When we first heard the Sony SA-Z1 near field powered speaker system at RMAF 2019, it was hard not to notice the range of new technologies that the compact system was bringing to the table – literally.
Part of the premium priced Signature Series, including the MDR-Z1R headphones ($2k) and DMP-Z1 digital music player ($8.5k) the SA-Z1 offers yet another desktop listening solution, albeit one that doesn’t require the use of headphones. The two channel, multi driver system offers up its own DSP functionality in the form of Sony’s Sound Tuning Function which tunes the output to your listening environment with “lossless adjustment”.
Perhaps the most enticing advancement from a visual standpoint is the I-Array three driver miniature line array which straddles the front panel. From the product web page: “Sony’s acclaimed I-ARRAY™ high resolution tweeters combine a main tweeter with two smaller assist tweeters, for both impressive frequency extension and wider directivity. The large balanced dome main tweeter ensures excellent high-frequency realism, while the smaller assist tweeters expand the off-axis response, delivering high-frequency harmonic overtones up to 100 kHz for acoustic realism only possible with High-Resolution Audio.”
The powered system also offers time alignment control, time coherence (between the different driver assemblies), and error correction. From the product web page: “The analog amplifier compares the true signal with the digital amplifier output signal, identifying the error caused by switching. Then it produces an error correction signal to restore the output signal, preserving the purity of the original sound and reproducing the signal with absolute precision. [1. True signal 2. True signal + error 3. Error correction signal]”
There is not only significant emphasis on Sony’s part to help evolve the hardware in the SA-Z1 but also the software’s role. There are many customizable options to the playback, with an focus on fine-tuning the soundstage to a more realistic and/or high fidelity layout in a near field setting. It is one of the rare examples of a consumer-facing product that keeps desktop playback at the forefront of design, rather than an add on to a “good pair of bookshelf speakers”.
There is ton more on the feature set and technologies available on the product landing page, I suggest interest parties give the link below a quick perusal.
The Sony Signature Series SA-Z1 near field powered speaker system is available for purchase as of this week and will retail for $7,999.99.
More info: Sony SA-Z1