Sony HAP-Z1ES HDD Player

It cannot stream information from Network Attached Storage. It is not S/PDIF equipped DAC or a USB, so it can't be utilized to play with files directly from notebook or a PC. Also it is not SACD player or a CD, which means you can not steal in silver discs and play with them.

So, what's it, and what can it do? It is is a high end music player, which stores music files and plays with them from there. Additionally, it may stream music by means of a wired Ethernet, or its own.

The truly nice thing about the Sony HAP-Z1ES is it is also not a computer that is routine and so will not rely on flaky, immediately obsolete, virus- and crash-prone operating systems. It runs on a simple Linux center, yet, as opposed to a total domestic operating system turned into shape. The result: there are several great old fashioned knobs and press to choose your music, along with choices from a menu. Having an obvious colour display to show what is playing and what is available. it may hardly be more straightforward. There is a fairly cheap plastic IR remote, but it was never used by me. I iThings, accessible for Android and just downloaded Sony's quite clean and simple to work with HDD program, and the interface became seamless and simple fast the remote was unnecessary.

After the files are saved on notebook or a PC, they're 'transferred' as Sony describe, or maybe more correctly replicated, to the Sony's from your computer's hard drive. To empower transports, all that is needed would be to download a HAP program in the Sony web site and connect both the HAP-Z1ES as well as the computer by Ethernet cables to your router.

So fast and simple was it to transfer? I'd about 65 ripped CD's as well as several hires files on my notebook and these took the best portion of the day to transfer, on and off, (because the wired Ethernet link involving the HAP-Z1ES as well as the computer dropped out several times). It was quickly in comparison with both hours it took lately to download only one high resolution CD span 24/96 music file over the web., although it might seem just like quite a while

Should you add files to your own pc, it's going to add them to the hard disc of the HAP-Z1ES to fit. And, if 1TB isn't sufficient, it is possible to put in a difficult drive by means of a USB outlet in the back as well as that will be used by the Sony if it were not external. It's going to reformat this drive ruining any information that is stored on the drive, in the event you'd like, but it allows for significant growth wants.

This may look a step that is sideways. The ease of computer sound is the fact that it is, er, not inconvenient. The files in your pc could be fed readily to a DAC as well as the files saved on a NAS may be fed into a streamer. After the first setting up is completed, everything is seamless and secure. The HAP-Z1ES does not do this; it creates a stage of isolation between computer and computer sound, which seems counterintuitive, but explicable. The thought has three distinct edges. First is the total amount of networking abilities in the would-be buyer; locking the Z1ES into a current Ethernet network in your home is possibly fraught with difficulties, because Dropouts could be an issue in the home network is not assembled for robustness, particularly if you're intending to listen to music at the same time as your oldest is blatting aliens online through his PS4. Afterward, there is the possibility of lots of computer components behind the Z1ES to introduce RF and EM noise, there is the mental connection that individuals make with their house apparatus, and how that differs from notebooks, and eventually there is the 'correct tool for the occupation' mindset that precludes using a multipurpose computer for a committed endeavor like music replay. If at least one of those thoughts resonate with you, the Z1ES might provide a solution that is difficult to come by elsewhere.

Back to the HAP-Z1ES. Attention and care was lavished on mechanical building, along with the electronic equipment, which are based on Sony's ES high end hi fi and audio equipment that was professional. Indoors, there are just two big mains transformers, both vacuum impregnated for low vibration, which electricity different equipment for the analogue and digital sections.

Itis a theme carried through the building, and used to the steel mounted its own individual input button and rotary menu selector knob. The analogue outlets are mounted individually to the back, with flexible connecting wires to minimise vibration transfer in the external world while the circuit boards are mounted securely to the bottom. Unsurprisingly, the HAP-Z1ES is a hefty piece of gear, but the solidity, good quality assemble and outside finish all surely inspire self-confidence.

The signal processing and D/A conversion draw greatly on Sony's encounter with eight-times overs that are direct.

That's exceptionally related to the HAP-Z1ES, because Sony has selected to upward sample ALL input data, no matter source, to 128xFs DSD information, which will be twice the frequency of regular DSD (hence, occasionally called double DSD). Obviously, the fantastic thing about a DSD data stream is it is actually an analogue signal which only wants filtering to get rid of the extreme degrees of supersonic high frequency sound which it includes.

It is rather like an upsampling DAC, which transfers all of the information and therefore the anti-image filtering (and its related phase shifts), to frequencies well over the audio range. The high frequency cannot replace advice removed by transport to CD, but it makes it better to filter the ultrasonic sound of the DSD signal without changing the perceptible range, minimising the possibility of adding phase shifts, ring, or early high frequency roll off, (as sometimes happens in the event the filter was set too close to the very best end of the sound group). Sony claim an audio bandwidth of 2Hz-80kHz, for the HAP-Z1ES, meaning the sound filter is set fairly high, but to replicate sound info that is actual up to there would need 192kHz bit rate source stuff. Excellent for DSD fans, but if you're not among these, this up-conversion may be switched off, as Sony also have included linear PCM D To Some conversion as a substitute choice accessible through the menu.

HiFi readers might not be specially intrigued with this particular characteristic, but, through the onscreen menu, it could be changed in and out like DSD conversion.

Needless to say, it's appropriate to be sceptical about any additional processing that is digital, therefore I entered having just a little care that is healthy. Would the HAP-Z1ES actually provide sound quality that is improved by up-converting to DSD as Sony claim?

Computer established sound had less to do with quality and more to do with convenience. Of course great higher resolution Linear DSD and PCM files improved sound quality and conventional CD resolution. That is not an issue of view.

Fortunately, all can meet, and with files saved on the internal hard disk, the Sony has got the capacity to equal the quality of replay from a pc hard disk. Listening commenced by playing with my plain vanilla CD rips. My first (and ongoing) reaction was of unbelief these files could seem so great.

Old analogue records seem best to my ears, so it is pleasant to hear them afresh even when they are initially undermined by 16 bit 44.1kHz conversion to CD. It was a completely textured demonstration where the many parts were superbly distinguished. The first analogue cassette sound was audible although not accentuated as well as the entire bit had a fluidity that is delightful. This was a more insightful replica of the operation, something which brings one in and holds your attention, although not only wonderful sound. I do believe this is the great accomplishment of the Sony HAP-Z1ES, which helps you to allow it to be a true high end merchandise in a bargain cost.

The strong synth in the intro could sound on and glaring the top via DACs that are standard. Yet, via the HAP-Z1ES DSD and up conversion, it seemed mellifluous and rich, while bass lines were punchy and strong. This is a large, exuberant sound with low distortion that is apparently vanishingly - no hint of border or harshness - see-through but definitely not glaring.

So, this DSD converted high res file seemed fantastic, but more astonishingly, it was as though some sort of magic were performed to produce regular CD content seem less like CD and much more like analogue, (or more like DSD, in case you would like!)

All these first evaluations were carried out with the DSD transport on, therefore I wondered how much of the magic was on account of the DSD.

By turning on and off the DSD, it was clear that, even though the standard LPCM digital to analogue conversion was really great, it was. Instruments apparently snapped into focus and reassembled fundamentals and the harmonics right into a harmonious whole. For example, linking fricatives and sibilants in a natural manner to the inherent vocals - though DSD realigned all the parts that are sonic accurately in frequency, amplitude and time.

And accurate DSD best of all. Listeners used to its own incisive sound and CD may favor away DSD. Finally it's an issue of selection, but I consider essential listening will finally reveal the DSD conversion to function as more natural of the two - not just shiny or the smoother - for this is much a lot more than just a difference that is tonal. Well, that's my view, others may or not concur and for this reason the switch is there of course.

I played various authentic DSD sample tracks, provided with all the player, like Herbie Handcock's 'Water Mellon Guy', Miles Davis' 'Kind of Blue', etc., and these did seem quite good really, as I anticipated.

But, for me personally, the surprising and truly appealing part of the HAP-Z1ES is not much its capability to play with the DSD up, although pure DSD files conversion. What this means is that I possibly could listen to many more of my CD rips at length without being reminded of their source. It's as though I've been given a music group that is new. There were phonograph records that poorly transferred to CD or had only either been poorly recorded and these couldn't be saved by the HAP-Z1ES. Nevertheless, given a great original record, and digital transport that is first, the outcomes might be astonishing!. The few hi res files I 've do not seem worse, and that I do need more of these, but a lot of my ripped CDs seemed so great that I'm now loving simple vanilla CD, delivered in a fresh and satisfying manner. So, the claims of Sony are vindicated. The results from upward CD that is converted may well not be accurate hires, or sound as great as DSD that is accurate, however they seem quite fine, thank you!

It seemed OK, perhaps somewhat enhanced from the ESS engine. It might not be my first pick of musical entertainment, but it's there seems better than most, and if needed.

The HAP-Z1ES throws a curve ball to the pitch, but might simply turn out to be a game changer. In a cost of GBP2000 it is an audiophile deal to boot. Though a music server or its not just a DAC, if you're in the marketplace for either, you surely owe it to yourself to audition it against the traditional options.

My only disappointment is the fact that I can't rip my selection of SACDs on to my notebook for transferring onto rip cds of any type, or the Sony's hard drive straight to the Sony. This is the commiseration that is huge, but you can not have everything!

Sony HAP-Z1ES HDD Player photo