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 P9 Signature
The Bowers & Wilkins P9 Signature
is for anyone who wants an industry-leading sound but without the usually eye-watering price tag. Boasting astonishing clarity across all ranges these are best enjoyed through a home-based HiFi system. They’re B&W’s best headphones ever and they’re quite frankly one of the best pairs of headphones we’ve ever used.Price: £699
Best For: The Audiophile
Sennheiser's flagship noise-cancelling headphones are quite simply a masterclass in technical know-how. With best-in-class noice-cancelling (as far as we're concerned), some nifty smart features that allow you to tune the sound via a smartphone app and a touch-sensitive interface on the side they're everything you could want with a 12-hour flight ahead of you. Battery life is truly excellent too both in wireless and wired modes.
Best for: The Traveller
Onkyo's H500BT headphones offer a lot of substance but without a price tag to match. They're capable of playing Hi-Res Audio, feature touch-sensitive controls and great wireless playback. What's really good about them though is that they pack all this in without weighing a tonne. They're super-light, sturdy and sure to become a University staple thanks to their winning blend of specs and price.
Best for: Students
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 Commuter
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
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). Price: £149.95Best For:
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.