With the release of the A-series Walkman, Sony finally bid a probably less-than-fond farewell to its ATRAC and SonicStage past. Now with the release of the B-, E- and S-class Walkman players, Sony is fleshing out the range. At the bottom of the pile sits the stick-style B series with either 1GB or 2GB of storage. Next comes the …
lets ****-off existing customers
I'm sure I'm not the only person who bought a Sony device on the basis of reported better quality, longer battery life (and replaceable batteries if necessary), ability to handle gapless track changes and then invested plenty of time transferring CDs into ATRAC and now want to buy a newer player etc only to find that Sony are no longer interested in us (... well they do supply a ATRAC->MP3 converter but I've got doubts over a 2 stage format coversion). Had they maintained ATRAC support in the player then they'd definitely have me as a locked in repeat customer (and not just me ... on basis of my having an ATRAC devive my wife and son also do) but now if I'm going to have to rerip to MP2/AAC/whatever then I can choose any make and if anything the Sony name is now a negative.
No HDD models?
Why does no-one apart from Apple make hard disk players these days? i don't want to be swopping music on and off my player and I'm keeping my eyes open for a replacement for when my RockBox-ed iriver H160 dies.
I love Atrac too (it is a superior codec), but get with the times mate. Sony HAS to do this to get back in the game and I am glad they did. SQ wise they still kick Apple's ass even when using lossy MP3.
re: No HDD models?
Why does nobody make HDD-based players? Well, it's a little-known fact, but hard drives have an actual "platter" that needs to spin at relatively fast speed, and they have "read/write heads" which travel dangerously close to these "platters". If the device is bumped, you'll damage the disk.
But seriously, the risk of damage to a hard drive used in a player that's meant to be bumped around (and often in constant motion during exercise) is just too great. Not to mention the extra power required to spin the disk and move the read/write heads would reduce your battery life.
As for this device, the line "Build quality is up to Sony's usual high standards" was all I needed to hear. I know I'm not the only one who has noticed Sony's quality turn to pooh over the last decade or so. Sony USED to be known top-quality A/V gear. Now you pay for that reputation, but the quality is conspicuously lacking.
I've got an 8GB Sony Walkman NWZ-A8178 and the build quality is fantastic, it feels completely solid and is finished in a metal case. The sound quality that I get from the earphones that I got with it is brilliant, plenty of bass and with clear high pitches. It's the easiest to use mp3 player that I've ever had, the menu system is so fast and logical, no stupid messing about with a stupid scrolly wheel thing like an iPod or whatever. It's so easy to use that I can use it whilst it's still in my pocket, I don't even need to see the screen. Oh and the screen is brilliant clear and bright, even outdoors. My last mp3 player (a Philips one) had such a bad screen that with any sunlight you couldn't see a thing on the screen. And best of all - it was only £72.
HDD based mobile players use the drive very little unless you are changing tracks manually and often (but then its in the hand and not being 'banged about'). The speed of HDD reads means you can read a lot of music and play it from cache. Thus the drive is bursting data and spinning down - making hdd work in handheld devices was a done deal before the ipod, the reason you don't see many anymore is due to solid state price decreases.
If people cared about music and stopped compressing the hell out of everything, hdd players would still be around.
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