Sony's new NW-WM1Z is a €3300 gold-plated Walkman

Sony has launched a rather special range of hi-fi kit at IFA 2016. Dubbed the Signature Series, this high-end line of hi-fi components features a number of products designed not only to showcase Sony's engineering prowess, but to work together as a group (all the products used in the range feature the newly standardised 4.4mm balanced connection).

The most eye-catching element of this new range is the WM1 series of Walkmans, including the quite bonkers NW-WM1Z. Machined out of a solid, oxygen-free copper ingot and gold-plated for added sound benefits, the WM1Z is a seriously blingy hi-res audio player.

Inside, the player features special braided cable, running from the amp to the headphone jack, which has been designed with the help of hi-fi cable specialists Kimber.

MORE: Sony NW-ZX2 review

This golden child's sibling is the NW-WM1A. It's a more affordable €1200 and is made from a solid block of aluminium.

It uses normal oxygen-free copper wiring inside and different type of resistor. The capacity of the 'A' is 128GB compared to 256GB in the 'Z'.

The Walkmans do share a revamped user interface and Bluetooth connectivity, but there's no wi-fi connectivity.

The handcrafted MDR-Z1Rs are closed and ported over-ear headphones, complete with 70mm drivers, sheepskin leather earpads and a Fibonacci-patterned grille design.

Each pair comes with balanced and unbalanced headphone cables and is packaged in its own special presentation case.

MORE: Best headphones 2016

Last, but by no means least, is the TA-ZH1ES, a €2000 headphone amplifier complete with built-in DAC.

The ZH1ES features a specially strengthened chassis and acoustically tuned top panel to help control unwanted vibrations. The amp is compatible with hi-res audio, including DSD 22.4MHz and 32-bit/768kHz PCM files.

It boasts a wide variety of digital inputs including coaxial, optical and USB, while outputs include balanced 4.4mm and XLR sockets in addition to a standard 3.5mm socket.

The Sony WM1 Walkmans and MDR-ZR1 headphones are due to go on sale in October, with the TA-ZH1ES to follow in November.

MORE: IFA 2016: news, highlights and best new products

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.