With the last release of “signature series” which operates on Sony Proprietary Digital Signal Processing, Sony Walkman OS (dedicated Operation system for Music processing), and Sony very Own S-Master (A dedicated Direct Digital Analog converters). Yes! While there are people who loves S-Master, and there are people who don’t, the S-Master is still what differentiate Sony in the market. However, we have not paid any attentions to other aspects of Sony, such as Sony DSP interfaces, and Sony Walkman OS.
Signature series was released with the starting of
Full sizes: MDR-Z1R
Walkman: WM-1A, and WM-1Z with the WM1Z standing atop as a flagship model
Desktop DAC/Amp: TA-ZH1ES
After this, Sony is feeling that the market is lacking another segment. The Modern and highly capable headphones, IEMS are demanding so much power that most people would go with an External amplifier which result in a stack, and furthermore, people would go as far as to hook up external Power Battery Pack through Power conditioners, through each separated devices, which resulted in an even Gigantic Stacks. On top of that, each of the cables that connect each devices would be of Audiophile quality. A prime example is the USB cables, and Line Out cables, each of these cables can be found for such atrocious pricing. This! Is the market where Sony bulb lighted up “How about a Device that is All in one with each section being a dedicated toward it own, and just for sound performances with the ability to drive most of the demanding headphones on the markets”
Last year, the DMP-Z1 was a curiosity to many people when people were introduced to it, and with the Golden Knob that bling to many people together with a pricing of $8499. Most of Everyone would just scratch their head “Really ? Is this the Goal Sony is aiming for ? Blings and Rip off ?” Still, the enthusiasts who knows, would realize right away that this Golden Knob is the very Revered Analog Attenuators ALPS RK50.
So then, the people who is motivated and curious, still believe that Sony has always been the one to aim toward the goals of Pure Music and sound performances. They would be looking into the Hardware, the build, the engineering aspects, and technicality of DMP-Z1, and I myself included. Luckily, Sony is never Shy about showing their engineering, the engineering of their PCB, and it components, the lay-out. I am not embarrassed to say that I started out very Skeptical, but while looking at pictures of internal pieces here and there, without giving it a listening sessions, I couldn’t think of myself as being able to shelve out such pricing for a piece of equipment.
Next up and before I knew it, I attended the CanjamNYC just for this piece alone as the main reason, and also compare to other interesting pieces as well. I was caught off guard, like completely. The first thing that caught my attentions were the detailed and yet extended with every finesses, details and metallic resonances trebles in a very authentic way, but yet gentle and musical. The Vocal was so real with such clarity and vibrato that is just as good if not better than the Vinyl system I have at home (here is a winner to me, Digital that sounds like Analog medium ?) my jaws dropped to the floor. Then that bass kicked in, yet warmth, powerful, some emphasis but very deep, very articulated with the resolutions and textures that is so clean, tight, fluid, yet musical. It was paired with None other than Sony Signature MDR-Z1R. I knew the MDR-Z1R and the synergies between pieces very well. So, with the beloved Neutral and best Open back dynamic in my opinion, Sennheiser HD800S, prepared. I kindly asked Sony team to allow me to pair with my HD800S. I was thinking that the Warmth and a little emphasis on Low to mid spectrum is a perfect synergies to the most neutral equipment on the market.
At this time, my hands were shaking with myself and it consciousness....many thinking we’re flying through my minds. The DMP Z1 is not released yet, don’t hold your breathes, it is expensive and will burn a hole, or what happened then if I liked this pairing so much ? But to heck with it, I live one, and I love Sony since when I was a little kid. During the era of IPod and MP3, I was secretly craving for Sony top performers, but I was not able to afford it as I was having a long Road of life ahead of me. For a moment I thought Sony would abandons the market, abandon me and my sinful hobby, but no! Sony is back, and holding on my hand is the best of Sony engineering at the moment. I would be lying to myself in the one and only hobby that I adore so much to the core of my heart. Voila, She is in! The HD800s and my Cables which were tuned to pair so well with HD800S and 4.4mm is in the DMP-Z1. Turning on my favorite Song from Dire Straits “So Far Away!” Wow, that brass, that guitars and it strings, it tingling treble resonances, it Tempo, the fluidity, the Bass Slam. Again, this Bass Slam lit up my eyes “OMG, I thought this much bass with such resolution, slams, dynamic, textures were pretty much impossible for digital music and it systems, and here it is!” My heart started racing. Then that Soundstage and it Ambient....I admit that I quickly took it off my head. Just because it surprised me so much, and there were people behind me, so...common, be a gentle man and walk away. Beside, it is still too expensive to even think about ....etc...There are still many things to check out.
I unplugged the 800s, and went around checking out other gears, including HD820 closed back....etc...but the 1 piece that really was a Hammer on the last Nail, the Chord Dave. Yet, even-though it is more or less the similar pricing bracket, it is still just a DAC stand-alone right ? Well, even with an amplifier and from my 800S, I did realize right away, the authenticity, the finesses of each unique textures on organic instruments are not as well lit up, well presented as DMP, the resolution of Inner resolution isn’t there on the same scale, and especially the Fluidity of the pitch, the continuity of the emotion and flow are not as well connected as the DMP. That is it, I am gonna go back to the DMP-Z1, give it one last sessions before heading out, and I did! What a mistake....I am sitting here and writing this review that took a while because I couldn’t started writing whenever I had it on.
DMP-Z1 is practical in some limited ways. For example, you would think about traveling with it, but it won’t be worth it unless you are on a very long trip. So, to carry it around, it may only be a more viable way to carry it from office to home and so on. I carry it from home to work, and it can last the whole working day without charging up. It can fully unfold MQA if that is what you are seeking for, and if so, the combination of MQA+LDAC+DSEE-HX will do it. However, in my experiences, I rather listen to High-quality Streaming DAP, the Dx208EX does have a better performances directly instead of using it as A LDAC source
It can take in AC-power directly, so the battery will not be tapped unless needed. I did build a dedicated linear-regulated power supply just for it to plug in directly to a wall outlet just like any desktop system should be. You can use any linear psu if you so prefer
it comes with a compact Wall AC charger, USB Type C, and no Walkman Port. The only digital port is USB type-C
It has External USB feature and only wireless feature is Bluetooth DAC, NFC if you are a fan of it.
The shiny finishes while being very nice and fancy to look at. It is easily scratched up. Especially the Golden volume knob which can be hairline scratches if wiped with clean dry cloth too much!
It is also a finger-print catching beast. Playing with it for 30 seconds and you can see your finger prints all over it like a crime scene being investigated
Having purchased it is just the beginning. The burn in period is so long! So very long! It took a lot of changes from 1-200 hours and about, but started to be enjoyable beyond 200 hours and upto 700 hours it is still changing but not as observable, and only have stopped changing at the mark of around 900-1000 hours. It is also another reason why it took me so long to even think so much about it to compose a review.
First thing first, the DMP-Z1 is warmth, but in a way that is very enjoyable, and even if you are a fan of neutrality, you would still find that it is so enjoyable when you paired it with the most neutral pieces of equipment you can find. Not only that you could pair it with Headphones, but IEMS, and also External Amplifier toward your stereos system.
The dynamic and the resolution is almost absolute when even if you listen to the lowest volume that is barely bearable during a very silent midnight sessions, and together with excellent textures and extensions as if you were to turn it so loud and slam your ears out, the performances remain unchanged. It is a solid proof of such excellent dynamic range, and low noise floor. In fact, I think it is the most quiet piece of equipment I have heard until the moment. Even when plugged into a Power Outlet and enable AC preferred mode, I was unable to observe any invasive or noticeable noises. Even Bluetooth and WiFi modes. But don’t hear what I gotta say about WiFi and Bluetooth as I am not a fan of it, and it was more like a quick observation to witness what It features could extend up to
The DMP-Z1 with it simplest build that only come with 4.4mm headphone out and 3.5mm without line out, each of these ports as I said would have no problems acting as preamplifier out. USB type C for file transfer, acting as External DAC, dual MicroSD slots, and 19.5V PSU input which can also take up Dedicated Linear Regulated Power Supply to it, and with the ability to flip on AC mode, you can listen to it nonstop from the external PSU without battery to interfere.
The imagines is so very vivid, with every thing just popped out of the portrait with such inner resolutions for every pieces of equipments, every pitch (starting to ending), every note, the housing resonances of each instruments or the reverberations of the room ambient. The sharp yet defined and liquid textures of each play. You can no longer be confused between each pieces of the whole pictures, each of the same categories instruments, the cues of positioning, the projected images are so clear and vivid while being so smooth, fluid, and very well connected as a whole...again, except that warmth. But when were the last time I could listen to something like this ? With such vividity, inner resolutions, fluidity and very analog like ? Well...never for any Digital pieces. So! Of course loving it.
since the Z7 and the NW-Zx2, I have always loved the soundstage of these Sony equipments. Yet, it needs neither gigantic in width nor depth nor expansive enough to be so special. What so special about Sony soundstage to my Opinion is that “spherical and holographical” presentations. The Zx2 were good, the WM1Z were similar but with better width and much taller Y axis. Now, the DMP-Z1, the spherical goes evenly Holographic. It is Spherical in all 3 axis, X-Y-Z...well the Y may not be as huge of the spherical as X and Z but all 3 are especially blended nicely to give out a very special spherical and holographical presentation. I, myself, feel like being enveloped and trapped within these 3 fields with guilty pleasures.
Bass: plenty of energy, slam, authoritative, speed, tightly controlled but yet still soft enough like a Firm Jelly, taking shape with defined resolution and defined density but neither too dry nor bloomy. It goes deep, and deeper, with excellent rumbles and extensions. The Drop and the ripples are so well defined. If makes me feel like the dances , textures and shapes of each bass textures are with infinite possibilities. It can changes slightly with others DSP, but this is in general observation
Vocal: Vocal are fluid, the emotions and textures of female and male vocal may changes with different digital filters. You can read on below to find out further. But there is no short coming from vocal to really point out the negatives about it
Treble: with finesses, Metallic resonances and sparkling are never missing. The airiness and extensions are so vivid and realistic without any hint of harshness even with Metal and Rock genres. It can be said to neither be overly smooth nor sharp, but just right, and of which I would call it being very accurately portraying the Metal instruments sizes and kind being played. It can still change it characteristics somewhat with the other DSP options but that is in general observations
Oh, again, that Dynamic, silences and strong dynamic are overwhelming. I could listen to the sound during 1:00 AM with so little volume, but still hearing every details and textures! Crazy! Definitely
There are so much features and DSP that comes with the DMP-Z1
1/ DSD Remastering
2/ Direct Mode
3/ DAC Filtering modes with 6 options from AKM
4/ Native DSD upto 256x
5/ DSD low bit conversion filtering 2x modes
6/ Vynil Engine with 4x options
7/ Tone controls for Bass/Mid/Treble
9/ Dynamic Normalizer
It would take forever to play around and analyze each sound. Each of it is so very well implemented, except Dynamic normalizer, which is never my cup of tea, and when you are done playing with one, you would be moving onto another and never would have felt bored
To get into these tweaking, go to setting, Sound setting.
DSD Remastering: my favorite hands down
This mode, you will have to turn on Direct Mode to bypass all Digital processing or filtering by the AK4497EQ itself. Under this mode, your Proprietary Sony DSP interface will be the one that process and apply Sony very unique and proprietary modulations and algorithms. I was not able to confirm but I think it does upto 64x Oversampling into DSD64x. This feature together with DSD Filtering set at Slow-Roll off, and it is already my favorite feature, which I was stuck with for a very very long time. The emotions, the precision of the inner resolutions for excellent timbres realism, the weighty dynamic, the depth of soundstage, the vertical soundstage that is so tall and vivid! In this mode, the sound signature is kind of like a Hybrid of everything The silences of Digital music with speed, and the fluidity of the analog music. To put in perspective, DSD-Remastering is the best I have heard from any software or devices on this DMP. It analog like sound isn’t as fluid and smooth as using AK4497EQ chips, but it is less warmth while presenting the connectivity, and the emotions very well.
Direct Mode: When in this mode, the DMP-Z1 is acting like a NOS or Non Over Sampling devices. It does conversion without Digital filtering. In fact, I observed 2 different instances that when ticked on Direct-Mode, which is needed to Enable DSD-Remastering, the DAC Filterings options from AK4497EQ is likely not applied as I heard no observable changes when I switch filter options on battery mode. When on LPSU mode the changes into alternatives signatures are more observable as below.
DAC Filters Options: Normally, Digital filters and it alternated sound characteristics are very hard to observe, but if the DAC-Chip and the Amp sections are all implemented well enough. It would be easier to spot out the differences. The DMP-Z1 is one example of that.
Unlike the Other Settings, this setting is in “Basic setting——Output setting——DAC filtering section” and not “sound setting”, which can be a little confused. There are 6 options together. Also as mentioned previously, these filters with different sound characteristics are easier to observe once the Direct Mode is turned off. I observed the following.
1/ Sharp: Vocal is with stronger inner resolutions, more focused. Bass is tighter , faster and faster while trebles is rolled off faster. The Metallic resonances and sparkles is more gentle but yet still vivid. The whole performances is presented with a more clear and transparent signature with somewhat gentle on string attacks with focused vocalist. Vibratos from singers is presented but will not connect as much as the #2. The most unique about this filter is that the surrounding spherical soundstage is so presenting that you may have to look over your shoulders to make sure someone isn’t there.
2/ Slow: Vocal is presented with a thinner line in inner resolutions, yet focused but is more breathy in textures and less focused than #1. The kind of vivid textures and not short of breathes! The Vibratos skills of any skillful singers would be clearly presented. This is the best filters for Vocal addicts In my opinions. There are goose bumps with every lines! Therefore, I think it is best with Jazz, Ballads....whatever else that is Vocal Focused. Beside this, the Extensions of both Bass and trebles extend more than #1 especially the Metallic Resonances with different characteristics for each instruments can clearly be observed. A Metallic resonances from brass instruments for Cymbal splashes are different than the metallic resonances of hi hat. Strings from guitar resonances are different than Bass, Violin...etc....each resonances are well rendered, vivid, and super defined. The connections and flows are excellent, the fluidity is straight out addictive In my Opinion. Soundstage is still just as expansive and excellent as #1. Most noticeably is the density of energy for low spectrum. Very thick and Dense!
3/ Short Delay Sharp: This is presenting with Breathy Vocal like #2 but with a more defined treble details, sharper attacks with excellent Metallic resonances while Bass is faster and tighter than #2, but is more similar to #1. In fact, I think this is the combination of Great vocal and trebles definitions from #2 and quick, clean bass attacks together with the transparency from #1. However, for Vocal addicts and genres that are more vocal focused. I would love to go with #2. But that is just me
4/ Short Delay Slow: The Bass and it extensions, guitar housing resonances are similar to #2. However, Vocal is Stronger in textures and more definitive with less breathy characteristics just like #1. String attacks and metallic resonances on metal and brass instruments are not as sparkling just like #1. I do think this mode is the combination of Bass and Low from #2 with vocal and treble extensions from #1
5/ Super Slow: The resonances of Bass and Guitar woody housing is very pronounced and focused. The extensions are very Dense and at great Viscosity. It is like Creamy and dense. Vocal is breathy and vibratos is at play still but Female Vocals are more addictive than Male Vocal as Male vocals is warmer in character than Female vocals. The trade off is the attacks from String instruments are less satisfying than the other filters, and while the attacks, extensions and resonances of Metallic instruments are less sparkling and extending. I would say if you want to get specific here. It is excellent for Orchestra, or any Albums that is Female vocal and String instruments
6/ Low Dispersion Short Delay: Yes, this Transparency and clarity with excellent Metallic resonances and timbres. The extensions that Extend to infinity! The best and addictive for anyone who love Metallic resonances and it sparkling. Cymbal crashes and hi hat are giving goose bumps with each ting and strokes! Bass and string instruments have shorter extensions that render guitars housing and woody drum housing less satisfying but still realistic but faster in presentation. It is still realistic but with less fluidity and connections which yield for great clarity and transparency for that Metallic tingling. Vocal and mid have a little step back, not by much but observable. This effect created a more immersive and Grande soundstage with great depth in trade off for the vividity of surrounded spherical staging. You don’t have to look over your shoulders to make sure someone isn’t there like #1 and #2. I would rate this being the best for Modern POP, Soft Rock, EDM, and or anything with metallic instruments.
For my own enjoyment. I would rate that I love “DSD remastering” as the #1 on the listed feature. Then when it comes down to Direct Mode Off, I would tick on DSEE-HX and Enjoy the AKM Velvet filters of #1, #2 and #6 according to what I listed above. Especially #2 for anything with organic instruments and Vocal, then #6 for whatever the rest of my genres including Modern Pop.
A/ Most of everything is recorded in PCM with higher sample rates and the recording equipments and techniques are only getting better. This is due to PCM ability to edit and engineer. Where as DSD live recording is too much for everybody or millenniums generations of music.
Together with everything above, PCM allows different techniques of Filters, Noise shaping, quantizing.....DSP techniques of processing if you may (Digital filters), and then to keep it Non Over sampled or, Oversampled. It allows great flexibility and influences of different characteristics of sound performances from the algorithms, the processing, and everything else. It is none the less a very intriguing way to listen to music.
B/ DSD is just PCM with Oversampling and Delta Sigma modulation applied. Yet....Some people are sitting on the view that Redbook is enough, and no need for Oversampling, where as other people are all into over sampling and Sigma delta processing. You got the idea
From A and B, the debate and can of worms are always making a mess on the table with every meeting, there will be beating a dead horse games without fail and at every meet!
Therefore, DSD remastering as Mentioned, it is especially a Programmed algorithms from Sony modulation with Sony proprietary filters using Sony very own Digital Signal Processing and Digital interface chip set. The ability of AKM AK4497EQ to allow external filters and bypass mode (mind you, a reason why Sony decided to go with AK4497EQ) and the ability to process low bit conversions. As mentioned earlier, this is my favorite Feature together with DSD filtering Slow-Roll Off is my favorite feature. I do not think organic instruments, Vocals, and it realism can get any better than this. The Analog fluidity, tempo, and smoothness with ocean of details and metallic resonances. It is no doubt in my mind the greatest way to enjoy my DMP-Z1.
So, when compared DSD256, which is a future proof for whenever Studios and engineers feel that they are ready to release the albums that is Engineering correct under DSD256 format. At the moment, DSD256 can be enjoyed with a built PC and a program that can process Sigma Delta on the fly or Offline processing with my favorite Program being HQPlayer and HQplayer4Pro.
How do they compare from one another ? Offline conversion, on the fly, and DSD remastering of Sony very own features ? Let’s put it in a short conclusion. I rather store PCM and use DSD remastering from Sony. There are subtle extensions and energies that can only be extracted and observed with Sony DSD remastering engine. It makes for a more Realistic and connected listening experiences. When compared to the great HQPlayerPro DSD256 which is clearly better in transparency, clarity, imagines and details....but lacking a little of those realisms and connections. I don’t know exactly what that is, but that is my 2 cents. I do, however, still prefer to enjoy DSD256/512 by HQplayer4Pro on other DAPs, like my Ibasso DX228EX.
DSD low bit Processing and filter options: These are not effected when you are using Direct Mode Off and DAC features. Only effective when listening to Native DSD or DSD remastering with Direct Mode on
1/ Slow Roll-Off: That Density in within the Timbres which is very dense and Focused at the core of each timbres and quickly disperses but with Excellent edges textures. It creates the best of Vocal emotions, textures, breathes, vibratos, the realism and connections of it fluidity for the pictures as a whole. The clarity, extensions and metallic sparkles is excellent and vivid but with the Edges Textures less defined than the #2. However, this is my favorites DSD filter Mode of the 2
2/ Sharp Roll-Off: Vocal loses it density with everything else. The Core of it density is less dense than #1 but with sharper and more defined Edges of Textures. I guess, this is excellent for anyone who love Sharp edges, faster attacks and defined signature.
Vynil Engine: This is under Sound setting, and As Mentioned, The effects is more observable with Direct Mode Off. There are 4x Types to enjoy. Yes, without DSD remastering, I constantly have DSEE HX on. Previously I never adored DSEE HX on any of Sony Walkman, even WM1Z, but with the DMP, it is a world of differences
When turned on, the most noticeable is the Density of timbres energy. It becomes slightly thicker, and then the shape of this very density will change according to the type you just selected. The sound characteristics also will change and it will be hand in hand with your DAC filterings as well. All of my observations is focused on #2 from DAC filtering options “Slow”. Changes in timbres density also carry onto the edges textures of everything, hence it will slightly alter the picture as a whole, not much, but slightly and yet still enjoyable.
1/ Standard: the Density is focused to be strongest in the Core of the Timbres. Addictive Percussion and it slams!
2/ Arm Resonances: Metallic resonances are boosted up a bit to make it pop out even more with the effects of #2 to add up. If you love Emotional Vocals, metallic sparkles and Analog liquidity. There is nothing better than this combination, #2 Slow, and #2 Vynil
3/ Turn Table Resonances: The density of Timbres is a little thinner, not by much but yield a better clarity and transparency for the whole picture, especially with the Metallic resonances and sparkling to be further pop out in comparison to #2. However, in my opinion, it trade off is that the rest of Guitar and string plays just lose it realism and authenticity, which is also less connected as a whole picture. The most unflavored and down voted from my preferences
4/ Surface Noise: this is exactly what it is as the name implied. With Brass instruments textures being sharpened up, and Other metallic instruments being faster, with some grains in it edges textures which create a very authentic and realistic distortions of these very texture and nothing else. String instruments will also show it very own distortions in these textures which is also different than Saxophone or Metallic Drums. This is excellent for classic Rock, soft rock, and other genres that have many of those enjoyable moment. This is also one of my favorite for classical rock and EDM. Please notice that these distortions are different than the distortions from DSP processing “Errors” which create a very random and uncomfortable grains, harsh texture, or distortions at these places. I have never heard of something like this but enjoyable and realistic. If you call others devices grains and harshness to be an overcome or corrections for Errors, then here with the DMP, it is a very artful techniques to reproduce the authenticity and realism of Metallic instruments.
Please notice that these effects will literally changes upon your selection of Digital Filters. Please play around with them and find your very own unique preferences.
Tone Control: Bass, Mid, Trebles
What can I say ? You can turn on EQ, or tap onto setting again and pick Tone control for 3 spectrums. My apologize that I am not and never had been a fan of digital EQ....well I was when I was a kid. But that was just because I was never satisfied with cheap stuff, and so I had to tweak around without knowing what I was doing. With all that said, please allow me to By pass this feature.
DSEE-HX: This feature allow every field from MP3 and to even CD quality to be upscaled into High-resolution sound. Basically, even with some 24/96, I still can observe it effects.
So what changes ? Why Do I like this one so much in comparison to other Sony pieces ? The effects is more pronounced, The textures get a little more vivid, not by much but is observable. The separations is also improve by a little. However, the most noticeable changes is that it is no longer sounding like it is Artificial anymore. The best DSEE-HX from all Sony pieces that I had gone through, and for all that said, it is a Must when DSD Remastering is Off.
Dynamic Normalizer: This feature allow the listener to enjoy all different albums and recording at different level of loudness and volume to be always the same at output level. I never liked this feature anywhere, and I also prefer to touch and turn my Golden Knob. So, please also allow me to exit here.
Conclusion: The DMP-Z1 is first and foremost, an Instrument in it litterateur, an artist that can polish, paints and portrait your very own Digital sources under different impressions but at the fluidity and vividity that is very addictive and haunting. It haunts me so much personally that just giving it a test ride, would induce obsession of owning it, and it has to happen.....even if I have to eat Ramen for years! It is also the first device to be created and generate it own market for Transportable or Carriable as Sony engineerings has categorized it over and over in definition in many interviews. Therefore, allow me to call the DMP-Z1 to be the Carriable Player. The uses of Electrolytic Capacitors that is Surface mounting, the Glass epoxy PCB with the lay out and each Copper traces to be carefully thought out and spacing from one another to allow cooling and avoid interferences. The DMP-Z1 barely got warmed up after hours of enjoyment, regardless of what you throw at it, be it as DSD256 or charging and playing together.
The dedication from each engineers to eliminate interferences, electrical noises, and white noises that can introduce errors and trigger error-corrections from DSP algorithms and or DAC-IC, this is carefully thought through from each silicon being used, each Capacitors as a result of many powerful and customized PML caps all around, F-resistors to retain the original signals and it amplitudes as much as possible, and even Solder that is Gold infused to assure the best conductivity that is dedicated toward analog sound performances. The RK501, the Kimber cables internally 16 cores from the Analog board into Headphone out.
You may also don’t think so but the TPA Headphone Amplification IC is also well measured, thought out, and even listened and justified to be here as the best possible application for such a Carriable devices that bring Digital music performances the way I myself have never heard, to be able to listen to it anywhere, any room of the house, Traveling, vacations with it, or whatever! The experiences is endless, together with so many possible sound characteristics, signatures Features, and my inner beast is finally satisfied and lay low, closing it eyes, stopped it craving for better sound quality, the characteristics that it had always been seeking for, detailed, polished textures, defined, yet continuous, with excellent flow that connect the whole experiences as a portrait of a picture, the emotions of each density within the timbres, the realism of organic instruments.
the reason why usually these other devices sound better is due to the thermal coefficient of each individual components that are coming together as the whole internal being warmed up. Mainly is the clock oscillators, and that is the reason why people rather go with expensive Oven Controlled clocks.
For all that said, Most Modern electrical components perform it best at room temperatures.....aka no warming up at all. Sony devices are engineered under this impressions. Each devices are engineered to generate very minimal heat signatures and if there is any, the spacing from each components layered out would be larger and the copper tracing on the Board would also be larger to act as cooling mechanism. All of that is to assure that each of these components are operating in it prime ranges, and also retain the longest longevity including the battery packs.
the latest engineering marvel that come from Sony is the DMP Z1. This player gets next to 0 thermal signage. It doesn’t warmup at all when playing DSD256 natively for 8+ hours. Other devices on the market that utilizes Off the shelves IC chips like AK4497EQ and IC amps would be very warmed to the touch.
My Dx200 needed a battery upgrade over 18 months old (it wasn’t hard), while my ZX2 is still playing FLAC on a 12 hours juice despite the fact that it is around 5 years old.
The DMP Z1 is a challenge, a Dare toward other companies. It is like Sony is saying, are you this dedicated ? Do you know how to properly engineer a device with money being a No objective matter ? We present to you the DMP Z1. If you know your stuff, whatever you look at, the DMP Z1 leaves 0 stones unturned, just for the music itself
Sleep, my little inner beast, I know this DMP-Z1 is and will always be the best piece of equipment in Digital Music world in my toy collections, because for once, you agreed to lay down and close your eyes without craving for anything more. The combination of HD800s + DMP Z1 and whatever cables that meet your flavor is truly one of the many end games to be considered.
Additionally the best feature about DMP-Z1: it can run off from external Linear regulated power supply which is totally directly and does not use the battery as a source of power at all.
I did build a Sigma 11 for the DMP-Z1 and turn off “battery preferred mode”. This will enable the running directly from external source. The reason why I chose Sigma 11 is due to it being discrete design throughout with superbly low noises. Given that the PSU was built with all the “audiophile grades” components. The performances is hugely improved. We are talking about an obvious jump in performances. The differences is observable right away with my HD800S.
Sound improvements: there are a couple things first, under this mode. My favorite ways to enjoy the DMP-Z1 is actually “direct mode” with all DSP turned off, including DSEE-HX or DSD remastering.
The bass slam has much more authority, powerful blooms and ripples but very tightly controlled, the airiness, the textures details , transparency, and other resolutions are improved, including soundstage. The performances and it quality will be affected by the choice of your very own PSU. I do not hear much improvement with HD-Plex 400W linear PSU. Therefore, by using an external Regulated Linear Power Supply and this mode, you can affect the DMP-Z1 performances with how your PSU was built.
So, please choose your LPSU carefully as it will elevate your music experiences into another plane at your choices. I would say that this transforms the DMP-Z1 from a Carriable device into a High-end Miniaturized Desktop all in one System
This review is only published as a layout to what DMP-Z1 can bring, we all have different personal preferences, experiences. Therefore, please give the DMP-Z1 a listen, while I am head over heels with this instrument, you may not be.