Rated 5 out of 5 by soundpurist Amazing Sound Quality
I have a high-end stereo with tube preamp, McIntosh amps, and Tannoy speakers, and admittedly initially reluctant to purchase a music server advertised as adding input to the sound (notably the DSEE and 24bit conversion features). The musical results are above my expectations: DSCC significantly enhances Internet radio sound, while the 24-bit up-conversion removes aggressiveness from the sound of 16-bit CDs. The result is a rich and detailed sound, very pleasant to hear after hours of use.
For Internet radio, I used to have a Logitech connected to a stand-alone DAC, Sony unit replaces both and sounds significantly better.
Setting up the unit and the software that will copy the music on your PC's HDD to the Sony's internal drive is extremely easy, so are the controls from the iPhone/iPad. I would personally like a PC-based control as well, but tablet/cell phone control is good enough. Another positive, unit is completely silent, unlike first-generation music servers of twice the cost.
It is easy to spend a lot of money in sound system components, but this unit represents the best return of my money in my entire sound system.
June 2, 2014
Rated 5 out of 5 by Carbry Very Pleased
Very easy too use, audio is everything I expected. The one feature, I wish was included; direct record of my many DSD album to the device, or include software that would allow for this. I have many DSD album, and in need for software.....Carl
June 1, 2014
Rated 5 out of 5 by DonD2 Fantastic audio quality!
After three months of use, the HAP-Z1ES has became the main input for my living room audio system. Playing ripped CDs and downloaded hirez audio files, it has replaced a PC and DAC costing several times the Sony's price. The Sony's soundstage and realism is simply outstanding when run with DSD remastering ON and DSEE OFF for playing lossless PCM and DSD files. Initially, the high end treble was a little light (with ripped CDs), but this has improved considerably with software/firmware updates (and, perhaps, some break in time). Internet radio with DSEE ON is considerably better than PC software packages but still not equivalent to lossless audio. The Android/Apple remote app is the best way to control the player (the front panel screen is too small for use in a room sized environment) and with the proper tablet driving a monitor can provide a room sized visual interface.
There are a couple of areas for improvement. First, the DSEE really should be completely disabled automatically for lossless PCM - if ON, it sometimes messes with the soundstage and some vocals. It would also be nice if the remote apps would let the user chose the portrait or landscape interface rather than automatically forcing the interface depending on your phone/tablet's physical screen characteristics.
May 6, 2014
Rated 5 out of 5 by CrystalClear Ahhh, this is what I'm talking about. Beautiful
Finally, a music player that has the absolute highest quality sound possible in the digital realm. Of course you need to play Hi-Rez files to fully bathe in its dimension. As for your old rips, the up convert is amazing. Not a single noise, it makes me cry.
This player was intricately engineered to please the most discerning audiophile. The HAP transfer was a breeze. And with ever expanding library of Hi-Rez music on line, I feel this is the beginning of the long awaited technologically advanced age of new High Fidelity sound reproduction.
I am happy they included silver, a few buttons and left the wealth of functions to the app. I love the radio function too. Now if only Sony would make their premium ES speakers easier to buy, I for one am an American consumer ready for it.
February 18, 2014