Sony has launched a £2,500, gold-plated Walkman in a brazen attempt to remind us that its most iconic brand is still in production.
With a garish exterior designed to reduce resistance and boost sound quality, the player is squarely marketed at audiophiles.
But we can’t help but fear that the blingy device is more likely to end up in the pockets of the Rich Kids of Instagram than first violinists.
Engadget reports that beyond its shiny finish, the NW-WM1Z Walkman looks similar to an alternative, cheaper Walkman also released at IFA today.
Both NW-WM1Z and NW-WM1A Walkmans support a sophisticated music format that promises to upscale smaller files to “near high resolution audio”.
But at £1,000, the NWM1A appears, at first glance at least, to be better value than its more colourful sibling.
Together, the two players form part of a signature range of Sony audio products, which naturally also includes a pair of headphones and a headphone amp.
The Signature Series MDR-Z1R headphones cost £1,700 and include a magnesium dome driver, almunium-coat diaphragm and a neodymium magnet.
Meanwhile, the Signature Series TA-ZH1ES amp, which costs £1,600, suppresses unnecessary vibration with an aluminium wall and a ridged body.
If you were to opt for the top of the range Walkman, the trio would cost you a cool £5,800.
Bowers & Wilkins know a thing or two about making headphones. You'll be hard pressed to find a single commuter journey where there isn't someone wearing a pair of their P3 headphones. Well the P5's are the bigger wire-free sibling
and trust us, they're worth the upgrade. With two days of commuting battery, the same incredible sound and all the style of a Tom Ford suit the P5's are the headphones to buy this year.
The Secret Agent
B&O Play's rise to audiophile royalty has been swift, and it's no wonder. Aimed at a younger clientele, Bang and Olufsen's ultra-premium brand has placed stunning levels of focus on usable design. The H8's are indeed stunning to look at
but they're packed with tech including touch-sensitive controls, Bluetooth 4.0 and over a day's wireless battery life. They're not cheap, but then that's the point.
When Parrot aren't making drones they're also making some of the best headphones money can buy. Leaning heavily on the technology these come with a wish list of features: touch sensitive controls, iPhone app control, noise cancelling, wireless charging, USB playback support and a removable battery. It's hard to think of a pair that can tick as many boxes.
Best For: You 2.0
Sennheiser have always been known for quality, but what their headphones have sometimes lacked is the style to make them truly iconic. The Momentum 2.0 rather handily solves this problem by not only looking stunning but also sounding pretty amazing too. Want great high's and mids with a firm but not imposing bass then these are the cans for you.
Best For: The Audiophile
Subjectively the Sennheiser Urbanites
are among our favourite-looking headphones on the market, they sound great in most situations and they're clearly built to last. They aren't Beats-flashy, and they're not quite "a sea of white Zinfandel". They're more like a mature, tasty bottled craft beer with a cool label.
The RHA T10i headphones
are ruthless, or at least they would be if they were a human being. They're cold, calculated metal design make them an imposing first sight when you open the box but then, you haven't bought a pair of RHA headphones just for the looks. They sound utterly precise (and excellent).
These in-ear headphones are among the best we've ever tested - and you'd hope so, because at £259 they aren't cheap
. What you get for your money is a combination of great, rich basic sound, brilliant noise-cancelling tech and the most comfortable fit you can find without involving a custom-made solution.
The Frequent Flyer
These headphones have won fans all around the world for one simple reason: for this price (£50) you can't do better
. They sound excellent, fold up neatly to stow away in a bag, come with a basic cable and a cable with a built-in three-button remote and won't leave you bereft if you lose or break them.
Look past their ludicrously long name and you'll find the world's first 9.1ch surround sound headphones. Connecting via HDMI these are the audiophile's headphones of choice for home entertainment thanks to uncompressed audio and compatibility with 4K video and sound files. Plug these into your 4K TV and you'll be presented with nine channels of crystal clear sound using Sony's VirtualPhones Technology.
Best For: The Film Buff