Sony to introduce US$160 ‘low noise’ SR-64HXA microSD card


Sony is about to bring a new microSD card to market that promises better sound quality through lower electrical noise emissions when being read. You’re extremely unlikely to net any benefit via a Samsung smartphone but loading your Astell&Kern, PonoPlayer or Sony’s own ZX-2 with this audiophile-centric card might be a different matter. It won’t come cheap though. The SR-64HXA’s model name alludes to its 64Gb capacity but not its price: US$160. That’s quite the hike on standard microSD cards that sell for around US$30-40. Still, if you’ve got the means and and the inclination, why not?

There’s little doubt that Sony’s new storage card will appeal to audiophiles looking to juice every last bit of performance from their digital audio player but it’s not for everyone and is sure to draw the ire of many a mainstream tech publication and its readers.

Talking of which, news of this Sony microSD card echoes my coverage of AudioQuest’s Ethernet cables whose electrical noise mitigation talents I believe are central to their superior sound when compared to standard patch cords. Whichever way you slice it, electrical noise can disturb sensitive audio systems and adversely affect their sound quality.


The SR-64HXA microSD card will be available via Sony Japan from 5th March.

Further information: Sony Japan

Written by John H. Darko

John lives in the NOW + HERE = NOWHERE. He derives an income from the ad revenues of DAR. John is also an occasional staff writer for Stereophile, 6moons and TONEAudio.

Twitter: DarkoAudio
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    • Using memory cards as music source on the Resonessence Labs INVICTA also sounds better than USB. I wonder if Sony will make standard size SD cards?

  1. You should see the comments on tech sites about this. Personally, I’m not taking sides – or rather, I’m on the “would rather save money and buy a better friggin DAC” side – but I have to admit it’s quite entertaining to read.

  2. Like the ‘full grain leather’ handle on the new B&O Bluetooth speaker, this should definitely make the high-res music sound betterer…

  3. WTF? Digital data is digital data. A good quality standard SD card is not causing errors in the data. If it were, it would be useless. Any analog noise that the card MIGHT introduce is not going to be heard in the digital audio stream. This is utter nonsense and snake oil. If the data stream is sent in tact, the audio data is the audio data. And if your system is so sensitive that the switching noise created by a memory cell switching causes problems, the memory card is not your problem.

    • This is for people who may understand music, but obviously do not understand technology. You are 100% correct. But it’s a grat way to raise your margins by selling to rubes who believe marketingspeak.

  4. Go on then who is going to try an A B comparison? Probably at the bottom end of the law on diminishing returns I fancy and you would need a really good pair of cans and top end player. Not for me on this occasion but here we go again with the snake oil thing It drives me nuts, come on guys you can’t comment either way unless you have listened for yourself.

    • John, if you still have the top of the line Sony portable player, will you have a go at doing a blind test / review? It’s as easy as putting the same music on two cards and letting someone else change the cards for you. I would assume (maybe I’m gullible) that Sony would have done the same before putting the card on the market.

      One positive thing that can’t be overlooked here is that Sony is really pushing for higher quality music production. Even though their path is full of potholes, the end result surely will be more people interested in better quality and that can only be a good thing. I’m sure in the long term we will all benefit one way or another.

      • Hey Pim – alas my review schedule precludes me from reviewing this. Sorry. Besides, even if differences DO exist, I reckon they’d be sufficiently negligible that they’d be eliminated by background noise in all but the home.

  5. I’d imagine you’ll find this fluff heavily discounted to bring the price in line with similar products, in electrical retailers throughout the world.

  6. I get the ‘logic’ behind low noise designs, and am open if a bit skeptical about it but have always been confused by how noise elimination in things like ethernet cables translates into subtle tonal improvements. Setting aside the hard engineering truths of ethernets packet based protocol… If there is EMI or RF noise polluting an audio pipeline because a cable isn’t properly insulated or connector quality, wouldn’t it manifest as pops clicks, static and hash… I.e. True electrical noise.. But those who promote ethernet cable upgrading or low noise designs in streaming tech don’t talk about that… They talk about punchier bass, better micro dynamics, increased color saturation etc… How does eliminating artifacts that are not part of the audio signal translate into these subtle but tangible changes that have more to do with richness of tone?

    I’m not some troll or hardline objectivist looking to torch some DAR earth with my flamethrower… I respect John, Srajan and generally try to treat people decently (until they justify otherwise then all bets are off) but I’m actually looking at moving my system to some streaming configuration very soon so I can get my laptop out of the chain. The reason I want my laptop out of the chain is because it pops and clicks and injects static into my audio signal when has to work on something else. Because it has a lot of electrical noise. Anyone readers or writers on DAR who can speak to this?

    • At the risk of hitting the ceiling of my electrical engineering knowledge, not all electrical noise manifests as audible noise. That is, EMI/RFI doesn’t necessarily manifest as crackles and pops. Mark Jenkins’ Antipodes music servers are superb sounding units but they’re still computers on the inside. How does he do it? Jenkins reduces electrical noise. I might hit him up for a more thorough detailing on the matter as he’s an expert and I’m not.