Sony On The Go With New Walkman Players, H.ear Headphones, Speakers

Portable focus includes expanded high-res Walkman selection
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Portable focus includes expanded high-res Walkman selection
Sony added the $319-suggested NW-A26HN high-resolution Walkman (pictured) and the $699 NW-ZX100HN to expand its high-res Walkman lineup.

Sony went heavy on portability in its debut of nine new audio products, including what it called the industry’s smallest high-resolution portable Wi-Fi speaker.

The company also expanded its lineup of high-resolution Walkman players and expanded its H.ear series of high-res-capable headphones. In addition, new headphones were added to the Extra Bass line. Some products are in stores, with others to come through mid-April.

Highlights include:

--the H.ear series’ first two wireless headphones, joining a wired pair;

--the H.ear series $199 SRS-HG1 portable Bluetooth/Wi-Fi speaker, the first speaker in the series and said to be the industry’s smallest high-res portable Wi-Fi speaker;

--and two new high-res Walkman players at a suggested $319 and $699, joining the $1,199 NW-ZX2 and $299 NWX-A17. The $699 model is promoted as the industry’s first high-res Walkman with noise cancellation.

Besides being the industry’s smallest high-res Wi-Fi speaker, the SRS-HG1 h.ear speaker is Sony’s lowest price multiroom Wi-Fi speaker to date. It joins models priced from $299 to $699. It’s also one of Sony’s first Wi-Fi multiroom speakers that can be used as surround speakers and in stage-widening stereo pairs with a summertime firmware update. Sony also plans to offer the SRS-ZR5 and SRS-ZR7 Bluetooth/Wi-Fi multiroom speakers with these capabilities, but their pricing and availability haven’t been announced. The speakers can be used as wireless surrounds with a new A/V receiver and two new soundbars shown at CES but not yet available.

Here are the product details:

High-res Walkman portables: The $319 NW-A26HN and $699 NW-ZX100HN are on store shelves on April 4. The former is available in five colors that match the colors of H.ear-series headphones, and it’s sold with a matching pair of noise- canceling ear buds to reduce ambient-noise levels.

The $699 model features aluminum body and noise-canceling technology built in.

Both feature Bluetooth with Sony-proprietary LDAC technology.

With LDAC, the speakers stream music at a 990kbps data rate over Bluetooth, delivering three times the data of conventional Bluetooth to deliver near-high-resolution quality from LDAC-equipped high-res Walkman portables and select Sony high-res smartphones. LDAC is also incorporated in select Sony Bluetooth headphones, soundbars and A/V receivers.

Extra Bass series speakers: Three new portable models are the $99-suggested SRS-XB2, $149 SRS-XB3, and $349 GTK-XB7, all with NFC and LDAC technology. They also stream AAC over Bluetooth and feature bass-boost button, DSEE technology to improve the sound of compressed music, and IPX5-rated water resistance to jets of water.

The XB2 features 12-hour battery, while the XB3 steps up to 24 hours. Details of the XB7 were unavailable.

All three speakers are currently available.

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The Extra Bass series of speakers and headphones gets the $349-suggested GTK-XB7 Bluetooth speaker with high power and booming bass to fill large rooms with sound.

Extra Bass series headphones:  The $129-suggested MDR-XB650BT Bluetooth headband over-ear headphones are available with bass boost design. It joins other models priced from $59 to $199.

H.ear speaker:  The compact $199-suggested H.ear.go SRS-HG1, in stores April 13, is promoted as the world’s smallest high-res-compatible portable speaker. It features 96khz/24-bit playback, LDAC, up to 12 hours of battery time, AAC, and DLNA. For use with Wi-Fi, it features Google Cast, Spotify Connect and multi-room capability via Sony SongPal link. It’s available in multiple colors.

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The $199-suggested SRS-HG1 Wi-Fi/Bluetooth speaker appears in the h.ear series, marking a new opening price point for Sony in wireless multiroom-audio speakers.

H.ear headphones: The series’ first two Bluetooth headphones are the $349-suggested over-ear MDR-100ABN, on shelves April 12, and the $199 in-ear MDR-EX750BT, on shelves March 29. They’re available in multiple colors.

The $349 model features noise cancellation and Automatic Al Noise Cancelling, which constantly analyzes ambient sound levels and selects the most effective noise-canceling mode.  It also features 40mm drivers, LDAC, NFC, DSEE and included cable.

The $199 model features 9mm drivers, LDAC and NFC.


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