MW Sony HAP-Z1ES


My MW Sony HAPZ1-ES arrived Thurs. After 48 hours of break-in, I'm at the point where I can enjoy it. Sound stage is expanding in all directions, images are well defined with solid density, dynamics improving with excellent Bass and High extensions. Still hearing POSITIVE changes so can't wait until it's fully broken in.

Setting up the Sony was SIMPLE. It took me longer to replace the fuse than launch the program and download music to the unit.

The stock fuse was replaced with SR Red immediately. Replaced stock tubes after 24 hours with NOS TS 5U4GB and 60's Siemens e88cc.

Comparing to MW 6SN7, one is not superior but just different. HAP-Z1ES has superior detail, resolution, more neutral and less warm but definitely not bright or SS sounding. Personally I prefer the sound of the HAP-Z1ES. For reference, Shuguang BT cv181-z was my favorite 6SN7 in MW.

FYI, I was also considering Bryston BDP-2 or Antipode with Allnic D5000 ... Dac. Ultimately chose Sony due to simplicity with available reference mods and definitely not disappointed in my decision.

So far the only suggestion I have is it was difficult removing the driver tubes from the unit. I couldn't get a good grip so either increase tube exposure or expand the hole diameter.

Dan clearly hit a HOME RUN with this new transformer coupling design. I look forward to new MW models with this design.

Thanks Dan for the excellent work and service.
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Who is Dan? Was this a mod and if so how much? What is the rest of your system? I've been very interested in this model.

I believe he's referring to ModWright.
It's a Modwright, (Dan Wright) modded Sony HAP-Z1ES. I don't personally own one, but have heard this model numerous times.

It is indeed an excellent unit. If I had the funds, it would already be in my system.

Maybe someday.
Who is Dan? Was this a mod and if so how much?
Checkout www.modwright.com for more information on the mod.

Forgot to mention the V-Tuner is excellent. It's a great way to discover new music. With DSD enabled, it just smooths out the rough edges but doesn't soften the sound. That's impressive and pleasantly surprisingly.

I have 70+ hours now and still improving. Everything has settled, more 3D and images are better defined with weight. Images are popping out of a blacker background, deeper soundstage and excellent extension in both directions. I find the biggest improvement over 6SN7 design is the transparency with veils lifted.

What is the rest of your system? I've been very interested in this model.
Current system is ARC Ref250, VAC SigMKIIa, TAD Evolution One ... Digital is computers so don't chase the latest or greatest. I have to work for my $$ so budget was $10000 max. I tried to find a DAC with excellent analog output stage so when digital side is long on tooth, it's still enjoyable. This was my experience with a MW Transporter.
Please define your contractions and subjects instead of assuming everyone knows what your talking about.
11-06-14: Mechans
Please define your contractions and subjects instead of assuming everyone knows what your talking about.
MW=ModWright, does that help?
Thanks all...I'll check it out...Digital is my weak link...Listening to my Basis/MB Glider/Heed Quasar right now and loving it. It's just light years better than my digital and the record isn't even that clean right now.
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Knightfi, how long did you play the Sony in your system before you sent it in to Modwright for the mod? How much better is the mod over the stock unit?
Mitch, that's the real question here. Thanks for asking. I also wish that it had toslink and coax inputs for the DAC so that I could use it for the whole system...TV and some other digital components. Until that happens, I don't want extra boxes in my system. I'm really hoping that eventually there is a true one box, high end, solution. Not sure it that will ever happen.
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Ctsooner, I'm willing to bet that Oppo will come out with the one-box system you are looking for. They are almost there already with their BDP 105 unit. If they add DSD, they'd be there. It seems like a natural progression for their product line.
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Knightfi, how long did you play the Sony in your system before you sent it in to Modwright for the mod? How much better is the mod over the stock unit?
I heard stock unit in a friends system many times. Like most stock Sony, sound is detail, high resolution and very good overall. Mod is superior in every way.

I've been playing with the DSD Remastering feature. I find with poorly recorded tracks, enabling DSD Remastering improves SQ. You can actually understand Dylan's mumbling. LOL!

It appears DSD Remastering reconstructs the data so you can hear more information. So with well recorded tracks, it all depends on the track. It just sound different and glad I can enable/disable on the fly.

I also wish that it had toslink and coax inputs for the DAC so that I could use it for the whole system.
I'm only interested in 2 channels so don't need all the extra connections and probably improves overall SQ with less complexity.

I have all my music on HDD or attached USB drive, built-in internet radio and wireless (have an Ethernet drop so didn't bother setting up wireless). Just launch HDD App on my iPhone 6 Plus to control everything. Basically I have a cd player with all my music. It's fantastic!

The only thing I'm missing is SACD. I have a stack of SACDs collection dust so replacing some with DSD downloads.

For HT, probably best Swiss army knife is Oppo BDP-105 w/MW Mod. BUT for 2 channel, unless you want to use the transport, NO THANKS!!!, you still need a computer, BDP-2, AntiPodes ... to stream the music.
Oppo did add DSD via a USB DAC input when they came out with the 105D (aka 105 Darbee) model, which costs $100 more than the 105 model. The 105D cannot play DSD files that are wirelessly streamed to it, but it can play DSD that are on a portable USB harddrive that's plugged into the 105D's front USB port.
Trying to understand all of this as it's new to me and with my MS it's not as easy to learn...I'll get there. How do the Oppo units sound? I have a pretty high end system with Ayre integrated and Vandy Treo's...top AQ cables. Does Oppo do a fully balance output? I have a Darbee box for my TV and have for years as I love it. Just curious..thanks.