Sony HAP-Z1ES HDD Audio Player
The Sony HAP-Z1ES HDD Audio Player System has won the prestigious 2014-2015 'European Digital Source' award. Given annually by the European Imaging and Sound Association - the European EISA awards recognise outstanding products released in the previous year.
The Sony HAP-Z1ES, which retails for $2999 in Australia, is a high end digital music player with a built-in one terabyte hard disk drive and the ability to add more storage via the rear USB port. It has both wired and wireless network capabilities. Music is loaded from a computer over the network, and can remain synced automatically, while the unit can be controlled with a dedicated Android or iPhone app. It supports an enormous range of digital audio formats. In addition to the usual MP3, WMA and AAC lossy formats, it handles Sony's own ATRAC (developed for the Minidisc). The audiophile will be more interested in WAV, FLAC, Apple Lossless (ALAC), AIFF (Mac-style PCM) and DSF/DSDIFF. DSF and DSDIFF are based on the Direct Stream Digital format used in the Super Audio CD. The unit can convert various PCM formats to the double-rate DSD128 format if chosen by the user.
In addition the can play Internet radio using the vTuner system. It plugs into an audio system with standard RCA analogue outputs or balanced XLR connections. Cover art and menu options are provided by a front panel dislay.
EISA praised the HAP-Z1ES for its 'dynamic and spacious' sound, and its ability 'to sound all the sweeter with its user-selectable DSD-upsampling mode'.
For more information on the Sony HAP-Z1ES, visit Sony Australia.
Stephen Dawson started writing full time about home entertainment technology just weeks before the DVD was launched in Australia. Since then he has written several thousand product reviews amounting to millions of words for newspapers and magazines around Australia.