Sony’s gold-plated music player comes to the U.S., along with new in-ears

Earlier this year, Sony debuted the DMP-Z1, a digital music player with gold-plated hardware and a price tag topping $8,000 to match. The only problem for those interested was that at launch, it was only available in Sony’s eastern Asian markets. That has changed, as at the 2018 Rocky Mountain International Audio Fest, Sony announced that the player is coming to the United States., along with a new set of Signature Series in-ear headphones.

Aside from the flashy gold-plated volume knob, the DMP-Z1 offers some seriously quality components, with an Asahi Kasei Microdevices AK4497EQ DAC Chip and a Texas Instruments TPA6120A2 amp chip, making for a clean, noiseless signal path. If you miss the golden days of vinyl, it even offers a Vinyl Processor feature, which recreates barely audible surface noise, tone-arm resonance, and other elements unique to vinyl playback. This might be a gimmicky feature, but we haven’t had the chance to hear it ourselves so we won’t write it off.

While we might already be familiar with the feature set of the player, the new IER-Z1R Signature Series in-ears seem like they might be just as impressive. You won’t find gold used in the appearance, but the plugs and terminals on the headphones and cable are gold plated for the best possible connection. That’s just the start, too.

The IER-Z1R in-ear headphones use three drivers, a 12mm dynamic driver, a 5mm dynamic driver, and a balanced armature driver. The 5mm driver uses an aluminum-coated liquid crystal polymer diaphragm and external magnetic circuit that Sony says allows it to reproduce frequencies up to 100 kHz. Human hearing tends to top out at around 20 kHz, so why this is necessary is a mystery, but it does mean that no high-end detail of your music will be lost to the headphones. In addition to the drivers, Sony says it used audio-grade film capacitors and even its own audio-grade solder to make the connections.

To make sure you maintain a perfect fit, the IER-Z1R ship with 13 different possible ear tip options: Six variations of triple-comfort tips and seven hybrid ear tips, plus pre-formed ear hangers to help them stay in place. You can use the included five-pole, 4.4mm balanced standard cable, or other cables like an optional Kimber Kable instead.

Both the DMP-Z1 music player and the IER-Z1R will launch in the U.S. in January 2019. The DMP-Z1 will retail for a steep $8,500 while the IER-Z1R will go for a lower but still quite pricey $2,300. For more information see the Sony Signature Series website and if you’re looking for cheaper high-quality in-ears, take a look at our list of the best earbuds you can buy.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: DIY smartphones and zip-on bike tires

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Smart Home

Google Home Mini vs. Amazon Echo Dot: Which is better?

We put the two most popular smart home speakers -- the Google Home Mini and the 3rd generation Amazon Echo Dot -- together and tested them on appearance, audio, and abilities. So which should you buy? Find out how they did in our showdown.
Home Theater

Sennheiser’s Ambeo AR One in-ears blur the line between the real and the virtual

For a few years now, Sennheiser has made it clear that it is all-in on virtual and augmented reality, and now it has unveiled the Ambeo AR One in-ears, the first product of its kind to be certified by AR pioneer Magic Leap.
Home Theater

Still listening on tinny TV speakers? Try one of our favorite soundbars

You no longer have to sacrifice sound for size when selecting home audio equipment. Check out our picks for the best soundbars, whether you're looking for budget options, pure power, smarts, or tons of features.
Home Theater

Brainwavz Blu 300 wireless earbuds deliver major water resistance at a low price

Brainwavz is known for its mid-range offering like the quad-driver B400 or the 3D-printed B200, but that's not all the company does, as proved by its latest product, the Blu 300 wireless earbuds.
Smart Home

How to create spooky Halloween effects with smart home lighting and sound

This Halloween, bathe your home with eerie smart home lighting and audio effects guaranteed to spook your neighbors. Use colored light and eerie sounds to create eerie Halloween effects.
Home Theater

I’ve seen the 8K TV future, and you should be excited. Here’s why

Samsung set the tech world on fire when it announced it would sell an 85-inch 8K TV in the U.S. along with several 8K screen sizes in Europe. Debates over the validity and value of such a high resolution have continued since, and we're here…
Movies & TV

The best new movie trailers: ‘Glass,’ ‘Mortal Engines,’ ‘Pet Sematary’ and more

Everyone loves a good trailer, but keeping up with what's new isn't easy. To simplify things, we round up the best ones each week. On tap this week: New trailers for Pet Sematary, Glass, Mortal Engines, and other upcoming films.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Amazon Prime right now (October 2018)

Prime Video provides subscribers with access to a host of fantastic films, but sorting through the catalog can be an undertaking. Luckily, we've done the work for you. Here are the best movies on Amazon Prime Video right now.
Movies & TV

Best new shows and movies to stream: ‘The Haunting of Hill House’ and more

Need something to watch this weekend? Check out our list of the best new shows and movies to stream right now. On the list this week: The Haunting of Hill House season 1, The Romanoffs, and more.
Movies & TV

'Prime'-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

There's more to Amazon Prime than free two-day shipping, including access to a number of phenomenal shows at no extra cost. To make the sifting easier, here are our favorite shows currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Emerging Tech

Here’s all the best gear and gadgetry you can snag for $100 or less

A $100 bill can get you further than you might think -- so long as you know where to look. Check out our picks for the best tech under $100, whether you're in the market for headphones or a virtual-reality headset.
Home Theater

Dish Network or DirecTV: Which is the better choice for you?

So, you’ve chosen to go with a satellite television provider. Check out our quick rundown of what both Dish Network and DirecTV offer in terms of content, hardware, and pricing, and why you might choose them over streaming services.
Home Theater

Apple Music recommendations could get superpowers thanks to latest acquisition

Following the approval of its Shazam acquisition, a new report has surfaced saying that Apple has acquired music analytics firm Asaii, with its founders now members of the Apple Music team.