Sony Launches Slew of High-Resolution Audio Products
New hard-drive-based music player and DAC among key pieces for high-res audio playback.
Sony’s HAP-Z1ES 1TB Hi-Res HDD Music Player
September 11, 2013 by EH Staff

Sony introduced a range of high-resolution audio products last week targeted at both the casual consumer and the audiophile alike. The eight products include two hi-res music players, a DAC for PC audio, two speakers and three headphones.

“There’s a new movement that’s quietly been gaining moments. It’s called high-resolution audio,” said Phil Molyneux, president and COO for Sony Electronics, during an introduction ceremony in New York City.

Molyneux said high-resolution audio—typically referring to audio files of at least 24-bit depth and 96kHz sampling (standard CDs are 16-bit/44.1kHz)—is where the audio industry is heading and pointed to the recent announcement by Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) that it would expand its support of hi-res audio going forward. In that announcement, CEA cited its own research indicating that 39 percent of consumers with a moderate interest in audio are willing to pay higher costs for products with better audio quality, and that 90 percent of consumers feel that sound quality is the most important factor in a quality audio experience.

In addition to touting its new products, Molyneux also stressed the superiority of hi-res audio (HRA) files over compressed MP3 files, and brought out Grammy Award-winning musician and producer Herbie Hancock to that fact.

“This is such an important breakthrough,” Hancock said. “If digital music enthusiasts could experience their favorite recordings like this? It could be a real game changer.”

The eight products that Sony launched, with specs from the company:

Sony HAP-Z1ES 1TB Hi-Res HDD Music Player
• Stores, plays back and decodes virtually all Hi-Res audio formats
• Built-in 1TB hard drive with expandable storage
• Front panel LCD and HDD Audio Remote mobile app (Android and iOS) for browsing and playback
• Supports virtually all Hi-Res formats including: PCM (44.1kHz/ 48kHz/ 88.2kHz/ 96kHz/ 176.4kHz /192kHz in 24 bit depth); DSD (DSF, DSDIFF); MP3, WAV, WMA, AAC, FLAC, ALAC, ATRAC, ATRAC ADVANCED LOSSLESS, AIFF
• DSD Re-mastering Engine upscale music files to DSD (5.6MHz) quality
• DSEE restores missing data from compressed files
• HAP Music Transfer software compatible with both Windows and Mac computers for automatic copy of music files to HDD when new files are added on computer
• Available Fall 2013 for $1,999 in silver

Sony HAP-S1 Hi-Res Music Player System
• Stores, plays back and decodes virtually all Hi-Res audio formats
• Built-in 500GB hard drive with expandable storage
• Front panel LCD and Mobile apps (Android and iOS) for browsing and playback
• 2-channel Class AB amplifier (40 Watts x 2)
• Supports virtually all Hi-Res formats including: PCM (44.1kHz/ 48kHz/ 88.2kHz/ 96kHz/ 176.4kHz /192kHz in 24 bit depth); DSD (DSF, DSDIFF); MP3, WAV, WMA, AAC, FLAC, ALAC, ATRAC, ATRAC ADVANCED LOSSLESS, AIFF
• DSD Re-mastering Engine upscale music files to DSD(5.6) quality
• DSEE restores missing data from compressed files
• HAP Music Transfer software compatible with both Windows and Mac computers for automatic copy of music files to HDD when new files are added on computer
• Available Fall 2013 for $999 in black or silver


Sony UDA-1 USB Hi-Res DAC System for PC Audio

• Allows enjoyment of Hi-Res music as well as conventional compressed music restored by DSEE technology
• 2-channel 20 amplifier (20 Watts x 2)
• Supports virtually all Hi-Res formats including PCM (44.1kHz/ 48kHz/ 88.2kHz/ 96kHz/ 176.4kHz /192kHz in 24 bit depth); DSD (DSF, DSDIFF); MP3, WAV, WMA, AAC, FLAC, ALAC, ATRAC, ATRAC ADVANCED LOSSLESS, AIFF
• Compatible with virtually every PC music player application, including iTunes, Windows Media Player, KORG Audio Gate, and Media Go
• USB connectivity to PC (USB-A x 1 and USB-B x 1)
• Multiple connection terminals include Optical in, Coax in, and Analog RCA in, with RCA analog out and Headphone out
• Available Fall 2013 for $799 in black or silver

Sony SS-HA1 Hi-Res Speaker
• Wide Dispersion (WD) W-Super Tweeter complements high band energy for high resolution music sources
• Mica Reinforced Cellular (MRC) fiber for supremely light and extraordinarily rigid woofer cones, producing exception musical transients that are clear and with minimal distortion
• Baffle shape for diffraction effect reduction
• Rigid aluminum body for optimized sound
• Available Fall 2013 for $599 / pair in black

Sony SS-HA3 Hi-Res Speaker
• Wide Dispersion (WD) W-Super Tweeter complements high band energy for high resolution music sources
• Baffle shape for diffraction effect reduction
• Rigid aluminum body for optimized sound
• Available Fall 2013 for $349 / pair in black

Sony MDR-10R Headphones
• High resolution capable, featuring 40mm driver units that deliver a balanced, highly accurate reproduction of today’s up-front vocals, mid-range details, as well as rich, powerful lows and extended highs
• High-definition HD driver assures ultra-wideband audio performance extending from 5Hz to 40kHz matching today’s high resolution music sources
• Designed for hours of comfortable listening, with pressure-relieving ear cushions that provide a supportive, wrap-around feel, as well as a highly effective acoustic seal, further reinforcing the headphones’ powerful sub-bass reproduction
• Detachable cable provides an innovative design that eliminates friction between cable surfaces and reduces the source of frustrating tangles. A smartphone cable with microphone and remote is also included, to easily switch from music to calls.
• Available in October for $199.99 in black and white

Sony MDR-10RBT Headphones
• High resolution capable (with wired connection), this Bluetooth headset brings the same innovative sound processing technologies to music lovers who demand the ultimate in sound quality without wires
• Incorporating Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, the new MDR-10RBT eliminates the cumbersome process of pairing and connecting. Users can simply tap an NFC-enabled smartphone or tablet to the MDR-10RBT Bluetooth headset to instantly stream high-quality music or crystal-clear phone calls via Bluetooth
• Stream music wirelessly from iPhones and iPads as well as Android smartphones and tablets that are not NFC equipped
• Support AptX and AAC codecs to ensure higher quality sound while streaming wirelessly
• Up to 18 hours of battery life between charges, though can also be used as standard headphones without the battery
• Available in November for $249.99 in black

Sony XBA-H3 Ear Bud Headphones
• High resolution capable, featuring dedicated high-definition hybrid three-way driver unit (16mm dynamic driver unit and two Balanced Armature driver units) for music enjoyment throughout all frequencies
• Driver unit delivers radiant highs and deep, bellowing bass, including even the most subtle musical nuances
• Rigid, yet responsive Liquid Crystal Polymer Film diaphragm provides the needed rigidity and internal loss for balanced and highly accurate sound reproduction
• Smartphone cable with microphone and remote is also included, to easily switch from music to calls
• Available in December for $349.99

Also Check Out:
DACs: The Missing Piece in Today’s Music Systems
Hands On: Bryston BDP-1 Digital Player
Sound Setups: Three Great Audiophile Listening Rooms

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