WM-DD9 sonyvintage.com 14

WM-DD9 – Review



The WM-DD9. The highest end DD walkman sony offered. 2 quartz-locked servo motors for each capstan. If that wasn’t all, the EX-Amorphous head with its fixed azimuth meant if it was properly calibrated at the factory, it would never go out of alignment, and was perfect in both FWD and REV mode. Some need adjustment, wherein there are a couple of techs out there who are up to the task. What sets this aside from other auto-reverse walkmans and even many tape decks, is the Disc-Drive mechanism in both directions, meaning the wow and flutter is very low, for both directions.

Playback of premium ferric tapes (such as Maxell’s XL I-S) and Metals such as Maxell MX which are the tapes I use, is just stunning, crisp, smooth highs, superb deep bass (although using headphones with impedance greater than around 32 Ohms you loose some of this, its amplifier is its only weak point, with only 5mW per channel, meaning it will struggle to properly drive high impendance headphones without additional amplification, although there are many premium headphones with a low impedance. It really can playback the detail of sound recorded on tapes from 24-bit FLAC files with an audiophile grade sound card, from vinyl using my friends high end turntable. Something rarely seen in a portable device, and as 95% of my listening is portable, sometimes upto 5 + hours a day, I want the best, all in a small package. This outshines the D6C in that respect, as the D6C being a recorder its head gap width has to be a compromise. But the D6C is capable.

And for full audio fidelity in an auto-reverse machine, this really is the one to go for.

Using a 2450mAh AA Duracell rechargable battery, not a cheapo rechargable, 15 hours of play time is not uncommon for me or around 5 hours with the sony gumstick batteries, it can take both. Dolby B and C both are perfectly functional, I personally rarely use dolby, have 3 or 4 tapes recorded with B and two exactly with C, it tracks perfectly. Does not cut the highs, at all. I do not use the megabass function, has the EQ switch for 120uS or 70uS for chrome/metal tapes. Has a hold function I find invaluable, as I find the logic buttons even in the case are pressed while walking with it in my shoulder bag!

Portable HiFi in a box. And the high quality in auto reverse I always wanted. A reliable machine, but do not plug in an incorrect power adaptor. I do not have one for it, and do not intend to use one.

Another note, is it does not suffer from the cracked centre gear like many of the other DD series, like the D6C it did not have the said gear. doctor walkman as he is known on many forums can repair these cracked centre gears, in a way where they will not break again, but the actual original part is no longer available. Otherwise, DD walkman are very reliable and have the best sound of walkmans, the DC2 is the poor man’s DD9 once its gearwheel is repaired, almost upto the quality of the DD9 from what I have read, not from personal experience so bear that in mind, and it has a higher powered amplifier. But lacking auto-reverse as well. And is a bit bigger, has dolby B and C. If I do get one of these I can do a personal comparison.

Now the downsides? Apart from the low power output for high impendance headphones, there isn’t any apart from its battery life, which understandably due to its use of a single AA battery is shorter than others, somewhat better with modern high end recharagables or Energizer Lithium AA Batteries which boost battery life to around 25 hours from my test. And it’s rarity, you will not see many on E-Bay, and cost. I bought mine from Quo himself, and £350 is the average market price as of august 2013. Seems to have gone up in the past couple of years. It had a new belt and its official case. Not a mark on it and from Quo I knew it would have been well cared for. Worth it for me? It looks lovely, just how I like a walkman to look, logic controls are smooth and slick and fast, sound beyond my expectations of any portable device I have listened to, lets me carry the full sound of all the music I love, wherever I go. Worth every penny, and this one will see a lot of use. I can clock up 200 hours of music on my portables in a month, the amorphous head is a good thing here, the DC2 and older D6Cs also have an amorphous head.

The last of the DD series, the highest end playback only one, and is quality in a portable device, what I have been striving for since I was small, being 18 and having bills and rent to pay, I saved up for this for a while, and was well worth it! Record your premium tapes from top quality sources that most portable devices cannot reproduce, or if they could they either cost a fortune and memory is limited due to the file sizes if digital are just too big to carry many; in the case of vinyl, portability is not an option, this is a way of taking that audiophile setup on the road.