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Sony To Expand High-Resolution Audio To More Products

Las Vegas — Sony plans to expand playback of high-resolution audio files to Blu-ray HTiBs and an active tabletop speaker for the first time, and it will add high-resolution decoding to more A/V receivers, the company said here at International CES.

Sony also plans soon to ship its first portable high-resolution headphone DAC soon, and it brought a portable high-resolution pro-audio recorder into consumer channels.

The company didn’t disclose many details, but it said at least one Blu-ray HTiB will ship this year with decoding of high-res files in multiple formats, including 192/14 FLAC, DSD and double DSD. One such HTiB on display is the BDV-N7200W with Bluetooth and nearfield communications (NFC) technology.

One new AVR with high-res decoding is the 7.2-channel STR-1050 with built-in Wi-Fi, AirPlay and Bluetooth.

The high-res portable is the $1,000-suggested PCM-D100 with dual mics. It records DSD, 192/24 PCM and MP3.

The $999-suggested SRS-X9 active tabletop speaker features Wi-Fi a/b/g/n, AirPlay and DLNA for wireless streaming. It will play back high-res files, but a USB or wired-Ethernet connection to a computer or NAS drive is recommended for that function. The 154-watt 2.1-channel biamplified stereo speaker, which brings Sony’s tabletop-speaker lineup to a new top price point, also incorporates Bluetooth, AAC and AptX streaming over Bluetooth, NFC, and music-streaming services.

The X9 is part of a new X series of wireless tabletop AC/DC speakers with rechargeable batteries. They’re due in spring or early summer.

The line will also include the $499 X7 with the same features as the X9 but without high-res decoding. The $299 X5 lacks Wi-Fi, AirPlay and DLNA but features Bluetooth and NFC. All speakers also feature microphone for hands-free calling.

Also part of the line is a one-piece CMT-X5CD music system with Bluetooth, FM, CD and USB input to play back music from mass-storage devices. Pricing was unavailable.

Sony’s first portable audio product with high-res decoding is the PHA-2 portable headphone DAC/amp, unveiled late last year but expected to ship soon at a suggested $799. It decodes DSD, double DSD, and 192/24 PCM, FLAC and ALAC as well as other formats. It has Mini, Micro and full USB ports to accept music files from computers, iOS devices and Android devices. Its rechargeable battery lasts for seven hours.

High-res decoding isn’t available in Sony’s new car audio head units.

Sony’s high-resolution line includes home components designed to decode almost every music-file format available, particularly those that deliver high-resolution, or better-than-CD, audio quality. Companion products, such as integrated amps and speakers, are designed to deliver high-res performance.

Components with audio decoders support up to 192kHz/24-bit PCM, DSD, double DSD, MP3, WAV, WMA, AAC, FLAC, ALAC, ATRAC, ATRAC Advanced Lossless and AIFF. The line’s two component hard-drive music players are designed to make transferring files from PCs more convenient and more intuitive.