At a time when music streaming is dominated by smartphones, Sony is launching its newest walkman model: the Sony NW A306 is dedicated to the most dedicated audiophiles, and promises unprecedented audio quality.
There was a time when walkmans were the most sensational technology ever. The idea of being able to listen to your favorite music on headphones, wherever you wanted, was an exciting new concept.
Then, along came CD players, MP3 players, Apple’s iconic iPods, and you name it. And, with the advent of streaming music, the walkman has slowly fallen into oblivion, replaced by newer and better performing technologies.
And so here is Sony’s challenge: to create a walkman 2.0, a device for the most dedicated audiophiles that is in step with the times but still retains the charm of the classic cassette player – while abandoning the cassettes themselves.
An idea that has been successful in the past few years, so much so that there has been a regular release cycle for the device, which today sees a new, more updated version. Let’s see what Sony’s new walkman will look like!
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Sony Walkman NW-A306: the features
The question arises: why buy a walkman-which actually looks every bit like an MP3 player-when you can simply plug a pair of headphones into your phone and stream music from Spotify or Apple Music?
More than fair question, however, which has a very simple answer. Any smartphone is created – precisely – to prioritize the functionality of a phone. The hardware compartment reserved for audio can be as high quality as possible, but it will still have to undergo limitations.
Well, in a device specifically designed to play only music, these limits are not there. The Sony Walkman NW-A306 is chubby to make room for a quality amplifier and DAC.
Sony has included these two components through an S-Master HX digital amplifier technology. Which will serve to limit distortion and noise over a wide range of frequencies for rich, full-bodied sound in any format.
Translated: the quality will be significantly better than that experienced when listening via smartphone. You may even find that a song sounds totally different on a walkman.
And for those who prefer to download songs – legally, of course – this little device could perform real miracles. Downloaded files will be encoded significantly better: high-definition support for FLAC files, DSEE Edge AI upscaling technology will finally do justice to your purchased songs.
Not to mention the longer battery life compared to a smartphone. The NW-A306 will last up to 36 hours of standard listening in 44.1kHz FLAC, up to 32 hours if you choose to listen to high-resolution 96kHz FLAC tracks instead.
A walkman of the future
When we talk about a walkman, of course we are referring to a device aligned with the standards of 2023. The NW-A306 features WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity for streaming. As well as an intuitive interface that is very similar to that of a common smartphone.
The design of Sony’s newest walkman is very reminiscent of a slimmer, more modern cassette player. It turns out to be slightly thicker than an ordinary smartphone-this is to accommodate the hardware parts mentioned above.
It will then also be possible to listen to the best podcasts on Spotify and Apple Music, and any kind of digital audio just as we do on our smartphones today.
Sony Walkman NW-306: release date and price
The new version of the Sony Walkman will be released in late January.
The price is however not for all pockets. We talk about 350€ for the basic version up to 499€ for the version with more storage space. In short, a device reserved for enthusiasts!