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

Convert?fit=crop&h=128&rotate=exif&w=128stereo5
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, Stereo5...my Hap is updating as I write this.

goheelz...

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...
I plugged in my Meridian Explorer DAC and works fine. Only issue I am seeing is with MQA files. The DAC is not showing a blue light which makes me suspect at this point the HAP is not passing the MQA protocol, which seems strange. Is there a new ipad app that usually goes along with a firmware upgrade. I did find the new playback settings on the HAP menu. 

I thought there would be a new iPad app but there isn’t one yet. I am having a problem with one of my Hap-z1es players. Each one has it’s own iPad for the remote app. The one in my office which hosts the router doesn’t always connect with the app on my iPad Mini. It takes a few tries to get connected where before upgrading the firmware, I never had a problem.

Suprisingly enough, the Sony player in my main system which is on a different floor and much further away from the router has no such problems. The iPad pro connects perfectly everytime with the Sony app. I hope they release a new app upgrade soon.

My local dealer friend received his Lampizator Atlantic yesterday and wants me to break it in for him.   I'm going to use my MW Sony HAP USB to drive it and compare against the ModWright analog output stage. This will be fun.
I find the wireless connectivity occasionally flakey and tend the leave  the HAP switched on all the time. Sometimes, even in the same room, my Ipad can't find the device. Switching to a wired ethernet connection seems to be a bit more stable.
knghifi,  Please keep us informed about how the atlantic does compared to the MW analog output.  I had been thinking about trying one of the Lampizator DACs.  Now I can wait for you to run the experiment. 
I am pretty new to this game so I would appreciate if someone can tell me how to connect the cables if I choose to have a DAC with my HAP-Z1ES. 
Do I connect the Dac to the SONY via the USB on the Sony and then RCA from the DAC to my Integrated amp?
Apologies for this newbie question but I have only about a year's experience with audio. Would also appreciate a recommendation on a decent DAC  that has a USB connection.
Regards.

" Do I connect the Dac to the SONY via the USB on the Sony and then RCA from the DAC to my Integrated amp? "


Exactly.
Hi milesian, thanks very much :)
My dealer friend dropped off the Lampizator Atlantic today and it worked flawlessly with my MW Sony HAP-Z1ES USB output. A JCAT USB Isolator was inserted in the chain to improve quality of USB signal.    MW Sony HAP-Z1ES needs 2 power cables, 1 digital and 1 analog and only need to turn on the digital side with external DAC.

The Atlantic is single ended, have both clock options and tube rectifier.

Fresh out of the box, Atlantic sounds excellent. Very musical, lots of detail, transparency, depth ... only complain is limited bass but should improve with more break-in.

Looks like Lamp is a REAL company now. Build quality is excellent and dead quiet.

I plan to keep it for 2 weeks helping with break-in.
knghifi, this should be interesting as you get some time on the Atlantic. 
New firmware update a day or so ago...
@brownsfan Lampizator Atlantic update. I had it for 2 weeks. spent 1st week breaking in playing 24/7.

I only use my MW Sony HAP-Z1ES USB output with a JCAT USB Isolator inserted in the chain to improve quality of USB signal.

SQ is excellent. Airy, big sound stage, dynamic, 3D, deep bass, DHT tubes are surprisingly linear and neutral.   Not a soft sound.

Compare to MW Sony HAP-Z1ES, it has more tube magic.

I prefer a transparent, linear and neutral sound so rolling 60's Siemen e88cc signal tubes and Telefunken NOS GZ32 rectifier in my MW Sony.

In my all tube system (ARC Ref250SE and VAC SigMKIIa SE), I prefer the more neutral and maybe a TOUCH more transparent (transformer coupling) MW Sony HAP-Z1ES but can perfectly understand if someone prefers the Atlantic.  

It's possible if I replace ARC with my summer Hegel H30 amp, I would prefer the Atlantic.   One is not better ... but just different.
Knghifi, Thanks for you update.  I guess I am not surprised, because the MW Sony is a very good piece.  I run Telefunken e88C's and a canadian Westinghouse VU-71 rectifier in mine, and it is as you describe transparent and neutral.  Much more so than the older MW designs with 6SN7 output tubes.  Based on your assessment, it does not sound as if the Atlantic would be a wise move for me.  Your description does make me wonder how the Atlantic would pair with a stock sony.
brownsfan, I have 60's Telefunken e88cc and is excellent.    I'll investigate canadian Westinghouse VU-71 ...

I've had MW 6SN7s and agree MW Sony with Lundahl transformer coupling and 6922/e88cc are more transparent and neutral.  I wasn't planning buying another MW except Sony is a completely different design so was curious.

Your description does make me wonder how the Atlantic would pair with a stock sony.

Sony digital out is stock and doesn't need MW tube analog mod so shouldn't matter.   As matter of fact, PS 9.0 is off when I use digital out.
The VU-71 is very hard to find.  There weren't many made and they aren't well known.  Too bad.  This is a great 5U4 tube. I like it much better than any other rectifier I have tried in the PS 9.0.
Any body else who has good experience connecting HAP-Z1ES via usb digital to DAC? Does it worth to get Dac or the HAP-Z1ES' so called remastering engine is already good enough?
I tried it with my Wyred4Sound DAC-2 with DSD and Femto Clock.  The dac cost me 1725.00.  The Sony bettered it in a way that the music really flows and  sounds more organic.  The Wyred dac uses the ESS 9018 dac chip.  Needless to say I sold the Wyred dac and bought a second HAPZ1ES player for my other system. 
I also enjoyed my HAP Z1ES, it is better than my "a bit old" sony XA9000ES SACD/CD player which was rated A+ by Stereophile few years ago.

Stereo5, may I know what interconnect cable are you using to connect your HAPZ1ES to your preamp/integrated amp?

i am using old audience 24es rca and I think it can be upgraded.
I use all Groneberg Quattro Reference interconnects and speaker cables.  My amp is internally wired with it.  The interconnects go for around 325.00 for a 1 meter pair with the WBT locking rca plugs.
Thanks to everyone for the various helpful info on this thread.  Found a Sony at ta good price, and I've now installed the HAP-Z1ES in my system and ripped a few hundred CDs to the internal hard drive.  Took a little while, but now it's done, and the table app makes navigation very easy.  Sound quality is pretty decent at this point, and the convenience is awesome compared to spinning single CDs.  Spotify Premium is integrated very nicely with the tablet app, thanks to the recent firmware update.  Is Tidal on the horizon?  Who knows, because how in the world does one get actual product information for this unit out of Sony?  Until it gets released as firmware, that is.

But I'm already thinking of upgrades.  Has anyone else tried an outboard DAC via USB to bypass the Sony DAC?  What are your results?  And is doing so better than starting with, say a 2K ModWright hot-rodding of the Sony?