Sony HAP-Z1ES high-resolution file player Specifications

Sidebar 1: Specifications

Description: Player of two-channel, high-resolution music files and Internet radio stations. Supported file formats: DSD (DSF, DSDIFF), LPCM (WAV, AIFF), FLAC, ATRAC Advanced Lossless, ATRAC, MP3, AAC, WMA (2 channels). Internal storage: 1TB hard disk. Outputs: balanced on XLRs, single-ended on RCAs. Connectivity: Ethernet (wired and wireless), USB port for external hard disk. Frequency response: 2Hz–80kHz, –3dB. Dynamic range: 105dB or higher. THD: 0.0015% or less. Maximum output level: 2V RMS into 50k ohms, balanced or unbalanced.
Dimensions: 16.75" (430mm) W by 5.1" (130mm) H by 15.2" (390mm) D. Weight: 31.9 lbs (14.5kg).
Serial number of unit reviewed: 14213.
Price: $1999.99. Approximate number of dealers: >200 (see
Manufacturer: Sony Electronics Inc., 16530 Via Esprillo, San Diego, CA 92127. Tel: (858) 942-2400. Web:

Sony Electronics Inc.
16530 Via Esprillo
San Diego, CA 92127
(858) 942-2400

skris88's picture

Okay. It's time you gave us a detailed article on how up-conversion works. In fact my brain tells me it CANNOT work. I'm a digital fan. I don't have vinyl. But I don't believe you can make something out of nothing, that a compressed MP3 file or similarly compressed Internet Radio stream could be up-converted to Hi Res digital audio. The ball's in YOUR court now, Stereophile!

John Atkinson's picture
skris88 wrote:
I don't believe you can make something out of nothing, that a compressed MP3 file or similarly compressed Internet Radio stream could be up-converted to Hi Res digital audio.

No-one has said that up-converting an MP3 file will produce the equivalent of a hi-res file. Nothing can put back the audio data that was discarded by a lossy codec. However, up-conversion to a faster sample rate is a legitimate tool in digital signal processing, and it is possible for an upsampled version of low-resolution data to sound better.

I first came across this technique in 1982, when looking at the chip set for the first Philips CD players. Each 44.1kHz sample was interspersed with three samples of zero value. The effect was to reduce the signal level by 12dB but also to quadruple the effective sample rate to 176.4kHz. No information was added above the original Nyquist Frequency (22.05kHz) but now a better-behaved digital reconstruction filter could be used. In addition, noiseshaping of the higher-sample rate digital data allowed Philips to wrest higher-resolution from the 14-bit DAC chips they had developed. (Before Sony got involved in development of the CD specification, the original CD proposal was for data to be stored as 14-bit words.)

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

Dr.Kamiya's picture

Just think of anti-aliasing when you think of up-conversion. We do it all the time for fonts and graphics, so there's absolutely no reason it can't work for sound.

Anti-aliasing allows us to take rasterized fonts and blow them up to extreme sizes, while still retaining smooth edges and outlines.

This tech has been in development for decades in the world of visuals. Font-smoothing, subpixel-rendering, plus any number of different anti-aliasing methods. At the end of the day it's all about creating a smooth line from a jagged source, and it's just as applicable to audio as it is to graphics.

Just_Me's picture

I know this is an OLD post :-) But its a fascinating topic, as much because the terminology is so vague and misleading. Up-sampling? Oversampling? Difference? No and yes. Ignore.

Anyway, there are several techniques that can be applied if one increases the number of samples. Most fundamentally interpolation. Imagine that you had two dots, and good reason to believe they were connect by a straight line. You could plot dots along that line. Doing so in audio mostly make sit easier to build phase-correct and good sounding analog reconstruction filters. very common.

A higher frequency also suggests tighter jitter tolerances, which is important aurally. I wont go into the science, but it is.

Finally, there are algorithms that can essentially reverse-engineer (very imperfectly) even lossy compression algorithms, although their effectiveness is limited and they will many times guess wrong.

No one creates something out of nothing. It is more a method to improve filtering.


zounder1's picture

Sigh... when are manufacturers going to realize a lot of folks don't want a player with a built in hard drive? For those technically competent they long ago purchased a NAS to share files on their home network.
And why in the world do I have to go through the hassle of transferring my music collection and purchases from my computer to the Sony player? I can tolerate music players that are targeted at folks that just want to feed the machine disc after disc to digitize their collection without effort. But the Sony does not even do that?
So Sony has released a product that won't appeal to Luddites that want simplicity. (Asking my dad to transfer files to this machine would painful.) And it doesn't appeal to folks like me that already have digitized and organized my music collection on a home network.
This Sony player would be much, much nicer if it could simply play music from a NAS or network share. So sell me this player for less with no hard drive thanks. Besides, 1TB of built in storage is completely inadequate if you want to collect DSD files. Heck my very small music collection (FLAC mainly) tips the scales at 400GB! Any serious collection of lossless music (DSDm FLAC, WAV, ALAC, etc) is likely already way, way past 1TB in music.

SJNIETO's picture

zounder1, is this correct? It can not stream from a NAS or Net share?

zounder1's picture

Yes, according to the review you cannot stream from a NAS to this device. Miyou must copy the files.

To quote the article
"As when using a mobile player, one browses, buys, and downloads the music to a regular computer. Then, with Sony's HAP Music Transfer application, you can select the computer directories/folders that contain the files you want to send to the HAP-Z1ES. "

This means you use a utility to copy files to the sony. I find that quite pathetic.

SJNIETO's picture

This means one can copy the files over wireless but not play the files over wireless?
It's has WiFi but it can not play streams? Strange...

alvester's picture

If you elect to install and use it, the software does all the transferring for you. Once it's loaded with you music, if your NAS and/or network is down or malfunctioning this unit can still to continue to run without needing the network. (If you fully lose network connectivity you would be forced to use the physical remote rather than an app.)

I used to play back only via a NAS/Home Server and after using this Sony unit I've come to the conclusion this is a great and more reliable option to have. I also both network playback throughout our home (via Bubble UPnP Server/Asset UPnP Server to multiple Chromecast Audio devices and Audio Groups) but the Sony has the better sound in our main listening room.

By having the music reside directly on the Sony too, it removes the frustrating variables of NAS as well as having an easy to use interface via its hardware, physical remote and an app which runs on both Android and Apple devices.

With the latest firmware version the Sony can also serve as media server within your home if you have a UPnP compatible app running on your Android or iOS device. So even though it can't support playback FROM network storage it in of itself can function as NAS Storage and Media Server on your Local Network.

For years I used multiple Squeezebox 2s tied to NAS storage but adding the Sony into our home's music playback systems has been a much easier and enjoyable piece of hardware. It's great when folks are over for a listen - I can hand them an extra Android device and let them browse and choose music directly on the player.

yuppi's picture

I just buy a HAP-Z1ES and found that the XLR jacks being wired with pin 2 hot...

mrvco's picture

This would be an interesting product if the USB port could be used to connect an external DAC. I'm sure the built-in DAC is great, but why limit its lifespan and versatility?

tmsorosk's picture

I do want a built in stand alone hard drive, who wouldn't ? Take it anywhere.
Link it to your computer for a few hours and all your music is on it, a one time deal.
Sweet .

ALTY2718's picture

I purchased the HAP-Z1ES last November (2014). My impressions to date are as follows. 1. The unit is very well constructed. 2. As I had ripped my CD's to my computers HD it was an easy, though slow process (using wifi) to transfer the files to the HAP-Z1ES. I ripped some 200 cd's as FLAC's, took up approx. 70GB which is no big deal. I also had some 10GB of higher res. downloads which I added. 3. The Sony sounded better with my B&W 805 Diamond speakers (on my 'B' system) than with my Focal 1027 Be speakers (on my 'A' system). On my main (A) system I am using an Oppo 105B blue ray player and a 125GB usb stick (as storage), which sounds better to my ears than the Sony in that combination of components. 4. The Sony unit is easy to use, I make use of both the Ipad app. and the remote/front of unit controls depending on whether my wifi system is on. The Ipad app. is fantastic, I have set up the 'favourites' option and make regular use of it. 5. One frustration I have had is that the copyright protection built into the Sony unit prevents one 'Sony music' cd I burnt from playing on the unit. This is frustrating as I have already paid for that music! If you have a lot of Sony cd's this my be something you need to consider. The Oppo played the same cd's without any problem. Despite this glitch I am really enjoying using the HAP-Z1ES.

klosterman's picture

I own this and love it. Question: should I swap the speaker cables (or ICs) to address the inversion?

klosterman's picture

So who besides me is experimenting with swapping one end of their interconnects coming out of the Sony?