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Official Sony DMP-Z1 Thread

Discussion in 'Portable Headphone Amps' started by monini13, Aug 9, 2018.
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  1. Rob49
    I've just had a softwear notification for my Sony HAP-S1 & interestingly it stated on the screen, about USB connection to DMP-Z1. ( Well i think that's what it said ? ) but just looked on the Sony website & nothing mentioned about the DMP-Z1 ??
  2. coolhand
    DMP-Z1 Yup or Nope ?

    Short version:

    I bought it

    *Warning: The Following Post Is Not A Review*

    All characters, components and/or company names appearing in this post are entirely fictitious.

    Any resemblance to real persons, components or corporate entities living or dead, is purely coincidental.

    Recently I 'rather unintentionally' acquired a DMP-Z1 which I've been running into ABYSS Diana headphones, the pairing of which has resulted in me experiencing prolonged & profound periods of aural hallucination.

    I'm wondering if the original model designation was not actually DMT-Z1....!

    Before this most fortuitous event I had been considering replacement of my Hugo 2 (primarily used as a dac driving into a preamp/amp speaker system) with the Chord Hugo TT2.

    It's frequently noted for having more body than say my Hugo 2 with M-Scaler, and that's a pairing which although I'd found made music sound more like the DAVE.. was likewise ultimately possessing a less corporeal and more ethereal characteristic, one which I'm personally not deeply enamoured with... I desire to hear musicians with real meat on their bones, as is the case with live performance.

    Flesh !... this is precisely how and why the DMP-Z1 has been a fundamental reboot for me, and coincides with my clarity of realisation that the Chord sound whilst a very technically correct sound, is built from the top down (and from the outside, in).

    Whereas I perceived the DMP-Z1 as portraying a super musical, tangible and no less immersive or natural sound.. but instead built from the bottom up (and from the inside, out) !!

    It's one thing for a replay device to deeply 'portray' the ambience of a studio or live recording, a complete other for it to tangibly impart a 'feeling' of the actual presence of performing artists. This is the core difference I have sensed in my direct comparisons of the aforementioned devices and for me, it is not subtle AT ALL.

    YMMV, or not

    A funny thing about this DMP-Z1 is that I had absolutely no interest or intent to acquire yet another piece of headphile gear, the Diana's themselves were an off-the-cuff listening test which put me so deep in the zone that I couldn't 'unhear' them... extraordinary transducers that they are.

    The dealer whom supplied me the Diana's, noting my very simple tastes of 'only wanting the very best' hahahha, suggested that if I was so inclined, he could avail to me a listen of the very first DMP-Z1 to hit the shelves in my country, once it had cleared the warehouse later that week.

    Truth be known is that that last piece of Sony audio equipment that I took seriously, and spent significant time with was during the late 80's recording in NYC recording studios... that was the PCM-3324 DASH 24 track multitrack recorder, which was at the time a state of the art (and high maintenance) beast !

    The original 44.1/48kHz, 16-bit PCM-3324 weighed 440 pounds, had a maximum record time of 65 minutes and could easily be synched for 48-track work. Even with its $150,000 price tag, the PCM-3324 found many early adopters such as Stevie Wonder and Frank Zappa.

    It was cutting edge and we made a lot of hugely successful albums with those machines... but back to the DMP-Z1.

    I duly received a call and returned to the dealer for a listen, purely out of a very mild curiosity... I mean seriously I've been listening to some pretty classy gear in both the professional and audiophile sectors and recently the Chord dac stuff has been re-defining several aspects how well digital can be done to a significant degree...Sony on the other hand, well lets just say I wasn't holding my breath or anything

    Without derailing this thread (as much as I'd like to !) by getting deeply into socio-anthropologic musicology/hearing perception discussions , and perception of music does indeed depend on many culture specific factors... what the DMP-Z1 (primarily in combination with the ABYSS Diana for the sake of this here post) does for my innate enjoyment is thus far unique.. presenting a completely different culture of sound reality and one which I profoundly resonate with.

    Fact is that any and all designers of audio gear, design around their 'set of truths', their individual interpretation of reality.

    Which in some cases may become like religious beliefs along with hordes of their abiding followers.... it matters not one iota whether these truths are based upon 'pure science', the arts... or a blend of the two.

    Science is defined after all as nothing more than peer reviewed theories, many of which which are continually altered and refined, or discarded entirely.. learning does not stop, it evolves..and as such is ultimately no different from Art if taken to the extreme :wink:

    So do you prefer a '59 Fender P bass or a Fodera, discrete NOS dac or VLSI chip DSD upsampled 4096 times, solid state or tube amplification....everybody got choices, Yup !

    I'll admit I'm a bit of tube freak, in fact I dig classic old ****, ...dusty vinyl and I also enjoy building tube amplifiers, preamps etc... I've got a walls of vintage gear, big ass horn speakers, NOS WE300B's, VT52's, 801's, 845's, mercury rectifiers etc...boxes of them, but frankly I couldn't care less regarding what components are employed in this here $10K box... Unicorn snot, proprietary hand rendered MangaFPGA's, Higgs Bosuns or 42 cent dac chips from last years Allied Electrical catalogue ??

    When all is said and done, screw the technicalities....we're talking about music remember, and My ears, and solely my ears are the final arbiter.

    Did the designers inner truths allow the the fat lady's lungs to swell, her buttons to pop and her voicebox to sing like no other ?

    Indeed !

    And so too did the explosive rhythms of Art Blakey, the mellifluous melodies of Roy Ayers, the bubbling bass lines of Sly & Robbie, the virtuosic violin of Rachel Podger etc.. etc.. etc..

    Let your ears, and solely your ears be the final arbiter, muttered the deaf guy on the stool in the corner.

    In the case of the DMP-Z1, after numerous hours of hardcore listening immersion I can go drink tea... and shortly return, no, be drawn back to listening for many more hours with absolutely zero hearing fatigue.
    Whilst still hearing every nuance, in fact more relevant cues in the music and of the musical intent, the entire fundamental depth & gravitas of proceedings are represented so tangibly and effortlessly with oodles of natural in body presence.... and out of head presence.

    It's like a delectable Bento box which just keeps on feeding you :wink:

    Amongst numerous other dacs I've previously owned or still do, the Aqua La Scala R2R tubed dac was one which offered more similarities than differences in regards to the DMP-Z1's innate sense of mass delivery, tonality & texture than any of the uber articulate Chord dacs... it too communicated the message more than the medium... but in addition the DMP-1Z also does so, so much more.

    In my mind the DMP-Z1 is ZEN masterpiece of refined simplicity which in one fell swoop can eliminate all the previously required power supplies, conditioners, cables, computers, end-point renderers, more cables.. blah blah blah.

    For one, it allows you to quit obsessing about endless external variables affecting the potential fidelity of the musical outcome, should you elect to defer to it's onboard storage & playback engine, but you're not limited to it either.. its USB C (USB B compatible) input also sounds freaking excellent from the numerous sources I've used, and the plethora of inbuilt DSP tuning choices allow for genuine high fidelity options, and options are always good !

    I'm a recording engineer & éclectique music junkie (!) who is & has been way too side-tracked with all manner of gear in a continual effort to get the most out of the tunes.. the tunes man, the tunes... what most of us here are apparently all about... the combination of DMP-Z1 with ABYSS Diana have curbed my sound reproduction compulsions like nothing else I've bought in decades.

    On another tip, last night I connected the DMP-Z1 via the single ended headphone output (only as I don't yet have a Pentaconn plug to solder up a pair of direct run balanced cables) to my balanced input ADAM Tensor Gamma's which as a pair, are 120kg's and 2.1KW's of fully active 4 way custom designed mastering grade speaker system.... and although the arrangement was sub-optimal, they've never sounded more immersive from anything else I've driven them from by a very large margin, (and that is quite a long list which includes the direct outputs of my fully rebuilt and ohh so glorious sounding vintage recording console) !!
    What a simply massive sound, totally 3D knock all the walls out presentation.

    So this stunning little black box is not simply a 100% fully self-contained & transportable reference class system for headphones, it can also reside as the centre-piece source/preamp of a world-class loudspeaker system.

    (I'm yet to, but intend to deploy several other headphones and also slot it in to numerous big systems in my travels...)

    Of course most people simply won't understand its raison d'etre it at all... nor will they stomach its not inconsiderable (although in my opinion based on outright performance, functional practicality and ability to emote positively enhanced auditory response; absolutely justifiable) price... but thankfully, the brilliant Japanese boffins who conceived this 'niche in a niche' device obviously have very little in common with most people, and neither do I !
    phonomat, mrtim6, dbturbo2 and 6 others like this.
  3. bmichels
    Thanks a lot coolhand. Very very interesting report !

    This really make me wishing to try the DMP-Z1 ( and also the Diana).

    - Re the Diana, was it the new version ? Didn’t you find it UNconfortable ? ( I remember trying it a while ago and was not impress at all... but it was on bad show conditions).
    —> What other headphones will you be able to try with the DMP-Z1 ?

    - Re the DMP-Z1, my only wonder is: will it be a significant upgrade from my A&K SP1000 ( + Shure KSE1500 in-ears ) which is already excellent ? I know, I will need to find a was to try by myself, but mat be you can comment here ?

    The « Line out « via « headphone out » seems to be a nice option... if it is good enough to replace my Aurender + Denafrip Terminator DAC to drive my BHSE /SR009 and allow a radical simplification of my set-Up ( including geting rid of all those câbles & power conditioners...).
    —> It is really a shame that the DMP-Z1 do not have a « real « Line-out :frowning2: !!

    Anyway, I believe I will not buy the DMP-Z1 until SONY offer an iPad APP to browser the library & manage the playback. I am so happy with my Aurender's Conductor APP that I really have a hard time convincing myself that I could browse 2 To of music through such a tiny LCD screen !

    —> do you feel OK with this small screen ? How big is your library ?

    Again congratulation for your purchase. I am really happy for you that you enjoy it so much.
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2019
  4. coolhand
    Regarding the Diana, I'm not using the latter Phi model, and most fortunately they happen fit me to absolute perfection with unparalleled ergonomics & long term comfort..
    As for other headphones, I have access to anything in the market... which does not mean that I'm inclined to try everything however, right now I shall reserve the right to remain very blissfully ignorant !

    I have a continually expanding 10TB wi-fi networked library which I've comprehensively curated over many years, of which I can readily access the entirety (plus live streaming services) simply by connecting my phone, a tablet or any other network-aware device via the DMP-Z1's USB C port.
    Or conveniently stream to it via its several lossy bluetooth protocols for more casual listening.

    Although from my perspective one of the primary benefits of the DMP-Z1, is that you require no such devices to enjoy stunning fidelity it from ANY location when playing back from its internal + dual sd card slot storage, which can already instantly address 2.25TB via currently available 1TB SDXC cards, that is a shed load of tunes my man !
    Personally I also have no problems whatsoever rapidly accessing a myriad of music via its very responsive, exceptionally well though out menu system and compact hi-resolution touch screen... heck I bet some people are going to say it should have included a wi-fi remote control AND an HDMI port so they can connect it to a 75" tv screen for viewing convenience, pluh-eeze already !!

    My father always said, 'don't take anything for granted, and be thankful for small blessings, for if you blink you might miss them'

    In the BIG scheme of things the DMP-Z1 and Diana are pretty small, bless them :wink:
  5. bmichels
    thank you coolhand for your reply.

    You are right that we should enjoy more what we get rather than complaining about what we expected..... However, an iPad app will be really welcome, as well as WiFi streaming (to stay in the "one box" solution even for Tidal streaming)
  6. coolhand
    I do hear exactly what you are saying, or wishing for...

    More !

    But having more is not always a better thing, sometimes possibly.. but not always.

    So I don't think that it's necessarily a case that we shouldn't complain about what we expected, it's more a matter of understanding what the product is, as conceived, designed and delivered.

    Of course the consumer may only really care about the last part, what they end up holding in their sweaty little palms !
    And usually most products are marketed quite explicitly, which is how the consumer decides prior to purchase, whether the item in question suits their wants and/or needs at a given point in time.
    If it doesn't, they probably shouldn't buy it

    E.g: One should probably not buy an Audi R8 convertible sports car, if only to later complain that it lacks off-road ability or upgradeability (just because Audi could have also given it that ability, given that they also make & sell 4WD vehicles) !!
    If it were to have been built with the multi-purpose abilities of both a high performance sports car and an & off-road vehicle, there is a very high likelihood that ultimate performance in either scenario would be significantly compromised.

    Likewise for the DMP-Z1, what compromises would have been required in order for it to fulfill your desire for wi-fi streaming or any number of other peoples feature wishes such as a much larger screen ?

    Possibly any or all of the following:

    -a requirement to implement a third party vendors wifi transceiver hardware, with potential future redundancy as protocols evolve
    -significantly deteriorated audio fidelity due to localised RFI contamination from said transceiver, or large screen
    -significantly reduced battery life and thus off-grid usage, one of it key design considerations

    Who knows exactly, but what we do know is that the designers certainly were not forced to hobble the functionality due to massive design budget constraints, for Sony this is a very niche product regardless of its final retail price !
    Other than the well hyped-up Sony marketing and fan-fare, apparently they've been developing the specific design for several years, and I genuinely believe that the team spent significant time and money in making calculated and thorough choices based upon a primary criteria, sonic fidelity.

    As far as I'm aware it does not contain any type of internal wi-fi circuitry whatsoever, so any ideas you may have regarding wi-fi functionality upgrades are non starters.

    Honestly, I can think of a dozen things which I might have done differently if Sony had thrown me in a design lab with a bank-roll and a pair of headphones, but virtually all of them are immediately addressed by simply plugging my phone, tablet, renderer or pc into its USB-C port.
    Moreso, there is a prime benefit to this approach.. all of these external devices have their own specific user-interface or sound benefits which being separated from the 'sonic engine room of the DMP-Z1' significantly isolate it and give far more flexibility and features than Sony could ever have integrated.

    I can choose to use my little phone solely as my 10TB networked library's end-point renderer, into the DMP-Z1.. it works perfectly fine over my wi-fi network and gives my MY choice of end-point interface, I have several apps which each have their own look, feel and feature set if I want to also use Roon, Qobuz, Tidal, Soundcloud or whatever comes next.... besides that, when wearing headphones I'm tethered to the DMP-Z1 anyway so one more thin wire is of absolutely no consequence !!

    Or, I can use my specialised endpoint, a custom built ethernet connected box which can output via fully isolated USB, the highest resolution upsampled files from my server that I can control from a wireless device if I choose.
    Alternatively I can connect directly into my studio computers feed, which I do anyway when adding or deleting music from the DMP-Z1's internal storage or listening directly from Audirvana or the neat little Sony app, Hi-Res Audio Player.

    Reality is that the majority of punters will be perfectly happy listening to music from their phone, any number of other more broadly featured truly portable devices, or a desktop sprawled with miscellaneous boxes and cables which still cost far less.

    Just as long as they're listening to music and it's making their life better is all that really matters, because happiness is contagious :smile_phones:
    phonomat, ekindangen, Giraku and 2 others like this.
  7. audionewbi
    It appears that Sony Music centre 2.0 also has DSEEHX but it is restricted to:
    The DSEE HX function is not available in the following situations:
    • You are playing a CD.
    • You are playing a song in the DSD file format.
    • You are playing a song with a quantization bit rate above 16 bits and a sampling frequency above 48 kHz.

    Source: https://musiccenter.sony.net/en/instruction/inst013.php
  8. bmichels
    OK, so let's compromise on SONY just developing an iPad App using BlueTooth. This should not affect sound quality, and can run with the existing hardware... :L3000:
  9. TSAVAlan
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    March 23rd, 3pm PST!

    The Source AV TSAVJason Stay updated on The Source AV at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.
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    Kira69 likes this.
  10. Kira69
  11. yanfeng
    Hello coolhand, I share much with you the same feeling and even the same purchase experience. I had never thought about it as an intented target before listening. I have little interested in Sony audio product of recent years. I have the impressions that they are now mainly for non-hifiers who cherish more of fashion and form than sound itself. The last Sony audio product I really miss is CD3000 which I sold in a mistake. The combo of Z1R and ZH1ES is all right but not inspiring and I sold them quickly. I half-heartedly picked DMP-Z1 up just out of curiosity. Man how I was hooked! In fact I know I have to buy it the first minute I listened to it. It's some sound I have never heard before. This is some kind of rare product that transcends commodity, product with soul and beauty.
    coolhand likes this.
  12. coolhand

    Masterfully expressed with great economy of words.

    How can anyone even put a price on that which draws such emotion ?!?!
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2019
  13. bmichels
    How can you booth do this to me ? Don't you realize that I am trying to ...Resist ? for once, I try to be happy with what I already have ? :blush:

    BTW yanfeng, can you tell us what headphone you are usine with the SONY DMP-Z1 ? Which one do you considère offer the best synergy with it ?

    Last edited: Mar 24, 2019
    yanfeng likes this.
  14. purk Contributor
    I wish I can hear it first hand. I own a really great sounding DAC/Amp in the name of Audio-Technica HA-5050H and wondering if the Z1 can top that. Only ECP L3 & Ravenswood can top this amp so far.
  15. ekindangen
    I share coolhand and yanfeng experiences.

    I'm no expert nor sound engineer, but this DMP Z1 really hits it out the ballpark. Went auditioning at a shop in Tokyo and walked out with one. Happy owner with the Z1R.
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2019
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