New Sony HAP-Z1ES Firmware Out Today

I installed the newest firmware today and was pleasantly surprised that the player now supports an external DAC via the USB connection. It now does DSD over USB2 and there is a provision to turn it on/off. I played a couple of different artists and the player seems to work perfectly with the iPad remote.  Here is the skinny, direct from Sony:

This firmware upgrade (version 18033R) provides the following improvements over version 17384R:

  • Adds support for the Media Server function
  • Adds support for the USB digital output function (USB hub support for connecting each of one HDD drive, one CD drive, and one USB DAC)
  • Adds support for Seek operations
  • Adds support for the Fade In/Out function
  • Adds the Go to genre/artist/album/folder function to the Options menu
  • Adds the following operations:
    • Queuing the track next to the one currently playing, and queuing the track last
    • Deleting the track from the play queue
    • Creating a playlist with the play queue
    • Deleting the playlist
    • Deleting the track from the playlist
    • Deleting the information of a disconnected external hard disk drive

Thanks very much for this report.  Do you find it convenient to use the CD drive to load disks into memory (without using a computer as a first step)?  Also: any idea whether this unit will be physically updated in the near future, or will firmware updates by the main thing?

I'm not sure what you mean, there is no cd drive, everything is done via the network.  As far as your second question you never know what Sony has in mind. 

@stereo5 , Have you tried an external DAC?   Does iPad App works the same except playing via external DAC if attached?

I have not tried an external dac.  The iPad app works as it always did, no different.
Thanks for the heads up, Hap is updating as I write this.


I use both my home wifi network and an external Apple USB CD drive to install my music files onto the HAP.  At first I transferred my entire iTunes library onto the HAP using a LAN connection,  but since my desktop is upstairs and my stereo system is downstairs,  that wouldn't continue to serve me well,   I believe the Apple cost around $80.00 which was a simple and inexpensive method of performing that task.  (I am 100% Apple at home.)  I am almost certain there has to be a similar CD drive out there for pc users.  You simply connect the CD drive via usb to the HAP,  slip the disc in,  and the HAP directs you from there,  easy-peasey.  I have a couple of older model CD players that do not have USB connections,  so this was cost effective with regard to the HAP becoming my sole source of playback for my entire music library.  Yes,  I still have  a sizable vinyl collection as well - but that subject belongs in another forum.

On another but related point regarding this excellent piece,  but by no means exclusive to it,  there are some discs and/or files that the player cannot recognize.  I just purchased Jack White's latest CD,  his acoustic stuff,  and the HAP could not format a couple of the tracks onto it's HD.  Odd,  methinks,  this CD was just released,  brand new,  no?

This is not the first time I've encountered this issue with a music server.  My path to the Sony incurred a few trials and discards along the route,  including the highly regarded BlueSound Vault2,  an Olive One,  and the first one which I forget because,  well,  it was horrible!  I'm a two-channel purist wanting simple playback equipment - this server stuff is an uphill climb fraught with computeresque issues and learning curves.  Fortunately the HAP,  for me,  does away with most of that.

Anyway,  to correct this malady I use an Apple-friendly software program called "Final Music Converter",  available via the App store,  or I'm sure that a similar such program is available for PC users elsewhere as well.  (I should mention that I also copy my disc purchases into iTunes as well.)  When I see that some tracks/files are not copied,   I simply write the names down,  delve into the library on my desktop's HD,  convert them to FLAC using the aforementioned program,  and tuck them into the correlating artist/album folder on the HAP via wifi.  Voila!  Works almost every time.  

Frankly speaking,  there is little need for me to convert the Apple m4a files to FLAC since the HAP has an excellent DAC to begin with,  but it appears that changing the file format allows the HAP,   as well as the other aforementioned players to accept them.

To finish up,  I have a pretty decent,  dedicated two-channel system in my home,  setup in my living room,  far removed from my television set.  That's right,  my "tv set" - I have one,  in the den,  as removed from my stereo as is physically possible in my home.  I do not have a home theatre setup,  nor surround sound.  I find either one of those to be poor examples of "good sound".  But that's just MHO.

The Sony is well worth the $2K msrp, especially when compared to many of the $2K and beyond that figure players out there.  This is the first piece of Sony manufacture that I have purchased for my stereo playback.  I think I may have had a tv set in the past,  but prior to this purchase Sony was well down on the list of equipment I've considered during the last few years.  It's an excellent source.

Sorry for the length of this but...!
@oblgny That's exactly the information I've been after with respect to the Sony HAP unit.  We seem to share the principle of keeping computers the heck out of one's listening room, at least to the extent possible these days. What you describe --- Apple USB CD drive for loading disks (mine and those of music-listening visitors) at leisure into the HAP --- is what I'd had in mind, and you've confirmed that this works fine.  The new firmware, which according to the excellent post by @stereo5 now allows the addition of outboard DACs, is another great development.  Guess I'll need to just go ahead and buy the HAP and see how long I can resist getting it hot-rodded by Dan Wright.

Initially I also transferred my entire iTunes library onto the HAP using a LAN connection.   With new music either downloaded or ripped, the HAP software running on the PC automatically pushes it to the player.   So only time I need a PC is with new music.

I don't want a computer in my system and more companies are offering network bridges so there are options.  

I have a MW HAP and with tweaks and tube rolling, it's competitive with anything under $10K.
Thanks! for sharing-
I should also point out that rescanning the HAP's hard drive takes HOURS...