Sony HAP-Z1ES Digital Player Ongoing Review and Discoveries

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by avanti1960, Apr 8, 2017.

  1. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    I love vinyl- most everything about it, especially the sound- but wonder if this new digital source will cause listening habits to start trending in the other direction.

    I have been seeking a digital upgrade because I wanted my CD collection to sound better in comparison to listening to LPs. Even though my CD player is decent, the sound quality is noticeably less than the vinyl counterpart. As such, LPs are my media of choice when buying new music. If only the CD is available of a certain title, I begrudgingly order it and wind up (mostly) listening to it in the car.

    I'll have to start ripping the CDs to actually hear them through this new player, but I can do batches at a time, and it should not prove to be as much of a chore as cleaning records (which isn't so bad).

    I picked the Sony for several reasons- 1) It was the source of a local dealer's showcase system that sounded on par with the best systems I have ever heard; 2) Finding a DAC without a preamp or that allowed preamp bypass was severely limiting and did not offer an equivalent value proposition and 3) No need to dedicate a computer or server for file storage.

    I'm also interested in the prospect of high res digital downloads. I never bother much with MP3 downloads but the appeal of DSD or FLAC downloads sounds awesome- convenient and reasonably priced. However- sacrificing sound quality for convenience is not something I would entertain for the long haul and if so, vinyl will continue to be the primary media source. We'll see....




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  2. Steve Simm

    Steve Simm Member

    I have been very interested in the HAP-Z1ES for a couple of years now but have not been able to check one out in person. The biggest concern I have is the stories I have heard about the length of time it takes to transfer music from a computer to the Z1. I have about 1400 CD's burned to my HD and based on reading I have done it would take a week or two to transfer. Will be very interested in reading your experience and how it sounds in your system.
     
  3. Joe Laviguer

    Joe Laviguer Active Member

    Location:
    USA
    I've been keeping an eye on those things for a while as well. I'd be interested to hear your impressions after using it for a bit. Even more interested in how long it takes to transfer music, and what other options there are aside from a USB cable.
     
  4. PNeski@aol.com

    PNeski@aol.com Forum Resident

    Location:
    New York
    One Thing that's real important for those who have large collections is how fast it is to import your collection,also for streamers with or without hard drives ,what has to be done to your collection in terms of meta data ,Just moving files around or
    re naming art work can't take long time ,I don't think people worry about stuff like that before they buy ,And Audio mags never go into that much ,like labeling art .I read the owners Manual for the pricey version of a unit like this ,and they didn't want any folders in files ,well that is a lot of work,
    'How the app works is also important ,So its not like buying a cd player ,where all you have to worry about is sound
     
  5. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    Update 4/9 AM.
    If you ever purchase one of these make sure you have a good path from the HAP to your wireless router and know where the "WPS" button is!
    My router is on the second floor of our home and my system is in the basement- plus lots of doors and dog gates! You have only 3 minutes to press the WPS button once you start configuring the HAP! It took a few tries but I finally made it up there in time and the setup was completed.
    I played the sample tunes loaded on the unit -I know these sample tracks are hand picked demos but HOLY SCHIIT does this thing sound incredible! The piano and vocals sound unbelievable!

    I just installed dBpoweramp to start the ripping process to FLAC files. I used the recommended level (5) and my copy of Branford Marsalis "Trio Jeepy" ripped in no time. I have been playing this CD lately and know how it sounds so it will be a good gauge from HAP to Marantz SA8005 sound quality.
    Now it's time for the transfer to the HAP.

    I had to go down and power up the HAP because it had timed out- I'll have to reconfigure the settings to be able to transfer even when in standby mode.

    The transfer of the "Trio Jeepy" FLAC file took about 3 minutes. Not too painful.
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2017
  6. thegage

    thegage Forum Currency Nerd

    Owned one for a year or so, a really great sounding unit. But, transferring files to it is a real pain. Using a wired connection is the best approach, but even then be prepared that it takes forever to load any appreciable amount of music, particularly if you download high resolution PCM or 2x/3x DSD files for putting on your HAP. Ultimately it didn't fit the way I primarily listen to music, but I really liked it for what it was.

    John K.
     
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  7. John1026

    John1026 Member

    Location:
    Valencia
    So this is a stand alone digital music player? What input/outputs does it have on the back?
     
  8. Rolltide

    Rolltide Forum Resident

    Location:
    Vallejo, CA
    No inputs, no stand-alone DAC functionality. Its good for people who want a one-box (including the computer) solution, but others might scratch their heads at the concept.
     
  9. John1026

    John1026 Member

    Location:
    Valencia
    So you have to load up your music through Wi-Fi, ethernet or USB stick?
     
  10. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    I'm doing it through wifi.
     
  11. John1026

    John1026 Member

    Location:
    Valencia
    But does it have ethernet and USB options?
     
  12. Baroque

    Baroque Active Member

    Location:
    Arlington, MA, USA
    I have the younger sibling of the Z1-Es, the S1, and you can also import directly from a CD burner. I LOVE this machine. Had mine for 15 months and it's been fantastic.

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  13. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    Okay so I ripped and transferred (4) CDs in the span of about 20 minutes.
    I can see grabbing a stack of CDs and doing it in the background during usual "computer & coffee" times. Very slick. No issues at all.

    The sound quality of the "Trio Jeepy" transfer is noticeably better than the sound of the Marantz SA8005 CD player. Clearer, more dynamic & muscular (probably from the HAP's dual mono power supplies). I know I have a case of the new toy giggles but I cannot imagine anything ever sounding better. Simply stunning (so far) but it is a great mastering / recording.

    Early reads day the idea of downloading FLAC files at $18 bucks a pop may not be needed. Used CDs are plentiful, cheaper and will sound just as good ripped to FLAC.
    I will probably try downloading some other Hi Res files though, not sure which ones.

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  14. Steve Simm

    Steve Simm Member

    All my CD's were ripped in apple lossless. I know the unit recognizes this format but will the Z1 play these with the same sound quality as tracks not ripped in a compressed format? Glad you are enjoying it.
     
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  15. PNeski@aol.com

    PNeski@aol.com Forum Resident

    Location:
    New York
    isn't faster to use a cable from Computer to unit ??
     
  16. Rolltide

    Rolltide Forum Resident

    Location:
    Vallejo, CA
    It would be were it an option.
     
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  17. Apesbrain

    Apesbrain Forum Resident

    Location:
    East Coast, USA
    Yes, good explanation here:
    How to Rip Your CDs to a Lossless Format | Sony US
     
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  18. thegage

    thegage Forum Currency Nerd

    Maybe I don't understand your comment: you can hook up a computer to the HAP via ethernet cable, as I did with my MAC.

    John K.
     
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  19. PNeski@aol.com

    PNeski@aol.com Forum Resident

    Location:
    New York
    maybe move the computer just from the transfer ? or the sony to the computer
     
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  20. Steve Simm

    Steve Simm Member

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  21. Rolltide

    Rolltide Forum Resident

    Location:
    Vallejo, CA
    You mean you used a crossover cable to directly connect your computer to the ethernet jack of the Sony with no switch in between?
     
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  22. Apesbrain

    Apesbrain Forum Resident

    Location:
    East Coast, USA
    The HAP transfer process is not that onerous. You install the application below on your PC or Mac and tell it where your music files are located. It takes care of transferring them over to the Sony player and also will monitor the original folder to transfer anything new you add. Just leave it run overnight and things should be good to go in the morning.

    Sony eSupport - Electronics - Drivers & Software
     
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  23. thegage

    thegage Forum Currency Nerd

    Yes.
     
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  24. Rolltide

    Rolltide Forum Resident

    Location:
    Vallejo, CA
    Oh cool. I'm surprised it allows for that, but it sounds like a welcome feature. I also like how it allows for easy hard drive upgrades IIRC.
     
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  25. dchang81

    dchang81 Member

    been waiting for these to go on clearance so i can pick one up
     
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