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First pardon my English proficiency, but I believe you can understand my comment.
The first and only Sony walkman I owned is back in the 2002, an AIWA cassette player. After so many years we witnessed the vicissitude of Sony's audio product line, even to a period of time the NE20 and ZX1/2 looks like a joke to audiophiles, with their tiny output power. And now comes the wm1 series, which indicate the Sony engineers finally find some clues on how to manufacture a decent digital player. Admittedly, you can buy a Chinese DAP with less than half the price but produces the same or probably, better sound quality. So why I purchase wm1a? First, its design is absolutely outstanding, if not the best, of its class; second, I can't bear the problematic OS of its cheaper competitors; and finally, perhaps most important, I want to own a "true" Sony walkman DAP, for me only the WM1 series (does that mean Walkman No.1?) deserves this honor.
So, if you're in the Sony team, buy it; if not, the wm1 could still blow you mind if you think the ZX1/2 series are the "ceiling" of Hi-fi DAP. Otherwise, you got more choices than you think you have.
Have not tried the balanced yet, will update later