Sony HAP-EZ1ES

Sony unveiled their HAP-EZ1ES file player ($1,999) along with the TA-A1ES Integrated Stereo Amplifier ($1,999), Sony's first amp in 14 years, at RMAF. The EZ1 (I'm assuming the phonetic reference is intentional) can handle PCM files with resolutions up to 24/192 as well as 2x DSD and comes with a 1TB internal hard drive and a rear-mounted USB input so you can attach an external drive for additional storage. The file player upsamples all incoming data to 2x DSD and three's a firmware upgrade coming that will allow you to defeat this process if you so desire. Metadata is captured through Gracenote and control comes via the front-mounted controls or more realistically through an iOS or Android app. There are also Ethernet and Wi-Fi inputs to connect you to the rest of the world's music.

The EZ1 also sports RCA and XLR outputs and a 4.3" LCD display. Sony was using the new duo of the EZ1 and TA-A1ES to drive a pair of their SS-NA2ES speakers ($10,000/pair). We were treated to some BB King and Eric Clapton, is it just me or did Eric Clapton become one of the most stiflingly boring players around?, in 24/88.2 and Blood, Sweat & Tears' "Spinning Wheel" in DSD which sounded smooth and soulful. EZ1 buyers will be treated to these two tracks preloaded on their units plus 18 more from the Sony, Warner Music, and Universal Music catalogs.

The EZ1 also has a 500GB little brother, the HAP-S1 for $999.

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