It doesn’t take much to get some people all fired up about a high-end consumer audio device enough to part with some big bucks sometimes. Drop a few current buzzwords or play into the latest audiophile fad and it’s surprising how much dough some with too much of it will part with. Still, you have to give some companies credit for at least trying to advance the boundaries of audio quality, and Sony has always been one of those companies. That said, it’s new DMP-Z1 digital music player seems a bit over the top at a price of around $7,900 USD.
Yes, it supports all hi-res music formats and includes an “audiophile-grade” headphone amp, but you have to wonder about the gold-plated volume dial “to ensure absolute sonic purity,” and the gold in its solder “to enhance the signal flow.”
Then there’s the Vinyl Processor used to “Give back the warmth and character of vinyl to your digital tracks and get lost again in the richness of the melodies and dynamics of your favourite albums.”
And the DSD Remastering Engine For PCM Audio so the “single-bit stream delivered to the DAC has a character far closer to that of analogue – so your music is delivered exactly as the artist intended.” Can’t see how an extra codec stage can make a postive difference in the sound quality myself.
And of course, no modern audio device should be without Bluetooth. Sony says that the DMP-Z1’s wireless connection will make your phone”benefit from digital to audio conversion and DSEE HX upscaling.” Never mind that if you’re listening to the output of your phone all that gets negated.
Not to be too negative, but the music player does have 256GB of onboard storage, a USB-C connector, and will keep playing hi-res audio on batteries for 9 hours. And it does have that big gold knob, which may end being the main attraction to a buyer dying to spend his or her money.
If you can’t wait to run out and buy a DMP-Z1 right now, the unit is currently only available in Asia.