Sony HAP-ZIES HDD player is it only 16bit 320kbps native playback ?


Hello Friends

I need your help / advice.. My Sony HapZies HDD player when connected to external DACS (MYTEK Brooklyn Dac or Chord Dave) with usb cables WireWorld Platinum Silver or Audioquest Diamounds keep showing 16bit 320kbps on display.

Regardless of the source recording being encoded at 32 bit 384khz / 24 bit 192 the Dacs display always shows 16 bit 320kbps. When I play the same formats from PC to these DACS via the same cable it shows the true resolution of these formats.

So it leads me to believe that the Sony is playing out the digital material in its standard format 16bit 320kbps via usb into DACS.

This is a bummer to me really If it is down sampling all hi rez formats to a lower 16bit 320kbps and outputting the same via usb to DACS.

I also noticed when I switch on DSD encoding, the DACs still display 16bit 320kbps only. It makes no sense calling this unit a hi rez hdd player.

However I love the sound of the Sony hdd into these Dacs in contrast to my other esoteric players and even PC streaming. The Sony is very musical, not edgy or harsh with a full top to bottom 3D soundstage even at only 16bit 320kbps  streaming via USB to DACs.

Has anyone noticed the same. And is there anything I can do on the Sony itself  to stream native encoded formats via usb to connected DACs ? 
royston_david
The Sony will play whatever the format and resolution is.  My Sony plays all files in their native resolution.  Never heard of that problem. I use the Sony built in dac with zero problems. Don’t know about an external dac. 
I run my HAP in to a Vinnie Rossi LIO with DAC 2 module and the display always shows the native resolution of the original file (does not show bit depth though). The Sony does not upsample through the USB output ( I wish it would allow the DSD resolution upsampling option through the USB output. This is only available via analogue line outputs).

Something wierd goin' on with your setup.


Check the player settings. It may be set to limit the output.
Dear All...thank you very much for making time to answer my query... Really appreciate it Y’all !

However my problem still persists. I did check all the settings on Sony. And tried contacting Sony support but no response. 
I consider myself super tech in this regard and I will humbly accept anyone keen on pointing out my ignorance. I want to keep this stellar device for long because I am really enjoying the music for a change. 

Problem : When Sony usb is connected and engaged  to an external Dac the display shows 16bit 320kbps regardless of higher formats played. Even when listening to the Sony’s internal dac outputted to its own rca / xlr , the sound to my hi tech pro ears, still tells me, on blind testing that it sounds 16bit 320kbps.  And it sounds bloody marvelous In 16bit 320 kbps too after approx 300 plus hours of play. 
I am convinced the Sony is capably playing Hi-Res formats internally from its hard drive or when pulled over the network and then compressing or downsampling the formats bandwidth, to play finally in 16bit /320kbps either at its  rca / xlr or usb terminals..

My Delusion : This makes sense from an engineering point of view as compression puts let’s stress on processing, chips and cooling when working or resolving with big  hi rez formats. Compression on the fly, works the processor,  not dac and ram or bus channel outputs .  

And from Sony’s point of view as long as it sounds great even compressed  and keeps cost down with good profits then why not ? I read somewhere too on Audio-quest forums that they claim higher rez formats sound glorious when downsampled. This they do with their Dacs  Cobalt / Red / Black all maxing out at 24bit/ 96khz even though they load, analyse and process higher stream formats like MQA, Tidal, Apple, minus DSD formats.  And again to my ears the  down sampling techniques used by AudioQuest & Sony kills & thrills my ears over my other boutique units listed below in my home and recording studios. 

Audio Gear Home  : 
Preamps : Parasound JC2 / Cary SLP 05 / Jadis Reference / Naim 272 / 300Amps : Krell Evolution Monos / Naim 200 / 250 /300 Plinius SB301/ Adcom 555II
Dacs : Naim Ndac / Aurender N10 / Sony Hap Zies /  Mytek Brooklyn/ Chord Dave
Integrateds : Cary Signature / Rogue Magnum/ Naim Super Uniti 
Power Cables Supply : Shunyata Research Hydra / Audioquest Niagara’s  7000 / PsAudio
Cables : Transparent Reference XL / Audioquest Wildwood / DhLabs Reference
Speakers: Pure Audio Quintet 15 / Proac D40R / Magnepan 20.1/ Sonus Faber Elipsa 


To me it sounds like the Mytek might be downsampling.  I used to own a Mytek and there are a heck of a lot of options in those knobs.
why not just play the Sony using it own DAC and then you won’t have Audiophilia Nervosa?
Oops, I just noticed you said it happens with the Chord as well.  
Hello Mahler123... I tried the Sony’s analog rca / xlr  outs using Audioquest Fire / DhLabs Reference interconnects into premium SS. / Tube  preamps. It sounded glassy, sterile, cold.  
When streaming from PC the MYTEK Brooklyn/ CHORD DAVE displays the max value of my data stream 32bit 384khz spot on. The soundstage is thick, rounded and warm with highs  sparkling, mids tightly focused dead center and bass full with depth. I go all out with the volume. With no ear bleed or fatigue. With the Sony’s Dac output I have to press the brakes .

I guess I am just keen on catching the Sony foxing me on the formats ! 
Hello Guys / Gals.. I guess my gripe with the SONY HAPZIES is not that it’s recognizing and playing most HI-REZ formats !! But rather  not outputting that true format at its rca / xlr / usb terminals. I suspect we’re hearing a compressed down sampled 16bit 320kbs CD quality extracted & processed by internal DAC  from original Hi-Rez  formats stored on its HDD or streams pulled from network. 
I looked up the specs on your device and it doesn't say much about what formats it supports. 

I have a Sony TA-ZH1ES headphone amp, and it seems likely it might share the same DAC your device has (I dont know if it does or not). Here are the specs for the DAC:

SAMPLING FREQUENCY/BIT DEPTH

DSD native (up to 22.4 MHz) DSD DoP (up to 11.2 MHz) PCM (up to 768 kHz/32 bit)

USB TYPE-B PORTPCM 2ch;

44.1/48/88.2/96/176.4/192/352.8/384/705.6/768 kHz (16/24/32 bit) DSD 2ch Native; 2.8/5.6/11.2/22.4 MHz (1 bit) DSD 2ch DoP; 2.8/5.6/11.2 MHz (1 bit)

I send unbalanced (RCA) out to my preamp when not listening to headphones and I think the display always stays the same. I'm not home to look. The DAC in the Sony sounds better to me than my Mytek Liberty DAC. 

Have you tried searching reviews for your unit? They sometimes include technical info the reviewer got from the manufacturer that isn't listed.

At the end of the day, if you don't like the way it sounds, maybe it's time to try something different. 


According to stereophile it plays DSD at 64 or 128 and PCM up to 192khz so my guess is either you have a setting wrong or your player is broken. 

https://www.stereophile.com/content/sony-hap-z1es-high-resolution-file-player-measurements
Hello big_greg .. Thanks for going  uphill to find them specs and tech for me on this Siony unit. Yes iam looking at many reviews I possibly can but none so far I have read speaks to me about my concern with this unit.

Ironically I love the sound of this Sony machine against my other expensive esoteric players.  I guess that is why iam mourning so much over it. Just to justify keeping it longer.

Cheers & kind regards to all who contributed their valuable insights here..
Hello djones51....Thank you for your reference to stereophiles wrtieup on this unit. Wow !! What a deeper insight on what this player is really capable and sounds like in the hands of professionals. Truly appreciated.  
If you love the sound, stop worrying about the numbers and enjoy it :)
Oh, one thing, USB handshaking/driver issues may prevent the streamer from recognizing the DAC.

Sadly, USB audio support is weird. It's not universal like S/PDIF.
Dear Friends... thank you very much for taking the time to help me resolve my streaming problems with my Sony HAPZIES.

Special thanks to Eric_Squires / Big_Greg / Mahler123 for pointing out with settings and tech specs on streaming formats.

And Eric_Squires you were spot on right about usb handshakiing protocol issues with different devices!!!

For eg when the Mytek Brooklyn Dac or CHORD DAVE is connected to PC,  the stream codes  shows as what it is. 16bit 320kbps / 24bit 192khz / 32bit 384khz / DsD / MQA etc. 

However when the MYTEK / CHORD is connected to the Sony directly it remains static with no display of variable  stream info. Just displays 16bit 320kbps.

On a whim I purchased a IFI ZEN Dac which has visual variable colors for different stream inputs. Also it uses the latest usb 3.1 type A to B cable. When I connected this usb cable to the Sony & IFI Zen Dac and played different formats, the colour indicator changed to the relevant format coming into it via usb from the Sony. For eg blue for Mp3 , Green for 16bit 320 upto 24bit 96khz or Voilet for 24 /32 bit 192khz. Turquoise for DSD streams. Sadly the Sony does not stream or plays MQA. Hence no indication on the IFI ZEN dac which is MQA capble. 

Conclusion : the Sony does play and stream all formats honestly in its native encoded formats. It does not use any shortcuts as I had assumed before this test. The reason why the Sony doesn't do the same with the Mytek / Chord I assume is because of the DACS using older USB 3.0 or even 2.0 versions of handshaking protocols that dont relate to the Sony well but works fine with PC's legacy protocols and hence the streams encoded data shows on display eventually. To conclude the SONY HAP ZIES HDD does what is built and configured for !! Missing out only on MQA .