Jump to content
IGNORED

Sony TA-ZH1ES Headphone Amp to DSD508??


One and a half
 Share

Recommended Posts

Sony are introducing a headphone amp, this time without a battery and AC powered, TA-ZH1ES.

Line outs are RCA which is a shame for the price asked, for headphone connections, everything is there, 3.5mm, 6.35mm, 4 pin mini xlr, and split 3.5mm balanced, even a Walkman connector.

 

The specs read, the TA-ZH1ES can accept DSD native to 22.5Mhz, now that's not quite DSD512 which is 22.579MHz. Did the marketing department get this wrong, or is 22.5MHz DSD508 a new standard? As a minimum, the amp would accept DSD256 easy, but the last bits for DSD512 will be missed, or will it fill in the blanks??

AS Profile Equipment List        Say NO to MQA

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The specs read, the TA-ZH1ES can accept DSD native to 22.5Mhz, now that's not quite DSD512 which is 22.579MHz. Did the marketing department get this wrong, or is 22.5MHz DSD508 a new standard?

 

The specs mention 22.4, not 22.5. The DSD bitrates are often not written exactly. It is quite usual that 2.8/5.6/11.2/22.4 MHz is used to designate DSD64/DSD128/DSD256/DSD512.

 

As a minimum, the amp would accept DSD256 easy, but the last bits for DSD512 will be missed, or will it fill in the blanks??

 

I don't understand your question regarding DSD256. It's bitstream on 1/2 bitrate of DSD512. The lowest bitrate in specs is 2.8 (DSD64).

 

This is probably a mistake in specs:

2.8/5.6/11.2/22.4 MHz (1 bit) DSD 2ch DoP;

2.8/5.6/11.2 MHz (1 bit)

I have never seen DSD512 as DoP. That would require 1411.2 kHz PCM! It seems that the first line should be about "native" raw 1bit DSD stream and the second about DoP.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The specs mention 22.4, not 22.5. The DSD bitrates are often not written exactly. It is quite usual that 2.8/5.6/11.2/22.4 MHz is used to designate DSD64/DSD128/DSD256/DSD512.

 

 

 

I don't understand your question regarding DSD256. It's bitstream on 1/2 bitrate of DSD512. The lowest bitrate in specs is 2.8 (DSD64).

 

This is probably a mistake in specs:

2.8/5.6/11.2/22.4 MHz (1 bit) DSD 2ch DoP;

2.8/5.6/11.2 MHz (1 bit)

I have never seen DSD512 as DoP. That would require 1411.2 kHz PCM! It seems that the first line should be about "native" raw 1bit DSD stream and the second about DoP.

 

I see what the specs are doing, thank you, the mouthful of the numbers after the first decimal are ignored, and the DSD rates are mutliplied by the first decimal only by 2. The real aggregated value then is missed, leading to the short fall by the time DSD512 comes about.

If you look after the pennies, the dollars will look after themselves... :)

 

So the DAC is capable of DSD256 in DOP, but whether Sony will provide a MAC driver for that speed remains to be seen.

Good news for Windows users though. It's price is lower than the T+A DAC and the Holo Audio Spring Level 3, however both those DACs have a few more inputs, XLR outs, but aren't a HP amp.

AS Profile Equipment List        Say NO to MQA

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...

Fast forward to today, the Sony TA-ZH1ES was delivered and put through its paces out of the box, no burn in, let's go.

 

In comparison with now an ageing Playback Designs MPD-3 DAC, the sound is very crisp, tight and instruments have that air and sparkle. Upper bass is tight and firm. Sound stage height increased a little more but is a lot wider, by 1m, rather nice that. Micro-details are very good indeed, and there's that silky black at the end of tracks, that's just black, no noise. I'm due away from home next few days, so will leave the Sony running 24/7 for reliability. Users on Head-fi describe the sound as warm, but it's not really 'tube like', and not clinical either. 

 

The line outs are RCA, but all inputs on the preamp are full, so for the moment using a Phonitor 2 with RCA in and XLR outs. There's a relay click for sample rate changes, but the relay is a very small one, hardly noticeable. A little drama with the driver install on Win2016. Wouldn't work, the OS is beneath the capability of the driver was the message....ran the same installer with Windows 8 compatibility and this works, no problem. Playing for hours with Roon, and no issue.

 

So far, very happy with what I'm hearing.

AS Profile Equipment List        Say NO to MQA

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

Some water under the bridge with the ZH1ES and a progress finding. Conclusion is not the greatest DAC using USB as an input and the PRE OUT to a preamp. There's a distortion that I can't get rid of, despite about three weeks of burn in. Tried to reduce the volume, different cables, but that sleight veiling of the music is not good. 

 

Rather than return the amp, I tried the variable RCA line out (1 of 2) from the preamp to the line in on the ZH1ES and wow, what a change, that niggling distortion is gone, the space has really opened up on HD800S. I'll work with this for a few weeks and report back. Hard to confirm exactly, but looking like the PRE OUT needs a revision. 

AS Profile Equipment List        Say NO to MQA

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 9 months later...

a bit of a necro bump to this thread but for those interested in a great headphone set up the Sony mated with the Focal Utopia is stunning. It may not be as good as a top shelf DAC and headphone amp say Yggy and Headamp GXS or Eddie Current BA but its very close. 

 

The combo right now is about $3400 used and is a pretty tough to beat sonically at that price. That said I would not use the Sony amp or dac as a separate as the magic and value is in the combo.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share



×
×
  • Create New...