To be released soon
To be released soon
To be released soon
To be released soon
Year: 1988 WM-701C

Housing: Metallic
Color and finish: Black, Grey, White
Tape transport: ¿?
Remote control:
Auto reverse:
Battery: AAx1, NH-6WM
Ext. compartment:
Volume limiter:
Blank skip:
Case: Plastic
Price: 1988: $
2010: 150$
Availability: Rare.
Bass boost:
Sound processor:
Noise reduction:
Head: EX Amorphous
Freq. response: 20-18.000 Hz
Max. output:  


Towards the end of 1988, SONY released a player that made history for being one of the most advanced players at the time, thanks to the combination of a very small size, advanced electronics and feather touch buttons, high quality sound thanks to the EX Amorphous head, the brand new Megabass system, the Dolby C noise reduction system and other cool features. But in my opinion it was its design what set new marks in the walkman era and was a prelude of the design that many brands used later in the 90's, with more rounded lines (and even today are). I think that the 701C was the first model of a new generation of devices with a design of a new era.

It was the combination of all that features that made the 701C a milestone in the history of walkmans.


After the WM-DD100 Boodo Khan, SONY decided to keep the DOL system as a high quality system for HI-FI and designed a slight different system with a brand new name, according with the new times: the MegaBass. Also, they think they had the technology to put the mechanics of the WM-30, the MegaBass system and the feather-touch system (like in the WM-7) all toghether in a new and very cool device with a completely new design for making a outstanding player. And they indeed did it!

At that time, AIWA was leading the market with their incredible PX101 player, which has many similarities, probably a slight better sound (and definitely more possibilities in EQ) but an "older" design and slightly bigger size.

NOTE: If you have any useful info about this model, you can collaborate with us if you want to. Please send us an email and share your info. We will update the page with it.


For rating the sound quality, we use a pair of high quality Sennheiser HD 280 Pro headphones, and a test tape (SONY UX-Pro) that has been recorded with a high-end deck (a specially modified and upgraded SONY D6C by Dr Walkman in Italy). If I tell you that this small deck performs almost at the same level as a Nakamichi Dragon, and it records even better in some cases, you probably will say I'm exaggerating, but... believe me: I'm not (and yes, I have a Dragon).

The audio tests include an objective test and a subjective test. The results of the first one are shown in the graphs and data; the results of the second one, however, are a personal opinion and they're not intended to be a precision rating.

The SONY D6C, a superb recorder

Before rating this model, it was taken to a professional technician for examine, repair and fine adjusting. Remember these are old machines and internal belts stops working properly after some time. Of course, head and rollers have been carefully cleaned before testing.

The 701 represented an enormous effor at SONY to combine the high quality of the DD line with the smallness in size if the WM-10. And we can say that they achieve pretty good performance. The amorphous head provides very good performance in highs, although not as high or clean as a DC2 or a D6C. The sound is very clean and open. The integrated amplifier, although no very powerful, gives pretty plain and pleasant response.
The megabass system gives very powerful bass&treble amplification. When set in MID position (my favorite by far; MAX position pushes so much the bass and it becomes very boomy) the bass is very powerful and clean. It doesn't get boomy or mudded; it keeps being dynamic and crisp
However, it depends heavily in the kind of music (and the bass kind and presence it has) you're listening. For example, while listening to me reference music test, it's perfect for Superstition or Country Boy, but a bit excessive for Three o'clock blues, A new day has come or Endless. At the same time, the MAX position can be helpful with Every breath you take (that has very sligh bass) or for noise environments, i.e: when you're walking in the street.

The wow&flutter is not very high, and only becomes present for some moments, when it reminds you that you're listening to a non-DD walkman. However, it's not very noticeable, except in very particular instants.

Frecuency response

The FRC of the 701C is really good. The amorphous head is indeed helpful in this task, as it provides a pretty plain response, with excellent highs and powerful bass up to 40Hz.

Effect of the bass enhancing system

Original FRC
Position MID (at 1/2 volume) Position MAX (at 1/2 volume)
Position MID (at 1/4 volume) Position MAX (at 1/4 volume)

Move your mouse over the buttons to see the animation.

As you can see here, the MegaBass is pretty powerful, adding about 12dB to the bass and about 4dB to the highs at volume 5. It's clear how it becomes even more powerful when volume is even lower (at 1/4). The thing becomes a bit massive at MAX position, where it adds a whopping 18dB at 1/2 and 22dB at 1/4 volume!!

Background hiss and noise reduction

Original FRC* FRC* | -2 dB Treble loss FRC* | -4 dB treble loss
Background noise (-56 dB) Background noise (-67 dB) Background noise (-70 dB)

Move your mouse over the buttons to see the animation

*: The original FRC is measured with a recording without Dolby; the ones with Dolby were each measured with recordings made with the same Dolby system measured.

The FRC using dolby is very good in general terms (again, it heavily depends on the quality of the recording deck you're using). With Dolby B the response is very good. You wouldn't notice the highs are cut, except a little bit, and the background noise is heavily cut.
With Dolby C, the performance is not as good. The background noise is much lower, but the highs are mudded. However, you can do the common tip: choose 'Normal' tape and not 'CrO2/Metal'. That's one of the benefits of using always CrO2 or Metal tapes. I use almost always CrO2 (TDK SA, Maxell XL-II or SONY UXPro). But that tip does only change the internal bias, adding highs, but doesn't solve the main problem of Dolby C decoding (that can only be properly solved with higher quality ICs that, i.e., the D6C has).

  Wow & Flutter:

0,268% (RMS)


The wow&flutter is not so good but still not so much noticeable, even if oyu listen to it while seated (if you are walking or running, it becomes more present).

So finally I listen to my reference recording (already explained here) and combined all data into a single graph, to let us quickly see all the measurements about it:

AIWA HS-G08 final rating.

Overall score: 8,5/10

So, the 701C is indeed and excellent walkman, with an superb design, excellent sound performance and very cool overall. It's also a milestone in walkman history and one of the smallest walkmans ever made. A 'must have' for any serious collector...


The 701C in grey finish. Very rare to find. If the grey one is rare to find, the white 701C (and the 702 shown here) are extremely rare. The white, grey and black 701C.  
The Megabass switch and the special headphone connector.   The back.  
The supplied headphones. In some cases, it came with the new Fontopia earphones. An adaptor for the special headphone connector is supplied.   The original headphone jack.
To release the jack, there's a special switch under the front door. The battery cover. The rechargeable "gumstick" Ni-Cd battery.  
The bettery charger.   The external battery compartment, for using standard AA batteries. Here you see a powerful Sanyo AA battery, with 2500mAh capacity.
The 701C with the external battery compartment. The original box of the F701C (a different version with radio), which is almost identical. Ufortunately, I don't have the 701C box.   The plastic box inside the external carpet box.
The box, opened. Left half of the box. The original case. Under the case is the external battery compartment.
Right half of the box. The F701C (radio version) box. The F701C, the radio version of the 701C. The 701C and the F701C.
There is a luxury special version of the 701C, silver plated called 701S. It was a conmemorative special edition with only 2000 units released worldwide. It's very rare (and expensive) to find. The luxury box, opened. The gorgeus WM-701S player, one of the most beautiful players ever made. All my 701C units (and their variants) in one photo. From upper left to bottom right: F701C, 701C, 701S, white 702 and grey 701C.
  The extremely rare 701T, a special edition of the 701S made for Tiffany's shop. Only 250 units were made and most of them were given as a gift for many famous singers, like "The Who".
Photo: recollector.
The 701T in its special case.
Photo: Unknown.
Photo: recollector.
Photo: Unknown. The 702 in red. This model is almost identical to the 701C, but with a standard head and only Dolby B.    

We haven't any info about licensed models from other brands. If you know anyone, please send us an email to share the info, and we will update the page.


At this moment I don't know if there exists an original catalogue. If you have any, you can collaborate scanning it and sending it to us. Contact us and we'll give you good recommendations for scanning it. You can send us the original catalogue too, and we'll make a professional quality scan of it.
Here you can see images extracted from the SONY 20th Anniversary CD.


The original WM-701C catalogue image. The white 701C, extremely rare to find.

In the japanese market SONY used to sell some of their walkmans in a completely different box, simpler than the shown above. It has a transparent front cover that let you see the contents. The F701C, a version of the original 701C with digital radio.

One year later SONY released and less featured version of the 701C, called 702, without Dolby C. A few months before the launch of the 702, SONY released the radio version, the F707, without Dolby C too.

And at the same time, a recording version of the 702, the R707. At the end of 1989 SONY released the extremely rare 703C, a slightly improved version of the original 701C.

WM-701C still-life shot at the spanish SONY '88 catalogue. Walkman info at the spanish '88 catalogue.


At this moment we have no images from commercials of this model. If you have any, please share it with me and I'll publish here.

Did you like this site?

This site is free and completely mantained only by me. However, it would be a nice help if you do a donation (even small). You can do it using Paypal (it's secure and fast). It will help me continue improving this site and keeping alive the memory of those loving walkmans for future generations.


BBE Barcus Berry Electronics, the name of the actual BBE Sound, Inc.
DSL Dynamic Sound Loudness
DSL-EX Dynamic Sound Loudness EXtreme
HX Headroom Extended
MS Music Search
PLSS Private Listening Sound System