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Sony Hopes High-Quality Audio Will Save the Walkman

Neil Young's Pono isn't the only portable setting out to serve audiophiles

The high-quality digital audio player market is heating up, and while Neil Young’s crowd-sourced Pono player isn’t exactly at an iPhone or Spotify-equivalent level just yet, as Mashable reports, it does have some competition nipping at its heals.

Enter the Walkman. The Walkman? Yes, the Walkman. As you probably forgot (we did), in 2012 Sony revived that classic brand that once played your favorite R.E.M. cassettes (and which kids these days cannot operate) as a new-fangled digital-music player. But no matter how underwhelmed we were back then, it’s hard not to be somewhat enticed by this new high-end model, the NWZ-A17, which the company announced today will start selling in November.

The device goes for $299 and supports better-than-CD-quality audio at 192 kHz by 24 bit with 50-hour battery life, and 64 GB of memory with an additional 128 GB available for upgrade. It’s also bluetooth and NFC compatible, though no high-quality headphones are yet supported wirelessly.

There’s no Internet access on the Walkman, but you don’t really need it because it’s only just a music player, just like the Walkman was when it was first introduced 35 years ago.

“As digital audio emerged and allowed consumers to more easily and accessibly enjoy music, audio quality was inadvertently sacrificed,” said Michael Woulfe, Sony Electronics’ vice president sound division in a press release. “Music lovers no longer have to choose between audio quality and portability — they can finally listen to their music library on-the-go, with the quality that the artist intended.”