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Sony HAP-Z1ES

High-resolution digital music player with 1TB storage drive

35 Reviews | 11 questions - 54 answers

Item # 158HAPZ1ES

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Overview

Our take on the Sony HAP-Z1ES

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. Oh, and it even has Spotify Connect so you can listen to online music from your Spotify Premium account.

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. 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



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)
  • 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

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
Reviews

Sony HAP-Z1ES Reviews

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(35 Reviews)
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Details

Hands-on research

Product Research

Music Sources
Audio Section
Convenience Features

Music Sources

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 XP (32-bit/SP3+), Vista (SP2+), 7 (SP1+), 8, and 10. 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.

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.

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.

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 (6.0+) or Android (4.0+) 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.

Our Product Research Team

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Customer Q&A

Crutchfield asked  
Why did you buy this?

I've researched this item extensively, it gets great reviews. Will be used to play my collection of loseless flac's and other hi-res music purchased online. [ Steve  Aug 17, 2017 ]
Excellent reviews. Prefer DSD over PCM. [ Michael  Mar 22, 2017 ]
Want to put about 1000 CDs on an this Sony audio server and get rid of 2 Sony carousel players that are 10 years old. [ Robert  Jan 27, 2017 ]

11 questions already asked

The HA-PZ1ES has it's own built-in storage (1TB HD) and can transfer your digital music tiles to it's internal memory. It can act as a NAS itself but does not stream from external NAS. [ Ryan  Jan 01, 2018 ]  Staff
Have you talked to Crutchfield tech support? [ Paul  Dec 11, 2017 ]
From an Internet browser, search for Sony HAP Music Transfer Software. You should see a Help Guide to follow. if the transfer does not work properly after a successful install of HAP Music Transfer, then a set of troubleshooting steps can to be followed and are described in the guide. There is also a chat window for support. [ Steve  Dec 10, 2017 ]
Are you on a Mac or PC? Are you using iTunes to put your CDs on the computer? [ Paul  Dec 09, 2017 ]
Try browsing to the HAP-Z1ES in Windows explorer instead of using the Sony software. [ Steve  Dec 09, 2017 ]
Encountered same problem and gave up on Sony's software. Assuming the files are on your PC open File Explorer (windows) drag and drop to HAP_Internal. Much simpler. Enjoy your music. [ DAVID  Dec 09, 2017 ]
I connected my Apple SuperDrive and it works perfectly. It powers the device and copies the CD's with no issues. I believe according to the Sony manual, any USB powered CD player should work. [ ARC  Oct 15, 2017 ]
To the best of my knowledge, it doesn't have to be a sony player. i have a Mac portable disc drive connected to mine,and i rip cd's onto my unit often. [ Ken  Oct 15, 2017 ]
I ripped my cd's to my laptop, then used the Ethernet cable to download the songs to the HapZ. I would recommend that rip your cd's with the AIFF format before downloading them to the HAPZ. The AIFF format gives you a truly superior sound quality. [ JOSEPH G  Oct 14, 2017 ]
No. Any powered usb CD player/burner will work but it is a slow process compared to ripping the cd into iTunes or some other app and then transferring the files [ Paul  Oct 14, 2017 ]
A firmware update was released that enables ripping directly to HDD. While I have not used the feature, my research lead me to believe it works with any external USB drive. [ Steve  Oct 14, 2017 ]
The USB port is for connecting an optical drive to transfer your CDs directly to the HAP-Z1ES. Acoustic Sounds recommends the OWC Mercury Pro. Any good quality optical drive should work. I use the Mercury Pro and get excellent results. [ Steve  Oct 14, 2017 ]
I believe any USB CD drive will work. I have not used that feature, and I'm not sure why I would want to. The concept behind this product is that you build and manage your music library on your computer, then transfer the library to the Sony. This has two advantages. First, I find it much easier to do the ripping at my desk with the computer. This allows me to review and correct the tagging metadata, which I find important. Second, by definition, with this method you have a backup of your music library. Ripping a large CD library is very time consuming, and I would not want to be without a backup of all that work. My initial rips are stored on an external 4TB USB hard drive attached to my computer. The files are then transferred to the internal drive of the Sony. Having the files in both locations provides a backup, since files can be transferred in both directions. [ Russell  Oct 14, 2017 ]
I feel it's an upgrade, from my SACD, CD, and mp3 collection to put them into the Sony in a digital format it's easier to find and play what you want without having to manually go through your collection. Everything the other users reported above is true as well. [ Brian  Aug 11, 2017 ]
I've had the HAP-Z for a couple years and still love the sound of everything I've thrown in there. The upgrading of sound of mp3 is striking. Mostly I play FLAC and DSD. The sound is excellent and even more so since I switched from a Peachtree amp using unbalanced to Parasound using balanced. Ease of access is excellent. The work is in ripping the music, but once it is done, it is done. I highly recommend this product. [ DOUGLAS  Aug 10, 2017 ]
i would not say downgrading. I owned SACD and those disks were always the best sounding in my collection by far. One good listen of a .dsd version played through this brilliant machine will convince you. Other formats, aka high resolution sound, are better as well, but the .dsd stands above all of them. I have playlists of different songs and when a .dsd version plays it sends you scrambling for the volume control. The HDD Audio app is great and definitely offers ease of access. I find it flawless. [ Bert  Aug 09, 2017 ]
This is a high end media player. I purchased it after my Sony SCD-1 stopped working. After the SCD-1 was repaired I was able to compare. The HAP-Z1ES is a contender but the SCD-1 sounds more robust. I am still happy I purchased the HAP-Z1ES and plan to download more high resolution files. It may not out perform your Esoteric SACD player but it is more than for casual listening. [ Steve  Aug 09, 2017 ]
Certainly there is great convenience for casual listening, but the HAP-Z1ES also holds up quite well to serious active listening, as well. It's simply a function of the quality of the audio files you upload to it. It will play anything from the crappiest mp3s to hi-res files, including DSD files, which will soud at least as good as your SACDs. Sony built this with excellent circuitry, and the sound quality is superb. I can't imagine ever considering at a downgrade at ant metric you wish to choose. There are many reviews available online (including Crutchfield's) and they are unanimous in their praise for the sound quality of the HAP-Z1ES. [ Russell  Aug 09, 2017 ]
Hello Paul J, I would guess it would be a upgrade. The technology that Sony uses improves the data as its being copied and played back. I have one highend audio store in my area and the recommended this unit. I have copied more the 4 thousand songs and I really like the ease of access and the options I have. I do purchase through Crutchfield as there support and pricing is very good. Good luck. Go listen to the unit if you can! [ Mark  Aug 09, 2017 ]
The 1TB internal drive is a spinning-disk type. It is basically a laptop drive. The transfer rates are slow, especially for large music libraries. I have all the source music on external drives and have them in the event of a Z1ES crash. [ Richard  Jul 05, 2016 ]
I believe it is a solid state HD. It starts virtually instantly when the unit is booted up and I other than a momentary click on startup the unit is silent. It's a wonderful device. [ Jonathan  Jul 04, 2016 ]
It is a regular spinning-disk drive, not a SSD drive. You will not be able to hear it. Backup is handled via your computer. In order to put music on the HAP-Z1ES, it must first reside on your computer. You then copy it to the Sony using a wireless or ethernet connection. If you back up your computer, the music will reside in three places--on the computer, on the computer backup disk and on the HAP-Z1ES. [ Andrew  Jul 04, 2016 ]
In over a year I've never heard it once, so I'd assume it's SSD. Because I transfer the music from my computer it's on there for one, and backed up from there. [ ERIK  Jul 04, 2016 ]
Spinning. 1TB solid state would be crazy expensive. No you can't hear it. My music is all on my iMac. I copy it to the HAPZ. I then back that up to my Time Capsule as well as to a cloud based storage. You want to have multiple back up when you have many thousands of dollars of music in digital format. [ DOUGLAS  Jul 04, 2016 ]
Spinning disk (I think). Dead quiet (I have 2 of these). I back mine up on a portable Hard drive. These units are AWESOME. I have been very impressed with it. [ Michael  Jul 04, 2016 ]
1) Spinning 2) I can't hear a thing 3) Mirror your HAP archive with redundant hard drives. [ ALAN  Jul 04, 2016 ]
Spinning. It makes a slight sound. It's pretty quite, but you can hear it slightly if within 4-5 feet. There's also a fan in the unit, which is also very quiet. Both of these sounds can only be heard in a quiet room when you're close. It's not loud enough to hear when you have the music on. You would normally keep the music files on your computer and transferred them the Sony. They're supposed to be kept in sync. When you get any new music you put them on your computer and it will then transfer to the Sony. So the primary storage is you computer and any backup would be done from there. There is a port to hook up an external drive but there is no mechanism in the UI to perform backups. From your computer, you can access the internal drive via the network and manually back up the files to an another drive (attached or networked), but that is not the normal method. [ Walter  Jul 03, 2016 ]
Terry, I think that the mac mini, combined with a high quality DAC would be a good alternative. The sound quality from the HAP is tremendous when handling many audio formats. I mostly listen to FLAC files, but MP3-320 encoded files sound great as well. My only issue with the player is the unbelievable time it takes to transfer application to get music files from your PC to the unit and keeping everything in sync. The most frustrating part is that you can add a USB hard drive as a secondary source (I am using a 4GB), but it must be formatted by the Sony which uses Linux. It would be a great improvement if you could copy audio files directly to the external HD and have the unit recognize them. [ Richard  Apr 27, 2016 ]
I don't have any info on the mac mini. [ Mark  Apr 13, 2016 ]
A turn-key music server. No DAC required. More visually elegant. A much easier way to control the system with Sony's smart phone / tablet software and finally the DSD engine for better sound quality. [ DOUGLAS  Apr 13, 2016 ]
If I understand your question(s) correctly, it calls for an answer in two parts: first, from my experience you can only create playlists on the device itself by using the app, not by importing them from another source. Any playlists I created elsewhere do not appear on the HAP. Second, I load my music files from a computer in my home over my wifi network, which works well, but the HAP will also allow you to import music files directly from a drive via the USB port on the back of the device. Music loaded from my computer does not need to go through the internet as I have many CD's I have ripped and loaded into either my iTunes folder or Amazon Music folder which are all stored in the "Music" file on my computer. I hope that answered your questions. [ Jonathan  Mar 11, 2016 ]
I'm sorry for the delay responding. From my experience, playlists created from external files will not be imported to the HAP. After importing my music from any source I create a playlist within the app for HAP. As far as I can see these are the only playlists the HAP recognizes. In other words, if you want playlists you will have to create them within the HAP app. I hope that helps. [ Jonathan  Mar 11, 2016 ]
You create the playlist on your phone or iPad. It communicates with your home network and creates the playlist on the unit. You do not need the internet to load the computer. It can be done wirelessly via your home network or you can plug the server directly into your computer. Suprisingly, I found it faster to go wireless than direct line. I don't know about the jump drive. Didn't try that. [ DOUGLAS  Mar 10, 2016 ]
Playlists are created from the remote user interface app (tablet or phone). You can download it from Android or Apple store and try it out without having the unit. These apps are the only way to create and edit playlists. Your music files must be on the unit before you can create playlists. The playlists remain cataloged in a hidden database on the internal HD and are not accessible to copy, backup, or move. Using the app you can transfer music files that exist on your tablet or phone. But there is no way to copy files from jump drive to the internal hard drive using the app or the unit itself. However, you can manually transfer files from your computer because the device acts just like any other storage device connected to your local network. You can copy files from a jump drive, but you'd have to do it using your computer. The files transfer on your local network so the Internet is not part of it. [ Walter  Mar 10, 2016 ]
You can enter a playlist either on the device or via the remote control software. You cannot load music via a USB drive. You can only load music from a computer, either wirelessly via a wi-fi home network or via ethernet cables. [ Andrew  Mar 10, 2016 ]
You can create playlists from the remote smartphone app. That's the only way you Mohave found to do it. And yes, all the music is uploaded on the net. You can add storage with a hard drive, but not just plug one in with pre installed music files. [ ERIK  Mar 10, 2016 ]
Playlists can be easily made using the mobile application that you can use on your iPhone or iPad and Android device. The device has a 1GB internal hard drive and a USB port that allows for second hard drive. Music can be added by copying files from your computer or , and this is a new feature, by ripping from CD's. Sony has a PC and MAC application that you dowload to manage the transfers. Please note, it is a very, very slow process, even if you have a fairly robust network connection. Unlike streaming songs, files are actually written to the hard drive on the unit. Unfortunately you cannot connect the hard drive directly to your computer, copy files, and attach to the Sony unit. They use a Linux system to format the drive and the Sony will want to format the drive erasing what you put on it. Aside from these technical obstacles, the unit is solid. [ Richard  Mar 09, 2016 ]
You can create playlists from the controller apps for your phone or tablet. As far as music transfer, you cannot plug the jump drive or the computer directly into the unit. Music transfer must be from a network. Either ethernet connection or wifi. [ CHARLES  Mar 09, 2016 ]
The HAP Music Transfer software lets you select which file extensions you want to transfer, such as .aif, mp3, dsf, .flac, etc. One of the 14 options in this list is .oma. So that implies that the unit can play that file type. [ Walter  Mar 10, 2016 ]
I would like to be able to give a concrete answer to this question but I have not transferred any ATRAC files to the HAP player. However, what I have found in the 2-3 months I have owned the HAP is that any files that I ripped gapless originally will play gapless on the HAP following transfer, whereas if I neglected to rip, for example, a live CD, in gapless mode it will transfer with the gaps and play back with gaps. If I then rip the same CD being careful to set my computer to gapless it will transfer perfectly and play back gapless on the HAP. In view of the many formats the HAP is capable of accepting and playing, I cannot imagine that ATRAC will not transfer and play as you want. Personally, I leave the HAP set to DSEE and usse all of the most precise, high quality settings, leaving the gapless setting on. BTW, I absolutely love my HAP-Z1ES; I have never enjoyed listening to music at home more. I hope this response is at least somewhat helpful. Good luck. [ Jonathan  Dec 29, 2015 ]
Yes, I believe it is, although I'm not even close to using up the sony's capacity. [ EITEL W.  Aug 13, 2015 ]
The built-in 1TB hard drive is designed to house even the biggest music collection. However, if you need to boost your storage space it's easy: simply connect an external hard drive to the HDD Audio Player via USB and you're ready to go. [ Daniel  Aug 12, 2015 ]
Internal HDD : Yes (1TB) Gracenote : Yes Gapless Playback : Yes External HDD : Yes (Rear USB) (optional) Metadata Generation / Acquisition : Yes Pre-install Contents : Yes [ xfield@cruzio.com  Aug 12, 2015 ]
Yes ... through a USB connection. However the drive must be reformatted by the HAP-ZIES interface before you can use it. [ BLAIR  Aug 12, 2015 ]
It has a USB port for this purpose, and claims that it "...has the ability to use external USB drives for additional storage." (from a review of the Hap-Z1ES on The Absolute Sound's site) [ David  Aug 12, 2015 ]
Yes, you can add a hard drive via USB input in the back of the unit. Note however that Sony says the machine works best with up to 20,000 tracks. If you load up an external drive, and go substantially over 20,000 tracks, you may have database problems. [ James  Aug 12, 2015 ]
Yes, you can add a single USB drive. The problem that you run into is that the transfer rate is extremely slow from a PC to the device. The problem is that the HAP formats the drive using a Unix file system that cannot be read directly on the PC. It's a GREAT digital player in all other functions. [ Richard  Aug 12, 2015 ]
Yes [ KEVIN  Aug 12, 2015 ]
yes, although I have never had to add one. [ Robert  Aug 12, 2015 ]
Yes. Read the manual for more information regarding limits on total number of files and special formatting required for this drive. [ ALAN  Aug 12, 2015 ]
I had a similar reason for purchasing this item. I found, however, that my Yamaha CD N500 CD player sounded so much better when playing FLAC CDs. In fact, I found the sound from this Sony product lacking altogether. I returned it. Although it does not have an internal hard drive, I have since purchased the Marantz NA8005 Audio Player which is also capable of playing back DSD files. I am much happier with the Marantz for less than 1/2 the price (disciunted) of the Sony. Better sound quality too! [ William  Jan 06, 2016 ]
That will certainly work and it's most likely what this device was created for. [ MICHAEL T  Mar 19, 2014 ]
You could certainly use this to replace your CD carousel. You would need to rip the CDs to a computer, and then you can transfer them to the built in hard drive on the Z1ES. [ Jeff  Mar 18, 2014 ]  Staff
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