Official Sony DMP-Z1 Thread
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xjaynine

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I believe everyone's made some interesting and valid points about what this thing is.

I'll admit that my interest for the Z1 was deflated after initially learning about the price, it's capabilities and some of the component choices. It is less intriguing because of those reasons. As much as I'd prefer the entire unit to be 'pure Sony', I'll nonetheless contest that it's still very much in the experimental DNA that is found in the most exciting Sony products.

But I think I am starting to make sense of this expensive block after @nanaholic has offered further insight. Off the shelf components, odd design choices etc. It'll be fun to validate in the future if the DMP-Z1 is a test bed for Sony DAPs to come.

After all the very well received PHA-3 was made possible by a third party DAC and OPAMP module. Going for these components at the time made it possible to decode higher bit-rate formats as well as providing higher output power. The S-Master solution found in the NW-ZX2 at the time was incapable of delivering those features. These features eventually found their way into the NW-WM1A/Z, which @purk has described the PHA-3 to be a good match up.

Heck Sony's current top of the line speakers (SS-AR and the SS-NA series) use Danish Span Peak drivers, and was predominantly an exercise in find suitable materials for developing a standout speaker cabinet.

Show SONY’s soul if that is SONY’s flagship product!
Sony's soul doesn't necessarily have to be expressed by only proprietary technologies. One of the reasons why I'm enjoying the current crop of Sony hardware is the more open approach. I still find it crazy that I can drag and drop music files onto a Walkman without going through Sonic stage or converting it ATRAC. I love that LDAC can be enjoying on non Sony devices (The Shanling M0).

While I do agree that there are some key differences in design philosophies that gave rise to some of the legendary gear in the past like the R-Series components. The new guard is also accomplishing a lot whilst respecting that soul.
 
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Kakki

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"Open minded approach" sounds good... but I think those flagship products have to have some "pride" at the same time.

With an extreme open minded approach, we can do anything.
e.g. Ferrari flagship car can use BMW engine. Hurley flagship bike can use Honda engine...

Where is the pride? What's the reason that thing have to be their FLAGSHIP product?

What's worse is that SONY is now admitting that their S-Master in TA-ZH1ES and WMZ1 can be easily beaten by some general chip DAC and chip amp.

"Sorry guys, we found that AK4497+TPA6120 sounds a lot better than S-Master in your TA-ZH1ES and WMZ1"

This is the worst message a flagship product can deliver to the loyal customers.

I think what SONY have done with "open minded approach" in DMP-Z1 is simply damaging to SONY's corporate brand and making a lot of SONY fans disappointed.
 
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Whitigir

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I don’t believe that Sony can’t make S-Master to out perform AKM. It does have it limitations, but it isn’t hard for them to have perfected it, if they wanted to, and invest into it. Sony is fully capable of leading the market
 
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Kakki

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I don’t believe that Sony can’t make S-Master to out perform AKM. It does have it limitations, but it isn’t hard for them to have perfected it, if they wanted to, and invest into it. Sony is fully capable of leading the market
Totally agreed. I once had TA-DR1 with S-Master Pro (you can see it on my profile icon photo) which had 200w output and drove my monitor speakers easily.
As Whitigir mentioned, it is just a matter of investment / time. Nothing can be achievable for a company like SONY if they decide to make an investment on time and money.

Maybe a big brick with a discrete S-Master Pro and an insanely huge battery would be more welcomed than a big brick with a general chip DAC / amp with an insanely heavy copper nob.
 
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xjaynine

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@Whitigir, agreed wholeheartedly. The AKM chip is a clear target for the engineers to surpass. Hopefully it won't be too long before the next S-Master evolution.

This is the worst message a flagship product can deliver to the loyal customers.

I think what SONY have done with "open minded approach" in DMP-Z1 is simply damaging to SONY's corporate brand and making a lot of SONY fans disappointed.
Eh, I don't know... seems like a limiting ideology. Corporate branding and identity is only valuable if the products are serving the customer. The Z1 doesn't meet the needs of some loyal customers who want to see a all in house Sony device but if does sound competitive against other DAPs in this price range. I'm sure some customers will appreciate it and enhance the brand either way. It's not a zero-sum game.

To take your car analogy. The BRZ isn't a lesser car because it was a joint Subaru and Toyota project. Neither will the next BMW Z4 and Toyota Supra simply because they share key components.

Now if this thing sounds worse than the TA-ZH1ES then this exercise will screw up the brand reputation.
 
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purk

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Totally agreed. I once had TA-DR1 with S-Master Pro (you can see it on my profile icon photo) which had 200w output and drove my monitor speakers easily.
As Whitigir mentioned, it is just a matter of investment / time. Nothing can be achievable for a company like SONY if they decide to make an investment on time and money.

Maybe a big brick with a discrete S-Master Pro and an insanely huge battery would be more welcomed than a big brick with a general chip DAC / amp with an insanely heavy copper nob.
Now I understand why you are as passionate as me and equally disappointed. Sony have done it in the past with the TA -DR1 and decided to go with an easier and more compromised route now with the Texas instrument headphone amp chip set.



There is nothing wrong utilizing the TPA6120 chip in the PHA-2A and 3 due to its being a portable product given the space limitation but it is quite a questionable decision to use the same chip in a flagship product. As much as I enjoy the 1Z and PHA-3, they fall quite short when compared to a mid-end amplifier such as the Headamp Gilmore Lite MKii for example.
 
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I thought it was about the sound not how you got there that mattered? Does it really matter if it sounds amazing isn't that what people pay for? I get where people are coming from, and I do think the price is insane, but I don't personally feel that companies need to always develop their own technologies in house. I suspect there is still a fair amount of engineering required by Sony. On a related, but separate front it would be interesting to know how the price is justified by Sony if it didn't require significant product engineering beyond the expensive and pretty casing. I just can't imagine beyond aesthetics that a case has much if any impact on the sound quality (assuming basic effective shielding for actual electrical noise). Hopefully Sony will explain how off the shelf-products being used can justify such a retail price. I think we all can agree that in this golden age of personal audio the margins being made on such boutique products are likely pretty decent.
 
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Whitigir

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I thought it was about the sound not how you got there that mattered? Does it really matter if it sounds amazing isn't that what people pay for? I get where people are coming from, and I do think the price is insane, but I don't personally feel that companies need to always develop their own technologies in house. I suspect there is still a fair amount of engineering required by Sony. On a related, but separate front it would be interesting to know how the price is justified by Sony if it didn't require significant product engineering beyond the expensive and pretty casing. I just can't imagine beyond aesthetics that a case has much if any impact on the sound quality (assuming basic effective shielding for actual electrical noise). Hopefully Sony will explain how off the shelf-products being used can justify such a retail price. I think we all can agree that in this golden age of personal audio the margins being made on such boutique products are likely pretty decent.
Sony already explained it. Because all components are of highest quality and very expensive. Also the choices of AKM and TPA combinations is because it does sound better than their current S-Master HX capability in their experiences. Alp Rk50 is very expensive for example

Because such combinations results in a wonderful sound performances, they are not sticking by the book of Linear power supply or discrete Amp. Their goal in creating Z1 is to simply achieving the best sound performances the most picky human can hear, regardless of designs language, and an all in one device

In a sense, why so expensive ? Because it sound good !
 
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Sony already explained it. Because all components are of highest quality and very expensive. Also the choices of AKM and TPA combinations is because it does sound better than their current S-Master HX capability in their experiences. Alp Rk50 is very expensive for example
Not that expensive, I would bet the total bill of parts is far less than you think. I'm sure the case is a big part of the cost.
 
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Whitigir

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Not that expensive, I would bet the total bill of parts is far less than you think. I'm sure the case is a big part of the cost.
RK50 is $1000 by itself, and you think it is cheap ? Okay! Ofcourse I agree about the Bill of materials pricing is far less than the MSRP. But you wanted an explaination, you got it
 
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RK50 is $1000 by itself, and you think it is cheap ? Okay!
Well, that I will admit I didn't know, but are you sure that is what Sony pays for them?
 
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Whitigir

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Well, that I will admit I didn't know, but are you sure that is what Sony pays for them?
No, and ofcourse less than what a DIY could buy. However, RK50 attenuators remaining the king of performances and the king of cost, regardless
 
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No, and ofcourse less than what a DIY could buy. However, RK50 attenuators remaining the king of performances and the king of cost, regardless
I'm sure they are spendy for sure, as are the other components Sony is using, but they do this for profit and I still remain convinced that the margins are pretty decent. Personal audio is really lucrative right now. I'm not against profit believe me, no profit, no money to innovate via R&D so I have no issue with profit being made, but lets not kid ourselves that there isn't good money to be made at such a retail price.
 
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purk

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The RK50 is the best there is in term of continuous volume attenuation. Still, a quad DACT 24 steps is just as good for quarter of the cost. I also think Goldpoint also make some quad 48 steps attenuator.

I agreed that the BOM is probably less than $1800.
 
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Whitigir

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The RK50 is the best there is in term of continuous volume attenuation. Still, a DACT 24 steps is just as good for quarter of the cost. I also think Goldpoint also make some quad 48 steps attenuator.
Yeah, but then they won’t be able to claim that the resulted MSRP is due to the very expensive components either :wink:

Sony is explaining and is very open about interviews. But in the end, I am seeing “because it sound good, and we use expensive parts” :D. They improved upon the iconic quote “because it sound good” analogy

There is Sony own DSP in the DMP-Z1 though, don’t you dare look down on the device. It is not all Off the shelves. The sound isn’t what it is without this part :wink: (just my opinion)

By the way, you think Sony as a leader ? DMP-Z1 is the first of it kind: Carriable Players (neither stationable, transportable nor Portable) that is between a desktop and a DAP ! It is uniquely first of it kind
 
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