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Sony DMP-Z1 $8,000 USD Digital Music Player Unveiled

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It seems Sony has decided to enter the über high-end headphone amp market with the $8,000 USD DMP-Z1 from their “Signature Series” and the Internet is blowing up a bit because of it.

Unveiled on August 9th – the eve of the 2018 Hong Kong Advanced Audiovisual Exhibition – along with new $1,780 USD IER-Z1R in-ear headphones, the unit caused quite a buzz with attendees and press at the launch according to Chinese website coverage that Google kindly translated for me.

Several audiophile and tech or headphone-centric websites seem to love freaking out with a number of them espousing click-bait headlines like “$7,900 for a music player with a gold-plated volume knob,” or “… $8000 Walkman.” Which I love, because really, why not have fun with this since Sony has the Z1 listed under ‘Walkman’ on their website.

Read more at https://www.innerfidelity.com/content/sony-dmp-z1-8000-usd-digital-music-player-unveiled#tk95mbCLVZ6GKQ0i.99






But to be serious, it only takes a quick glance at the specs to reveal that this is no ordinary headphone amplifier. This looks to be a whole new type of beast and is touting some seriously-advanced engineering and features.

The Z1 is kitted-out with 256 GB of internal hard drive storage and two micro-SD slots for expansion, USB-C connectivity and Bluetooth and something Sony is calling “DSEE HX” – Digital Sound Enhancement Engine.

Asahi Kasei dual-AK4497EQ DAC chips are onboard for native DSD playback up to 11.2MHz and 32/384kHZ PCM resolution, but it appears PCM is resampled into 5.6MHz DSD for playback according to Sony’s specs. A Texas Instruments “High Fidelity Stereo Headphone Amplifier” TPA6120A2 PA chip is also jammed inside supplying 1500mW (16-Ohm) headphone output.

According to a press release put out on Thursday (August 30) by MQA on the eve of the Berlin IFA Consumer Electronics Show, Sony will have MQA support in the DMP-Z1.

Read more at https://www.innerfidelity.com/content/sony-dmp-z1-8000-usd-digital-music-player-unveiled#tk95mbCLVZ6GKQ0i.99






A top glass-fronted LCD panel displays a multitude of functions and Kimber Kable supplies internal wiring for both the 4.4mm balanced connection and the 3.5 mm unbalanced circuit paths, a gold-plated, oxygen-free copper circuit board is internally isolated, and five battery cells independently drive all digital and analog amplification circuits to free that delicate signal path of AC interference (up to nine-hours of high-res playback between charges). A side note here; just about every component I’ve heard that utilizes battery power vs AC delivery has had a noticeable drop in the noise floor, allowing for more music detail to make it through to the transducers.

There’s tons more information, but I’ll let you check out Sony’s website to digest it all, but just to note, last, but not least is the copper and gold-plated brass volume knob that so many are making so much about. It’s just a knob and I think it’s safe to say that’s not where the cost is coming from: it’s the huge amount of high-quality parts, bleeding-edge tech and the R&D that obviously went into the Z1.

There will be some who will cry foul at the price, but once again, you get what you pay for and designing, constructing, implementing mechanical and electrical tooling is not cheap and usually takes years of planning, trial and error and engineering execution – never mind SQ testing and all the changes that are inherent to final listening tests.

Read more at https://www.innerfidelity.com/content/sony-dmp-z1-8000-usd-digital-music-player-unveiled#tk95mbCLVZ6GKQ0i.99






As for the new IER-Z1R IEMs, there is very little information available from Sony on them other than they are optimized for high-res audio, feature an HD hybrid driver with two dynamic and one balanced armature, possess a “refined-phase structure” and come with both 4.4 and 3.5mm connection cables.

I’ll be reaching out to Sony to find out more and see about review samples.

Read more at https://www.innerfidelity.com/content/sony-dmp-z1-8000-usd-digital-music-player-unveiled#tk95mbCLVZ6GKQ0i.99




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