Since the very beginning, Sony has been deeply linked to sound. In fact, its very name is based on the concept of sound — Sony is a cross between the Latin word “sonus” (from which “sound” and “sonic” are derived) and “sonny,” which denotes that the company is young and full of energy.
Sony also embraces a spirit of innovation and has always looked towards the future when designing products for audiophiles and music lovers. Sony’s co-founder Masaru Ibuka embraced this spirit of innovation when he said, “Creativity comes from looking for the unexpected and stepping outside your own experience.”
Making good on its commitment to sound quality and the advancement of technology, Sony has been the first in the industry to achieve many important milestones in audio engineering.
When the first Walkman® hit store shelves, some were skeptical because it was different and unfamiliar. The technology itself was not brand new, but the idea of a portable music player without a recording function was unheard of. However, it didn’t take long for music enthusiasts to recognize the ingenuity of the Sony Walkman®, which would eventually revolutionize the audio industry and the way people listened to music on the go.
From the TPS-L2 Walkman® to the newest High-Resolution Walkman®, here are just a few of Sony’s successes:
1979 - Sony Sells Its First Walkman®
The first personal Walkman® Stereo, the TPS-L2, was a huge success, despite naysayers proclaiming that without a recording function, it would never take off.
This portable music player changed the lifestyles of many people who could now listen to music wherever they wanted.
The body of the device was metallic blue to simulate the trending blue jeans — marking the shift of Sony’s product designs to being more casual and fashionable.
1984 — Sony’s First Portable CD Player
The Walkman® D-50, the world’s first portable CD player, was approximately the size of four CD cases.
This compact size device was instrumental in accelerating the popularity of the CD. The Walkman® D-50 could be used for up to five hours using six C-size alkaline batteries.
1992 — Sony Invents First MD Walkman®
Sony created the world’s first MiniDisc Walkman® MZ-1 that featured recording, playback, a numeric keyboard and anti-skip technology.
This device could record for up to 74 minutes, and those recordings could be divided, combined, deleted and named (all new experiences to tape recording!).
2001 — Sony’s High-speed Transfer Standard
The MZ-N1 Walkman® was the first product to support the NetMD standard for high-speed transfer of music data from PC to Walkman®. Also notable is that this device was capable of 110 continuous hours of playback
2013 —First High-Resolution Audio Products
Sony becomes one of the first companies to launch a full High-Resolution Audio lineup, including the ZX1 Walkman® series that enables high-resolution audio source playback that was developed by integrating knowledge and technology accumulated over years.
Sony also partnered with Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group and, of course, Sony Music Entertainment to ensure more High-Resolution releases. Soon after, Sony launched the ZX2 Walkman®, providing the premium music on the go experience.
Sony continues to lead the pack when it comes to High-Resolution Audio, with CEO Kazuo Hirai declaring, “We see Hi-Res as a way to revitalize the music industry, creating a better engagement with the music and customers. We see it as the future of our music business.” Sony continues to blend classic technology with the newest trends in pure audio to create products like the NW-ZX2BLK, which position the company to be a leader in the audio industry.