Sony Shows Signature Series SA-Z1 Nearfield Powered Speakers at RMAF 2019

Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2019 is over, but the memories of the best demos remain including my demo of the just-announced Sony Signature Series SA-Z1 Nearfield Powered Speakers. As you can see in the photos, this is not your “typical” speaker. Rather, it is an attempt to create an optimal self-powered nearfield listening experience in a desktop environment.

Something new from Sony at RMAF 2019: The SA-Z1 nearfield powered speaker system

This new Sony system relies on dual-opposed woofer/midrange drivers in a rock-solid aluminum enclosure. The front driver is joined by a tweeter array that allows listeners who are optimally positioned to experience the qualities of a point-source driver array. The resulting listening experience was sublime, I cannot deny it. Despite the compact nature of the setup (speakers a few feet apart, me sitting a few feet from the speakers) the soundfield was whatever the engineer put into the recording, presented transparently.

This is Sony’s solution for nearfield listening

OK, so far so good… Sony makes amazing-sounding powered speakers. The problem is the expected price: Somewhere between $5000 and $10,000, according to the rep at the show. For the right user (likely pros who want killer monitors on their mixing console/laptop station) that investment may still be worth it. And I can just imagine what it’s like to use these for gaming. But still, wow on that price, seems more a match for Sony’s professional mastering displays than for anything consumer. And maybe the inclusion of balanced XLR inputs on the rear are Sony’s tip of the hat to that application.

Regardless of value judgments, what I loved is that Sony brought something new to the show, and undeniably “it’s a Sony” through and through. I’d even venture to say that if Sony sells very few of these, the SA-Z1 speakers will be a fought-over classic in no time. Or maybe they’ll stick around for the long haul. I have no clue, but I do know that if I did not have to pay the price of entry, a pair of these is exactly what I’d put on my desktop when I create music in Ableton Live. The experience they provide is like headphones in terms of detail and precision, but without the “stuck inside your head” issue or the “I’m wearing something on my head” issues, which is really nice.

Specs are not yet available but you can visit the features page for now.

You can read the original press release in the forum by clicking here.