Synergistic Research Orange fuses, ECT, and HFT will bring your system alive. Perfect Path Solutions Total Contact will reveal inner detail like you never imagined was even there. Altogether these will set you back around $1500 and deliver more improvement than any component you currently have.
Describe your room and the speaker placement??
Room is about 18 wide and 35 long sitting position is about 12 back with speakers 12 apart and toed in slightly. I did hook up a pair of REL S3 subs. But still did not fix to my liking floor is hardwood
Jim Smiths excellent book on getting better sound
Don’t go the fuse route. That isn’t your problem. That would be the last thing to upgrade when you have money to burn/throw away.
You can get better sound by connecting a good external DAC to the Z1. Also, I had the same Rotel that you have and wasn't impressed with the sound and sold it. That may not be your problem though as many people are very happy with it.
If there was an easy answer this wouldn’t be a hobby. It’s also why there’s such a thing as audio nervosa. Nobody said it was going to be easy. 😩
Are you experiencing the same sound with both sources? I would look at two things your phono amp, the one in your Rotel may not be that good, and as suggested above an external Dac for your Sony. Possibly even look at replacing the Rotel.
I will second Jim Smiths excelent book. Its all about how to dial in your system to get the best out of what you already have. You might try moving your speakers closer together say about 8 feet and the same for your seating distance. That can improve dynamics and help minimize the effects of the room as well as keeping them away from the walls if posible.
I would agree on speaker position and seating position.
A lot of people make the mistake of thinking because it’s a large room they can space things out accordingly.
Not usually true.
Most people end up with speakers too far apart as everyone gets scared if they are just 6 or 7 feet apart.
IMHO just try reducing the speaker distance from each other and your distance from them and it just may surprise you.
I know Focal go overboard on recommending large distance between speakers but what's it going to hurt to try?
Big fat zero.
The Jim Smith book is a good recommendation. Should not be an issue with your gear if set up well.
How far are the speakers from the rear wall? Focal tends to spec the best spacing to be 1-2' from the rear wall.
One thing I noticed with your speakers, they have an impedance dip of around 2.5 Ohms in the bass. That's a tough impedance and will show differences among weaker amps.
First, try different spacing to the rear wall.
The front of the speaker is about 2 feet from the wall. The Rotel is 200 wpc so no slouch or at least I did not think unless I am relying on the wrong power spec
There is nothing wrong with the internal dac in the Sony HAP-Z1ES. I own two of them, 1 for each system. I get jaw dropping sound from it in my main system and in my other system. It was rated A+ by Stereophile and it got some kind of award in TAS. I tried an Aurender N100H with a top line Wyred4sound dac2 DSD SE with Femto clock and all the other goodies and the Sony bested it hands down. The Aurender went back and I sold the Wyred dac. The software for the Sony is very good as well. I see no reason for myself to look for something better.
@stereo5 - Do you like the DSD upsampler on the Sony ? . The blue light indicates it is on on the front ? I went a year not using it in a setup . Different amp / pre and now I am liking the DSD upsampler . I also tried a Exogal dac and the Sony sounded better . It is a great piece of gear . It really is too bad there is no Tidal or Quboz . Any particular power cord you have found good with it ?
Sorry to the op for hijacking
I have always used the DSD ups ampler on the Sony. I’m listening to it as I write this. I use all Shunyata power cords on every piece of equipment I have. It has always satisfied me. It is one of their cheaper cords at around $250-300.00. Shunyata Diamondback Platinum which are discontinued. It is just above the Venom cords. I am of the belief of not going overboard over power cords. My amp and preamp use Shunyata Copperhead cords which were in the $400-450.00 range. I too wish Sony would add Tidal to the mix. I wrote to them and was told the may include Tidal in an upcoming firmware upgrade.
I own both a Z1 and a vega G2. The differences are minor, especially considering the price delta. The Sony really holds it’s own, so this isn’t the change you should focus on. The DAC change recommendations above...I doubt they are even familiar with the equipment.
hum... have heard the sony standalone and with esoteric dac - and the sound improved with the external dac. Agree the sony by itself is fine but that doesn't mean it can't be improved.
Same system sound improved when power cables when from $500 to $1500. What changed - the speed of the bass in particular. Sound went from someone clapping with gloves on to sound that crackled from bare hands. Of course to hear this you will need lots of power from an amp or better yet amps.
But - what does all of this prove? You have to be comfortable with what you have to spend and then ask - is this the best I can do within my budget.
BTW - looking forward to an upgrade on the sony - especially for a larger hard drive.