What Hi-Fi? Awards: 9 of the most memorable Sony winners

Why Sony? Largely because there doesn't seem to be an area of consumer electronics in which Sony hasn't dabbled over the years - and it's had great success along the way.

Sound and vision have been a constant, with Sony pushing technology such as Blu-ray, MiniDisc, SACD, and more recently high-resolution audio, to the masses with varying degrees of success. With Discman and Walkman, Sony even managed to create brands that became synonymous with the products in question.

What's more, Sony hasn't just made a lot of products, it's made a lot of great products. With the What Hi-Fi? Awards 2015 around the corner, we've taken a look back at some of the award-winning highlights over the years...

MORE: High-resolution audio: everything you need to know

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WM-DC2 (1988)

Tested at £150

A list of Sony classics wouldn't be the same without a Walkman. The Sony WM-DC2, also known as the 'Walkman Pro', was the cassette connoisseurs portable of choice back in 1988. Partnered with a decent quality tape (yes, the quality of your blank tapes could make a difference) we felt the player was on par with the company's best CD portables.

Besides the "brilliant sound", we praised the "battle-ship grade construction quality, state of the art ergonomics" and a size that made it "the most personal of portables".

MORE: Best portable music players 2015

Sony CFD-D75 (1989)

Tested at £350

No '80s house party was complete without a ghetto blaster with the volume cranked up. And in 1989 Sony launched one of the most advanced examples of its kind, complete with a long list of features, including the company's classic Mega Bass sound processing technology.

One of the most useful features was the ability to sync the CD player with the autoreverse tape deck for pain-free CD copying - not that it was something we actively encouraged, of course.

Oh, and don't underestimate the appeal at the time of Sony's on-board digital clock and timer...

MORE: Best portable speakers 2015

Sony GV-8E (1991)

Tested at £800

So we've all heard of the Walkman, right? Well what about the Video Walkman? 1991 saw the arrival of this pricey AV product, which crammed a VCR and LCD TV into a box that was "small enough to slip into a briefcase".

The player used the Video 8 tape format which gave around 90 minutes play time from a single cassete. This AV 'portable' was seen as a serious commuter companion, especially in the Japanese market. Think of it as a distant relative to the portable DVD player, but a million miles away from today's tablets, smartphones and streaming services.

MORE: Sony NW-ZX2 Walkman review

Sony La Scala Two (1995)

Tested at £900

Sony has had great success with its micro and mini systems over the years, and the 1995 La Scala Two was a fine example of a premium set-up.

Not only did it look the part and sound stunning, the Sony also offered a number of avenues to class-leading sound via either its CD player, RDS tuner or tape deck (complete with Dolby S noise reduction).

The mini tower even managed to squeeze in a phono stage so you could hook up a turntable. This really was the swiss army knife of hi-fi systems.

MORE: Best hi-fi systems 2015

Sony SS-176E (1995)

Tested at £200

Sony threw a cat amongst the pigeons with this one. Despite being better known for its electronics, Sony's SS-176Es managed to take on and beat all its key rivals to pick up one of the most hotly-contested What Hi-Fi? Awards in 1995.

Like a number of Sony products over the years, these floorstanders were tuned by members of its UK team. We found them "capable of making the most of everything from entry-level amps and sources to pretty serious electronics".

MORE: Best speakers 2015

Sony MDS-JB930 (1999)

Tested at £300

MiniDisc might not have stood the test of time, but it was fun while it lasted (and yes, some people - including members of the What Hi-Fi? team - still have a collection in occasional use). Sony offered portable players too, but it was the standalone JB930 recorder which won the Product of the Year gong back in 1999.

Tuned for the UK market, the Sony was built to a high standard and offered a wealth of features for those who wanted to get their hands dirty formatting and archiving recordings. At the time we claimed it was "the best advert yet for MiniDisc as a true hi-fi source".

MORE: From CRT to VHS: the tech that got left behind

Sony DAV-IS10 (2007)

Tested at £600

Golf balls for speakers? Not quite, but this home cinema in a box system wasn't only known for its stunning sound but also for the fact that the sound came from five tiny speakers, each one no larger than said sporting equipment.

The main DVD unit was similarly compact and stylish and managed to cram in 1080i HDMI upscaling and a slick auto set-up system. DVD playback was excellent and the perfect compliment for the small speakers and powerful subwoofer. Soundbars and streaming have rather put pay to such systems...

MORE: Best soundbars 2015

BDP-S760 (2009)

Tested at £400

Despite being one of the main driving forces behind the Blu-ray format, it's fair to say Sony's first stand alone Blu-ray decks were a tad disappointing. But when the the BDP-S760 arrived in 2009, the player made an immediate impact, putting established players from the likes of Pioneer to the sword.

The blend of performance and features was unbeatable at the time. Mulitchannel analogue outputs added flexibility for owners of older AV amps, while useful picture-processing technology was borrowed from Sony's high-end player at the time, the £1100 BDP-S5000ES.

MORE: Sony BDP-S760 review

Sony KDL-40EX503 (2010)

Tested at £660

2009 had been a tough year on the TV front for Sony. We'd experienced backlight issues on a number of review samples but to its credit, the company came back with a bang in 2010.

The KDL-40EX503 bettered the competition by quite some distance and reigned supreme thanks to class-leading colour, black-levels and motion handling. This set was as accomplished with HD content as it was with standard definition, and although TV tech has moved on quite a bit since, this Sony set was a world-beater in its day.

MORE: Best TVs 2015 - HD, 3D, 4K, OLED

But will Sony add to this list in 2015? Find out on Monday 26th October when we announce the What Hi-Fi? Awards 2015 winners...

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Andy Madden

Andy is Deputy Editor of What Hi-Fi? and a consumer electronics journalist with nearly 20 years of experience writing news, reviews and features. Over the years he's also contributed to a number of other outlets, including The Sunday Times, the BBC, Stuff, and BA High Life Magazine. Premium wireless earbuds are his passion but he's also keen on car tech and in-car audio systems and can often be found cruising the countryside testing the latest set-ups. In his spare time Andy is a keen golfer and gamer.