Home audio in the age of the Internet of Things is all about maintaining multi-room connections and Sony’s latest wireless speakers, TV sound bars, A/V receivers, turntables and portable audio devices are designed to do just that.
There’s a bit of a race on to establish home technology ecologies ahead of the Internet of Things arriving and simply assigning everything its own IP address and letting people get on with it. Experience suggests though that the IoT will involve a lot of kludges and compromises in the early days, and so piggybacking on some genuine expertise in home audio might not be a bad thing in the short term at least.
It’s a bit like the connected cars of the future. Perhaps I’m being a Luddite here, but I’d rather drive one made by Toyota than one made by Apple as its ‘carness’ seems to be a tad more important than its ‘connectedness’. And while there might be plenty of people out there who would be willing to buy audio separates made by WiFi router manufacturers, here Sony’s audio expertise is the draw — the home networking component is an added bonus
There are a lot of different components in the range, but two highlights are the PS-HX500 Hi-Res Audio Turntable and the STR-DN1070 Hi-Res WiFi Network A/V Receiver (or amplifier if you prefer).
The $599 turntable is billed as reference quality, aimed at the newly re-emerging record collector, and features a built-in A/D converter supporting Hi-Res digital transfers in either native DSD (up to 5.6 MHz) or WAV files (up to 192 KHz/24-bit resolution).This enables users to effectively have their analogue cake and digitally eat it, storing music from vinyl recordings and playing them out again on virtually any compatible Hi-Res Audio device.
You can question the purity of the experience, but you cannot really feel that surprised that there’s a market for it.
The new amp, also $599, incorporates a brand new DAC supporting DSD native playback up to DSD 5.6 MHz/5.1ch, ensuring flawless reproduction of High-Resolution Audio files. It supports 7.1 surround sound, wireless multi-room, and Sony’s new technologies for wireless surround and S-Force PRO front surround. Built-in WiFi, AirPlay, Bluetooth, Google Cast and Spotify Connect provide plenty of options for listening, while there are plenty of HDMI sockets (6in/2out) with HDCP2.2 for 4K/60p (4:4:4) supporting 4K and HDR content from the major studios.
More details on the other new components over the page.