Sony Pushes Hi-Res

For those interested in audio, the products on display at Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC) during the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) are of little interest. And yet...I don't think I would feel that I've attended CES unless I spent a few hours at LVCC. I figured that it would be best to go on the first day of 2015 CES, before the show really got going.

That turned out to be a wrong assumption. There were huge crowds, and long lines for the shuttle buses. And going to the LVCC serves to remind us that the world of high-performance audio is a relatively small part of what is broadly defined as consumer electronics. Walking the halls of the Venetian, home of the high performance exhibits, it's easy to forget that there's another world out there. My seat mate on the shuttle going to the LVCC told me that the next show he was going to attend dealt with air conditioning control systems. (And here I thought that all an air conditioner needed was a thermostat and a control over fan speed. I was obviously wrong.)

But there was one part of the exhibits at LVCC that was definitely of interest to audiophiles: high-resolution audio. This was heavily promoted by Sony, and seemed to attract a lot of interest—mind you, not as much as robots and drones. Sony's High-Res demo system, playing a recording of "Anything Goes," sung by Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett, sounded very good indeed.

soundboy's picture

No new SACD player from Sony? Despite the fact that SACD just had one of its biggest years?

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

It is a sad fact that, with the changes at Esoteric, I am told that there is only one SACD-capable transport currently available to manufacturers, and it is nowhere near as good as the excellent SACD mechanisms that Esoteric used to provide to dCS and other companies. While Sony has not promoted SACD for a long time, it is essential to note that one of the hi-res formats that top-level Sony HR Audio players can deliver is DSD, which is the backbone of the best SACD recordings. The Sony HAP-Z1ES music server, for example, upsamples to double DSD. With Acoustic Sounds Super HiRez poised to release what may be the world's first live multichannel DSD downloads, it is possible that, a few years from now, stereo and multi-channel DSD downloads will vie with or replace SACDs as a source of hi-res music.