The Official Sony TA-ZH1ES Hi-Res Headphone Amplifier (Live From IFA 2016)

Discussion in 'Headphone Amps (full-size)' started by thatonenoob, Sep 1, 2016.
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  1. gsiu33
    Thanks S-O8.

    How do you order it? Cannot find ordering at the web site.
  2. S-O8
    I bought mine from Audio Sanctuary in New Malden, UK.
  3. Cognacbrown
    Has anyone compared the ZH1 to the Woo audio WA8? I’ve been using the WA8 for a couple of months but just placed an order for the ZH1 today. I have the Z1R and the HEXv2. I do enjoy both HP when played through the WA8. Different presentation. I bought the WA8 after a fair amount audition vs the Hugo2.
  4. Cognacbrown
    I’ve had a few days on burning in the ZH1 and made some interesting comparisons with the WA8. Over the days of burning in the ZH1, its one amp which managed to highlight some of weak areas i have upstream. The initial listen to the ZH1 (primarily with Z1R) was mediocre - soft sounding and “blurry” even when volume is turned up. Then i took the following steps which each yielded significant improvements to my ears.

    1) Swapped the headphone cable from unbalance phono plug to the Sony Kimber 4.4mm balanced cable. Improved soundstage and separation.
    2) Tried the different USB cables i have and finally settled in the Wireworld Platinum cable. The amp is so sensitive to quality upstream. Also discovered one of the well known cable brand has some weird sound signature (probably due to inferior termination). Diffused soundstage and soft dynamics. Didn’t notice it before.
    3) Added the LPS power supply to the Auralic Aries mini streamer - superb improvement in all areas especially the bass. Strongly recommend this.
    4) Added the UpTone USB Regen. I would strongly recommend this. I thought having a TOTL USB cable would suffice but the Regen is able to clean up the sound so much. It sounds so much more musical. Initially i added this at the streamer end. I then moved this to ZH1 end and i thought it further improved the sound by way of clarity and balance. Adds stronger vocals.
    5) Swap the stock power cable to Naim Power Lite and the cheap power distributor to the Wireworld Matrix II.

    The overall sound (after all the steps taken) has been elevated so much. In a way I feel this is what a good DAC/AMP should do. Its transaparent enough to show how sound can be improved. I’m so pleased with the Uptone USB Regen (bought a while back) in this setup that I’ve just ordered the newer ISO Regen together with the Ultra Caps LPS. Its now a setup I very much look forward to long listening sessions. No glaring highs but superb resolutions and balanced tonality with excellent textures on instruments and vocals. Who knows... might want to try the UltraRendu at some stage. But at the moment, I think I prefer the Auralic package - the DS Lightning app is very useful. UI for Tidal is excellent through the DS Lightning. The Ultra Rendu would require a separate PC running Roon or some other music app. Ive the J River but hardly use it nowadays. Prefer to stay away from PCs - too complicated.

    Will post impressions on the comparison with WA8 later and maybe in the WA8 thread....lets see.
    Peerayu and FangJoker like this.
  5. nc8000 Contributor
    That is essentially my rig as well (a different usb cable abd no regen) and I’m extremely happy with it with a 2TB hdd in the Auralic.
  6. Headampbro
    Wondering has anyone ever try this AKG K1000 with Sony TA impression?
  7. purk Contributor
    I don't think it is a good match. The K1000 is notoriously difficult to drive, I would get a much beefier amp to drive it.
  8. buzzlulu
    I am using Utopia's and Z1R's with my WM1Z.
    Has anyone done an in-depth comparison between the WM1Z and TA?
    I recall reading one report which stated the difference was not that big ie not worth the exercise
  9. Drumonron
    Found a good deal on a Sony TA-ZH1ES - demo unit with 1hour on it for 1500.00 - pulled the trigger for
    use with my Z1R.
    Lemieux66 likes this.
  10. buzzlulu
    Let us know how you like it - (dog)(ha ha)

    PS they claim that the units are new and not really demo. Let us know how you make out
  11. jcdreamer
    I got one a couple of weeks ago dog, how did that song by Madonna go? Something about being touched for the very first time.
  12. buzzlulu
    And how was Razor - "Dog's" - service? (as that was the "dog" I was referring to)

    Factory new as they are advertising? Prompt shipping?

    And more importantly - how do you like it?
  13. jcdreamer
    I know precisely which dog you were refering to. I've made purchases from him before. I was just trying to use a little discretion. I wish he carried more different brands.
    My 'demo' unit was shipped the next day by USPS priority mail and I received it a few days later in pristine condition factory sealed. I couldn't be happier with the purchase.
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2018
  14. Drumonron
    Pulled the trigger just b4 posting - will let you all know how it is after receiving it. I have many many headphones but this will be my
    first attempt at trying a balanced amp - and I need nothing more - will use the sony mdr-z1r with it's included balanced cable. For SE, I look forward to trying the HD800, HD700, HD600 on it and
    my Grado RS-1, HF-1 and HF-2s.

    As for the Sony MDR-Z1R - they are legend - so detailed and yet lush - they deserve a signature amp/Dac.
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2018
    Lemieux66 likes this.
  15. jcdreamer
    A year ago I was shopping for the Focal Utopia. I first audition it with WM1Z feeding the TA and I found the sound heavenly. I bought the Utopia but always missed the way it sounded with the Sony TA and WM1Z. I've had the TA for two weeks now and I think I need the WM1Z.

    One other note, the TA-ZH1ES does not come close to driving my HE1000 correctly.
    GoDiSLoVe likes this.
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