High-resolution digital music player with 1TB storage drive

Item #: 158HAPZ1ES

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15 Reviews

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Digital audio done right, with ease

There can be lots of moving parts to coordinate when setting up a computer-driven music system. But it can really pay off when you're listening to gorgeous-sounding high-resolution music files. Fortunately, Sony has done most of the hard work for you in designing their HAP-Z1ES. It's a high-resolution digital music player with a 1TB hard drive built in. So it stores, plays, and decodes all your digital tunes, from MP3s all the way up to lossless FLAC and DSD files. Connect this player to your amplifier or receiver, load up your digital collection, and revel in the ease at which your entire library is at your fingertips and how rich and detailed it all sounds.

Join the high-res revolution

Digital music has come a long way from the early days of iTunes and Napster. Low bitrate MP3s evolved into lossless formats with 16-bit/44.1 kHz resolution that are on an equal sonic footing with CDs. Even better, there's been an explosion of high-resolution files available for download on sites like HDtracks and others. These files, with resolution up to 24-bit/192kHz, exceed the sonic limitations of CDs. High-res tunes can make familiar songs sound new again while also showing off your equipment's potential. Not only does the HAP-Z1ES deliver high-res files in their native resolution, it also uses Sony's Digital Sound Enhancement Engine to flesh out the sound of MP3s and other low-res files.

" In overall sonics and build-value for the dollar, the Sony HAP-Z1ES sets new standards. For audiophiles and music lovers who want to listen to high-quality digital music files without the hassles of keeping another computer working optimally, the HAP-Z1ES is an attractively priced, yet fully featured option. It also doesn't hurt that its control interfaces are easy to use and unintimidating even for non-techy users. Its sound quality was such that it rivals comparably priced standalone DACs, yet delivers more functionality and won't be made obsolete by the latest USB, FireWire, or Thunderbolt interfaces since it uses Ethernet and Wi-Fi as input connections. "

— From Steven Stone's review in The Absolute Sound, February 14, 2014

High-res audio

DSD capability takes digital music even higher

The HAP-Z1ES takes digital music a step further, with support for Direct Stream Digital, or DSD, a Sony-developed format first used in Super Audio CD. These high-resolution files offer sound that, for many listeners, is closer to analog than digital has ever come. Plus, this player's DSD remastering engine can convert all audio signals to DSD, for a stronger sense of sonic depth and warmth with all your digital files. DSD capability makes the HAP-Z1ES a unique, one-box solution for storing, playing, and decoding DSD files, at a price that's more than competitive. With more record labels, including Sony Music, rolling out DSD downloads, this player is a great option for diving into this exciting format.

Sony HDD Audio app

Effortlessly search your collection on the HAP-Z1ES with the free HDD Audio remote app on your phone or tablet.

1 terabyte of built-in storage

Computer audio is very simple — as long as your computer is situated right next to your stereo. But that setup doesn't work for everyone. That's why Sony built a 1TB hard disk drive into the HAP-Z1ES. Worried you'll need more space? You can expand the memory by adding an external hard drive and connecting it to this player's rear-panel USB port. Once you're ready to start moving your music to the player's hard drive, connect the player to your home network via Ethernet and download the free music transfer software to your computer. It's the easiest way to get large digital music collections onto the HAP-Z1ES. With your digital music library on board, you can enjoy all your tunes without connecting your computer or configuring a wireless streaming system.

Built for superior sound

This player is about more than just easy access to your digital music collection. It's designed to make it sound its best. The high-performance digital-to-analog converter can handle most high-resolution formats. Independent digital and analog circuits with separate power supplies reduce digital noise and improve clarity. All components are solidly mounted in the rigid chassis, which is reinforced with internal framing to further minimize vibration and distortion. The resulting clean sound reveals more details in your music. Send this pure signal along to an integrated amp like the Sony TA-A1ES through the balanced XLR outputs or use the RCA outputs with any amp or receiver.

Easy to get started

The HAP-Z1ES is very easy to set up and use, especially compared to configuring a computer-based music server. One of this player's best features is the 4.3-inch LCD monitor on the front panel. Not only does it display album art and song info for your stored music files, it also makes it easy to navigate menu options. There's also a free remote app for Apple and Android devices — it's the easiest way to search your library and select tunes for playback.

Product Highlights:

  • 1TB built-in hard drive for storing digital music files (expandable via USB port)
  • built-in Wi-Fi for easy connection to a wireless home network
  • 4.3" LCD display with on-screen guide
  • plays high-resolution digital music files, including DSD (up to 5.6448 MHz) and FLAC (up to 24-bit/192 kHz)
  • compatible file formats: DSD (.dsf, .diff), WAV, AIFF, FLAC, ALAC (Apple Lossless), MP3, AAC, WMA, ATRAC, (unprotected, 2-channel files for all formats)
  • stream thousands of free Internet radio stations through TuneIn
  • Digital Sound Enhancement Engine (DSEE) restores high-frequency signals to compressed digital formats like MP3 for more natural, expansive sound (settings: Auto and Off)
  • free music transfer software (click here for download link) allows easy transfer of digital music files from a computer to the player's internal hard drive (compatible with Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows Vista, Windows XP SP3, and Mac OS 10.6 and higher)
  • DSD remastering engine converts all signals to DSD for superior audio performance (feature is selectable)
  • supports gapless playback (WAV, AIFF, FLAC, ALAC, and WMA Lossless files)
  • adds artist, album, and song info to files without ID3 tags by automatically accessing Gracenote® (Internet connection required)
  • free HDD Audio Remote app for iOS and Android lets you control the player with your smartphone
  • independent digital and analog circuits with separate power supplies reduces digital noise
  • robust internal frame and solidly-mounted components minimizes vibration and distortion for cleaner sound
Connections and Dimensions:
  • stereo 3-pin XLR (balanced) outputs
  • stereo RCA (unbalanced) outputs
  • remote output for use with IR flasher (included)
  • rear-panel USB port (Type A) for connecting an external hard drive
  • Ethernet port
  • detachable power cord
  • remote control
  • 17"W x 5/18"H x 15-3/8"D
  • weight: 32 lbs.
  • warranty: 5 years
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee

Sony HAP-Z1ES Reviews

Average Customer Review:

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Great music archive and player

Written By Bruce, Iowa on Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

The Sony HAPZ1ES is the perfect solution for me. I already had a large digital music collection on the computer. The Sony transfer program worked flawlessly to transfer the files from computer to HAPZ1ES though it did take some time. The management program for ipad mini works well and the music sounds superb played back through my amplifier and speakers. The combination of the processing and the DAC in the Sony make music sound more enjoyable than that played back through my CD player. Internet radio sounds great also.

Pros: Great sound. Easy to transfer from computer to Sony hard drive. Internet radio streaming works well and sounds good.

Cons: Some what expensive. No support for TIDAL or Pandora.

Great music player!

Written By Jon B., Massachusetts on Monday, November 02, 2015

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

While it is a bit expensive, the HAP-Z1ES is a fantastic addition to my home entertainment system. It did require some tweaking of various adjustments to get the sound just right, but everything sounds even better than CD's---including mp3's, which have been upconverted using the DSEE capability of the player. An important note- I tried to save a few $$$'s on the cables at first but quickly realized that they needed to be upgraded, so I went from Audioquest Towers to a pair of Big Surs (also Audioquest) and the difference is incredible---well worth the added cost.

Pros: Fantastic sound, operated via a beautiful app, an immersive music experience.

Cons: File transfer software is less than perfect; I have found several CD's that were transferred have duplicates of every song. There is no feature that I can find to quickly delete duplicates.


Written By GlennS, Buffalo, New York on Thursday, August 27, 2015

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I read the very high praise from both Sterophile and The Absolute Sound - and I agree completely. The sonics on this stunning unit will make the universe of digital rival or surpass your best vinyl. And not just on hi-rez files, some of MP3's sound utterly amazing too. Not everything of course, but the best sounding recordings are a revelation to listen to. My equipment has never sounded better, I have been so happy listening that I put off replacing my 35 year old KEF's (104ab's), they are just sounding so good. I read one reviewer who can't get the VTuner working, I've had no problem. The Digital radio works very well. I would like SONY to add Pandora or Spotify and/or one of the hi rez sites to make the unit even more useful. But there are a great many hi rez (up to 320k) internet radio stations for jazz and classical as well as some fine sounding rock stations.

Great unit, rejuvenated my audiophile tendencies and got me back to listening and enjoying music. Turning the unit on and picking selectins

The software for my phone and ipad works well, is reasonably intuitive, maybe a bit slow when modifying data or deleting files.

The folks who take care of my computers at home and office set my ripping software (JRiver thanks to Crutchfield recommending it to me) and I rip DIRECTLY TO THE SONY. If you can transfer the files after ripping to the hard disk - you can rip directly to the unit. Great time saver. Not sure why SONY doesn't include that in the possible direction

Pros: Superb, at times, stunning sound. Excellent software for tablets and phones. A game changer for all things digital.

Cons: Slow software, lack of connectivity to Pandora, Spotify, et al.

Works for Some, but Not for Me

Written By Pierre Francois, Maryland on Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I have a pretty good stereo that streams music from my network. This device did not appreciably improve the sound. However, I liked the idea of storing thousands of my iTunes songs on it. The problem is it does not copy over your playlist, and the search engine on it is not that good. The other thing I didn't like is that you could not wake up from sleep mode through the mobile app. This meant you had to physically go where your unit was located to turn the music on. I do not have to do that with my stereo.


Written By Anonymous, Kansas on Sunday, July 19, 2015

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I recently upgraded to this model from the HAP-S1. The sound from the HAP-S1 was great. This component is even better. If a certain album was engineered especially well, the sound is stunning. This component really lets you hear the work and care that goes into studio recordings, and it's audible even in standard lossless files. (I leave the DSD remastering engine off, because my files are all standard lossless, and when applied, it comes across as virtual surround sound -- I can't justifying paying for DSD right now when 24-bit CD remasters sound spectacular.)

This device has its quirks. I found with both this component and the more budget-friendly version that random files in Apple Lossless format inexplicably would not/ will not play unless converted to FLAC. The software either skips over them, or the player stalls. So to avoid that hiccup, I'm choosing FLAC format for problem and future files. The latest software update also randomly stripped a good portion of my album art (?), but some albums that the software split up (also in the HAP-S1) for no apparent reason are now easily fixable. A tradeoff, I suppose. Those things are negligible to me.

Over the past couple of weeks I've been listening to albums that I've owned for 10-20 years, and some normally familiar songs take a minute to recognize. The difference in quality is that profound. I'm able to hear everything -- the precise skill of vocalists and band members, the acoustics ... It's just spectacular.

Pros: Stunning sound -- recordings truly shine.

Cons: The software has some random quirks.

Even Better Than Expected

Written By RedsIndians, Nashville, Tennessee on Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

This unit sounds fantastic listening through the TA-A1ES amp and Klipsch Reference RF-62 II speakers. It is easy to access all the player's settings from the main menu. You can transfer files via Windows Explorer instead of having to use the dedicated Windows application. The file transfers are slow (even over gigabit ethernet) but copying directly to the player via Windows Explorer is the faster method. To avoid any potential transfer issues I moved files over in chunks of 30-40 GB at a time. Updating meta-tags via Windows explorer automatically triggers the player database to update. This was especially helpful as the player categorizes files by the "Artist" tag instead of "Album Artist". Albums that span multiple discs are handled correctly if you specified the disc number in the applicable tag.

If the database is updating when you turn off the player it will let you know and shut itself down when it finishes. There is a supposed 20,000 track limit but I have not seen any issues with approximately 24,000 tracks. All menus and tracks load quickly without issue. I use ALAC files with the album art and tags already embedded and have not come across any instances of Gracenote updating my files (changing titles, artwork, or tags).

The "HDD Audio" mobile app is intuitive and easy to use although sometimes it will stop seeing the player if the device goes to sleep and is woke back up a few times in a short period. Then you have to close it and relaunch it.

Pros: Fantastic sound. Easy to setup and configure. Files can be transferred using Sony software or Windows Explorer. Meta-tag updates sync to the player within seconds. "HDD Audio" mobile app is intuitive.

Cons: Slow file transfers. "HDD Audio" mobile loses player often.

Very good product.

Written By Timm, Arkansas on Monday, May 11, 2015

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

The only issue I have has is that I have been unable so far to delete duplicate songs from the device. Duplicates came from two iTunes libraries with common files. Other than that, it's been a breeze downloading music from online sources. I just created a sub file within " My Music" on my PC for each outlet (HD Tracks, SuperHiRez, Bliucoast Records, etc. and somehow the websites found those sub folders and automatically send stuff to the right sub folder. Simply id each such file in your HapZ transfer program and its downhill there on. Through Ethernet I transferred about 7000 iTunes tracks in around 6 hours.

Pros: Very easy to transfer current libraries and new download purchases. Excellent iPad and iPhone interface. DSD files close to vinyl quality, but not quite there. HapZ does improve MP3 sound, but some recordings noticeably short of DSD quality. Some MP3 files noticeably improved though. Very easy and fun to use.

Cons: Issue with deleting files that are duplicates. Wish it came in black. Still 4.5 stars.

Now this is truly HI-FI

Written By Walley B, California on Sunday, May 03, 2015

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I just read another review for this item. I too have had it for only 3 weeks. I cannot possibly say anything negative about this fine instrument. I have played a lot of up-sampled digital music for some time using the most popular DVD Player around. The Sony beats it hands down! Now, if you purchase this unit, be warned - it takes a long time to transfer files. Why is it so "Slow"? The answer is that it is very busy looking up each song from gracenote in order to find information about each song. Then the unit does its thing on the file. So just to give some time perspective, I transferred some 3500 files, and it took a full 2 1/2 days! So what, it is truly worth the wait! A truly wonderful and beautifully built unit, just as a Sony ES piece should be!

Pros: Easy to learn - truly intuitive to operate. And what a beautiful way to treat your special music! It's music to my 75 year old ears!

Cons: None so far and I do not imagine that there ever will be!


Written By Ron C, Herald, CA on Sunday, April 26, 2015

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Please note that the HAP-Z1ES does not come with an instruction manual, it needs to be downloaded from the internet. The unit has only two channels which does not utilize all the DSD multichannel SACD's in my collection.

Pros: Built like a tank like all the other SONY ES equipment in my systen.

Cons: Only 2 channel operation

Very nice

Written By TR, Michigan on Sunday, February 15, 2015

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I liked the Sony quite a bit, it works very well as does the Apple and Android apps that control it. File transfer took what seemed like a long time, but maybe that's due to my network? 630GB you 2 days to complete, but the good news is you can play what's available while it's transferring. The review below is incorrect, the unit does play gapless flawlessly. The reason I tried this player out is my PS Audio DAC is also a network player, but it does not have gapless playback at this time and I have some issues with the software that operates it. The Sony works without a hitch. The Sony sounds really good, but in my back and forth comparisons, the PS Audio DAC has much more detail and clarity. On the other hand it cost almost twice as much!

Pros: Works perfectly, sounds good

Cons: The supplied remote is worthless, they should just leave it out and save a couple bucks.

Does NOT provide Gapless Playback

Written By barker47, Virginia on Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Despite claims to the contrary, this network player does not provide gap less playback. This is an especial annoyance on continuous classical recordings. I can cite two as documented examples--the CBS Stravinsky recordings of symphonies and ballet suites, and the CBS record of Lauren Mazells's Wagner Suite. I have to consider if this defect on an expensive product warrants a return.

Pros: Nice format and easy set up, albeit slow.

Cons: No digital out.

Crutchfield response on Wednesday, January 14, 2015 Thanks for your review. According to the owner's manual, "the Gapless Playback function works with DSD, WAV, AIFF, FLAC, ALAC and WMA Lossless music file formats." We tested the Sony HAP-ZIES with six different recordings, including some high-res files (24-bit/192kHz resolution). Gapless playback worked each time. In the settings menu, please make sure gapless playback is set to "auto."

No V-tuner even though Sony says it does

Written By JC Audio, Walnut Creek, CA on Wednesday, September 17, 2014

While I like the unit overall, I am concerned with Sony and Vtuner. Vtuner happens to be one of the main reasons I bought the unit as I get tired of my collection and love the variety of music I can explore.

Since Sept. 06, all you get on the unit is "cannot connect". I have called Sony numerous times about the problem and was first told it was a Vtuner problem. When I informed him it works fine on my Marantz he admitted that their server was having issues with Vtuners server and should be up an running any minute.

That was September 6th and as I write this it is end of day September 15th

Every time I call to get an update I get the run around. Shame as it could be a really good unit if only Sony would get their act together on this vital function.

Pros: Very easy to set up and sound quality is very good

Cons: Sony customer support is horrible Sony lied to many of us for weeks about the Vtuner problem Still no internet available Should point out that my Marantz sitting in other room works flawlessly

Crutchfield response on Friday, November 14, 2014 Thank you for your review. Sony confirmed that there was a temporary disruption in the vTuner service for some Sony products. Sony informed us in October that the service has been restored. We tested the Sony HAP-Z1ES and can confirm that vTuner is working again.

The future is here

Written By Bill S, West Palm Beach, FL on Monday, July 21, 2014

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

This is my first foray into the realm of HiRez digital. I am not a computer geek, had no music files on my PC, had never downloaded music before. My main interest was to organize and collate over 2,000 cds scattered and out of control. The HAPZ1ES (I call it the "Z") is easy to set up and use, and not only is storing and organizing all of them, but in A-B comparisons with the CD ripped and downloaded to the hard drive, it sounds better too! I know this doesn't seem possible, but being self contained front to back it eliminates jitter, thus, a more sophisticated DAC, better digital clock. Better, better, better than any ordinary CD player. And we haven't even talked about the HiRez capability yet, or the digital radio part. This thing is the business. Highest possible recommendation.

Pros: Great sound, easy to use, organizes all your CDs, HiRez, digital radio. Puts digital into every man's hands.

Cons: I am working on it.

Network Software Issues

Written By Vince S., Martinsville, VA on Monday, June 30, 2014

This unit does an excellent job of reproducing digital music files.

However, the softwrae supplied to transfer files over the network sometimes can't find the unit. Additionally, the playlists are made and edited via a smart device app which is very kludgey. They should look to iTunes for a better implementation. The app occasionally loses its place.

Pros: Audio reproduction App control of basic functions.

Cons: App is erratic. App management of playlists.

Outstanding digital audio component

Written By Q Nguyen, Laguna Niguel, California on Thursday, February 20, 2014

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

After doing much research in trying to get in the "Audio digital age" I decided to buy this Sony "High Resolution digital music player" 3 weeks ago, found it to be an excellent product. Sound quality is superb even when listening to converted music from my Ipod .

Pros: Very simple to connect to a home network storage system, after downloading the software from the Sony website. High quality built. Easy to operate.

Cons: I've only owned this for about 3 weeks, not long enough to notice any cons.

Hands-on research

What's in the box?

Download owner's manual

  • HDD Audio Player
  • 6.5' AC power cord
  • Remote control (RM-ANU183)
  • 2 "AAA" batteries
  • 8' Ethernet cable
  • 39" Stereo RCA cable
  • 58" IR blaster
  • 6.5' Minijack cable
  • Reference Guide
  • Quick Start Guide
  • Warranty Information
  • Online Product Registration

Product Research

Music Storage|
Audio Section
Convenience Features

Music Storage

1TB Hard Disc Drive (HDD): The Sony HAP-Z1ES HDD Audio Player features a built-in 1TB Hard Disc Drive (HDD) which allows you to transfer and store high-resolution audio files (such as DSD) and various other formats of music files (such as MP3 and FLAC) from your computer to the Sony HAP-Z1ES.  The HDD Audio Player can handle up to 40,000 music files. You can also connect an external hard disk drive via USB to the EXT port on the rear-panel of the HAP-Z1ES for additional storage space. The music files transferred from your computer to the external hard disk drive can be played in the same way as music files stored in the internal hard disk drive of the unit. You are able to view the status of the internal or external HDD.

  • Capacity: The total capacity of the hard disk drive is displayed.
  • Used: The used space of the hard disk drive is displayed. The used space in the hard disk drive will not be 0GB even when you have not transferred any files, because the pre-installed sample tracks and the system use some space in the hard disk drive.
  • Free: The free space of the hard disk drive is displayed.
Note: You can only connect one external HDD at a time to the system's EXT port (you cannot connect a USB hub). A connected external hard disk drive that has been formatted by the HAP-Z1ES cannot be recognized by a computer. Always keep backup music files on your computer.

Network Connectivity: You can transfer music files from your computer to the Sony HAP-Z1ES by connecting both to the same home network, either by a wired or wireless connection. The HAP-Z1ES is fitted with a Ethernet (RJ-45) port for a wired connection and features built-in WiFi (IEEE 802.11 b/g/n) for wireless connectivity. By connecting the unit to your home network you are able to transfer music files from your computer to the HAP-Z1ES. The following system environment is required to use the network function of this receiver.

  • Broadband Line Connection: A Broadband line connection to the Internet is required in order to listen to select online music services.
  • Modem: This is the device that is connected to the broadband line to communicate with the Internet. Some of these devices are integrated with the router.
  • Router: Use a router compatible with 100 Mbps or greater transmission speed to enjoy content on your home network. 802.11 b/g/n compatible wireless router for WiFi connection (2.4GHz only).
  • LAN Cable (CAT5): A LAN cable (CAT5) is required for hardwired connection.
  • WiFi Security: None, WEP, WPA/WPA2-PSK (AES), or WPA/WPA2-PSK (TKIP).
Note:  Sony recommends using a wired LAN connection when you transfer a large number of music files from your computer to the HAP-Z1ES, such as when you transfer music files for the first time.

HAP Music Transfer: HAP Music Transfer is a free downloadable application that transfers music files stored in your Windows or Mac computer to the Sony HDD Audio Player. In addition to widely used file formats (such as MP3), HAP Music Transfer allows you to transfer non-compressed and High-Resolution Audio files such as 192kHz/24-bit and DSD (Direct Stream Digital) file formats. You can select multiple folders (up to 100) in which music files are saved on your computer, and then transfer them in a batch to the HAP-Z1ES. If you turn on the automatic transfer function, your computer will automatically start transferring music files to the HAP-Z1ES when new music files are added to the designated folder on your computer; this can also be done manually. You can also use this application to delete music files from the device.

Note: The HAP Music Transfer application is supported by Windows XP (32-bit/SP3+), Vista (SP2+), 7 (SP1+), and 8. It is also compatible Mac OS X 10.6, 10.7, and 10.8. The Sony HAP-Z1ES must be connected to the same network as your Windows or Mac computer.

Supported Audio Formats: The Sony HAP-Z1ES HDD Audio Player supports the transfer and storage of the following high-definition and standard-definition music files (2ch only) that are stored and managed on your Windows or Mac computer.

File Type Extension Sampling Frequency Bit-Rate
DSD (DSF, DSDIFF) .dsf, .diff 2.8224, 5.6448 MHz N/A
LPCM (WAV, AIFF) .wav, .aif, .aiff 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, 192 kHz 16-/24-bit (WAV 32-bit w/ firmware update)
FLAC .flac, .fla 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, 192 kHz 16-/24-bit
ALAC .m4a 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, 192 kHz 16-/24-bit
MP3(MPEG-1/2 Audio Layer-3) .mp3 44.1, 48 kHz 64-320 kbps, 16-bit
AAC (MPEG-4 AAC-LC, HE-AAC) .m4a, .mp4, .3gp 44.1, 48 kHz 64-320 kbps, 16-bit
WMA (WMA, WMAPRO, WMA Lossless) .wma, .asf 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96 kHz 32-320 kbps, 16-/24-bit
ATRAC (ACTRAC3, ATRAC3plus, ATRAC Advanced Lossless) .oma, .aa3 44.1 kHz 48-352 kbps, 16-bit
Note: When the Sony HAP-Z1ES is connected to a computer through a wired LAN, file transfers will take the following time (approximately) - 10 FLAC (44.1 kHz/16 bits) files in approximately 5 minutes / 3,000 FLAC (44.1 kHz/16 bits) files in approximately one day.

Registered Music File Information: The Sony HAP-Z1ES analyzes the ID3 tag information, a type of music information metadata contained in music files, and registers the files to specific categories (Genres, Artists, Albums, and, Tracks). If music files do not contain ID3 tags or if any of the information is missing, the HAP-Z1ES automatically accesses the Gracenote server on the Internet and obtains music information. WAV files do not contain ID3 tag information. These files are registered in the following categories (Unknown Genre, Unknown Artist, Unknown Album, and Tracks) with their file names.

Automatic Playlists + Favorites: The Sony HDD Audio Player automatically creates the following playlists - Newly Add Tracks, Most Played Tracks, and Least Played Tracks. You can also create, edit, and play playlists using Sony's HDD Audio Remote app on your compatible Apple iOS or Android device. You can create up to 100 playlists with 1,000 tracks each. You can also identify specific music files as "Favorites", so all your favorite music is in in one location.

SensMe Channels: "SensMe Channels" is a function of the HAP-Z1ES that analyzes and automatically categorizes music tracks according to their mood and tempo using the 12 Tone Analysis technology developed by Sony. You can enjoy channels that suit your mood or the time of the day. You can select from the following channels - Morning, Daytime, Evening, Night, Midnight, Energetic, Relax, Upbeat, Mellow, Lounge, Emotional, Dance, and Extreme.

Note: The HAP-Z1ES must be connected to the Internet to categorize music files using SensMe channels, as SensMe channels analyzes music files and accesses the Gracenote server to obtain music information.

Random/Repeat Playback Modes: You can play tracks in a random order (shuffle play). You can select a setting of Off, Tracks, or Albums. If you select Albums, the order of the albums will be shuffled but the order of the tracks in each album will not. You can also play tracks repeatedly (repeat play). You can select a setting of Off, 1 Track, or All tracks.

Play Queue Screen: The "Play Queue" screen is a list of all tracks currently selected to be played, such as all tracks by a certain artist or in a certain album.

Gapless Playback: When the Gapless Playback function is set to "Auto", the HDD Audio Player plays tracks without the silent part between tracks. This is useful for playing albums of concerts or other live music. The Gapless Playback function works with WAV, AIFF, FLAC, ALAC, and WMA Lossless music file formats. The unit also offers Gapless playback for DSD music files (requires firmware update).

TuneIn: TuneIn enables you to discover, follow and listen to a variety of content - from sports, to news, to music, to talk. TuneIn provides listeners access to over 100,000 real radio stations and more than four million podcasts streaming from every continent.

Audio Section

DSD Re-Mastering Engine: This ideal D/A conversion system combines a high performance DSP and FPGA (field programmable gate array) to convert all signals to 128 FS DSD signals. It was designed based on know-how garnered from Sony's direct 8x over-sampling and Extended SBM (Super Bit Mapping) technology for professional recording. DSD re-mastering is a selectable feature.

Analog FIR Filters: The HAP-Z1ES's digital-to-analog converter effectively reduces high-frequency noise in DSD signals. It features independent right and left channels, with four analog FIR (Finite Impulse Response) filters per channel producing a combined one-clock delay. FIR filters are ideal for D/A conversion of DSD signals.

Twin Transformers & Low-Phase Noise Oscillator: For analog and digital circuits, big and powerful transformers are used individually. This unit also employs a liquid crystal oscillator with extremely low phase noise to achieve an ultra-clear sound.

Ultra-Rigid Chassis: The unit's ultra-rigid chassis (composed of frame and beams) offers both high-precision mounting of parts and high rigidity, achieving a high-fidelity sound carrying large amounts of information. Notably, the base is composed of two plates of differing thickness that provide sturdy support for the chassis. There are two additional base plates beneath the transformers as well, offering robust reinforcement that anchors the transformers firmly in place.

Digital Sound Enhancement Engine (DSEE): When the DSEE (Digital Sound Enhancement Engine) function is set to "Auto" (factory default setting), the HDD Audio Player offers natural and expansive sound by restoring both high-frequency signals and fine fade-out sound that is likely to be lost by compression in compressed audio sources, or restoring fine fade-out sound that is likely to be lost by quantization in PCM audio sources with lossless compression.

Volume Normalization: If you set the Volume Normalization function to "Auto", the recording level of tracks or albums is analyzed when the music files are transferred and registered to the HAP-Z1ES, and the volume level is adjusted to minimize the difference in volume between each track or album during playback. Even if you play tracks from multiple albums with different volume levels in random order (shuffle play), this function stops the volume from increasing or decreasing for different tracks, allowing natural change in volume during playback.

Precision Mode: Precision Mode bypasses the DSP engine for original sound.

Balanced & Unbalanced Outputs: The Sony HAP-Z1ES is fitted with both balanced XLR and unbalanced RCA outputs to connect the HDD Audio Player to your home AV receiver or integrated amplifier. These outputs are fixed (not variable).

Convenience Features

IR Remote: The Sony HAP-Z1ES HDD Audio Player includes a simple IR remote control for basic wireless operation of the system. Basic remote functions include - Power On/Off, Play/Pause, Fast Forward/Reverse and Previous/Next Track. Also, many Sony and other brands of receivers' remotes can be programmed to operate basic functions of the HAP-Z1ES. Advanced music navigation is done through the unit's front-panel LCD and front-panel controls, or from the HDD Audio Remote App on your compatible smartphone.

HDD Audio Remote App: The HDD Audio Remote App is a mobile application that allows you to operate the Sony HAP-Z1ES using your Apple iOS (5.1+) or Android (2.3.3+) device. You can download the application from the Apple App Store or GooglePlay for free. From your mobile device, you can remotely select and play tracks, change playback volume, stop playback, and more. You can even create and edit playlists with your favorite tracks, as well as edit music information of your tracks. You'll be able to view a list of available music in select categories such as Genres, Artists, Album, or Tracks on the same screen and select the track you want to play. Album art, track name, artist name, and album name are all displayed on the app. Via the latest firmware update, you can now copy stored music content on your Apple iOS or Android device to the Sony HAP-S1's 500GB Hard Disc Drive (HDD).

Note: Your Apple iOS or Android device must be connected to the same network as the Sony HAP-Z1ES. To use the HDD Audio Remote App to navigate music files, your computer's music files must be first transferred and stored on the Sony HAP-Z1ES's HDD.

Front-Panel LCD: The unit's front-panel LCD displays the album art, track name, artist name, and album name of your current music file. This information is also displayed on the HDD Audio Remote app for your Apple iOS and Android device. The LCD also displays information such as the file format, sampling frequency, bit-width, and bit-rate. The brightness of the backlit display can be set to Max, High, Mid, Low, or Off.

Sleep Timer: When a specific time you set has elapsed, the Sony HAP-Z1ES is automatically turned off. The Sleep Timer can be set for 30, 60, 90, or 120minutes.

Auto Standby: When you are not using the HAP-Z1ES or there is no audio signal input to the unit for 20 minutes, the device will automatically turn off and enter standby mode to reduce the power consumption.

Protection Circuitry: If the HAP-Z1ES detects an abnormality inside the unit, one of the following messages appears for about 5 seconds and then the system automatically enters the standby mode.

  • HDD Protector: The internal temperature of the HAP-Z1ES is too high. Turn the power off and remove any objects covering the unit. Wait until the system cools down sufficiently and then turn the power on again.
  • USB Protector: An abnormal current is being output to the EXT port on the rear of the HAP-Z1ES. Turn the power off, confirm the connection and then turn the power on again.
  • CPU Protector: The internal temperature of the HAP-Z1ES is too high. Turn the power off and remove any objects covering the unit. Wait until the system cools down and then turn the power on again.

Software Update: You can update the software of the Sony HAP-Z1ES HDD Audio Player via its wired or wireless network connection. The tested HAP-Z1ES contained software version 0009647R and had an immediate software update for version 0010435R.

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