Sony are currently pushing sound quality and in particular, ways and technologies in order to improve the sound quality. At the Consumer Electronics Show, earlier in the year, Sony introduced a new Walkman player for around $1,200. Now, in pursuit of better sounding music they are introducing a premium MicroSD card designed to reduce the electrical noise generated when information is read from the card.
The "for Premium Sound" 64 GB card takes a different design tilt compared with most other MicroSD cards, which are designed for high performance rather than low noise. The new card, model SR-64HXA, is a Class 10 MicroSDXC card and will sell for a little over $150 when it goes on sale in Japan in three weeks time, on the 5 March. Sony's normal card is the equivalent of $90, which drops to $50 for a Samsung-branded memory card. The card has been designed for minimum electrical noise by a careful choice of high quality, quiet materials when in use at the expense of performance.
Modern digital music players work by transferring data from the MicroSD card to internal memory, the buffer, before being played. However, the transfer is not continuous but instead the machine will pull in data, then shut down the MicroSD card connection in order to save battery, then restart later. The card is claimed will minimise the sound of this transfer taking place and audio equipment will only sound as good as the worst component, so for a high end audio system this card could improve matters - it'll avoid the periods of white noise that you might hear when data is being pulled in from the MicroSD.
This is an interesting marketing switch for Sony and one that I'm keen to hear what readers think. Do you have a high end audio system and can you hear the electrical transfer noise when the card is in use? If you do, would you pay something of a premium for a card designed to make the transfer noise quieter? Can you hear a difference between different makes of cards? Let us know in the comments below.