With portable DACs boosting phone audio, is the world still big enough for new Walkmans?

It’s like buses: we wait months for new budget hi-res music players to finally rival Astell & Kern’s award-winning entry-level A&norma SR25 MKII, but then two come along in a row.

Earlier this month, Sony announced the NW-A306 (£350 / $350 / AU$499), its first budget Walkman since the NW-A55L, which has a Which Hi-Fi? Award in 2020 before being discontinued with no immediate successor. This news came shortly after FiiO launched its next reasonably priced budget offering, the M11S (£489 / $499 / AU$819). Both significantly undercut the price of the aforementioned Astell & Kern (£699 / $749 / AU$1099), giving anyone who wants a portable Hi-Res audio experience on a dedicated device a more affordable way.

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