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Sony HAP-Z1ES has arrived

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I updated just now with no complications or ill effects. Took less than 30 seconds to download, less than 30 seconds to automatically install. "What it does" is, as described in Sony's characteristically vague terms, "Improves secure communication." File size is described as "1 byte," which is difficult for me to believe. No need, apparently, to upgrade the HDD Audio Remote program.

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Has no one noticed the changes Sony seems to have made to this machine? If you look at Sony web sites globally, they now state that it will handle 250,000 tracks! The smaller HAP-S1 now takes 25,000. This is great news!

 

"With a huge 1TB built-in hard drive, have all your music in one place and store up to 250,000 music files"

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I haven't had any problems with the unit in a year I have been using it. My music library is not huge, roughly 12000 files and initial transfer went well, adding music and synchronizing does not present any problems. I have music in FLAC, WAV, DSD, and other formats. What I like the most is simplicity of the function and superb sound quality. I wanted a single purpose high quality music server and it's exactly what I got. I used both balanced and unbalanced outputs connected to a good class A headphone amp (unbalanced) using T5p Gen 2 and HD600 headphones, and to passive preamp (balanced). Great sound from both.

I continue to read exciting reviews of $1k+ USB cables, USB purifiers etc ..but I have no need for any of those.

 

Any issues I had with connectivity were solved when I moved all my devices to a single wi-fi network. The weakest point of the whole setup is the Sony's HDD application. It runs only on some versions of Android ,stopped working on my Samsung S5 after Android upgrade, and sometimes has interim problems connecting to the unit.

Also initially I was a bit annoyed because I could hear the internal drive but I turned off the fan from the maintenance menu and it is almost quiet no. Nothing gets hot with the fan turned off. Eventually I will replace the drive with SDD, but I am afraid of loosing 5 year warranty.

Other then the HDD app I am pretty happy with HAP-Z1ES.

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New firmware coming to Z1ES and S1. Sony will add Spotify and capability with USB hub through the EXT port. I wish it was TIDAL and not Spotify.

 

 

Interesting. I guess if Spotify can be added, I can see no reason why the other services (subject to agreements and licensing etc) couldnt be added later. If Tidal was added it may be enough of a reason to sign up. For now I'll stick to Deezer.

 

Is there a timeframe on when this FW update might drop?

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"Worm" I was interested in your reference to the "Maintenance menu." I can't find this on my unit and I have an older version of the complete written instructions. What are the steps to access that menu?

 

Thanks

 

-=Art

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Gentlemen,

 

I thought I might share a couple simple DIY upgrades to the HAP-Z1ES on this forum, take from it what you will, I will not be responding to this thread. Info is for the serious players who are wiling to do a little work to improve the sound quality without jeopardizing the factory warranty. (You can always re-install the original spinning drive)

 

While I have done extensive mods to the Z1, these 2 mods provide what I call "essential" for maximum performance.

The combination of these 2 actions will transform the HAP-Z1ES from best bang for the buck ... to ... World Class Digital IMO.

 

1. Install an Internal SSD.

 

2. Cryo treat the entire unit. (LCD Faceplate Removed)

 

 

 

Remove the top cover and install a SSD, I recommend a 1TB Samsung 850 EVO. (2TB even bigger)

Once the SSD is installed, perform a factory restore from the menu, it will format the SSD in less then 3 minutes.

Yes, you must re-install all your music ... small price to pay.

I can't imagine anyone not hearing the difference a SSD makes, nor not being able to perform this operation themselves.

If your on a budget, you can always install a smaller SSD and add a larger spinning drive to the rear USB jack.

I hear no difference from music stored on the rear USB spinning drive once an Internal SSD is installed.

Once again, I am not here to argue with anyone about the benefits of an internal SSD ... try it and you be the judge.

 

With the "latest software" you can add a USB hub & have both a CDROM & USB Hard Drive hooked up at the same time.

I just tried it and it works as advertised, as does Spotify.

Sound quality from Spotify ... well ... its Spotty! Tidal would have been much better 'sound quality fit' with with the HAP1ES.

 

While Cryo treating may intimidate some novices, man up, it's really simple to do.

With the top cover off, remove all the top and bottom screws that hold on the front faceplate.

Unplug all the quick disconnects and set the LCD faceplate aside in a safe place, reinstall top cover.

Send the entire unit to a Vapor Cryo Lab, I recommend Cryogenics International of Scottsdale AZ.

You don't want to submerge in liquid nitrogen, a proper vapor process achieve's the same results without the shock effect.

CI offers an in by Friday out by Monday Cryo Service.

 

A proper Cryo treatment is a permanent process, I treated 1000's of audio products over the years with some excellent results.

If there's one underlining theme ... the Better the product Pre-Cryo ... the Bigger the results Post Cryo.

No No's are LCD screens, older overheated brittle electronic boards, anything with glues like speaker cones, and non-professional paint jobs can peel. Most everything else is good to go.

 

The HAP-Z1ES is a perfect Cryo candidate, I have done 3 units with zero issue's. (Yes, you can leave the SSD inside)

If you also have a Sony TA- A1ES amp, you can dunk the entire amplifier 'as-is' into the Cryo Tank.

The digital readout on the front of the TA-A1ES is not a LCD ... it survives the Cryo process just fine.

Don't forget to throw in all your cables while your gear's at the Cryo Lab.

 

I have done shootouts with Cryo'd and Un-Cryo'd Sony HAP-Z1ES & TA-A1ES pair ... the differences really are amazing.

The TA-A1ES amp is an amazing amp and a real sleeper in the audiophile world, Cryo takes it to a whole new level.

This Cryo'd combo will embarrass systems at 10 times the price.

 

Think about it ... for the total cost of an average audiophile interconnect cable your can permanently transform your Sony Components.

 

Peace.

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I think danghony made a typo and meant to ask about a usb hub. Hope that link helps!

 

Yes. Thanks. Hate that auto correct. I wasn't sure what the hub was for but understand used to connect a cd and hdd.

 

By the way any specific recommendations for a cd unit?

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Question for all the computer audiophiles. What would explain the improvement in sq by replacing the hdd with an ssd?

 

Thanks.

 

Shall we go to the bottom it probably needs an entire doctoral thesis. I guess the short answer is less jitter. Otherwise we can ask "bits are bits-people".

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Replacing the hdd by ssd will not change anything including jitter. Same goes to cryo treatment.

Except if you ignore physics and really want to believe in these things of course. If this is the case go for it, both ssd replacement and cryo treatment will at least not harm your unit and if you end up thinking your HAP sounds way better, good for you!

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Seems this unit might be close to being discontinued - stock availability is drying up now here in Australia. No info on a replacement. This info comes from the specialised Australian Sony distributors.

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Seems this unit might be close to being discontinued - stock availability is drying up now here in Australia. No info on a replacement. This info comes from the specialised Australian Sony distributors.

 

Even the Sony Store is listing the HAPZ1ES as out of stock, which based on previous experience at the Sony store means it cannot be ordered online without any success. Backordering is not possible, since there's no stock. That's their dopey software working.

 

Finally the Z2 is on its way maybe? Amazon has a few left, they even sell the discontinued SA-5400ES SACD player.


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Shall we go to the bottom it probably needs an entire doctoral thesis. I guess the short answer is less jitter. Otherwise we can ask "bits are bits-people".

The box will be more quiet, although the stock hard drive is already pretty quiet. I do not questions your conclusion but exactly do you think that it will cause less jitter? Jitter is related to timing variations in different sampling clocks in audio system. What does it have to do with SSD or not SSD?

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It seems that many avoid to answer the original question here, perhaps because the answer isn’t that simple. Jitter can occur in many different variations and clock jitter is one of them. Whether it's jitter as affecting the SQ or not, it has always been (the times I compared) a clear improvement of SQ with SSD. But I talk about music servers generally I used and not specifically just about Sony HAP Z1ES. The fact that an SSD is quieter I see as a matter of course, and vibration create always more or less problems.

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It seems that many avoid to answer the original question here, perhaps because the answer isn’t that simple. Jitter can occur in many different variations and clock jitter is one of them. Whether it's jitter as affecting the SQ or not, it has always been (the times I compared) a clear improvement of SQ with SSD. But I talk about music servers generally I used and not specifically just about Sony HAP Z1ES. The fact that an SSD is quieter I see as a matter of course, and vibration create always more or less problems.

What are you talking about? Clock jitter is the very definition of jitter in audio.

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A quick note - one of the threads on head-fi.org had a user who had opened up the case and examined the parts and circuits of the Sony. His comment was that a bit more care had been paid to the power supply and circuitry on the balanced outputs, and that the circuit design had optimized for balanced use.

 

This had me thinking about upgrading to a balanced amp, so I bought a set of Cardas Light XLR cables at the same time as I upgraded my headphone amp from a Woo SE6 to a Woo WA22 which has balanced inputs and outputs.

 

The sound quality comparing single ended to balanced outputs on the Sony was very evident. Using the WA22, the single ended sounded great, but the balanced outputs - wow. Quieter backgrounds as expected, but more detailed, more musical, and more dynamic.

 

If you can run your Sony balanced into your preamp/amp, I'd say go for it and you'll be rewarded with significantly improved audio quality.


Audeze LCD-3 / Sennheiser HD650 / Woo Audio WA5 and WA22 / Sony HAPZ1ES / Musical Fidelity Tri-Vista 21 DAC / Slim Devices Squeezebox with Bolder Cables Power Supply and Mods / A&K 120 I DAP / Foundation Research LC1/2 and Cardas Golden Reference AC, Acoustic Zen Silver Ref. II and Cardas Clear and Light ICs

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