foot "directional" audio cables connecting the equipment together - then tell them this:

    Show them the cheapest XLR cable you can find and tell them everything they are listening to, most likely, went through those cables first.

    • by adolf ( 21054 )

      Ah, boy. It never ends, here.

      There is something to be said for directional cables, though they're not common: In some situations, using a shielded twisted pair between RCA jacks with the shield grounded at only one end can improve noise immunity.

      Never had noise on an audio system? Well, good. If you had, you'd be looking for solutions.

      That said, I've got a $8k CD player plugged into a $4k receiver in my living room. Does this mean that I listen to the equipment instead of the music? Naaah, it just mea

  • They don't cost much, have great battery life and, oh my goodness, getting music on them is as simply as copying files to a USB stick.
    https://www.amazon.com/Sony-NW... [amazon.com]

    Oh, I guess I got the "not practical" part. It's soo not practical to NOT have to install piece of crap like iTunes to do basic operations with your music player.

  • This product will be snapped up by those people who insist that magic Monster Cable dust comes out of headphone jacks that Bluetooth can't touch.

  • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Monday September 05, 2016 @04:16PM (#52830721)
    it's called a veblen good. It's something you buy to show people that you can. Apple does it too. They've had this stuff since at least the 70s. The difference is with the internet you hear about it, whereas before you had to be pretty well off to even know it existed.
    • Ayup. At least it is more useful than a Faberge egg.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Some would argue that the Faberge Egg demonstrates your wealthyness more effectively, is pleasing to look at as a work of art, and can be converted back to money more efficiently than the headphones.

  • by dinfinity ( 2300094 ) on Monday September 05, 2016 @06:20PM (#52831193)

    Yes, it's not completely applicable, but still classic and cathartic:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

  • I've used bose and other rands of noise cancelling headsets.

    They are a pale shadow of the performance I get with a $27 full ear covering gun headset combined with inexpensive $17 earbuds. On airplanes the difference is night and day.

  • With Sony, $5500 is what you have to pay to get gear that will play back anything but their own proprietary formats. At that price they will even refrain from installing the rootkit (maybe).
  • If they making decisions like this, they will go bankrupt inevitably....

    A walkman with outrighteous weight and a headphone costing $5k. Oh yeah, Make like 100 limited edition of those... and there will be about 20 millionaires in world that would buy them... Leave the other 80 in stock and wait 60 years to turn them into antiques selling for 3 times the original price. I bet if Sony eventually goes bankrupt, the set may be worth 4 times the original price instead of 3....

The intelligence of any discussion diminishes with the square of the number of participants. -- Adam Walinsky