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Thanks for the heads up, Stereo5...my 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.