About the Sony HAP-Z1ES
Digital audio done right, with ease
Digital audio done right, with ease
A digital music system 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. Oh, and it even has Spotify Connect so you can listen to online music from your Spotify Premium account.
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
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.
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.
- 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)
- supports Spotify Connect for streaming music from Spotify Premium accounts (requires firmware update)
- 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)
- USB output can be used with a powered USB hub for adding an external hard drive, DAC, and CD drive
- 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 (Wi-Fi network required)
- If you don't have Wi-Fi, you can connect your laptop via USB and control the HAP-Z1ES with "Hi-res Audio Player" PC software
- 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, DAC, and/or CD drive for ripping
- 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
- MFR # HAPZ1ES
What's in the box:
- 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
Sony HAP-Z1ES reviews
Easy to use. Without me realizing it the unit was picked up by other receivers in the house and I had my music in several rooms.
0 of 0 found this helpful
Excellent sounding unit. Especially for your existing iTunes library. HiRes music sounds great as well. I'm hearing things I never heard before. Software is a little quirky, but still gets the job done.
Pros: Sound quality and no need for a computer to play music
Cons: Quirky upload software. However, the iPad app is very good.
0 of 0 found this helpful
This sounded like just what I was looking for. But the copying of files to the device even when connected to gigabit ethernet is slow. Trying to choose music to play back either from the front panel or the app is painful. Don't pay this much to waste your time trying to choose music to play. The sound quality is very good for the price, but I have wasted hours setting this up and now I will be returning it. It is painful to use.
Pros: Very good sound, good format support.
Cons: Painful user interface / user experience.
2 of 5 found this helpful
This a awesome piece of equipment, I'm still learning how to do everything but I love it
0 of 0 found this helpful
Originally purchased bluesound vault 2 found it really difficult to use, returned it for the Sony so glad I did much more user-friendly and better sound.
2 of 2 found this helpful
This is my system which I have become very intimate with over the years,that anything I remove and replace with a piece of equipment or transmission line I notice,the Sony HAP-Z1ES is everything they say it is and does,but in my system it does not even come close to my Mac computer with iTunes and pure music as my audio engine.Again I can't stress enough that these findings are on my system and may not be the same on others.????best listening too all
3 of 6 found this helpful
Wow. This is a monster piece of equipment. (35lbs) 3 stars is generous. The sound is amazing. The set up is a long slow very slow process, moving over 20k tracks and it's only done 1/5 in 5 hours, this. Included 3-4 reboots as is freezes a lot or looses it's hard wired connection to my Mac. I need the room on my Mac for other projects. I'm an audiophile and do love it's amazing sound. It will allow you to add cd's to the hard drive but doesn't recognized the internal CD player on the Marantz receiver I have. Hopefully Sony will be releasing a firmware update that makes this monster more reliable... more usable at this price point you would think Sony would have nailed it, IMO they didn't...
Pros: Sound quality
Cons: Weight and size - freezes numerous times when hard wired for music transfer. Unable to dim display.
4 of 6 found this helpful
First off, if you are interested in the product and maybe a bit of a geek, look at the Kal Rubinson's review in May 2014 Stereophile. Still there? if you are even a bigger geek then read John Atkinson's measurements at the end, which suggests there is good, solid engineering under the hood. (Thanks, Kal & John) Looking around the web there is pretty much a consensus that this thing has great sound (given its price range) and my experience is in complete agreement. Hi-Res audio files (96+/24 and DSD) sound really great. Much better than the Denon 2900 DVD player that i was previously using to decode Hi-Res disks. And "DSD remastering" feature makes many of your old CDs sound better than before. The iPhone app is really nice and allows all the standard search and selection functions and has something extra that categorizes music into bins (morning, hi-energy...) that is unexpectedly fun to use. The app to download to the HAP is very basic but works OK. I was pleasantly surprised that I could control my non-sony amp using their remote control. The HAP player has an IR repeater and a mode where you can train basic functions (on/off/volume/mute) using your amp's remote. So my typical use is to set up an album using the app then tweak volume or jump tracks using the remote. I am loving this thing so much that its hard to resist buying the companion amp!
Pros: Great Sound, Easy to use. Iphone app is really nice
Cons: Download program (HAPTransfer) is very basic and slow (minor issue)
5 of 5 found this helpful
Fills a market niche but for a $1,000 less you can get the Vault2 from Bluesound that handles hi-res files plus rips CD's. Just another overpriced product from Sony......
Cons: Cost CD ripping
6 of 18 found this helpful
A fantastic media player Sounds great
Pros: Easy to transfer music Simple hook up
Cons: Set up has problems with Windows had to contact Sony help line
3 of 4 found this helpful
We have been very impressed with how much better our music sounds, both internet radio and our music library. Our extensive music collection is now in one place and we do not need to use our computers for music anymore. Pleasantly surprised with SensMe.
Pros: Clarity, warmth of tone
4 of 4 found this helpful
Great music server! High audio quality, easy to use, and works great with home network ! I have been enjoying this device for several months now and found a few tricks along the way. For years I have used Sony's X-App to rip CDs onto my PC which is in turn connected to my receiver. X-App was replaced by Sony's new Music Center for PC. I haven't downloaded that software from Sony yet, but I would expect it works well . I have a simple way to use the free Sony software for HapZ1es (called Hap Music Transfer). I have a folder on my PC into which I move all music files that I want in HapZ1es. When I rip more CDs or download high res files, I dump them into that folder. I have the Hap Music Transfer configured to only transfer music from that folder to the HapZ1es. A couple button presses and it goes. I have an older Sony S tablet from years ago. Another Sony App called HDD Audio Remote puts a GUI on the tablet so I can look through my music on the HapZ1es using text and/or pictures with many sorting options. It allows you much more control than the player's simple remote (which can control my Sony receiver's volume). I have a home WiFi network. In the PC's Network section, the HapZ1es can be found as an icon which brings up the player in a browser for even more power over finding albums or tracks. Saved it as a browser favorite. From anywhere in the house I can control my music with a tablet or a laptop. How convenient!
Pros: High audio quality and lots of control
Cons: None really, though eventually may run out of storage. Nowhere near that point yet even with no outboard drive installed.
5 of 5 found this helpful
sound is fantastic, even for low quality mp3 recordings. transfer was straightforward using the HAP transfer program. I enjoy the sensme channels, it's a fun way just to randomize your entire collection. Biggest complaint is that the ios app does not seem to reliably connect; this may be more with my phone and wifi than the sony system, and i got an android phone which seems to work more reliably; it would be really nice if you could also control it remotely eg. through a computer, which has a stronger connection to the network. also (have had for 2 years) as it has aged, it has developed a number of horizontal lines across the screen on the device.. which isn't a big deal if the remote apps work, but which may become a problem if the screen eventually fails and there's no way to control it.
4 of 4 found this helpful
It is so easy to transfer your CDs. Easy to edit and load your song files from your computer. I can control it from my PC or my Ipad. The technical support is very well informed and will to do everything to help if you should have any problems.
Pros: This thing is built for quality. It works prefect.
Cons: I wish they had it in black to match my other components. My only problem was with my PC and not with the Sony Hap-Z1ez.
4 of 4 found this helpful
The Hap-Z1es really makes the accessibility of your cd collection at your fingertips from your iPad or phone. I strongly urge you to buy this from a company like Crutchfield because Sony has NO customer service unless waiting on hold for 2 hours is your idea of tech support. Crutchfield helped me through the set up process while not hard, had a few ambiguous steps since Sony does not provide a hard copy set up manual . I'm still uploading my cd's which I admit is a tedious process, ( I never really realized how big a collection I had) But its great to know I can listen to anything I want by the touch of a screen!
13 of 13 found this helpful
I just got this from Crutchfield. Downloaded all my music and ripped a couple of CDs. I must say that this player is impressive. Potentially the best thing Sony invented after Trinitron and the Walkman. Awesome sound and convenience. Sad to see that they did not market this enough. Bye bye CD player.
Pros: Awesome sound and convenience
6 of 6 found this helpful
Love it. Delivers a great music experience with an intuitive app and easy access to your digital music library. Sleek, elegant appearance as well. Also purchased the matching amplifier. Would highly recommend both units for those looking to centralize and simplify their digital music libraries.
Pros: Elegant Appearance, Easy of Use, Excellent Digital Audio Processing
4 of 4 found this helpful
Fantastic product. Incredible sound and user interface app. Goodbye iTunes, goodbye. I would add a second USB so you can attach a CD drive and a second hard drive simultaneously, or a slot to add a second HD. I have it connected to my hardwire network and it works flawlessly with my computers, gracenotes and other audio sources. I'd add a second set of RCA outputs so I can feed the Sonos system and my local system simultaneously. No big problem I'll use adapters on the balanced outputs. These are very minor problems. I love this product - thank you Sony
Pros: Audio quality user interface remote app
Cons: number of outputs/ inputs (minor)
4 of 4 found this helpful
Great sound. The app is a little flakey but nice.
Cons: Nothing major so far.
0 of 1 found this helpful
I have been planning this purchase for a long time and I am not disappointed. I love the powerful sonics blasting out from my speakers - gives my library a new lease on life. So far, controls seem steady and intuitive, haven't noticed loss of wireless signal, a very common problem. I use the wireless to run the HDD Audio App from my iPad. I used a hardwired network connection to transfer the bulk of the music files I have, once I got used to the Hap music program it was a breeze, although, simply using windows explorer to drag and drop from my hard drive to the units Internal folder is a far better choice. Give the unit time to update, don't rush, it seems to handle all I can throw at it, just be patient. I use the Sony DN-1050 receiver and the Sony SS-CS3 floor standing speakers. Both receiver and speakers are rated for H-Res. I do see a new set of speakers in my future, unfortunately, the next model of Sony Hi-Res floor speakers are 10K, the next model up is 27K. This is not a typo. Maybe Crutchfield could recommend a set of speakers for me? If you are considering this purchase, do it, you'll love it! Make sure you have a quality receiver/amp and a good set of speakers to handle first.
Pros: Hold wireless signal nicely Easy setup Sound is something to behold - especially .dsd files HDD Audio App (available from Apple) is truly a wonderful interface
Cons: Doesn't play Apple .M4P protected files. Slow database updates. USB for external file transfer is on rear of unit. Very heavy! Duplicate music files do occur and are a pain to delete
11 of 13 found this helpful
why did I wait so long! it's perfect
1 of 3 found this helpful
I've had this product a couple of months now and enjoy it. The only achilles heel is the HAP music transfer program,It's half backed(at best)and not very intuitive. Sony needs to step up their game and improve it.
Pros: sound,overall quality.
Cons: price,transfer software
3 of 3 found this helpful
As noted, this component is exceptionally well built - except for the sleazy remote (which you really don't want to use anyway). I'd give it a 5 star rating except for the following concern. The USB input allows for the connection of an external CD drive to allow direct import of your CD without the need for a computer. However, Sony did not equip this port with enough power to use any USB-powered device - like a CD/DVD player/writer or external hard drive powered only by USB. So, I lugged out my Sony CD rewriteable drive with its own power supply. It works, but seems to skip over many tracks (apparently unable to read them even though the disc plays fine in all other CD players). Also, I was unable to import any CDR material to the server. Very strange if Sony decided to block this capability but allow complete library downloads from a computer.
Pros: Great upsampling to DSD Solid construction Nice remote app and computer importing app
Cons: Not designed well for straight CD import Limited USB usage to externally powered devices only
11 of 15 found this helpful
The sound is amazing- crystal clear and full of amazing detail (have played through a Peachtree and a Yamaha S801). Handles all kinds of files from mp3 to hi-def 24 bit. I have only a handful of mp3s, but they definitely sound better than played on an iPod or similar. The DAC is very good. As others have noted, it is slow to upload, but not all that bad as it runs everything through Gracenotes, even files that have already been named, etc. Nevertheless, this has worked amazingly well at identifying files that I would not expect to be recognizable, such as live concert recordings, etc. I love the ability to control it with your smart phone or iPad. Put it on shuffle and then sit outside-- if something comes on you want to skip, or you want to hear something-- just control with your phone. I'm in the process of downloading my entire cd collection-- and will then put them in the closet not to be used again!
5 of 5 found this helpful
I had been looking for a better solution for dealing with my collection of about 300 ripped CDs for a long time. Previously, I had been using my home theater receiver to stream from iTunes, but that was buggy and navigation was difficult and time-consuming. I heard good things about Sony's new line of audio players, so decided to jump in. Originally, I was thinking about the mid-range Sony HAP-S1, however, I eventually settled on the top-of-the-line HAP-Z1ES due to its larger built-in hard drive, dual mono DAC stages, and balanced XLR outputs. I also had no need of the S1's built-in 40-watt amp, since I was planning to just plug the player into my existing home theater system which already has amps that I like. The HAP-Z1ES was very easy to set up, with one exception. The front-panel controls were frozen at first. It started working after I plugged in the RCA cables to connect it temporarily. It seems like the unit does not behave when nothing is connected, and the manual did not mention this. Hopefully this can be fixed in a firmware update. Aside from that hiccup, it's been an absolute pleasure. It took several hours to transfer my ALAC library over the hardwired network using the Sony HAP software, and now the software watches my iTunes folder for new files to copy automatically. Playback from the internal drive is instantaneous and crystal-clear. The iOS app works perfectly as a remote, but using the front-panel controls to select music is also easy.
Pros: 1TB internal HD, expandable via USB Dual mono DAC stages RCA unbalanced and XLR balanced outputs Very nice high-res front display Very nice iOS app for control Built like a tank
Cons: Copying files is very slow, even over hardwired network Requires external amp/receiver No digital output HAP Music Transfer software works but is clunky and a bit of a pain to use It's pricey, to say the least
10 of 10 found this helpful
I bought the HAP-Z1ES along with a Sony TA-A1ES and a pair of Definitve Technology BP 10Bs. I will review the amp once I get the two speakers hooked up. For now I am listening to the system with a pair of small speakers and won't try to review the sound quality of the Sony player and amp. The HAP-Z1ES (player) is a very satisfying way to store and listen to your music. Once you have ripped your CDs and transferred the digital files with free software from Sony, the player organizes everything (sort of like iTunes) and you can review the resultant music meta data base and select music to be played with a free app from Sony. The app also lets you control the player and the amp like a remote control: on-off and volume. The app also lets you edit the data base. Although I have iTunes, I decided to keep music for the new player separate. So I bought BDpoweramp, ripped my music (again in many cases) and stored the files on a RAID 1 NAS, from which they are transferred to the player over Gigabit Ethernet. For the most part, ripping results in the expected meta data and attendant organization; but, I encountered some "ripping confusion" which I had to correct by editing the master files on the NAS using DBpoweramp, with some additional editing using the Sony app (HDD Audio). The editing can be tedious but it's doable and lasts forever. The player is a joy to use. Especially with HDD Audio on a tablet. Just sit there, access all your music, select what you want, and then listen. Buy!
Pros: Quality device with excellent features and ease of use.
Cons: None so far nor expected. Unless documentation counts. It's average at best.
4 of 4 found this helpful
This unit is not a Cheap plug and play type of setup like a traditional DAC player. You Do Not need to keep it close to a Laptop or Computer. The Sony HAP-Z1ES weighs 32 lbs alone and is close to my hefty amplifier weight.. This unit is a Audiophile grade that you can have the following hooked up to it a 2.0 speaker setup via XLR from your AMP to unit or Headphone AMP as well. Many people are getting confused on what this unit can do, and give it a bad rating because they assumed it would do streaming or basically act like a traditional DAC player which it does not, it is more like a DAC Server. Coming from a total of 5 different DAC players out there this by far the best sounding one I have heard with my current setup. My other DACs ranged from $500 to $3k and this one is right in the middle of price. The HAPmusic transfer software works as advertised, you can have it automatically send your songs over or do it manually which I do myself. There are some negative comments but will not effect the star rating because of how great this sounds. Using your phone with the Sony (HDD Audio Remote) you can try it under DEMO PLAYER and see how it navigates before you buy it. Very easy to find songs, albums and navigate through. You can make play lists very easily for party's.
Pros: A+ Audiophile grade unit (32 bls) Dual TI Burr-Brown PCM1795 DACs (one for each channel) ensure high-accuracy digital-to-analog conversion via XLR sounds the best Software HAPtransfer works great but can be slow if you have 1,000+ of songs to transfer but it is only a one time transfer to the HAP-Z1ES. Sound is really amazing even on very low quality MP3 recordings never heard any hisses or pops like other DACs Play's all music formats and switches each song accordingly via sample
Cons: Only comes in SILVER no BLACK models on the HAP-Z1ES which I do not like since all my components are black it stands out and looks out of place. Only a 1 Terabyte Hard Drive which can fill up very fast if using DSD files which are 1-4 GBs each. But you can add a external via USB 2.0 on back for extra storage. (Note HD inside unit is a laptop 2.5 1 TB model can be upgraded to the highest 2.5 inch size of 2 TB if you wanted to. SEARCH "Sony HAP-Z1ES Hard Drive Upgrade Doubling Down"
10 of 10 found this helpful
Fantastic device. High quality feel, excellent internet tuner, and really remarkable sound with DSD files. Only hitch: though you can indeed attach an external hard drive to expand storage, drivers are installed which make it invisible if removed and plugged into a computer. So, it permanently becomes a dedicated drive (not a bad fate). Expensive gadget, but recommended without hesitation.
5 of 6 found this helpful
I got the Sony HAP-Z1ES as a Christmas gift, and I did a head-to-head comparison with an excellent $1,500 DAC, the Mytek 192-DSD DAC. Both the Sony and the Mytek do Double-DSD and have excellent upsampling, so I was excited to try this test. WOW! The Sony was neck-and-neck with the Mytek with WAV , High Rez and DSD files... and was MUCH BETTER with CD or lower quality files! I tried the Mytek with all the latest streaming software... and found that solution to be much more cumbersome and error prone to the Sony HDD player. The iPhone and iPad app for the Sony also won hands down! I ran both through fully balanced AudioQuest Columbia or Colorado cables into my fully balanced BAT pre-amp and fully balanced amp. I have been spending the last few weeks RE-DISCOVERING my music collection -- buying DSD and other high rez files, plus ripping fill WAV files to my iTunes, all of which is copied to my Sony HAP-Z1ES very quickly by the Sony software!
8 of 8 found this helpful
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.
5 of 5 found this helpful
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.
8 of 8 found this helpful
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.
8 of 8 found this helpful
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.
3 of 5 found this helpful
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.
4 of 4 found this helpful
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.
2 of 2 found this helpful
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.
1 of 1 found this helpful
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!
1 of 1 found this helpful
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
3 of 10 found this helpful
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.
5 of 6 found this helpful
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.
11 of 15 found this helpful
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
10 of 13 found this helpful
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.
9 of 10 found this helpful
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.
9 of 10 found this helpful
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.
14 of 15 found this helpful
More details on the Sony HAP-Z1ES
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, as well as CD ripping from an external USB disk drive. 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).
Notes: 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 Vista (SP2+), 7 (SP1+), 8/8.1, and 10. It is also compatible Mac OS X 10.6-10.12. 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.
Multipurpose USB Port: The Sony HAP-Z1ES is equipped with a rear-panel USB-A port the can be used for a number things. It allows you to connect an external HDD, a USB disk drive, or a USB DAC. You can even connect all three with a USB hub.
- External HDD: You can also connect an external hard disk drive to the HAP-Z1ES's rear-panel USB-A port for additional storage space.
- CD Ripping: Via a firmware update, the Sony HAP-Z1ES now supports CD ripping from an external USB disk drive. Simply connect your USB disk drive to the unit's rear-panel USB-A port.
- USB DAC: Connect an external USB DAC (digital-to-analog converter), using the HAP-Z1ES's rear-panel USB-A port.
Note: Make sure your HAP-S-1 has the latest firmware update.
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).
Online Music Sources: The Sony HDD Audio Player provides access to TuneIn internet radio & Spotify Connect online music service (Spotify Connect 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.
- Spotify Connect (firmware update will be available the summer of 2016): The HAP-Z1ES supports Spotify Connect. If you subscribe to Spotify Premium and have the Spotify App on your Apple iOS or Android smartphone, you can stream the Spotify online music service to the Sony HDD Audio Player. Spotify is a digital music service that gives you on-demand access to one of the largest music libraries in the world (over 15 million tracks and counting). Spotify makes it easier than ever to discover, manage, and share music with your friends. You can browse music by artist, album, track, or most popular; and create your own music library with customized playlists.
Media Server: Via the latest firmware update, the Sony HDD Audio Player can act as a DLNA media server so you can stream music out to other DLNA-compliant devices and players.
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).
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.
Note: You cannot control the HAP-Z1ES HDD Audio Player from your network connected desktop computer or laptop.
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 (9.0 or later) or Android (4.0 and up) 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-Z1ES's 1TB Hard Disc Drive (HDD).
Note: Your Apple iOS or Android device must be wirelessly connected via WiFi 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.
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