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Has anyone compared the Sony HAPZ1 to the Marantz NA11S1

72.24.13.71

Posted on September 8, 2014 at 19:00:40
navman
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in terms of sound quality?

I'm having a dickens of a time deciding which one I like.

It seems to me the Marantz is a little more clear, clearer vocals, more air and separation between instruments and has better texture.

The Sony seems very pleasant and musical but somehow lacking in transients and being a little more "mushy" for lack of a better term.


navman

 

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Price difference?, posted on September 8, 2014 at 20:04:24
oldmkvi
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I thought the Marantz was around $4000, Sony $2000.
Do you use the Remastering Engine?
That seemed to put the Sony over the top in some reviews.

 

RE: Price difference?, posted on September 9, 2014 at 04:31:44
navman
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You're right about the price differential.

I used the remastering engine of the Sony.

My hope was that the Sony would outperform the Marantz.

On the other hand Im having a hard time saying which one is better to my ears. And i wonder how much is subjective. Hence the question if someone else have heard both these units and could shed what their experience was.
navman

 

RE: Price difference?, posted on September 9, 2014 at 11:04:23
AbeCollins
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What file types / resolutions were you testing?


 

RE: AIFF 16 bit all the way to 24/96 nt, posted on September 9, 2014 at 11:05:33
navman
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navman

 

You mentioned "Mushy", posted on September 9, 2014 at 12:54:38
oldmkvi
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Or Soft. That's kind of a Red Flag, that the Marantz is giving finer Resolution,
which, in a Perfectly Ordered World, ( such as Ours ),
The Mararntz at twice the price should offer something that the Sony can't.
Could only be 5 or 10% better, but you can't live without it when you gpt back to the other Player.
Get some DSD Files, they might make things more obvious to you, one way or the other.
Keep us posted!!!

 

RE: I will. , posted on September 9, 2014 at 14:07:23
navman
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It's interesting to say the least. The demo unit I have had the auto sound volume left on. I switched that off and that helped. Also switched off the DEEE which is for mp3 and the like. Im listening to the Sony with its DSD upsampling on, as that is its biggest selling point.
navman

 

RE: Thanks! Also curious about....., posted on September 9, 2014 at 14:09:18
AbeCollins
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My understanding is that the Marantz is a Network Audio Player with no HDD of its own. I'm curious to know where your music files are located for your testing? Were they on a NAS, computer drive within a PC/Mac on the network, external USB HDD?

Does the Marantz recognize the iTunes music library hierarchy, meta data, and album art?

I had the Sony HAP-S1 which is the 'mid-fi' little brother to the HAP-Z1ES. With the HAP-S1 built-in integrated amp, I thought it sounded very good. I would have kept it but I disliked having to load my music to it's HDD via Ethernet. Once loaded, managing the content from the Sony app or front panel was a contortionist exercise, IMHO. I believe the HAP-Z1ES is managed in the same way.

I'm wondering if I'm a better candidate for the Marantz.

Can you comment on some of my questions above? Thanks!



 

Good deal. You're OUR Ears! nt, posted on September 9, 2014 at 15:34:55
oldmkvi
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/

 

Software Update may have addressed File Issues,, posted on September 9, 2014 at 15:42:18
oldmkvi
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One Inmate did it, but didn't say What it did.
The Marantz is most probably Fantastic!

 

Huge difference between the two:, posted on September 9, 2014 at 16:22:09
Prisoners
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Unless I'm mistaken the Marantz needs to have your computer on and active because it has no internal storage. I haven't hear the Marantz but I've spent several hours with the Sony and I think it sounds fantastic with all material. For me the whole idea of one of these machines is to cut the tie with my computer but not lose the convenience of having all of my music easily accessed.
The Sony does this at a considerable savings over the Marantz and really sounds great.

 

I'm very glad you like the Sony! , posted on September 9, 2014 at 16:35:22
oldmkvi
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I want one, just haven't pulled the trigger, so to speak.

 

RE: Thanks! Also curious about....., posted on September 9, 2014 at 16:42:59
navman
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I haven't used the Marantz with a NAS. Its weakness is that it doesn't recognize AIFF files (and most of my collection is. I don't think I have the patience to convert them all to FLAC.

I run the Mac Mini connected to the Marantz by USB cable. Audirvana is the engine running the data rather than iTunes itself.


As i play with the Sony i find that controlling it with my iPhone quite a decent experience. With my Mac Mini setup i usually access another computer to pick what I want to listen to.
navman

 

RE: Thanks! Also curious about....., posted on September 9, 2014 at 19:33:19
fantja
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No doubt that other companies are starting to come online w/ these types of products. Marantz & Sony are the beginning...

 

RE: While I haven't listened to DSD yet, posted on September 9, 2014 at 20:34:03
navman
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I would say after tonights listening, there is just something "right" about the Marantz's sound that the Sony doesn't get. The Sony is wonderful. And the differences are minor. But something about the Marantz is touch less artificial just more "there" in my system. And maybe thats just it, in my system the Marantz has an edge. A bit more weight. A touch less "hi-fi" sound.

The Sony is a great bargain: It far supersedes the Cary tube DAC I tried some months ago, and sounds extremely musical. It is easy to use and the remote function via iPhone or iPad (or I suppose any android device) is a pleasure.

I'm still on the fence regarding staying with the Marantz: plus attached Mac Mini and its tethered hard drive vs the convenience of an all in one player like the Sony. This is after all my secondary system. But that urge to squeeze out the best sound I can get vs a modicum of practicality rages on inside!!!! :)

If the Sony had a digital out, this whole issue would be moot. But I think any buyer of the Sony wouldn't be disappointed. Its a great device.



navman

 

RE: "The marantz is probably....", posted on September 9, 2014 at 20:37:28
navman
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JA compared the Marantz to the MSB Diamond DAC which is high praise indeed!

I was just thinking.......... the Sony has a FPGA DAC so theoretically its sound could improve with firmware upgrades.
navman

 

RE: Thanks! Also curious about....., posted on September 9, 2014 at 20:45:26
AbeCollins
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Ah, so you are using the Marantz as a DAC via USB.


As i play with the Sony i find that controlling it with my iPhone quite a decent experience


I found this to be true when I had the Sony HAP-S1. Basic control for navigating the library via iPhone or iPad was good. However, managing the Library was another matter. It felt constrained, tedious, and in some cases impossible.

I had some issues with duplicates and album art not matching the album. Several 2-disc albums would appear with the correct art for the 1st disc and totally random picture for the 2nd disc. I also had several artists all showing up with Tom Petty album art, and a couple other similar examples. There was no easy way that I was aware of to fix these issues on the Sony.

The album art on the Mac Mini was fine. I think it was a database related issue within the Sony, and possibly Gracenote. I even tried resetting everything to factory default with no content then reloaded the Library again. Same problem.

Otherwise, I loved the sound of the Sony. I just wish they would fix some of the bugs in their software. This was back in June 2014.

If these issues have been fixed, I might try the higher-end HAP-Z1ES. The Marantz is a no go for me after learning from you that it does not support AIFF. Thanks.



 

RE: Huge difference between the two:, posted on September 9, 2014 at 20:52:13
AbeCollins
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I'd be curious to know the size of your music library that you loaded to the Sony, and about how long did it take? How many files? What type?

I had the lower-end Sony HAP-S1 that was very good sonically. But I had some problems with Library and other misc software bugs. The library and management are handled in the same way between the HAP-S1 and HAP-Z1ES. I wrote about some of the bugs I encountered further down this thread.

I wouldn't mind giving the HAP-Z1ES a try if Sony fixed some of the problems.



 

What about the new PS Audio-, posted on September 9, 2014 at 20:56:23
oldmkvi
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It's more than the Marantz, but if you can see getting that one, maybe the PS Audio isn't much more of a stretch $-wise.

 

Have had the HAP-Z1ES for a while..., posted on September 9, 2014 at 22:21:55
Regnad
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and am very happy coming from a CAPS Zuma/Auralic Vega.

24,000 + tracks on external and internal drives, 1.5 TB of PCM, 500G of DSF

First 2 weeks were very slow transferring main library. Now with a few albums a week it works well drag/dropping across network.

Sound quality is exceptional.

 

My friend has one; I'm still saving my pennies., posted on September 10, 2014 at 05:21:06
Prisoners
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The only hiccup in the loading process he had was his own fault: he admitted to not reading the manual carefully and ended up loading a lot of duplicate files that made the process longer than necessary. Every type of file however sounds very good to me in his Hegel /Joseph Audio system. The up converting engine exclusive to the top model works very well and makes a noticeable difference.

 

RE: What about the new PS Audio-, posted on September 10, 2014 at 06:47:56
navman
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I had the Perfectwave DAC and ran into the issue that a particular firmware upgrade wouldnt work with some boards. There was evenually a fix but the hassle wasnt cool in an item of that price.

That is what would keep me away from the PS Audio for now. OTOH I got a deal on the Marantz, so the jump to the PS Audio is more than what it may seem.

Having said that I woudl like to listen to the new PS Audio.
navman

 

I like the concept, posted on September 10, 2014 at 09:00:31
jedrider
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Initially, all these types of devices were NETWORK oriented devices. This device is simply a music storage/playback device. At this point, the software becomes so complicated, that this is a good compromise for longevity. We can use a computer for the rest.

 

RE: Price difference?, posted on September 10, 2014 at 09:02:02
Old SteveA
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You did say you switched off the "DSEE" engine,right ? That engine will most likely degrade the sound of our "Big Boy" uncompressed music files.

The thing you have to consider is that DSD & PCM handle transients (where one note stops & another starts & the associated intensity of these notes)
differently.I think DSD has a greater scale of these microdynamic shadings.It may not be as much that the sound is a bit "mushy" as much as PCM has no choice of how it presents the sound.(so everything may appear to be more immediate

As I don't think A/B comparisons do much more than confuse our "Aural Memory" a bit more because we're much more familiar with how the non-DSD
Remastered files sound. I think it makes more sense to listen to whole "blocks" of the same music to see if that works any better.

Yes, only you can decide which musical presentation works better for you

 

RE: My friend has one; I'm still saving my pennies., posted on September 10, 2014 at 09:19:15
AbeCollins
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The lower-end Sony HAP-S1 has the same Digital Sound Enhancement Engine (DSEE) technology as the HAP-1ZES and I thought the setup sounded wonderful. I can only imagine that the flagship HAP-1ZES sounds even better. I have no issues with the sound of the Sony players. They're great.

I didn't have that many "dupes", not enough to significantly impact the upload time.

The reason I had some "duplicates" is because I keep more than one version of certain albums. So they weren't technically duplicates. Some albums were ripped from CD, some were Hi-Res rips from my vinyl or downloads from HDtracks, and others were DSD downloads. It was not easy to identify the version I wanted to play on the Sony so I thought I would find and delete the lower res ones. I found this very tedious to near impossible from the Sony.

I can easily organize, identify and differentiate the versions on my Mac music server but not on the Sony. If I were to do it again, I would remove (or move) the lower resolution files from the Mac before initiating the bulk transfer to the Sony because managing the library on the Sony after the fact is a chore.



 

RE: Have had the HAP-Z1ES for a while..., posted on September 10, 2014 at 09:22:22
AbeCollins
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Yes, sound quality is outstanding. Do all of your files have proper ID3 tags and album art, and do they all come up correctly in the Sony? Are some being pulled from Gracenote from the Sony over the internet? And have they all been correct?

Thanks.

 

Got it thanks., posted on September 10, 2014 at 09:44:57
Prisoners
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Now I'm wondering what the 2k machine does that the 1k doesn't..aside from twice the storage. Not to mention you don't get the amp or headphone amp in the bigger one. I was told by more than one person that the internal build quality of the ES is top-notch and is usually seen at much higher price points, but I haven't heard the 500G version.

 

Could you give a bit more details comparing Sony to CAPS/Auralic combo?, posted on September 10, 2014 at 10:28:46
carcass93
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As I understand, Sony doesn't have a digital out, so separating what part of difference/improvement is due to transport and what due to DAC is impossible - but still.

Did you get a chance to try CAPS with another DAC, or Auralic with different transport?

TIA

 

RE: Good points...., posted on September 10, 2014 at 12:07:28
navman
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Im trying the "blocks" of music vs teh quick AB as ive found teh quick AB comparason never works especially with digital components....
navman

 

RE: Got it thanks., posted on September 10, 2014 at 12:19:10
AbeCollins
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The Sony HAP-S1 has a built-in integrated amp of sufficient power with reasonably sensitive speakers. It also has a larger front panel display. Internal disk is 500GB but like it's bigger brother it will accommodate an additional external disk.

The flagship Sony HAP-Z1ES has XLR balanced and RCA outputs, no integrated amp, smaller display but being an "ES" component, it should be better built with better parts. And it should sound better.

I hear that Sony has a good return policy if you want to try one out. I bought my 'mid-fi' Sony HAP-S1 from Amazon and their return policy is also excellent. When I returned mine, I just said it had software bugs and was not ready for primetime, printed the return form and placed it in the box, and printed the shipping label. Placed the box on my porch and UPS took it away. No hassle.

I really liked the sound of the Sony. It was excellent but maybe I'm spoiled with the flexibility I have in the computer setup vs a dedicated player like the Sony. You never really give up the computer with the Sony anyway. It's still needed anytime you want to place more content on the Sony.




 

My understanding is the S1 has the DSEE, not the Remastering Engine., posted on September 10, 2014 at 14:10:56
oldmkvi
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DSEE is for mp3's, restores some information removed in the mp3 process.
Remastering Engine converts everything to 2xDSD.

 

That would explain the ES designation and the added cost. Nt, posted on September 10, 2014 at 14:27:07
Prisoners
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.

 

RE: Have had the HAP-Z1ES for a while..., posted on September 10, 2014 at 14:34:41
Regnad
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My library was well-groomed using JRiver but I only use very basic tags. Most artwork was embedded in the files so the Sony rarely picked artwork and it seemed accurate. I have also changed the tags using the Sony app so the original files on the NAS are no longer current. I have backed up the Sony drives back to another NAS.

 

Yes, and Internal Bracing, heavier Copper Chassis. nt, posted on September 10, 2014 at 14:36:56
oldmkvi
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Oooh, Ooh, me want one!

 

RE: Could you give a bit more details comparing Sony to CAPS/Auralic combo?, posted on September 10, 2014 at 14:45:29
Regnad
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I would say that the detail/shrillness balance is about perfect for most recordings and there is an engaging presentation that gets me more involved. That's not to say that I had all the various things adjusted correctly before and some of the value is in not having to think about that. I have also changed preamps so much is different.

I leave the DSEE and DSD-upsampling on by default but do not use volume leveling. I was a bit surprised to see the DSEE engaged on 24/192 PCM since you aways hear about using it for low bit-rate. I find its effect generally an improvement.

 

RE: My understanding is the S1 has the DSEE, not the Remastering Engine., posted on September 10, 2014 at 14:56:35
AbeCollins
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Thanks for clarifying. I'm not familiar with the 'remastering engine'. Still, the mid-fi HAP-S1 was very good sonically. I played standard 16/44.1 CD rips through it as well as 24/96, 24/192, and a couple DSD64 albums. Pretty impressive for $1000.

 

I just read that the DSEE is used for all PCM Files, off, posted on September 12, 2014 at 19:05:59
oldmkvi
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for DSD Files.
Remastering Engine can be switched off

 

RE: Huge difference between the two:, posted on September 22, 2014 at 18:17:26
JamesV
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You are mistaken. The Marantz only needs a computer if you are playing files via USB. It plays files via NAS or thumb drive, internet radio, Spotify, etc. w/o a computer. It's a network music server. and DAC. Just no internal storage. Plus it sounds amazing. I like it better than the Luxman and much more than the Sony. YMMV

 

RE: Update, posted on September 27, 2014 at 19:09:13
navman
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Well took a week to get all my music up onto the Sony. I am exaggerating a wee bit, but 4 days is a lot of time. I'll blame my network. Today I put in a new more modern switch as the backbone for my house.

Anyway, the Sony does sound decent. The Marantz beats it on sound quality especially in AB comparisons. I like the convenience of having a big "iPod" in the secondary system and so i can live with the slight downgrade if its really even that. I understand why the Sony doesn't have a digital out, but that would have been nice at least for me.

I have heard the Red Wine Audio mods on the Sony and wasn't impressed. There was a difference, but not anything special. i do like the idea of swapping the hard drive for a solid state one and removing the fan.
navman

 

1 Week to Load 6TB Library + 5 Days to Register, posted on January 2, 2017 at 04:48:08
Seadog
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Abe Collins,

Using CAT7 & the latest Dell XPS-Tower running Windows 10 it took 1 week to load a 6TB music library and another 4.5-5 days for the Sony HAP-Z1es to read/register the external HD.

The weakest link in the music transfer chain is the proprietary HD formatting that the HAP requires. You must first format the external HD using the HAP formatting tool. That is a fairly fast process.

Now, you are ready to transfer the your music files using the HAP Transfer APP from your PC/MAC to the HAP. That took me a full week and judging by Computer Audiophile posts this is not uncommon.

Let us assume that you have endured the 7 days transfer process and feeling pretty good about yourself. However, you are not ready to play music!! Why? Because the HAP must read/register all the files. That process is almost as time consuming as the transfer.

All that done, the Sony HAP-Z1es has a soft, over-bloated mid-range sound quality; gone are the crisp highs and controlled bass. Immediately disable the DESS Engine. It only make the SQ worse.

If you are thinking that by using the HAP internal 1TB HD expedites the transfer/register process alas you would be wrong; the process is just as frustrating.

NB: I replaced the stock HAP 1TB internal HD with a 2TB soon after I received the HAP. My initial thought was to replace the 1TB with a 4-6TB internal HD. However, the HAP will not read more than a 2TB internal. There are many posts concerning this topic on Computer Audiophile.

In sum: Forget the HAP-Z1es. Far too much work for very little reward. You would be far better served with the about to be released OPPO SONIC DAC/Player. The OPPO SONIC DAC accepts virtually any size USB HD plugged into the back of the SONICA for a closed system + streaming.

BTW: I am selling my Sony HAP-Z1es with the 2TB Internal HD for $850.00. Original 1TB internal is included.




Christopher

Qui tacet consentit.

 

RE: 1 Week to Load 6TB Library + 5 Days to Register, posted on January 2, 2017 at 20:35:12
fantja
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Thanks! for sharing- Christopher.

 

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