I start from somewhere different. I'm not interested in rock/pop/whatever or downloading tunes. But, over the years, I've acquired a collection of cherished CD's that my wife doesn't want to hear (even though some of them were gifts from her!) I bought the Sony machine so that I could listen privately while working or reading. So far (60 hours after purchase) I find it mind-blowing. I've loaded 46 CD's covering a wide range (Classical, Musicals - Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, etc -, Opera, World Music, Cabaret, Jazz) and the quality is phenomenal. I've still got space for another couple of hundred CD's, which I don't actually have. The earphones are no better and no worse than other similar ones; I find all of them uncomfortable, but have got round this by using (v. expensive but v. comfortable) Bang and Olufsen earphones that I bought some years ago for listening to music on long-haul flights. The only problem that I've had is that the software refuses to read some CDs, but this is not the fault of the Walkman itself. The acid test? One of my CDs is by a classical violin and viola duo who are old friends; I have heard their repertoire live in a concert hall, and also in a family living room setting. The Walkman reproduced it perfectly; I was transported back to their live performance. I'm not qualified to judge between MP3, WAV, etc., but if Atrac3plus can do that for me, that's as good as it gets.
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