PRODUCT literature often beats around the bush before giving you the bottom line (if at all), and this press release from Sony was no different as it philosophised eloquently over the latest addition to the Signature Series component – the SA-Z1 nearfield powered speaker. You would, of course, be required to get them as a pair because, you know, stereo and all that.
The SA-Z1 lets you get the music out of your high-end headphones on to a desktop system, without compromising sound quality and ambience. If you’re among those “who pursue music with ultimate resolution and spatial representation in their own personal space,” this is for you.
The SA-Z1 has built-in high-end amplification and DA converter… just hook up your source/amp, power up the speakers, and you’re ready to rock. Oh but wait… shock, horror… apparently, no wireless or Bluetooth! Or so we assume as there’s no mention of these anywhere… but don’t count on changes later!
According to Sony, “the acoustic design concept of SA-Z1 is an ideal point sound source. The physical layout of the driver units, along with the time alignment of sound waves from each driver unit, is the key in realising this concept. A coaxial layout of woofers and tweeters is an ideal physical arrangement, to better integrate the sound from every driver unit.
“Time alignment of the sound waves is achieved by Sony’s unique algorithm on the FPGA processor. This precisely controls the timing of every driver unit’s output so that the leading edge of the sound waves align. Thanks to this engineering, the SA-Z1 produces a level of audio quality, resolution and sound stage like you’ve never heard from any speakers before.”
What you get, says Sony, is a wide and deep acoustic field.
“Gone are the days of narrow and flat sound where you only feel the front side of the speaker system. Now you can feel the height and depth of the music thanks to the side ducts. The horizontally opposed layout of two woofers cancel out each other’s vibrations. Sound from the assist woofer is radiated through side ducts, re-creating a spatial acoustic field.
“The system consists of three tweeters that work together as one to ensure wide directivity and to deliver rich musical expression. The layout of tweeters is a surgical process. Careless layout easily leads to wave interference that makes peaks and dips on the frequency response. Sony’s advanced computer-based physical simulation technology found a single point where interference doesn’t happen, for superior sound.
“The D.A. Hybrid Amplifier Circuit, inherited from the TA-ZH1ES Signature Series headphone amplifier, has evolved with a newly applied power semiconductor, which significantly reduces distortion.”
The enclosure, made of six pieces of aluminium plate, is also structured to deliver clear and pure sound. “Every plate is joined in a special way inspired by Japanese traditional construction methods.”
The SA-Z1 has interfaces aplenty – RCA, stereo mini and balanced XLR on the analogue front, and USB-B, optical and micro-USB for digital (tailored for Sony’s Walkman players). The onboard converter offers support of up to PCM 32-bit/768kHz and DSD22.4 MHz. The DSD Remastering Engine converts all PCM signals into DSD 11.2MHz.
Finally, SA-Z1 has four unique sound tuning settings, with the default position designed to release the full musical potential of an audio track.
“There is also room for you to fine tune the sound to your personal taste without any signal loss. You can change settings, including the blending ratio of the digital and analogue amplifier, control of the assist woofer motion, the cut-off frequency of the assist woofer and adjust the ‘assist tweeter’ time alignment. With these customisable functions, you can create an ideal sound tuned specifically to your ears.”
Clearly, a cutting edge product for those who don’t want to leave their personal space. The SA-Z1 will be available in Malaysia in February 2020; the price has yet to be confirmed.