Sunday, 27 May 2018

REVIEW: Sony HAP-S1 [by Allan Folz]

Editor's Note:
Life has been extremely hectic over the last few weeks! As a result I am extremely grateful that some fellow hobbyists like Raoul Trifan a couple weeks ago and this week Allan Folz have been able to dream up some relevant content for me :-).

For the post this week, Allan has worked on a review and discussion for the Sony HAP-S1 high-resolution audio player with integrated hard drive storage. I appreciate Allan's honest look at the device, discuss real-world situations, benefits, blemishes and quirks encountered, and by the end, provide a thorough pros/cons evaluation. Enjoy!

Sony HAP-S1 Review
Guest Post
by Allan Folz


One of my regulars when I head over to check-out YouTube is the British fellow Techmoan. I like his delivery, his approachable style with just the right amount of technical detail, and of course his choice of topic: kit from the golden-era of hi-fi stereo. A few months back I saw his pair of videos (Part I - Pioneer NP-01S and Part II - Sony HAP-S1), originally posted in 2015 on choosing a music streaming device to resurrect his old MP3 collection. His goals for choosing a music streamer very closely matched my own situation. I have a bunch of ripped CD's that I honestly do not listen to as much as I'd prefer because of the hassle of hooking up my laptop to my stereo system and then navigating through my music library to choose something for playback. It also didn't help that I had my music spread across 2 different machines. Not to mention, I never finished ripping my entire collection. So check that: 2 machines, a couple of old Case Logic 100 CD binders, and, to be absolutely complete about it, a few dozen kids' audiobooks on CDs in an assortment of jewel cases, cardboard envelops, and, um... a shoebox.

In short, I wanted something with buttons and knobs, something that was a single chassis and could operate completely stand-alone, had a line-level analog out, and could hold my entire music collection in one device. Additional nice-to-haves were built-in music streaming ability, an aux line-in, a headphone jack, and hi-res support. I didn't own any hi-res music at present, but on account of Archimago's posts, and more recently coming across Mark Waldrep's blog, it seemed if I was going to invest in a new piece of kit I wanted to be able to try some hi-res content and see what all the fuss was about.

Other soft requirements I had were that I didn't want to spend more than $1000. Also, I didn't want a roll-your-own solution that was going to have me hunting down drivers and packages, compiling source code, playing at IT-admin in what is my limited leisure time, and be too complicated for anyone else in the family to use besides myself.

Seeing Techmoan had given the Sony HAP-S1 a passing grade and seeing that it would plug into my stereo system exactly as I wanted it to, I began stalking eBay hoping to score one at about $500. Half-off for a piece of gear that was getting on 5 years old seemed fair enough. As it turned out, after a month of waiting and seeing nothing turn-up – though a few Sony HAP-Z1ES did come and go, albeit at well over my $1000 price point – I ended up pulling the trigger on a refurb from an Amazon-marketplace vendor for $650. And it must be said – since, isn't this always the case – literally the next day after I ordered the refurb, a dealer on eBay listed 10 brand-new ones at $699 each. Sigh. (Curiously, the price has increased to $750 as I write today, over a month later.)

Sound Quality

Unfortunately I don't have any of Archimago's hardware or software tools so my sound quality comparisons are going to be subjective comparisons against my laptop and CD player. My laptop is a mid-2012 Macbook Air. My CD player is a ~25 year old Kenwood CD-404 5 disc changer. I have a pair of Emotiva Airmotiv 6S studio monitors and a pair of Pinnacle “BabyBoomer” dual-8 inch sub-woofers to fill-out the bass (yes, that is gross overkill on the sub-woofer front, but I wanted stereo subs and these were on deep-discount at Woot! at the time). I also have a set of Beyerdynamic DT-1350 headphones.

My first set of comparisons was using the headphones. I listened to a ~256kbps VBR encoded MP3 on the Sony HAP-S1 and a CD from which the MP3 was ripped on the Kenwood. The CD was Pink Floyd's The Wall, disc 2. I absolutely could not hear a difference between the two players. I did another test using selected high dynamic range tracks from Crosby, Stills & Nash's CSN box set disc 2, this time ripped as FLACs. Interestingly enough, I felt there were some tracks where the bass was slightly deeper and the sound stage slightly larger with the HAP-S1. It was not noticeable all the time, just that some tracks had it.

Later, again staying with the headphones, I listened to The Lake Poets, Live from The Minister, that Archimago had shared in one of his posts. I fell in love with it the first time I heard it, and had been listening to it a lot in the 16/44.1 ALAC version with iTunes before even getting the HAP-S1. After I had ordered the HAP-S1, but before it arrived I also downloaded the hi-res FLAC's, and listened to them using Audacity, since iTunes doesn't support FLAC. I could not tell any difference between the ALAC and FLAC versions, though maybe Audacity was down-converting without me realizing it. Or maybe the MacBook Air's headphone DAC isn't up to the task. Anyway, with the HAP-S1, I listened to both and felt I could tell a slight difference with the FLAC versions. Like with the CSN, the sound stage felt slightly larger. The Lake Poets aren't heavy on bass, so I didn't feel there was any difference there. The difference was entirely in the sound stage. [It occurs to me now as I'm proof-reading this difference here and with the CSN album could have been from the DSEE processing.]

I ought to, but I haven't yet, done A/B comparisons using ALAC's I have previously ripped on my laptop against them playing from the HAP-S1. It might be telling as to the limitations of the MacBook's headphone DAC. After my first comparison, I felt certain that my 25-year-old Kenwood's headphone driver is capable of extracting everything that's in a Redbook CD, at least to my hearing – something you'll never hear a professional audio journalists admit to.

Setting the headphones aside, I began listening to the HAP-S1 through the Emotiva monitors. I only did a couple, brief A/B comparisons. Most of the time I listened to old favorites that I knew very well from years of playing them on a variety of systems. I wouldn't swear that I could reliably pick the HAP-S1 versus the CD player in a blind A/B test, but on the whole the HAP-S1 does sound bigger with slightly more detail. Or maybe I'm just listening more closely than I typically do.

There's also the possibility that playback at the level afforded by Redbook is a solved problem technically, and has been for some 25 years. If I have a bias, that's probably it, at least in terms of popular music that I prefer – vintage rock, country, and blues. I haven't begun ripping any of my classical recordings. Maybe there's a big surprise in store for me in there. And it would be a surprise since I've never felt like my classical CD's were markedly cleaner and more vibrant than any of the well-made popular music that I have. One thing that's been unmistakably evident since I upgraded to the Emotiva monitors a few years ago is the overwhelming and obvious differences in mastering quality that is present among CD's.

If I may digress, it reminds me of the late 90's when really big TV's and high-def TV's were coming onto the market. The company I worked for at the time did a lot of software development work for RCA-Thompson. To make a long story short, I came to have an engineering sample of a 39” 8:5 (or something goofy like that) CRT TV at my house. My biggest, most immediate take-away was how horrible politicians and TV anchors looked. Sitcoms and movies didn't have this problem, but the non-Hollywood on-screen talent looked like any random middle-aged person you'd bump into on the street; which is to say not great when shown larger-than-life in your living room. Now that HDTV is standard, the make-up departments have definitely upped their game. However, for a couple years there it was painful to look at. So, I'm all in favor of hi-res if it forces the mastering engineers to up their game. Unfortunately, with regard to popular music it seems there's been far more talk than action.

OK, back to the task at hand. The last thing that bears mentioning sound-wise, though perhaps this belongs with Feature Set is the proprietary DSEE and DSEE HX processing that Sony claims on their HAP line of products. Sony describes DSEE and DSEE HX as digital processing which upscales standard audio to match the bit depths and sample frequencies of hi-res audio. Now you might assume that the lower the bit rate the bigger the difference DSEE is going to provide. I have a few 128 kbps MP3s and all the streaming services I listened to on the HAP-S1 are 128 kbps (or often, less). I absolutely can not tell a difference in any of these between DSEE, DSEE HX, and regular playback. Ironically, the only time I could unquestionably hear a difference was with FLAC's of high-quality original recordings. The effect was similar to clicking the Dolby Surround button on a home-theatre receiver I had way back in the day. It felt like there was a slight difference with the treble making the sound stage seem larger and more open. It's nice when it's there, I suppose, but as far as fixing up 96 Kbps MP3 streams of vintage recordings, which is when I'd really like to have such a feature, forget about it.

To sum up and it bears stating plainly: the sound quality of the HAP-S1 is absolutely excellent. It came with a few 2.8 MHz DSD sample tracks and they sound absolutely beautiful. Yes, in my humble opinion, Redbook PCM mastered with the same attention to detail would have sounded virtually the same, which is to say just as beautiful, but the point is that when program material has been produced excellently, the HAP-S1 plays it back excellently. The HAP-S1 did not disappoint on what is the ultimate criterion.

A few photos showing the guts of the machine:

Feature Set

So, if sound quality is 90% indistinguishable, at least given the production level of 99% of the content I'll be listening to, what does differentiate hi-fi gear today? Well, all that is left is the feature set: tangibles like usability and industrial design, and, I would argue, even intangibles like brand name and the marketing that makes the brand name satisfying to own. (To be clear, I'm not saying hi-fi gear all sounds the same. I am saying how good a given piece of music sounds at playback is probably closer to 80% mastering quality, 18% room acoustics, and 1.8% hi-fi gear, at least above a rather moderate financial threshold, than anyone in the hi-fi gear end of the business is inclined to discuss.)

·       The first place that the HAP-S1 was a hit for me is the 500 GB internal hard-drive. I can fit my entire music library on the HAP-S1 and playback any piece at any time over my stereo system just by pressing the ON button and navigating using the buttons and knobs on the front panel. I don't need a remote control, a phone, a computer, an internet connection, a LAN drop, or anything else. Just turn it on, wait for it to boot – ahem, more on that later – and you're off. It. Just. Works.

·       The next place the HAP-S1 was a hit for me was its size and style. I certainly appreciate big, warm, glowing gear that makes its own aesthetic statement, but that's not what I'm going for where I live now. I want functionality, and I want it in as small and tight a package as possible. Credit to the HAP-S1 for not being any bigger than necessary for its task. Nor does it have dozens of buttons and connectors I'll never need. It's intended to be a stand-alone, all-in-one unit, and as a stand-alone, all-in-one it both fills and looks the part.

Unfortunately, after those two points – three if you count sound quality – the HAP-S1 quickly stops hitting the bulls-eye and starts missing the mark for me.

·       The biggest frustration is with the analog line-out. Since I have self-powered speakers that take a line-level signal input, it would be really, really nice if the HAP-S1's line-out had a variable output level. Obviously it's not a new idea. My 25 year-old CD player does it. So does the Oppo UDP-205 Archimago just previewed. Also, the HAP-S1 has a headphone jack, so the ability should be there. It seems like Sony just didn't build it out. Fortunately, when I bought the monitors I added a line-level pot to the order “just in case.” I didn't think I'd need it because I thought I would always be using the speakers with my laptop's headphone jack. But at only an extra $25 or $50, it guaranteed they'd work for me no matter what I may come across and want to connect them to. At the time it was cheap future-insurance. Obviously, now I'm glad I did it, but man, is it ever annoying that using the app Sony made for their HAP line of music players I can power-on the HAP-S1 and start playing music while sitting on the couch, or even a room away in our dining room or kitchen. But it is largely for naught since I can't control the volume. I still have to get up, walk-over, and manually adjust the line-level pot.

·       The other short-coming of the analog line-out is that it only plays content from the hard-drive or from music streaming services. In online pictures of the HAP-S1, I did see the curious little “D/A Direct” in the Line Out box, but it didn't trigger me to look-up what it was Sony meant by that. I thought it was just more marketing wank. Now that I have the HAP-S1 here at home, I know what Sony meant – those two nifty little “Line In's” that I had such high hopes for are useless to me since they're only good when playing through the amplifier to speakers.

·       The HAP-S1 is showing its age in that it doesn't have integrated Bluetooth. No matter, I thought. I can get one of those little Bluetooth receivers and connect it to a line-in. And my laptop, which I use for movies and YouTube, I can connect to the other line-in. Finally, my perfect all-in-one solution was at hand! It was not to be, as noted above. Again, the line-in's can only be used to send audio to the integrated amplifier.

Moving beyond the limitations of the analog line-out and its effects given the idiosyncrasies of my system, I'll address feature set misses that are applicable to every user.

·       Most annoying is using the USB port with removable media. Every time the HAP-S1 powers-on you are presented with two (!) click-through menus you must respond to before it will play any music. Again, so much for using the app to power-on the unit from the convenience of the next room. Here's a radical idea: at power-on just take the extra 0.1 seconds to mount the drive and skip rescanning the attached HDD for new material!! It takes me longer to click-through on the menu than it does to actually mount. As for scanning, I suppose that makes sense if a drive is plugged-in after power-up, but at power-up it's entirely reasonable to assume the drive hasn't changed since last power-down. If it has, users should be able to figure out what to do, even if it means power-down, unplug, power-up, hot plug-in.

·       The second most annoying part of the USB port is that you can't transfer music from attached media to the HAP-S1's own hard-drive. I can't tell if this is supposed to be an anti-piracy measure or carelessness. You can transfer music from a cell phone or tablet using the app. And you can transfer music from any LAN-connected computer using Sony's transfer program. However, you can't transfer from the closest, most directly attached device? Whether anti-piracy or carelessness, it is a pretty fundamental short-coming and a big annoyance.

·       The USB port can only recognize FAT-formatted thumb drives. NTFS and exFAT, and I tried more than once, just prompted me to reformat the drive – um, no thank you! And what is the point of formatting a USB drive? Recall the HAP-S1 doesn't support moving content from its internal HDD to a USB drive or vice-versa!

·       The friggin' menu wheel is backwards. It's to the left of the display. Ergo, turning it counter-clockwise should make the box that indicates the active selection move down. Except on the HAP-S1 it scrolls the selection box up. Then, to add insult to injury, the first time you scroll “up” with the selection box, it wraps-around to the bottom of the list. But only the first time. All subsequent scrolling to the top (or bottom) of  the list the selection box does not wrap. Oh, dear reader, if ever I could tell a UIX engineer “You're Fired,” it would be that guy.

·       Streaming or as Sony calls them “Music Services” only has support for Tune-In (internet radio) and Spotify. No Pandora, Amazon, YouTube Red, or Tidal to name four immediately off the top of my head.

·       Gapless playback only offers the setting “Auto". Now, if it were right 100% of the time, ok, sure, “Auto” it is, and color me impressed. However, it is not right 100% of the time. Worse, there is no way to flag albums or sets of tracks as being gapless. This one is almost a deal breaker. Who knows, long-term it might well be for me. Frankly, any piece of hi-fi kit without true, 100% solid gapless playback needs to come with a trigger warning on all the ad-copy.

·       10 seconds to boot? Come on, Sony. I think you could have done better than that.

Hate to be that guy, but 10 seconds staring at this is about 7 too many.
Finally, in regard to feature set, here are wish-list items for any equipment marketing department people that follow Archimago's blog. I'm sure many do.

·       A unit with an app that allows for remote power-on should have a switched AC outlet. Obviously it would be helpful with my self-powered speakers, but in my book anything with a power-amplifier and a line-in ought to have a switched AC outlet.

·       When a song is being played, the display should show the dynamic range of the song. We get the bit-rate and codec; the dynamic range is just as important. More so, if we who care about sound quality want dynamic range to catch on and be important to the record labels, it needs to be a number that consumers can see and start comparing. Megahertz, megapixels, DPI, all these things became important – for good and admittedly sometimes for ill – once consumers had a number they could compare.

·       The HAP-S1 offers a few top-level menus for reviewing music: Genre, artist, album, playlist, etc., the usual. However, after choosing the top-level menu, it would be nice to be able to customize the hierarchy of the sub-menus. For instance, the HAP-S1 offers genre -> artist -> album. I'd much prefer 4 or 5 broad genres (rock/classical/blues/jazz/audio book), then sub-genre, then album.

·       As someone that owns a number of box sets and anthologies, I wish there were a trivially easy – emphasis on trivially and easy – way to disable songs from album playback. Even better, a way to have different mixes of an album: an after-work mix, a home without the kids mix, a favorite 5 mix, a no-edit mix, etc. Yes, I know this can be accomplished with playlists, but those are not trivially easy, and those are not displayed with the aforementioned genre/album/artist menus.

·   My final wish-list is also a kudo to Sony for doing the right thing, right out of the gate. Their Android app has no unnecessary and over-bearing DRM. Sony doesn't have their app available from the Amazon app store, but I was able to download the APK directly from the Google Play Store then side-load it onto my Amazon Fire tablet. The app didn't kvetch and die over not being able to do a license check with Google Play Services, which isn't installed on the Fire tab. Nice. Let's give credit when credit is due.

Conclusion / Brass Tacks:

I think the brass tacks for any major purchase, music kit or otherwise, is 1) would you do it again? and 2) would you recommend it to a friend?

·       With regard to recommending it to a friend, for someone wanting a zero-fuss way to listen to ripped albums, you bet. If they have a small space – a den or live in an apartment – with conventional speakers that can play loud enough with 40W into 4-ohms. I think they'd be well-pleased with the HAP-S1.

·       For myself, would I do it again? It's a tough call. I don't love it, and I thought I was getting something I'd love. I want something that I'd love, and I know exactly what I'd love, so it is perhaps extra disappointing to be so close, and yet so far. I've not seen anything comparable to the Sony HAP-S1 in the price range I want to be in. At it's original MSRP of $1000 I'd definitely be disappointed and torn on whether I wanted to keep it. Its big brother, the HAP-Z1ES, at twice the price is definitely more than I'd want to spend unless it truly was perfect for me in every way. After that, so far as I've seen, one is quickly in the rarified world of the "high-end" audiophile and the prices to match. Featurewise, it's not an all-in-one solution for ripping, internet streaming is limited, Bluetooth support absent, line-level pre-amp out with volume and input switching isn't available either. (The Oppo UDP-205 was something I had my eye on as well. Archimago's preview and the Audioholics review obviously support its hi-fi bonafides. But it is missing a few features important to me: I'm not sure how easy navigating music on a LAN-connected server is; it can't stream from a phone or tablet via Bluetooth; after having it on the HAP-S1, app support is pretty nice.)

·       On the other hand, the HAP-S1, at $650 for the refurb or $700-800 for new old stock from eBay, offers a whole different value equation, and I have to say I don't regret buying it. Maybe that's not exactly high praise, but for one who is a perfectionist about his choice in machines, no regrets is definitely something.

·       All the same, it does have me wondering if I'm being a little bit too picky on the zero-fuss front. To cut to the chase, I've been eyeing some of the DAC's that are available for Raspberry Pi these days. I'm thinking that getting elbows-deep in an open-source project might be the only way I'm going to get what I really want. What's that old saying... if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.

Before signing off I wanted to extend my personal thanks to our blog host for keeping us entertained and informed these many years. As one who cares deeply about sound quality, yet gets no intrinsic pleasure from, nor wishes to maximize the amount of money spent in said pursuit, I often feel "audiophiles" are actually "enemies" to the rest of us. Their purple prose and ludicrous claims of hearing acuity destroys any credibility with the broader public they might hope to gain support from. I know I'm not voicing a new criticism here by any means. Nonetheless, people like Archimago, who write evidence-based reviews, call out snake-oil when they see it, and remain polite, rational, and entertaining through it all, I feel deserve our support and appreciation. Again, credit when credit is due. It's my honor to have written this review for Archimago and his audience.


Thanks again Allan for the contribution!

As promised, I think the review represents a fair, "no holds barred" review of a product including some obvious annoyances that many users would have issues with like the mandatory USB drive rescanning with each power up, line-out that can't switch between inputs nor has volume control, and the strange inability to load up the internal HD with music off a USB stick!

In any event, the device does look quite capable and could very well serve those who want an all-in-one unit capable of streaming Spotify and TuneIn, where 500GB hard drive space (and 25,000 track limit) is adequate, supports up to DSD128, and the ease of control using an app. Furthermore, it looks like the 2x40W into 4-ohms Class AB amplifier will allow small efficient speakers to fill a reasonable-sized room with music. Allan, if you have the opportunity to plug in a pair of passive speakers at some point, you'll have to let us know how the amplified audio sounds.

I certainly like Allan's comment about having a measure of dynamic range included as part of the "vital stats" when looking at track information. Of course this will require a bit more time as the device will need to scan through the music. JRiver (Tools --> Library Tools --> Analyze Audio) and Roon are the only two that I know that will allow one to incorporate measured dynamic range values in the track viewer. Will certainly be nice to see this feature added over time!

Also, if anyone has the opportunity to measure the difference between standard MP3 and MP3 with DSEE (HX) [Digital Sound Enhancement Engine], it would be interesting to know what it actually does. Based on the graphics by Sony, it looks like DSEE fills in the high frequencies that were filtered out by the lossy psychoacoustic algorithm up to 22kHz and DSEE HX will upsample that and perhaps even add further ultrasonic content.

Speaking of Sony and their drive towards HRA ("Hi-Res Audio"), here's an interesting article based on comments by Sony's "Chief Sound Architect" reported back in 2016 in AVHub Australia. Basically he implied that 256kbps MP3 upsampled to high-res will sound "near high-res". Yeah, is that surprising? Remember that blind tests like the one we did here years ago suggested that high bitrate MP3 sounds like lossless FLAC already. And as discussed years back, to do hi-res right requires numerous factors to align... Not the least of it being of course that the original recording be captured well and subsequent processing like dynamic compression and DSP effects maintain the pristine signal integrity. Not many recordings are done right (and certainly not the usual classic rock originally captured on old analogue tape!).

Have a great week ahead everyone! Hope you're all enjoying the music...


  1. Modern lossy codecs (mp3 included) are lossy at *ALL* frequencies, it is not a simple low pass at certain point. Newer codecs like AAC and Opus already has built-in algorithms to extend high frequencies (Spectral band replication/Spectral folding).

    Just think about old video codecs like mpeg-2 and divx, additional deblock/dering postprocessing can be selectively applied to improve perceptual quality but since the introduction of in-loop deblocking in H.264 such postprocessing are obsoleted.

    It's still possible to invent an algorithm to fulfill some spectrophiles' imagination but it has nothing to do with the lossiness in sensitive frequencies like 1-10kHz.

    Some examples to make the spectrograms look prettier:,108864.msg948272.html#msg948272

    1. Thanks for the note Dtmer!

      Yeah, all the frequencies are altered. Looks like the Sony ad specifically shows elevation and extension of frequencies that have been filtered out in the algorithm. So curious to see if anyone has run an FFT from the output of one of these HAP devices fed say a 128kbps MP3 which typically will low-pass from 16-18kHz.

      Good to know about stuff like Perceptual Noise Substitution linked in the page as well.

  2. I can only encourage the DIY approach, because in my expirience you can obtain great results. To allow for maximum flexibility I based my music server on an entry level Intel NUC, build in a nice fanless housing and hooked up via USB to an amp with build in DAC. Software is Ubuntu Server, Mopidy and BruteFIR for DRC. Works great, no need to build drivers or compile software and can deliver bit perfect high res audio (without DRC). The DRC option is a real killer I think.


    1. Nice work Geert.

      Yeah, certainly for folks who like to tinker and get the system working, something like the NUC would be fantastic.

      Awhile back I tested the NUC 6i5SYH ( One issue I felt was that it was a bit noisy with the fan in a quiet room. I haven't checked more recent NUC's. A fanless solution would be awesome.

    2. I used a fanless NUC case from Akasa. Intel provides a catalog with all the options (download PDF).

  3. "I could not tell any difference between the ALAC and FLAC versions, though maybe Audacity was down-converting without me realizing it. Or maybe the MacBook Air's headphone DAC isn't up to the task. Anyway, with the HAP-S1, I listened to both and felt I could tell a slight difference with the FLAC versions."

    Did.. Did you just claim a difference between two lossless formats? They are unpacked into the same PCM stream, it's just a different lossless(means NOTHING LOST) compression format.

    1. I seem to have misinterpreted this paragraph, the ALAC was 16/44 the flac was high-res, hence the down-converting. Makes sense that the difference was small/inaudible :) excuse my malcomprehension.

    2. No worries. Certainly happens to me more often than I'd prefer to admit.

  4. In similar situation, I decided for Raspberry Pi based player. Funny thing is, that Archimago's articles convicted me to take this path. I can only praise All DigiOne HAT card, which provides high-end quality digital output for cheap.

    1. At the end of the day, you can't beat the price of DIY. I'll certainly have to give HAT boards like the DigiOne a try!

    2. I've been eyeing the Allo Piano 2.1. The dual outs would work really nicely for my set-up with independent R&L subs.

      They're also rolling out a brand-new hifi DAC next month or so. It's $250, which is pretty spicy for a (RPi) DAC, but OTOH, it should hold its own against any DAC on the market, most definitely including those at 10 times the price. (

    3. BTW, Arch, on the subject of alternative solutions for streaming DAC's, (albeit not so much on the DIY front) I noticed the Oppo UDP-205 is "Roon Ready." As my concern with the 205 as an All-in-One solution for me was no app and inconvenient navigating LAN-connected music servers, I now wonder if Roon would solve those concerns.

      I see Oppo's web page for the 205 includes a 60 day Roon trial code (scroll down to the High Resolution Audio' section)... :)

      I am signed-up for their notification list. FWIW.

    4. Having said that, the BDP-105 looks pretty interesting for my needs as well. Has native Pandora & YouTube support (not sure if they'd work headless though). Apparently has an app. Is Roon Ready, if I decide to go that route. And looks to be about half the price used at teh ebay.

      OK, last question for the field. I didn't mention it previously, but anyone heard anything about Cocktail Audio/Novaton. I forget where I originally stumbled across them, but their offerings look pretty interesting. Kind of expensive for an unknown brand (at least to me) though.

      Thanks everyone. Cheers.

    5. Hey Allan,
      Yeah, I've used Roon in the past. It certainly is quite nice software and although I have not tried with the UDP-205, my experience was very positive.

      I wonder how many more UDP-205's they'll be releasing with this final batch! Could be a rather mad scramble depending on supply.

  5. really? do I see lm3875 gainclones in a highres player?