Recently I bought off ebay this 1998 Sony mid range walkman, the WM-EX402. In 1998 Sony released a whole range of WM-EX40x walkman’s and this is the entry model with only basic functions; it does not even have Dolby NR, for that you need the WM-EX404. It is rather odd looking, I was skeptical when looking at ebay pictures, but it is quite nice when seen “live”. It is a mid range model, just slightly above the full mechanical walkman's, if looked from behind or in the cassette well it screams “PLASTIC” all around. Its basic features includes feather touch commands, megabass/groove, AVLS and tape type selector. AVLS is pretty useless: meant to safe guard from hearing damages, the imposed volume limit is so low I can hardly imagine anyone switching it on; maybe it was required by law but really it is a waste of space and electronic components. When I got it the original belt was a bit loose and I had to replace it; opening it up would be easy if not for the claws holding the two halves together. Once the back cover is removed, internally it is very neatly organised (sorry no pictures): easy detachable flat cables for head and front button panel, audio PCB easy to remove to have access to the tape transport and the belt. With a new belt it is as good as new and then its sound can be tested. I was expecting a dull sounding walkman, but with a proper headphone it sound very good: deep bass, excellent frequency response, despite the plastic flywheels W&F is more than decent for pop music. I tried it against a couple of WM-DD’s with a chrome tape and I can’t say the DD’s were the clear winners: sure the DD’s have a more stable transport and a somehow warmer sound, but from a frequency extension point of view the EX402 is brighter while not lacking bass in any way. It is not missing details either, but its background hiss is stronger; anyway I am quite impressed by a cheap walkman which I think costed 1/3 or 1/4 of a DD. To further indicate its status as an entry model, the box is also rather small and the supplied accessories are just a belt clip and a pair of terrible earphones. Maybe a typo on the box, but is says “black” while this model, to may knowledge, was available only in silver. According to a label on the box, it was bought in an Italian grocery store, not even an electronic store ! Anyway my kudos to Sony for keeping a good sound quality also in low end model (and it was 1998, cassettes were on decline with their heydays long gone).