Home Theather Review – Sony High-Resolution Audio

Home Theather Review – Sony High-Resolution Audio

“After a few years on the sly, Sony returns to bet on solutions audio quality, thanks also to the liquid music in high resolution. We went to Amsterdam to find out all the latest news “

Without prejudice to the DSD, see Sony support audio formats in high resolution proposed by “others” is always a certain effect, but it is a sign of the times in which a now changed and increasingly fierce competition no longer allows to undertake crusades in favor of standard proprietary and exclusive. Hence the Japanese multinational offer a range of products for both home and portable, versatile and with full support to various lossy codec that is lossless high resolution.

We flew to Amsterdam to find out the latest news for the European market, with Sony, which organized the event at the Wisserloord Studios, one of the most prestigious recording studios, mixing and master engeneering in Europe, specialized in manufacturing DSD, but especially PCM up to 192kHz / 24bit, both stereo and multi-channel 5.1, 7.1 and even 9.1 (in Auro-3D). A place that exudes passion for music from every pore, with an obsessive attention to the acoustic treatment and salt mixing and mastering that they can count on consoles and workstations made “ad hoc” monitor with speakers Eggleston Works Savoy or PMC (both from stand recessed) and final Krell.

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During the various sessions of presentations, we’ve got to deal with the engineers in attendance, including Darcy Proper, Gammy winner of several awards for technical mastering multi-channel, we have unveiled some “tricks of the trade.” You know, for example, because they include a large number of classical and jazz recordings to 192kHz / 24bit, but those are rare pop / rock? Because for the first is used usually a maximum of 8 tracks (tracks) to be mixed and post-produce and then “easily” manageable even in high resolution, with current instrumentation hardware and sofware. As for pop or rock engravings can also get to 20 tracks or more, with substantial resources required is that the hardware and software processing costs become exorbitant (in addition to greatly extend the time of completion of an album). That’s why the majority of titles in HD pop or rock are proposed to a maximum of 96kHz / 24bit.

The solutions for the home: not only Hi-Fi

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Since last year, Sony offers, the amp-UDA-1 USB DAC, compatible high-resolution audio up to 192kHz / 24bit and DSD, as well as the network music player with integrated amplifier HAP-S1 and the source Hi-End Network “ES series” HAP-Z1ES with 1TB of space for archival. This year the range of enriched Multi Audio Player System MAP-S1, a compact complete system of mechanical CD players, tuners FM, AM and DAB digital amplifier, S-Master HX 50 W per channel, reading music files up to 192kHz / 24bit (FLAC and WAV) and DSD (2.8 MHz) and by perfiche USB devices via UPnP / DLNA. Do not miss, of course, support for lossy like MP3, WMA or AAC files and the system is also equipped with Wi-Fi connectivity and Ehternet with access to music services like Spotify, Sony Music Unlimited and web-radio, in addition to AirPlay wireless playback Apple and a Bluetooth module for streaming to mobile devices with built-in support aptX and AAC (complete synchronization NFC).

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Ideal companions of the system, the speakers SS-HW1, with 13cm woofer, tweeter and super wide dispersion.This attractive, sophisticated and compact system, with a price of 799 Euro for the MAP-S1 and 599 Euro for the speakers.

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For those who have problems of space, but still want a decent listening quality, Sony has developed the high-resolution wireless speaker SRS-X9, a 2.1 channel system with 1 subwoofer and 2 passive radiators, 2 midrange and super tweeter 4 from a total of 154W, complete with PCM support up to 192 kHz / 24 bit and DSD 2.8 MHz, as well as the various lossy formats more common. For the latter, there is also the feature of HD upsampling DSEE HX. Music that can be played via Wi-Fi capability, with support for UPnP / DLNA, but also via AirPlay or Bluetooth with support aptX sicronizzazione and NFC. Once connected to the Internet can also access music services like Spotify, Sony Music Unlimited and radio-web. It will be available online only at the price of 699 Euro.

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The SRS-X7 (300 Euro) and X5 ($ 199) are, however, smaller solutions and equipped with built-in rechargeable battery with up to 8 hours, however, waive the compatibility and DSD audio in HD, with X7 comes with 32W Power X5 and that comes down to 20W and has no DLNA support and access to streaming music services. Finally, the CDMT-X7CD (349 Euro) and X5CD (250 Euro), both with 40W of power and mechanical CD, FM radio and USB player integrated with X7CD also complete with Wi-Fi compatible AirPlay and access to streaming music services

Home Cinema: tuner-amplifier, sound-bar and headphones

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As for the audio-video solutions, Sony has revamped its 7.2-channel tuner-amplifiers, presenting the new STR-DN1050, STR-DN850, both with HD audio support up to 192kHz / 24bit (FLAC and WAV) and DSD (2 , 8MHz), pass-through upscaling and 4K Ultra HD, DTS-HD Master Audio and Dolby TrueHD, Wi-Fi with AirPlay support and access to streaming music services (Spotify, Deezer, Sony Music Unlimited and radio-web) , Bluetooth streaming and synchronization with aptX NFC-enabled player and USB port (including HD) from storage devices, Walkman and iOS devices. The DN1050 is equipped with 6 inputs and 3 HDMI outputs, a power of 165W x 7 channels, a transformer and capacitors selected and the option to send the audio signal into a second zone. The DN850 provides, instead, 7 x 150W of power, with 5 inputs and 1 HDMI output. Both will be available only online at list price of 649 Euros for the STR-DN1050 and $ 499 for the STR-DN850.

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Always dedicated to home cinema are also two new HT-CT770 sound bar (449 Euro) and HT-CT370 (349 Euro) with wireless subwoofer and a brand new TV Sound Base HT-XT1 (349 Euro), all in 2.1 configuration channels, with effects “virtual srround” S-Force Pro Front Surround, 3 HDMI inputs and one output with 4K and 3D pass-through and xvColor compatibility, Dolby Digital, DTS, DTS-HD Master Audio and PCM up to 7.1 channels and Bluetooth streaming functionality with NFC sicronizzazione. The two sound-bar can be positioned either horizontally on a mobile parrete to be bracketed with the CT770 has a total output of 330W and stereo RCA analog input, while the CT330 “stops” to 300W total.

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The Sound Base TV HT-XT1 (the product that has most impressed when listening) is finished in scratch-resistant tempered glass, supports TVs up to 50 inches diagonally, has a built-in subwoofer and a total output of accredited of 170W.

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Always fans of cinema and multi-channel audio is dedicated Cuffa Wireless (with range up to 30 meters) 9.1 channels “vrituali” HW700DS MDR-compatible set-top box via dedicated with all multichannel audio encoding and lossy and lossless complete 3 inputs and one output with HDMI pass-through 4K. The integrated rechargeable battery provides a range of up to 12 hours of listening, while the built-in drivers are 50mm and the headset is credited with a frequency response of 5 to 25.000Hz. It can also play PCM stereo audio up to 192kHz / 24-bit and DSP surround “Cinema” has been developed in collaboration with Sony Pictures Supervising Sound Editor Tom McCarthy. The HW700DS is available in Italian only online at a price of 450 Euro.

Laptops Hi-Res and outdoor

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The highlight of portable devices from Sony is undoubtedly the new ZX1 Walkman, a portable music player equipped with the operating system Android Jelly Bean (therefore also be used for other applications and with full access to the Play Store) with vocation “audiophile”. It is constructed with a thick aluminum frame, digital amplifier, S-Master HD, DAC 192kHz / 24bit, circuit upsampling up to 192kHz / 24bit DSEE HX, generous capacitors “audio-grade” OS-CON and 128GB flash memory. It can play the lossy MP3, AAC, WMA or ATRAC, up to lossless FLAC, WAV, AIFF, ALAC and in high resolution and, surprisingly for a Hi-End product of Sony, it lacks compatibility with DSD file.

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We have heard it for a few minutes with the album “21” by Adele in FLAC 44.1kHz / 16bit, but we are not able to judge the sound output, either because they did not know the choices Sony headphones (MDR-1R), or because we were outdoors, and finally we realized that they were activated almost all the effects of equalization imaginable.Definitely improved, however, the touch-screen display 4-inch 854 x 480 pixels resolution. Just for the record, the ZX1 well costs 700 Euro.

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Returning to the wireless speaker, but this time designed primarily for mobility, Sony has also introduced two small SRS and SRS-X2-X3. X3 reflects the style of its bigger brothers (which we discussed earlier), with its lines “edgy”, while the X2 features curved lines and a rubber coating, ideal for trips to the beach or a picnic. Both will be available in finishes white, black and red, and ensure the Wireless music streaming via Bluetooth with NFC aptX and synchronization. Both are credited with a power of 20W, the X3 comes with a rechargeable battery 7 hours of battery life, while the X5 stops to 5 hours. The announced prices are 150 euros for the SRS-X3 and 100 Euro for the SRS-X2.  Credit : avmagazine.it