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

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.