Golden Ear Award Winner, 2014 – The Absolute Sound
"Outstanding," Says Stereophile
Enjoy digital music, all of your digital music, without the need of your computer thanks to the versatile and great sounding Sony HAP-Z1ES player. It comes with a huge amount of built-n storage space, enough to accommodate even large collections of digital files. It supports DSD and the full range of hi-res and compressed file formats along with Wi-Fi for easy transfer of songs from your computer. A large, four-inch front-panel GUI makes operation a pleasure.
"Sony's HAP-Z1ES is an integrated single-box player that is of the highest sonic quality," reports Kalman Rubinson at Stereophile.com, May 2, 2014. "With hi-rez files, the Sony's sound was outstanding… DSD recordings, too, sounded absolutely first-rate."
"Attractively Priced Yet Fully Featured"
The Absolute Sound magazine awarded the Sony HAP-Z1ES its coveted Golden Ear Award for 2014 in the September 2014 issue. "For audiophiles and music lovers who want to listen to high-quality digital music files without the hassles of keeping another computer working, the HAP-Z1ES is an attractively priced yet fully featured option," notes Steven Stone. "Its sound quality was such that it rivals comparably priced stand-alone DACs, yet delivers more functionality…"
Hi-Res Music Playback
Digital music formats love the Sony HAP-Z1ES, which plays then back flawlessly, including DSD. Its repertoire includes a wide range of file formats, including DSD (DSF, DSDIFF), PCM (44.1 kHz, 48 kHz, 88.2 kHz, 96 kHz, 176.4 kHz, 192 kHz and 16-bit, 24-bit, 32-bit) DSD (2.8/ 5.6 MHz), WAV, AIFF, FLAC, ALAC, ATRAC Advanced Lossless, ATRAC, MP3, AAC, and WMA formats.
Oodles of Onboard Storage for Music Playback
Most digital music players make you keep your computer powered up for digital file playback, but not the Sony. It doesn't depend on your computer's hard drive. It has one of its own. A very sizable one! The built-in 1TB hard drive provides oodles of storage space. It will store music in all formats for local music playback, which you download from your computer via a wired or wireless connection.
Need even more capability? You've got it. The storage space is expandable using USB external hard drives, which you can plug into the Sony.
DSD Re-mastering Engine
DSD performance is without equal on the HAP-Z1ES with its DSD Remastering Engine. This ideal D/A conversion system combines a high-performance DSP and FPGA (field programmable gate array) to convert all signals to 128 FS DSD signals. It was designed based on know-how garnered from Sony’s direct eight-times oversampling and Extended SBM (Super Bit Mapping) technology for professional recorders.
Compressed files also excel with the Sony. Its proprietary Digital Sound Enhancement Engine offers natural sound with a spacious feel. It achieves this by restoring high frequency sound and the tail shape of the waveform likely to be removed through the audio compression process.
For best possible performance with a wide range of integrated amps, receivers, preamps, and other audiophile gear, the Sony gives you both balanced XLR and unbalanced RCA analog outputs.
Analog FIR Filters
The HAP-Z1ES has a premium digital-to-analog converter that effectively reduces high-frequency noise in DSD signals for exceptional musical purity. It features independent right and left channels, with four analog FIR (Finite Impulse Response) filters per channel producing a combined one-clock delay. FIR filters are ideal for D/A conversion of DSD signals and are one of the reasons why the Sony sounds so musical.
Wi-Fi Built-in, Plus Wired Connectivity
Newly designed built-in Wi-Fi increasing whole-house coverage and signal strength. HAP-Z1ES is rigorously tested to ensure its Wi-Fi signal strength. This real world testing is to certify it will work under the most extreme conditions. Use Wi-Fi to download files from your computer, or use a wired connection to your network.
Compatible with both Windows and Mac computers, included music transfer software makes it easy for you to select your music folder and sync it with the HAP-Z1ES.
iOS and Smartphone Control
Download the free ‘HDD Audio Remote’ app for iOS devices and Android phones and tablets. This dedicated app lets you control your listening experience. Create playlists, search stored music and full track control.
Low-Phase Noise Liquid Crystal Oscillator
The master clock acting as the performance standard for D/A conversion is vital to achieving high sound quality. In particular, sound quality is strongly impacted by phase noise. This unit employs a liquid crystal oscillator with extremely low phase noise to achieve an ultra-clear sound field.
Two Large-Capacity Separate Twin Transformers
For analog and digital circuits, big and powerful transformers are used individually. The transformers are treated with impregnation in a vacuum. In a power block, analog circuit and digital circuit are separated strictly. It can remove some adverse effect from digital noise.
The ES Frame And Beam Chassis
The FB chassis, composed of a frame and beams, has a long and cherished tradition in the Sony ES Series. It offers both high-precision mounting of parts and high rigidity, achieving a high-fidelity sound field carrying large amounts of information. Notably, the base is composed of two plates of differing thickness that provide sturdy support for the chassis. There are two additional base plates beneath the transformers as well, offering robust reinforcement that anchors the transformers firmly in place.
Golden Ear Award Winner, 2014 – The Absolute Sound
"For audiophiles and music lovers who want to listen to high-quality digital music files without the hassles of keeping another computer working, the HAP-Z1ES is an attractively priced yet fully featured option… Its sound quality was such that it rivals comparably priced stand-alone DACs, yet delivers more functionality and won't be made obsolete by the latest USB FireWire, or Thunderbolt interfaces, since it uses Ethernet and Wi-Fi for input connections."
- Steven Stone, The Absolute Sound magazine, September 2014
"Sony's HAP-Z1ES is an integrated single-box player that is of the highest sonic quality."
"With hi-rez files, the Sony's sound was outstanding… DSD recordings, too, sounded absolutely first-rate."
"It also has the potential to become a gateway product for the mass market of portable-player users because it's based on the effective and familiar paradigm of downloading files to a computer and transferring them to a player."
- Kalman Rubinson, Stereophile.com, May 2, 2014