Sony HAP-Z1ES Hi-Res Music Player RMAF 2013

Did anyone get a chance to hear this digital player. Seems similar to the Bryston BDP-2. I am very interested in how the upsampled DSD sounded.
I will never buy anything like that from Sony...... Knowing Sony it will probably only allow you to buy music from Bastards!!!!
I only have 1 Sony device, a modified Sony SCD-1. It is the best sounding CD player I have ever heard. Especially after the mods I had done. I have heard a few 20k players from various brands.

So I am quite high on the Sony audio brand.
Upsampling all PCM to double speed DSD is what Meitner and Playback Design do. With mods this might be killer. I am thinking I might work up serious mods on this baby.
Before RMAF '13 I would have scoffed at a sony product. Their speakers were one if the best at the show. I also heard this streamer in a couple rooms and it sounded and functioned great. I will be buying one.

could someone confirm for me that the Sony unit actually has variable outputs (both balanced and SE). Most Sony digital sources have in the past. I realize the handheld has volume up/down but no where on the specs does it actually claim fixed vs variable. I am assuming it has variable output but would like to be sure.
High rez audio and Dsd is getting more popular. Even on portable devices which is nice
The Sony does have both single ended and balanced analog outputs. There is a "light" article about the new Sony components in the December TAS and information about them on Sony"s website.
Sorry Petland, I didn't answer your question. I can't confirm that both outputs are variable, but two reviews I read stated that the outputs were for connecting to an amp and the remote has volume up and down buttons. Those clues make me think that both outputs are variable but I haven't seen that question addressed directly.
Thanks, I am going to assume it is a digital volume control and can be connected directly to an amp.
This might be the unit I was waiting for. PC audio is great and all, but fooling with computers sucks big time. I would be interested in a no holds barred version of this unit.
I checked out the Sony page for this unit. It seems that this unit does not or will not work with an external DAC.


Does it do Pandora and Rhapsody?

Sony HAP-Z1ES or the Marantz NA-11S1

I am interested also in comparisons between the 2. I already have a computer based system using Benchmark DAC2 and KEF LS50 and this will last a long long time.

Now I need a second DAC/Server system for the living room so that is where the interest in the Sony and the Marantz comes in. I do not want to have a computer beside the main rig.

The negatives for each product for me are:
The Marantz requires storage medium while the Sony lacks a digital input.

I hope to see some reviews and comparisons between these types of units soon.
I am not really understanding the Marantz. It requires storage and a playback device, basically it is just a DAC with some internet radio. Am I missing something? You still need a computer to run the damned thing as it has no GUI.

With the Sony it can be an all in one solution. It doesnt have multiple inputs, but I dont think that is the point. Although i agree it would be nice to have some. I could basically xfer all my FLAC files to this thing and throw out the computer and the hassles that go with it. It all comes down to how good is the DAC in it? Is it world class or is it just another nice DAC in the $2k range?
Acurus, when it comes to the Marantz, I don't think you've missed a thing. Considering its price, the capabilities it offers and those that it doesn't offer, the NA-11s1 is not a competitive product in this market. Unless the $3500 price tag can be justified purely on the basis of the quality of its DAC, the NA-11s1 is a ripoff.
I am under the impression that with the Marantz you can access the FLAC files on a network or attach a USD storage drive to the USB 2.0 connection on the back. I am assuming it is similar to the Bryston BDP-2 (but with a built-in DAC). The Bryston system with a good DAC (like the Benchmark DAC2 or Bryston DAC) will be more $$ than the Marantz itself.

Another option is to investigate the XBOX One connected to a good DAC. Someone will likely write an app to do serve music from it (maybe JRiver writes an Xbox app). The Xbox is a computer after all.
I too am waiting for a comprehensive review of the Sony. It may be exactly what I'm looking for- an easy to use unit with no need for a computer. What's the deal with the HAP-S1, that has the same functionality but adds an amp and costs half as much?
Pumper, it seems to me that one would still need a computer in order to transfer one's digital audio files onto the Sony's harddrive. What leads you to believe otherwise?

As for the lower priced HAP-S1/B, it may well turn out to be the better value bang for the buck; however, it is not true to say that both machines have the same functionality because there is at least one presumably significant functional difference (apart from differences in hardware parts): only the higher priced unit has the DSD remastering engine. Hopefully, reviews will help answer the question of whether the higher priced unit is work the extra grand.

Hi all,

To summarise these 3 products :-

1. The Sony HAP-Z1ES has a built-in dsd DAC but no digital output to an external DAC.

2. The Marantz NA11s1 has a dsd dac with digital outputs

3. The Bryston BDP-2 has no dac and does not do dsd

So, for the price, the Marantz seems to be a good value with its own dsd dac.

If you need dsd, the Bryston is out. If you already have a very good pcm only dac, the Marantz lets you have dsd and also allows you to output hi-rez pcm to your hi-rez dac.

So, the Sony is good if you need both a hi-rez pcm and dsd dac.

For me, i am looking for a dsd capable media player to connect via usb from my pc to coax into my hi-rez pcm only dac and use the analogue outputs of the player for dsd duty. The Marantz seems to fit the bill for me.

Hope this helps.
Here is a small marketing piece that may shed some light on the newest HD audio offerings from Sony Hi-Res Audio.

browse down the page after watching the video at the top of the page.
12-09-13: Mitch4t asked: Does it do Pandora and Rhapsody?

Nope. vTuner only.
Thanks Jon, Helpful summary.
There are a number of other distinctions but, imho, a notable one is that the Sony has on-board storage and depends on a network only for downloads and Internet radio. It is also significantly less expensive than the other two.
Another distinction about the Sony that I find notable is its support for gapless playback. I am not positive, but I don't think the Marantz or the Bryston have that feature.
Has anyone confirmed whether there is a digital volume control on board the Sony?
I believe that the Sony has a 1TB storage on board, is this correct?
Yes, the $2000 HAP-Z1ES model (presumably started shipping today) has 1TB storage on board. The lower priced $1000 model (no indication of when it will ship) has 500GB on board.
Another option to what has been listed so far in this thread is a CAPS server. This is a Windows machine running on a silent fan-less chassis. You need a DAC to connect via USB or Firewire to the CAPS. I am now leaning more toward a CAPS server since it would have the most flexibility. All the other units listed are essentially trying to mimic a computer.

I was recently introduced to the CAPS and it got me thinking that with a Logitech wireless keyboard + mouse or Remote Desktop via my Nokia 2520 Windows tablet I would be able to do way more with that than the other units listed so far.

The following would be more expensive but would likely serve me better:

1) Computer Audiophile Pocket Server C.A.P.S. v3 Zuma
2) NAD M51 DAC includes 2 HDMI inputs + 1 HDML video pass
3) JRiver Media Player

At one time I was thinking that an Xbox One could serve the purpose of the CAPS server but with voice based control. Unfortunately I could not find an Xbox One SDK to write an app to do what I want to do. So the CAPS will be the say to go.
I am currently using a C.A.P.S. v3 Zuma and jRiver with an exaSound e28 DAC. Most of the music is located on a remote networked drive. The system handles all formats including DSD as well as all in multichannel and does it well. OTOH, as they say on the toy and furniture boxes, "some assembly is required."
Would someone please buy the Sony unit and send it to Modwright for all of the fully pimped-out mods? I'd like to see this thing on steroids.
and reviewed.
FYI ... Since Sony presumably began shipping the HAP-Z1ES yesterday, I just checked their site to see if they've posted any support documentation. Much to my surprise, they have. Here's a link for anyone interested: HAP-Z1ES Support Page
Mitch, My thoughts exactly, except that Dan doesn't just start slapping parts in and hope it comes out ok. I looked recently and didn't see anything on his website. Its my hope he will take on the task of evaluating the Hap-z1es, and offer an upgrade package. I would expect that is going to take several months. Such an offering might have a very large market. I'm going to continue to sit on my ModWright Sony 5400 ES until it is clear if he is going to offer something on the HAP-Z1ES.
After a quick look at the documentation on the HAP-Z1ES support page, the key takeaway for me (and it's not a positive!) is the realization of the extent to which Sony's implementation of an everything-in-one-box solution severely limits the software capabilities that are available to organize and manage one's music collection. As a Windows PC user, I currently use the JRiver software for managing my digital music collection. JRiver is a very robust software application. Were I to move to an HAP-Z1ES, software like JRiver appears to be totally out the window in favor of Sony's much more clunky Music Transfer and HDD Audio Remote software apps. Or am I missing something here?
I have seen pics of the inside of the Sony and it is going to be easy to do some serious mods on the player. Most importantly, I can remove all the output stages (op amp based) and replace them with my discrete fet I-V stages. Other mods can be done to the power supplies and clocking. The output stages are ready to install now. I would say around $500 for balanced output stages and a few other simple mods. Cannot wait to mod one. Should be killer modded.
It is not a DAC or a renderer.
I will say it again, the Marantz requires a computer to run it which presumably will be Jriver or something else. I currently have a tricked out fanless PC with RME soundcard and all the goodies, but honestly dealing with a PC just plain sucks. It is windows based, constantly is updating the OS and is hampered by all the regular windows problems. So when I see the Marantz, all I see is a DAC.

The Sony is a lot more than just a DAC. It seems like the ultimate, meaning storage and playback in one device and it happens to include a supposed great DAC. It would be nice to have a digital output, but I think that is what Sony is really trying to sell, a great DAC with playback and storage.

I cant wait for either the mods to start coming or a reference version direct from Sony.
All the Marantz needs is an external NAS connected to a router which also connects to the Marantz. All ethernet connections. Use an Ipad with PlugPlayer app for Ipad, rip your music to the network connected Nas using a computer connected to the ethernet and you are good to go. Once you have ripped your cd's, the computer is out of the picture. So, if you have a computer, an Ipad, $150 NAS, $5 app, and 2 ethernet cables are all you need. It is really quite simple.
JRiver is not a computer. JRiver is a software application. Rather than say that the Marantz requires a computer to run, I think it would be more accurate to say that the Marantz needs to be connected to some other device (for example, Network Attached Storage) that stores and/or streams the digital music files that the Marantz is designed to play. Playback can be controlled with the Marantz remote app for iOS or Android devices. Computer-based software like JRiver is not necessarily required.

PS. I wrote in an earlier post that I didn't think the Marantz supports gapless playback. I was wrong. It does support gapless playback with WAV or FLAC files.
Yeah, I hear you guys. Unfortunately I have all that stuff. PC with a 1TB drive, 10TB media NAS as a backup, Jriver etc. it all sucks and is a PITA. Thanks for clarifying my JRiver is software, all this time I thought that was my PC. With that being said my sound is beyond reproach, it just sucks looking at a JRiver ad every time I boot up bc they have new releases seems like every month. I hate having to buy playback software every time they upgrade. A NAS is still hamstrung by maintenance and troubleshooting, not the panacea some say. ASIO drivers, exotic sound cards, custom digital DIN to XLR connectors, and on and on. Not to mention windows updates, reboots, warnings etc.

Just looking forward to the future where I am not hamstrung by all this crap. The Sony seems like a step in the right direction. The marantz does not. Sorry, just my opinion.
"It is windows based, constantly is updating the OS and is hampered by all the regular windows problems"

May I ask what issue you are having other than the updates? I have a Windows 8.1 system in my office running on SSD's and it runs flawlessly. I shut it down every night and it boots up in about 10-15 seconds. I do not put it to sleep.

It is not a very powerful machine nor is it very quiet but JRiver 18 works every time without a hitch.

In my previous post I outlined my connections with my Marantz. I neglected to say that the router that I use is not normally connected to the internet. The only time that I connect it is when ripping new music. Thus, it is a closed and isolated LAN. I use the Plug Player $5 app. I have no maintenance and no ads just music. I have another NAS that I keep off site that is a copy of the one I use. It is a very simple system with minimal hardware and software. No muss no fuss.
Just checked Sony's website. Regarding the HAP-Z1ES which was supposed to be available starting Jan 2, the Sony site no longer claims "In stock" as it did for the first few days of January. It now reads "In stock estimated ship date 02-27-2014." How's that for an oxymoron?

I guess the good news is that at least we now know that it's not just the government that screws up product launches. Private enterprise is perfectly capable of its own miscalculations.
Just checked Sony's website again. Now they are saying "In stock estimated ship date 1-16-2014." Hmmm ... I guess either a whole potful of orders evaporated overnight or else Sony has found a way to push out 6 weeks of production in just 24 hours. Maybe they're building these things with 3D printers!
I agree with Acurus. I have an older laptop running XP and every other time I turn it on there are MS updates or antivirus updates, etc., and don't even get me started on Acrobat or iTunes. I've done some downloads from HDTracks using MediaMonkey to play and the whole process is just a hassle. I would need a new computer to get more into downloading music and since I'm interested in DSD, this Sony player is looking like a (near) one box solution to me.
I totally understand the frustration of dealing with computers, but I guess I've gotten used to it. It really doesn't bother me that the Sony does not eliminate the need for a computer. What concerns me is the Sony's software about which very little has been published. I'm really looking forward to the yet-to-come reviews, and I hope reviewers will devote as much attention to software features as to hardware and sound quality.
Looks like this little 'un made quite an impression on JA at the CES.

Link :-
The thing that I find most compelling about the CES report is not that the player made a positive impression on JA (after all, what doesn't make a positive impression on JA?) but rather that Sony chose for its room at CES to use this $2,000 player in conjunction with $27,000 speakers and Pass Labs amplification!
I have just ordered the CAPS v3 Carbon from Small Green Computers, so see Kr4's comments above (12-31-13).

IMO - This "concept" product(s) is worth checking out. For the most part, it's plug-n-play to build it yourself, or just get it built like me, for a fraction more of the DIY price. If you have any "tinkerer" in you, it may be worth taking a look.
This model is now at a number of dealers. I listened to it here in San Antonio and was quite impressed. I also brought 2 IPADS (1st & 3rd Gen), 1 laptop and 1 android device to the audition. I wanted to test the software and see if it would work well on all of those devices since the screen on the server is so small. I must report that ALL devices worked very well and the interface was much better and smoother than my Olive 4 music server. No problem moving files from the laptop and such. Based on my listening experience (all McIntosh system with B&W 802D speakers) I ordered the server. Expect it in a few days and will let you know what I find out as I use it at home.
Rg58, thanks for your impressions so far. Looking forward to your further observations particularly since I also have B&W speakers (804 Diamond with Musical Fidelity). On another forum I did read a somewhat negative comment about the transfer software because apparently only 100 folders can be transferred at a time. My concern about the software has more to do with how easy it will be to find specific albums once the transfer is complete, particularly classical albums. I'm not sure but I suspect there's no way to search based on composer which would be a limitation for anyone with a lot of classical music. Another aspect of the software that interests me is if there are any hassles involved in creating playlists. And one hardware question I have is whether or not the harddrive can be replaced by the user should it fail or would this require shipping the player off to a service center.
You will need to use a tablet or smartphone to make playlists.