Originally Posted by gbaby
Originally Posted by markrubin
I got a HAP-Z1ES to audition for a few days: this thing weighs 32 pounds: it is built like the old ES gear: solid and massive and beautiful
HAP-Z1ES has a file transfer program you can download to a PC or MAC: and an iPad app
I have it playing the demo material that comes preloaded: there is a noticeable thump at the beginning and end of some tracks: but in between it sounds excellent: perhaps more later
This unit is basically a Sony XA-5400ES that requires one to use only 2 channels for hi res PCM and DSD files. But, I don't understand the logic. Why would I want 2 channel DSD and PCM when I can have 5.1 channesl of PCM at 176.24/24 using the Sony XA-540ES playing SACDs?
I believe multi-channel mixes/masters for SACD (DSD) have been abandoned. The vast majority of musical content available today is still, overwhelmingly, 2 channel stereo. Modern SACD and DSD downloads since are in 2 channel stereo. From an "audiophile's" view, one should listen to music in the channel/speaker format for which it was mixed/mastered: these days, and that means today's DSD, that is 2 channel stereo. Yes, one can, and Sony could have added options to use all sorts of Dolby like multi-channel matrixing hocus pocus, but that would alter the original mix just to have sound emit from all 5.1 or 7.1 or 9.1 speakers. I'm sure that would be controversial among many on this forum, and Sony is marketing this to the "audiophile" market who would, most likely, agree with Sony's decisions. However, the analog outputs to an AVR does allow one to add the multi-channel matrixing using their own device. I suppose, from Sony's standpoint, if one wants to listen their old multi-channel SACD's (mastered as so), they need to get a seperate SACD or SACD/Blu-ray player.
IMHO, Sony probably feels comfortable enforcing adherence to the original source materiel with offering 2 channels of output only and a built in amp and speaker connections designed to leave things to "Sony's standard" completely eliminating (sarcasm here) contamination of the audio from "outside" influences
. Note that there are no digital outputs for this device. IMHO, Ideally, Sony probably does NOT want people using this device as a transport because many (not the really well informed folks, but the more casual "audiophiles") would blame the Sony device for a not so great sound when the fault may be in the listeners DAC, as Sony is making a big deal about their DAC being the bee's knees. There is still great controversy regarding differences among DAC's and if they are truly significant.
For me, the power and appeal of this device is having all my music on one STAND-ALONE device that organizes it, provides copious visual information along with album art, that does not depend upon a PC for playback nor streaming one room to another (streaming is another omission most likely to keep the Sony experience positive rather than have people upset at the Sony device when the listener's real problem is their lousy, slow, LAN). All the other stuff is not terribly compelling to me because there just aren't any devices like this one in regards to how it SPECIFICALLY can store, DISPLAY, and play the music without a PC. Not since the old LG Blu-rays that could rip CD's and access Gracenote (as this device does) to provide storage, organization and easy, intuitive playback with plenty of visual data and all for a lot less $$ than this device, but LG no longer makes those Blu-ray players. I am so desperate to get my music on such a device that I just may bite the bullet and get this Sony device. Heaven Help me to win the Lotto.