Posted on 31st August, 2018


Sony has announced two significant additions to its Signature Series audio line at IFA in Berlin today - the DMP-Z1 digital audio player, and the IER-Z1R earphones.

sony dmp-z1r dap ifa 2018StereoNET was in Berlin at the press launch of Sony's new IER-Z1R earphones and wallet-smashing DMP-Z1 digital music player. Also at the event, Sony announced the third iteration of their excellent WH-1000X M3 noise-cancelling headphones.

Sony DMP-Z1 digital audio player

sony dap ifa 2018

DMP-Z1 is a top-flight digital music player that combines high-fidelity sound quality with a luxurious design and rich functionality.

Firstly, The DMP-Z1’s H-shaped aluminium chassis presents a high rigidity frame structure that eliminates vibration and reduces resistance.  Also, isolation of the amplifier board by physically separating the amp board and main board reduces noise. This isolation blocks noise and provides areas for connecting to ground on each board via connection to the chassis.

The player supports PCM 32 bit/384 kHz and DSD 11.2 MHz. The DMP-Z1 uses a customised high-end analogue rotary volume controller which is copper plated, followed by gold plating. Moreover, it supports volume control for four separate signal paths (L+ / L- / R+ / R-). The upshot of which is that signal purity is ensured and that the DMP-1 reproduces transparent and clear vocals. Furthermore, it maximises the DAC chip performance by retaining all audio source information even at low volume levels.

sony signature dap ifa 2018

You know that you're into audio puritan realms when the player packs not one, but two digital-to-analogue converters (DAC) and analogue amplifiers.

The two independent AK4497EQ mono DACs produce an exceptionally low noise floor as well as native support for ultra-high-resolution audio formats. Together, with the TPA6120A2 amplifier chips, the sound at the show through the display unit was incredible.

Power comes by way of five battery cells. The five cells drive both digital and analogue amplification circuits independently for enhanced dynamics and reduced internal electromagnetic interference. By isolating the power delivery from conventional AC power supplies, you enjoy both a more open treble response and tighter bass delivery without the harshness transmitted through AC line noise.

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Finally, you can personalise your preferred sound with the DSD Remastering Engine. Using this tool you can convert all PCM music sources into DSD 5.6MHz. The newly developed Vinyl Processor feature can recreate the acoustic phenomena unique to vinyl playback. So, the effect of tone-arm resonance, as well as the sound character created by audible feedback from the speakers to the turntable is digitally imposed; should that be your thing.

The DMP-Z1 also includes newly developed DSEE HX with an improved algorithm to enhance and supplement the ability for high range expression.

Pricing is being reported as a staggering 8,500 Euros! Expect to pay around £8,000.

Sony IER-Z1R

sony signature iem ifa 2018

The IER-Z1 earphones feature an HD hybrid driver system.

Inside the earphones, you get a trio of newly developed Sony-designed drivers. The 5mm dynamic driver is constructed using a newly designed aluminium coated LCP (Liquid Crystal Polymer) diaphragm and external magnetic circuit. The result is the ability to reproduce a frequency response of up to 100 kHz.

The IER-Z1R features a magnesium alloy inner housing that delivers a natural sound with a precise sense of image projection.

Strategically placing the 5mm dynamic driver coaxially against the sound path focuses the sound from the super tweeter directly into a listener’s ear canal.

The 12mm dynamic driver’s diaphragm features a light-weight but highly rigid magnesium alloy dome. The dome’s edge is made from aluminium coated LCP. The reasoning being that it offers flexibility for optimum bass reproduction.

Advanced sound space control technology has been applied to control airflow at the rear of the drivers. Ventilation is controlled by connecting an acoustic tube to the extended acoustic cavity behind the driver unit. This unique-to-Sony sound control method reproduces a full soundstage with rich and natural mid-range, a well-balanced frequency response from low to high frequencies and smooth sound reproduction.

The set that we were given to hear was supplied with Kimber Kable and the entire system, with the DAP as mentioned earlier, sounded impressive even in IFA's less than perfect surroundings.

The IER-Z1R will cost around the £2,000 mark.

For more information visit Sony or follow our social media coverage Live from IFA Berlin here.


Jay Garrett's avatar

Jay Garrett

StereoNET UK’s Editor and Bass playing gadget junkie. He’s captained the good ship GadgetyNews for over a decade, making low jargon high tech a very handy thing. His passion for gadgets and Hi-Fi is second only to being a touring musician.

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Posted in: Headphones
Tags: sony  ifa2018