Sony HAP-Z1ES High Res DSD Audio Music Player - in the house

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. Read 112395 times.

peterlim8

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 29
Re: Sony HAP-Z1ES High Res DSD Audio Music Player - in the house
« Reply #80 on: 18 Mar 2014, 01:18 pm »
It is the stand-by transformer.  So it is always ON if the unit is plugged into a live AC outlet, and supplies a voltage to the microprocessor so the unit can turn ON via the App, , the remote or by pressing the momentary push button on the front panel. 

Is the stand-by transformer an universal transformer? I.e. accept voltage input between 100V to 240V, etc. is yes, I might be able to custom-made transformers to replace the two stock transformers to suit my local voltage.

Are you able to extend the tube option to all 12A family, i.e. 12AT and 12AU as well?

My amplifiers is fully-differential therefore I'm only keen in BAL mod.

Thanks!

Vinnie R.

Re: Sony HAP-Z1ES High Res DSD Audio Music Player - in the house
« Reply #81 on: 18 Mar 2014, 02:55 pm »
Hi Vinnie, this is great news coming from your camp - thanks for it! I feel very excited but in fact I didn't expect anything but improvement with your output I/V stage and hope it will be even bigger in "stage 2" with the modded PSUs - looking forward to it!

A side question for your tube stage, please - you already mentioned you removed a 'lytic cap from the signal path (thank God!) but will there be any other input, output, feedback caps in your output stage that can be changed for different sound presentations, please? I am sure I have an input cap on my power amp so if you have an output one it could be safely bypassed, I suppose?

Thanks!
Ivo

Hi Ivo,

Thank you.  I'm really looking forward to even further improvements with level 2 and 3 mods.  :hyper:

As far as the other caps, there is one built onto the tube stage board.  But I don't recommend playing with it.  Instead, what I
recommend is TUBE ROLLIN' to fine-tube the sonic presentation. 

For some ideas, see this tube rolling thread:
http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=91642.0

The comments that I posted about the RWA-Z1ES-1 player is based on stock JJ E88CC tubes.  Based on my experience with RWA components that use this tube stage topology, I know there will be some further gains simply from tube rolling!  I haven't even gone there yet... but am looking forward to that as well!  :singing:

Quote from: peterlim8
Is the stand-by transformer an universal transformer? I.e. accept voltage input between 100V to 240V, etc. is yes, I might be able to custom-made transformers to replace the two stock transformers to suit my local voltage.

Hi Peter,

No, it is 120V.  There is no universal power supply (no switching power supplies) in the Z1ES to allow for 100-240V universal operation.

Quote
Are you able to extend the tube option to all 12A family, i.e. 12AT and 12AU as well?

I believe so, but I might have to change some parameters on the tube stage boards and test (if this is really important to you).

As of now, here are the tubes that can be used:

Included tubes

2 x 6922/E88CC dual triode (1 for each channel)

Accepted tubes   

(6.3V heater- 6922/E88CC, 6DJ8/ECC88, 7308/E188CC, 7DJ8/PCC88, 6N23, 6H23, 6N11, and 6GM8

(12V heater) - 12AX7/ECC83, E83CC/ECC803, 5751, 12DT7/12DM7/12DF7, 6681, 7058, and 7025

There is a small mini toggle switch installed on each tube stage board.  When positioned to the LEFT, the board is configured for 6.3V heater.
When positioned to the RIGHT, the board is configured for the 12V heater. 

I will add a simple user's guide with the mods, but it is really easy.  For those who don't want to tube roll, you don't even have to open the unit.  You just use it and enjoy as is.  No maintenance, no fuss or muss.


Quote
My amplifiers is fully-differential therefore I'm only keen in BAL mod.

I'll be working on that soon.

- Vinnie

munosmario

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 189
Re: Sony HAP-Z1ES High Res DSD Audio Music Player - in the house
« Reply #82 on: 18 Mar 2014, 04:07 pm »
Fascinating thread, Vinnie. The tube stage you are using, since you have not said or suggested it, I gather it is not the same as your "New Renaissance Edition tube stage", or is it? If not the same, how do the two compare...would it make sense (if possible at all) to include the "Renaissance version" as an available option to the Sony mod?

One more thing--just curious--on the same subject of adding the tube output stage to the Sony, what is the advantage over using stock unit with a world class tube preamp like, for instance, your very own new Isabella ?

Mario




Vinnie R.

Re: Sony HAP-Z1ES High Res DSD Audio Music Player - in the house
« Reply #83 on: 18 Mar 2014, 07:47 pm »
Fascinating thread, Vinnie. The tube stage you are using, since you have not said or suggested it, I gather it is not the same as your "New Renaissance Edition tube stage", or is it? If not the same, how do the two compare...would it make sense (if possible at all) to include the "Renaissance version" as an available option to the Sony mod?


Hi Mario,

Thank you.  Yes, it will be very much like the Renaissance Edition tube stage (just with a couple of small adjustments for use with the Sony).

Quote
One more thing--just curious--on the same subject of adding the tube output stage to the Sony, what is the advantage over using stock unit with a world class tube preamp like, for instance, your very own new Isabella ?

I'm not sure I understand the question.  I have been using the Isabella R.E. preamplifier the while evaluating both the stock and RWA-Z1ES-1 units. 

So in my posts about how the stock unit compares to the RWA-Z1ES-1, they both were feeding the Isabella preamp when testing.

Vinnie

munosmario

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 189
Re: Sony HAP-Z1ES High Res DSD Audio Music Player - in the house
« Reply #84 on: 18 Mar 2014, 08:09 pm »

"I'm not sure I understand the question.  I have been using the Isabella R.E. preamplifier the while evaluating both the stock and RWA-Z1ES-1 units. 

So in my posts about how the stock unit compares to the RWA-Z1ES-1, they both were feeding the Isabella preamp when testing.

Vinnie"
----------------

Say no more, Vinnie, your response fully answered my question. Adding an extra great tube stage compounds the positive benefits...not too much of a good thing in this case.

Cheers,

Mario 

OzarkTom

Re: Sony HAP-Z1ES High Res DSD Audio Music Player - in the house
« Reply #85 on: 18 Mar 2014, 08:44 pm »
Vinnie,

How many hours does it take before the hap is burned in? I was very delightfully surprised at the big soundstage the Hap had right out of the box.

noiseless

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 19
Re: Sony HAP-Z1ES High Res DSD Audio Music Player - in the house
« Reply #86 on: 18 Mar 2014, 09:32 pm »
Hi Ivo,

As far as the other caps, there is one built onto the tube stage board.  But I don't recommend playing with it.  Instead, what I
recommend is TUBE ROLLIN' to fine-tube the sonic presentation. 

- Vinnie

Hi Vinnie, I definitely will try the tube rolling and since I am located in Eastern Europe I might try some Russian tubes too which are cheap and widely available around here.

Thanks!
Ivo

dspringham

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 162
Re: Sony HAP-Z1ES High Res DSD Audio Music Player - in the house
« Reply #87 on: 18 Mar 2014, 09:51 pm »
Hey Tom,

Been waiting for you to chime in since it was mentioned that you had ordered one.

How about some comments and maybe comparisons with what you have been using until now or have used in the past. Looking for feedback mainly on sound quality as we have a pretty good handle on functionality.

Come on - spill the beans!!!

Cheers,
Dave

OzarkTom

Re: Sony HAP-Z1ES High Res DSD Audio Music Player - in the house
« Reply #88 on: 18 Mar 2014, 10:29 pm »
Will do Dave, but I only have about 12 hours on my machine and I prefer it to be broken in. I hope it isn't hundreds of hours like several of the DACs I have owned.

Vinnie R.

Re: Sony HAP-Z1ES High Res DSD Audio Music Player - in the house
« Reply #89 on: 18 Mar 2014, 11:38 pm »
Vinnie,

How many hours does it take before the hap is burned in? I was very delightfully surprised at the big soundstage the Hap had right out of the box.

Hi OZT,

I don't think it will take more than 100 hours... probably sooner than that.  I'm not sure how many hours were on smargo's unit, but after about 2 days of burn-in after what was on his, I did not notice any more change with the stock unit.  I'm glad you are enjoying it right out of the box. 
It is NOT "hundreds of hours," so no worries.

Quote
Hi Vinnie, I definitely will try the tube rolling and since I am located in Eastern Europe I might try some Russian tubes too which are cheap and widely available around here.

Hi Ivo,

Sounds good, and when the time comes, please keep us posted!

------

Today I ordered parts to start RWA-Z1ES-2 modifications.  I should have them by the end of the week and will hopefully have time this weekend to play some more.

Another thing that I will be ordering is a 1TB SSD.

In the meantime, I need to get working on adding RWA-Z1ES-1 to our website. 

Vinnie

peterlim8

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 29
Re: Sony HAP-Z1ES High Res DSD Audio Music Player - in the house
« Reply #90 on: 19 Mar 2014, 01:20 am »
Hi Peter,

No, it is 120V.  There is no universal power supply (no switching power supplies) in the Z1ES to allow for 100-240V universal operation.

I believe so, but I might have to change some parameters on the tube stage boards and test (if this is really important to you).

Hi Vinnie, thanks for the prompt reply! Great info as well.

If one were to tube rolling, I believe that he/she would be curious enough to try all possibilities. Moreover, 12AXX family is widely available worldwide, especially true in US. So make the tube output stage as universal as possible would be an added advantage.

After all each has their own listening preference.

peterlim8

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 29
Re: Sony HAP-Z1ES High Res DSD Audio Music Player - in the house
« Reply #91 on: 19 Mar 2014, 01:54 am »
Hey Tom,

Been waiting for you to chime in since it was mentioned that you had ordered one.

How about some comments and maybe comparisons with what you have been using until now or have used in the past. Looking for feedback mainly on sound quality as we have a pretty good handle on functionality.

Come on - spill the beans!!!

Cheers,
Dave

Others components are equally important! I'm very happy with the stock unit.

May be it has passed 150hrs, or even 200hrs, for now.

My impression is the more the unit run-in, you can click the volume as high as possible without any stress to your ears.


OzarkTom

Re: Sony HAP-Z1ES High Res DSD Audio Music Player - in the house
« Reply #92 on: 19 Mar 2014, 02:57 am »
I was hoping you could change volume with the app, so Vinnie needs to add volume control to mine.

Let's see, tube mod plus volume control and probably the battery mod. I have a lot of SLA batteries sitting around the house. Will we be able to use the battery mod with those type of batteries?

Vinnie R.

Re: Sony HAP-Z1ES High Res DSD Audio Music Player - in the house
« Reply #93 on: 19 Mar 2014, 01:48 pm »
If one were to tube rolling, I believe that he/she would be curious enough to try all possibilities. Moreover, 12AXX family is widely available worldwide, especially true in US. So make the tube output stage as universal as possible would be an added advantage.

I understand.  I'll need to test others in the 12AXX family to be sure, but for now, 12AX7 works great.

Quote
I was hoping you could change volume with the app, so Vinnie needs to add volume control to mine.

Let's see, tube mod plus volume control and probably the battery mod. I have a lot of SLA batteries sitting around the house. Will we be able to use the battery mod with those type of batteries?

Hi OZT,

The battery mod for the dacs, clocks and analog output stage (still not developed at this time) would require the use of an external battery power supply that I would custom design make for this application. It would be LiFePO4 powered, with regulated voltages to replace the various voltage feeds from the stock supply, etc.

Vinnie

peterlim8

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 29
Re: Sony HAP-Z1ES High Res DSD Audio Music Player - in the house
« Reply #94 on: 20 Mar 2014, 04:38 am »
I understand.  I'll need to test others in the 12AXX family to be sure, but for now, 12AX7 works great.

Hi Vinnie,

You shall not hurry!  Take your time because you're leading in this mod! :icon_lol: And you may implement this feature (12AXX family) to the rest of your line!

Moreover, battery mod is another selling point!

Do you've the stock unit enough run-in, you may leave it on 24/7.

My unit just sounds gorgeous! Should have passed 250hrs by now.

Is there any sonic advantages if the unit run in full battery mode?

peterlim8

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 29
Re: Sony HAP-Z1ES High Res DSD Audio Music Player - in the house
« Reply #95 on: 20 Mar 2014, 05:55 am »
Hi Vinnie, I definitely will try the tube rolling and since I am located in Eastern Europe I might try some Russian tubes too which are cheap and widely available around here.

Thanks!
Ivo

I'd suggest you to get a used unit (cheaper price) from US, and send it to Vinie for mod (one way ticket to Euro only).  :icon_lol:

Vinnie R.

Re: Sony HAP-Z1ES High Res DSD Audio Music Player - in the house
« Reply #96 on: 20 Mar 2014, 03:43 pm »


Do you've the stock unit enough run-in, you may leave it on 24/7.  My unit just sounds gorgeous! Should have passed 250hrs by now.
Is there any sonic advantages if the unit run in full battery mode?

Hi Peter,

My stock unit has been running 24/7 on repeat mode connected to a 5k load (to allow the most amount of current to flow through the output stage without overloading it).  I'd say it is around 200 hours now. 

Converting the entire unit over to battery power would require a larger eternal battery supply with multiple packs, regulators, heat-sinking, etc.  It would be very expensive as well.  The stock unit draws around 35W at 120Vac, so while it is not some Class A power monger furnace/amplifier, it does draw a fair amount of continuous power with its linear power supplies.

I think to get the best bang-for-the-buck in terms of running on external LiFePO4 battery power, the following should have their own clean, regulated battery feeds:

1) The two d/a converters
2) Clock section (Xtals, Clock buffer IC, Counter IC)
3) Tube output stage

1, 2 and 3 cover clocking, d/a conversion, and analog output - all super important to obtain the very best sound quality.  Other things like the display, MCU, SDRAM, FPGA, USB, ETHERNET, WIFI, etc. can remain powered on AC.  Sure, converting all of it to battery would be even better, but most likely will not make for the same level of improvement that I suspect doing 1 - 3 above will make.

But before I get into the battery conversion, I plan to work on modifying the power supply sections - this weekend.  This should take the power supply performance closer to that of clean battery feeds and will be less expensive. 

Quote
I'd suggest you to get a used unit (cheaper price) from US, and send it to Vinie for mod (one way ticket to Euro only). 

Let me find out if I can get these from Sony at a discounted rate.  I'm not sure if Sony will be interested in having me sell them, but I'll try.  If I can't, then you guys can also buy them online from numerous sources such as Sony Store, Amazon, Crutchfield, Music Direct, B&H Photo, and others - and have them shipped directly to me for modification.

I should also be able to get the RWA-Z1ES-1 stage modification on our website this weekend and will post a link.

Vinnie

Vinnie R.

Re: Sony HAP-Z1ES High Res DSD Audio Music Player - in the house
« Reply #97 on: 20 Mar 2014, 10:10 pm »
Time for a couple of pics.  This RWA-Z1ES-1 shipped out today to smargo (many thanks to smargo for sending it in for me to look into and develop the first mod package for):



This is a more zoomed-out shot.  The upper left of the pic (rear of the player) shows the dedicated linear power supply installation with for the tube output stage, with added heat-sinks.  The Standby transformer board is moved over a few cm's to the right to fit the tube stage power supply.  The power feeds to all 4 transformers (3 stock, + the tube stage power supply) are hard wired to the board now.  This eliminates the molex type connectors for a cleaner, more reliable connection.  Also hard wired the power feed from the IEC power jack to the Standby board.

Top cover (not shown) now held into place with (3) 6-32 size, stainless thumbscrews for easy cover removal and tube rolling.  Vibration damping added to top cover underside so it no longer rings like a bell.



Dual tube output stage, zoomed-in.  Hard wiring (ALO stranded OFC copper) from audio board to tube stage boards, bypassing stock header that connected the audio board to a daughter board that had the stock RCA jacks (which has been removed, permanently).  New Vampire Wire RCA output jacks.  Stock JJ E88CC tubes installed and ready for action.



Rear panel shot.  Stock RCA jack holes covered.  New Vampire RCA jacks shown.  New screws installed to mount tube stage boards and their filament regulators.  Panel gets warm (as does the top cover over the tube stage power supply and over the tubes) but never hot to the touch. :flame:

Tube stages automatically switches ON when you turn ON the player, and OFF when shut down.  Tube stages have an auto-mute warm up delay of approx. 45 seconds to allow for tube warm up, then apply the B+ and and un-mute the outputs.  To the user, its all seamless.  Added power consumption is about 20W (not bad!), bringing the total power consumption to 55W max. 

That's the RWA-Z1ES-1 (single-ended) modification in a nutshell.  Will be added to website most likely this weekend.  Price will be set to $1195 + shipping. 

I'll be getting into the next phase (RWA-Z1ES-2) over this weekend as well.  As mentioned before, this will be an upgrade of critical power supply rail decoupling caps on the audio board, an upgrade of analog and digital power supply board storage and decoupling caps, bridge rectifier upgrades, power input filtering, etc...

I also need to work on some options such as:

1) Remote volume controlled outputs, plus analog input jacks and switch
2) Replace HDD with SSD
3) RWA-Z1ES-1-BAL (the mod above for the XLR output stage).

Beyond that - we go Level 3 with external battery power for critical sections of the d/a conversion, clocks and tube output stage.... but stop rushing me!!!  :green:

And as mentioned before, I can look into items that you might have on your wish list.  Some did email me about installing the Isabella R.E. preamp board on the back panel... you sick and twisted individual you!  I love it!  :beer:

Vinnie

noiseless

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 19
Re: Sony HAP-Z1ES High Res DSD Audio Music Player - in the house
« Reply #98 on: 21 Mar 2014, 09:40 am »
Vinnie, congratulations - very nice looking and well made mods - thanks!
And yes, the quality still comes with price and I need to save even more now...;-)

Question about the output board, please - will it be able to drive directly power amp/headphones when volume pot is installed or additional buffer/pre-amp board still will be required, please?

Keep on doing the good work!

Best, Ivo

Vinnie R.

Re: Sony HAP-Z1ES High Res DSD Audio Music Player - in the house
« Reply #99 on: 21 Mar 2014, 02:56 pm »
Vinnie, congratulations - very nice looking and well made mods - thanks!
And yes, the quality still comes with price and I need to save even more now...;-)

Question about the output board, please - will it be able to drive directly power amp/headphones when volume pot is installed or additional buffer/pre-amp board still will be required, please?

Hi Ivo,

Thank you!   :notworthy:

The output stage is not a headphone amp, so it will not drive the low impedances of headphones.  For that, a dedicated headphone stage can be added along with a volume control.  The output stage IS fine with driving a preamp, integrated amp, or power amp.  That's what it is all about!   :D

My thinking is that for those who want a built-in volume control, I can implement it on the input side of the tube stage.  Then the volume controlled signal will pass through the tube stage.  It should work very well at driving a power amp or monoblocks.

To those who want a remote volume control - do you know which make/model you are most interested in?

1) Goldpoint / DACT
2) Tortuga LDR
3) Alps Blue Velvet (continuous potentiometer)
4) Bent TVC / Slagleformer style
4) Other - please list.

Happy Friday,

Vinnie