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Sony Hits High-Resolution Audio Road

Las Vegas – Sony is expanding its portfolio of high-resolution audio products into the car aftermarket with the launch of a single-DIN model that decodes multiple hi-res formats, including native DSD.

The mech-less head unit is the first aftermarket head unit announced to date with high-res playback capability.

The head unit not only decodes high-res files but also processes them through built-in high-resolution ESS ES9018 192kHz/24-bit DACs. “Native DSD full-performance playback is possible,” a spokesperson said, “and from speaker output, over 40kHz sound will come.”

Although a quartet of Pioneer NEX-series head units launched last year were the first to offer playback of files encoded as high-res FLAC up to 192kHz/24 bits, playback output is CD-quality, Pioneer said. Clarion’s in-dash stereos typically are capable of decoding 96/24FLAC and WAV files, but the files are down-converted to CD quality, Clarion said.

Sony’s single-DIN head unit, due in the summer at an unspecified price, plays back high-res files, including WAV and FLAC, from USB-connected devices. It also features Sony’s DSEE HX (Digital Sound Enhancement Engine) technology to upscale lower resolution music files to high-res.

The head unit will be accompanied by a companion high-res capable amplifier and super tweeter for use with GS series speakers and subwoofers to reproduce a high-res experience in the car.

It’s compatible with smartphones, high-res- compatible portable media players, and USB memory sticks. It also features OLED display with good visibility, time alignment though the company’s SongPal app, and optical output.

The head unit connects to the outboard amplifier via Toslink digital output.