Simply digital product for a simple guy


Hi everyone,

I am looking to make a change from the Oppo 105 as my main source component because I find the Oppo's sound to be overly lean and lacking in that elusive quality of musicality. I use the Oppo for standard CD, SACD, and most recently some DSD downloads via a USB thumb drive or burned to DVD-R discs (discs sound better than the thumb drive to my ears). My needs are very limited and simple: a one-box solution with a very upper limit of $2,000. I've looked at the following two products.

a. The Sony HAP-Z1ES: The obvious candidate and the reason I'm willing to stretch my budget to $2,000. However, I find it difficult to get a sense of the sound quality of the unit because the reviews focus so heavily on feature sets, connectivity, upgradability, etc. They often say that it sounds nice or competes with DACs in its price range, etc. However, the in-depth sound quality discussion and comparison that generally accompanies a SACD player or a DAC is largely lacking for the Sony. This is particularly concerning for a player whose sound I cannot modify down the road - no running it through an external DAC as new technology develops. $1999.

b. The TEAC PD 501HR: A lesser-known product that is a dedicated standard CD and high rez/DSD (on burned DVD-A discs) player. Marketed as computer audio without the computer in the room. This is pretty much what I'm doing with the Oppo, but the TEAC house sound seems to be more full-bodied and musical, at least according to the reviews I've read. Even better, it's only $850.

Have any of you compared either of the above products to the Oppo? Any thoughts on products I have omitted? My gut is telling me to go with the Teac at this point assuming that products like the Sony will improve and come down in price while I'm enjoying the Teac.

I appreciate your input.

Scott
smrex13
Teac is the initial way to go. Until you get any unit in your system and 'hear' it with your rig, all is speculation. Hearing is believing. Sony, is a great product. Their 'chips' are the best. Sadly it is not a great value. Assuming you sell off the Oppo, I think you will be very happy with the Teac.
Thanks, Buconero. Yes, I need to hear it in my system - just don't want to get on the audition/return merry-go-round that I've been on with integrated amps lately. I'm at the mercy of the Music Direct/Crutchfield/Audio Advisor return policies when auditioning since there aren't any high end stores around here.

Out of curiosity, why do you say that the Sony is not a great value? Does it not compete with other $2,000 units in terms of sound quality?

Best,
Scott
Try listening to the Denon DBT-3313UDCIin your system.
I use Wadia transport and dac for my CDs.
I have an older Denon Blu Ray player which I purchased a few years ago. I preferred it to the OPPO for musicality.
pictures are also excellent.
I thought both Stereophile and TAS did a review on the Sony
HAP-Z1ES player? That might be a good way to start to get a sense of it's sound quality.
I heard HAP-Z1ES at RMAF with Dangostino monoblocks. Very good sound quality, but I only heard one track. One of a few good sounds of the show. Best of show was of course my own room. I sent a few attendees down to compare the same track on that system and mine.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
"However, I find it difficult to get a sense of the sound quality of the unit because the reviews focus so heavily on feature sets, connectivity, upgradability, etc. They often say that it sounds nice or competes with DACs in its price range, etc."

There's only one way to get a sense of SQ. And that's to listen the component yourself. Reviews and opinions are not good enough.

" I'm at the mercy of the Music Direct/Crutchfield/Audio Advisor return policies when auditioning since there aren't any high end stores around here."

You need to find a better place to do business. If you call The Cable Company and tell them what you are looking for, they'll send you a few demo units that you can try before making a commitment. Its a much better solution than buy and return.