Sony HAP-Z1ES Music Server

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. Read 126485 times.

Stercom

Sony HAP-Z1ES Music Server
« on: 5 Feb 2014, 03:20 am »
Just wanted to share my thoughts on my newest acquisition: the Sony HAP-Z1ES music server.  This is Sony's flagship DSD playback system. Its main claim to fame is its DSD remastering engine which converts all signals to 128 FS DSD. It, of course, has all the "normal" amenities like a 1TB hard drive, Android/IPad interface, Gracenote database, Wi-Fi built-in etc, but the remastering engine is why you pay 1k more than its little brother the HAP-S1/B which doesn't have the remastering option (or the larger hard drive).  I recently had all my SACDs ripped (thanks Ted B) many of which I also have ripped at 16bit, 44.1 kHz and on vinyl.  So I was able to compare the DSD version against the 44.1 kHz DSD remastered and the analog version. My opinion may be fairly surprising. First, let me say........ vinyl is still king. Nothing beats a mechanical, analog playback system. Digital just don't sound as natural. But (and its a BIG but) the Sony HAP-Z1ES shows digital reproduction is getting very, very good! However, it was not the DSD signals I was most impressed with but the DSD remastered signals!! At times I preferred the remastered version to the DSD version and other times I did not.  The point is your 16 bit, 44.1 kHz ripped CDs have a new lease on life! Sony went "all-in" with this technology and it has paid-off.  I highly recommend you listen to the HAP-Z1ES - I think its a break-through piece of equipment!

prokennex

Re: Sony HAP-Z1ES Music Server
« Reply #1 on: 5 Feb 2014, 03:00 pm »
There is also a review in the Absolute Sound.

smargo

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 452
Re: Sony HAP-Z1ES Music Server
« Reply #2 on: 5 Feb 2014, 04:54 pm »
There is also a review in the Absolute Sound.

I just read the review in the absolute sound - it basically echoes what "stercom" has said - it kind of makes me want to purchase one

i have had sony products in the past and was not that impressed (especially sacd players)

but im very attracted to this piece especially after reading what stercom says and steven stone

smargo

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 452
Re: Sony HAP-Z1ES Music Server
« Reply #3 on: 5 Feb 2014, 07:11 pm »
and here is the  What HiFi review from england

http://www.whathifi.com/review/sony-hap-z1es

Stercom

Re: Sony HAP-Z1ES Music Server
« Reply #4 on: 6 Feb 2014, 02:57 am »
I haven't read The Absolute Sound review yet but the What Hi-Fi? review covers all the bases nicely.

davek

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 21
Re: Sony HAP-Z1ES Music Server
« Reply #5 on: 6 Feb 2014, 03:43 am »
Many thanks for the review Stercom. I've been anxious to hear what people say about it. I wanted to see and hear it for myself but even the Sony flagship store in NYC didn't have one (and they didn't anticipate getting one either :duh:). I asked how can you buy a $2K high end audio piece of equipment without auditioning it and he gazed at me as if I was speaking in Martian.
I was curious if you looked under the hood to see what D/A converter is used and what the output circuitry looked like, discrete or op amp, and if op amp, which one.

Does anyone think this can compete with the Auraliti PK90 -> DAC (Sonore exD or Northstar Impulso) ??
Sorry for all the questions.

zuluwarrior0760

Re: Sony HAP-Z1ES Music Server
« Reply #6 on: 6 Feb 2014, 05:45 am »
The DAC chip is a Texas Instruments PCM1795.  It is worth about 4 dollars in quantities of 1000.
Sony probably paid two bucks for it.......

I mention this for two reasons:

1.  For some reason, Sony believes that everyone wants their music converted to DSD
and they give you no way to store PCM, to be played PCM

2.  Let's say you LOVE this Sony, but you're an audio perfectionist and in 2 years you know
there's a DSD Dac you've got your eye on that's probably good enough to obliterate
the 4.00 dac chip in the Sony........

That's easy.........just use the 2000.00 Sony unit's digital out.....

OOPS

There's not one......

Sony believes that you should never be able to upgrade to expand on this unit's strengths......

Also, where does Sony get off limiting someone to 1TB by not offering NAS support
Do they even know how big a typical DSD file is??????

Sorry to be a parade rainer......but in my opinion, this Sony is anything but state of the art......

I'd look at the new Aurender units for DSD compatibility or the Bryston BDP2 for state
of the art PCM.....

then go buy whatever DAC you want.......

gregfisk

  • Restricted
  • Posts: 1349
  • Us alone in the universe? sure is a waste of SPACE
Re: Sony HAP-Z1ES Music Server
« Reply #7 on: 6 Feb 2014, 06:03 am »
Many thanks for the review Stercom. I've been anxious to hear what people say about it. I wanted to see and hear it for myself but even the Sony flagship store in NYC didn't have one (and they didn't anticipate getting one either :duh:). I asked how can you buy a $2K high end audio piece of equipment without auditioning it and he gazed at me as if I was speaking in Martian.
I was curious if you looked under the hood to see what D/A converter is used and what the output circuitry looked like, discrete or op amp, and if op amp, which one.

Does anyone think this can compete with the Auraliti PK90 -> DAC (Sonore exD or Northstar Impulso) ??
Sorry for all the questions.

Yes, Thank you STERCOM for the review. I'm also curious about the dac and would like to here about comparisons with computer based servers like the macmini.

Ric Schultz

  • Industry Participant
  • Posts: 723
    • http://www.tweakaudio.com
Re: Sony HAP-Z1ES Music Server
« Reply #8 on: 6 Feb 2014, 06:12 am »
2 PCM 1795 32 bit DACs running in mono mode and an op amp based output stage almost exactly like that on the 5400 SACD player.  Discrete regulators for output stage.  Dual large transformers.  Pretty nice but needs super tweaking.

Yes, no digital out but I believe you can disable the DSD upsampling.  You can add 10 plus terabyte usb drives to the usb input on the back making it have super large storage.

All things digital will be superceded.  In two years we may have a DSD DAC for one dollar that trumps everything.  You also might die tomorrow.  You decide what pleasure you want now.  Any DAC you buy needs to be tweaked!  They are all not done to the max....maybe the Trinity DAC? ($52,000, the latest rage).

For those wanting an all in one not to expensive machine to play high rez it maybe just the right machine.  With super tweaking it may rival serious high end digital playback.

Stercom

Re: Sony HAP-Z1ES Music Server
« Reply #9 on: 6 Feb 2014, 11:35 am »
Ditto Ric Schultz. Well said.

zuluwarrior0760

Re: Sony HAP-Z1ES Music Server
« Reply #10 on: 7 Feb 2014, 02:22 am »
I have a friend who ordered one 2 months ago and as it hasn't arrived yet,
he got curious after hearing a rumor in a forum concerning DSD conversion
of all files not being able to be defeated.

The response he got from Sony support stated that many people erroneously
believe the DSEE (digital sound enhancement engine) refers to that function,
which it does not.  DSEE can only be enabled for non DSD files and non
streamed files and it is for restoring high frequency information typically
compressed in low bitrate PCM files.....

They told him DSD conversion is not defeatable, however, they are considering
providing something at a later date to enable defeating the DSD conversion, but
at this point it looks like it would require a return to the factory for implementation.....

He has cancelled the order and upgraded to the new 2900.00 Aurender that comes
with a single 1TB drive......and will use it with the DAC in his SACD player until he can
afford to upgrade that as well......

I applaud Sony for the effort, but I've heard this unit both at a show and in a home
environment and it is absolutely NOT state of the art..........it sounds pretty similar
to every 5400 CD Player I've ever heard.  IMO the Bryston BDP2 obliterates it,
but they don't offer DSD until their Manic Moose becomes standard firmware.....

Maybe we will see Modwright hotrod the crap out of it once it's been on the market
a while..........

If Sony would just let me decide how I want my PCM files presented and give
me an upgrade path should I want a better DAC, I'd be excited about this unit,
but since they give a buyer neither, I just don't think it's something that is
considerable for my purposes.........

For those who don't think they'll ever want better .......it should be great fun.......

Ric Schultz

  • Industry Participant
  • Posts: 723
    • http://www.tweakaudio.com
Re: Sony HAP-Z1ES Music Server
« Reply #11 on: 7 Feb 2014, 02:58 am »
I don't know about Modwright but I do know someone else who is going to mod the crap out of it.

smargo

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 452
Re: Sony HAP-Z1ES Music Server
« Reply #12 on: 7 Feb 2014, 03:07 am »


They told him DSD conversion is not defeatable, however, they are considering
providing something at a later date to enable defeating the DSD conversion, but
at this point it looks like it would require a return to the factory for implementation.....

In the new issue of the absolute sound - steven stone who gave the review says:

"You can, if you wish, turn off the DSD Remastering engine via the main settings menu so the HAP-Z1ES will not convert PCM to DSD."

It looks like they already added it


smargo

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 452
Re: Sony HAP-Z1ES Music Server
« Reply #13 on: 7 Feb 2014, 03:17 am »
The DAC chip is a Texas Instruments PCM1795.  It is worth about 4 dollars in quantities of 1000.
Sony probably paid two bucks for it.......

here is a link to the dac

http://www.ebay.com/itm/PCM1795DBR-192kHz-32-Bit-DAC-SSOP-PCM1795-32Bit-TSSOP-/150594926958

Stercom

Re: Sony HAP-Z1ES Music Server
« Reply #14 on: 7 Feb 2014, 03:33 am »
Yeah, you can easily turn the DSD remastering off and anyone who has used it in a home environment would know that or least tell their friend about it before he nixed a buying decision. Whatever. My wife is a professional musician and I hear a lot of live music. This technology is very good. I"m sure if you redo the output stage it will sound even better.  Peace.

zuluwarrior0760

Re: Sony HAP-Z1ES Music Server
« Reply #15 on: 7 Feb 2014, 05:13 am »
Whoever @ Sony who stated DSD remastering couldn't be defeated was in error....
I just found it in the manual, and it can.......the DSEE can as well.......


Stercom

Re: Sony HAP-Z1ES Music Server
« Reply #16 on: 7 Feb 2014, 11:32 am »
Here are a few pics to supplement my comments:





smargo

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 452
Re: Sony HAP-Z1ES Music Server
« Reply #17 on: 7 Feb 2014, 02:58 pm »
Yeah, you can easily turn the DSD remastering off and anyone who has used it in a home environment would know that or least tell their friend about it before he nixed a buying decision. Whatever. My wife is a professional musician and I hear a lot of live music. This technology is very good. I"m sure if you redo the output stage it will sound even better.  Peace.

I love the pics you posted - great room and setup - can you tell us the components

also let us know how the sony sounds say a week from now and 2 weeks from now

Do you like it - love it - dissapointed a little in its sound?

Gzerro

Re: Sony HAP-Z1ES Music Server
« Reply #18 on: 7 Feb 2014, 04:33 pm »
I have been looking at this as a replacement to my sonos, but the cheap DAC and lack of a digital out are deal killers for me. Also "DSD Remastering" seems marketing speak for a simple data conversion with possible upsampling. In general I have never liked upsampling, it just doesn't sound quite right.

Curiously for half the price you can get what seems almost the same player with a digital out and minus the DSD Mastering. The hard drive is only 500GB, but 1TB isn't really enough anyway so I would end up using USB drives in any event. It also comes with an amplifier section that would go unused, but at least that may give it some added life as a second digital only system down the road.

http://store.sony.com/500gb-hi-res-music-player-system-zid27-HAPS1//cat-27-catid-All-Res-Audio?vva_ColorCode=000000

Other than the small hard drive and lack of DSD mastering, is there any other reason not to save $1000 and get this unit?

gregfisk

  • Restricted
  • Posts: 1349
  • Us alone in the universe? sure is a waste of SPACE
Re: Sony HAP-Z1ES Music Server
« Reply #19 on: 7 Feb 2014, 05:11 pm »
I have been looking at this as a replacement to my sonos, but the cheap DAC and lack of a digital out are deal killers for me. Also "DSD Remastering" seems marketing speak for a simple data conversion with possible upsampling. In general I have never liked upsampling, it just doesn't sound quite right.

Curiously for half the price you can get what seems almost the same player with a digital out and minus the DSD Mastering. The hard drive is only 500GB, but 1TB isn't really enough anyway so I would end up using USB drives in any event. It also comes with an amplifier section that would go unused, but at least that may give it some added life as a second digital only system down the road.

http://store.sony.com/500gb-hi-res-music-player-system-zid27-HAPS1//cat-27-catid-All-Res-Audio?vva_ColorCode=000000

Other than the small hard drive and lack of DSD mastering, is there any other reason not to save $1000 and get this unit?

I don't see that this player has a digital out either and that's a deal breaker for me as well. Is DSD conversion the same as up sampling?