Sony UHP-H1 player

Discussion in 'Digital Sources' started by WobblySam, Aug 24, 2017.

  1. WobblySam

    WobblySam Well-Known Member

    Middle of NC
    This player was briefly discussed in a forum thread earlier this year. That's how I found out about it and I'm really glad I did. While it was marketed as a Blu-ray player, it seems Sony was attempting a nod to audio enthusiasts. The player got flogged by a few "home theater" reviewers for not being a native 4K Blu-ray player - since that was the current buzz amongst the HT crowd. I had little interest in its video virtues and was primarily interested in its audio acumen. From all the formats listed, it appeared it would play just about anything I might be interested in.

    But what did it sound like? Shortly after reading the posts here, I found the player at Best Buy for $200. Was Sony giving up on it that soon? It seems so. I bought one at that price and it has proven to be the best deal I've ever gotten. At the original list of $349, it's still a bargain, I think.

    For you DSD enthusiasts, it will play those files from a DVD-R or BD-R or off a USB thumbdrive or attached harddrive. I can't say for sure it works over the network, I haven't tried it - I have all of 2 DSD files.

    I've streamed WAV, FLAC at 16/44.1 and 24/192 over the network as well as playing off storage on the USB port connection. No, it's not a USB DAC though. But it will play your SACDs.

    I've spent quite a bit of time listening to the H1 through a couple of systems I have and through headphones. I should say I gave up on single box solutions for CD playback in the mid-90s. None of them sounded good to me. So I went the transport/DAC route then and haven't looked back. The H1 (and the Teac CD-H750) have convinced me (at least a little bit) that there are some good sounding single boxes available. I am duly impressed by the H1 and really can't say enough good things about it - especially given its price. Then again, I am getting old, so it may be that it doesn't take a lot to impress me now. In any case, in my opinion, the H1 is one those great opportunities that have come and gone with little fanfare. I've seen a few used ones are still available at $225 and up.

    Yes, I did buy a second one at Best Buy before they were gone. I put it on my main system. I copied all my digital files off the SSD on my laptop to another SSD and plugged this into the H1. Since the H1 is video centric, I installed one of the myriad available 7 inch LCD monitors on the corner of one of my racks and ran a lightweight HDMI cable from the H1 to it. Great sound and convenience too. Normally, to listen to digital files involved powering up the laptop (giving Windows 10 or 15 minutes to thrash about and send all my personal information to Microsoft) and DAC, bringing up JRiver and then selecting songs. Now, I power on the H1,select the SSD onscreen and go.

    Does the H1 sound as good as my Oppo HA-1 or Sim 280 DACs? If you're going to go hyper-critical with your listening, then the H1 will fall short. However, the H1 is musical, a pleasure to listen to and no way would I kick it to the curb. So, if you want something that sounds good (boy, is that a fuse waiting to be lit) and is just simple and easy and cheap and crammed with features, the H1 is a good choice, in my opinion.

    Oh, and it does play video stuff too - pretty well as far as I can tell. And no, it won't play your IFOs from your ripped DVDs.


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  2. phosgene

    phosgene New Member

    this was written awhile ago. i have seen that this model was reviewed well and recommended by stereophile. now they are blowing out this ubp-x800 model that looks like it is very close (from what i can tell) brand new for under $200. the uhp-h1 is still moving on eBay for $130-$150. and that is basically naked--no returns no warranty, etc. seems hard to justify. does it have better internals for audio than the ubp-x800? i think if i go used i'd get an oppo, or a really nice vintage player. my particular application has no use for video, but some of these players are pretty nice and adding a screen/monitor to use intermittently is dirt cheap.

    a lot of people mention "audio only use" of the nicer sony/oppo all-around players. do you have a screen attached at all times, or do you just use one to set it up then from there the player is just on your rack?
    i thought i had my mind made up for getting a cd-only type player, but the value with some of these things is getting hard to ignore.

    well, i guess the difference is the ubp-x800 lacks analog outs. oops, missed that. but i am curious how people integrate these players into "audio only" applications.
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2017
  3. Teej

    Teej Active Member

    New Orleans, La
    me too
  4. WobblySam

    WobblySam Well-Known Member

    Middle of NC
    You caught it late in your post, but the 800 lacks analog outputs. As to using blu-ray players in an audio-only setup, it's not particularly easy. Most only sport one HDMI connection - the 800 has two as do the two models from Oppo (and other brands have two). One is for video/audio and the other is audio only. This allows one to go straight to the TV and the other to a home theater preamp/processor or receiver. Most lower cost blu-ray players are intended as just that - a video player. The current Oppos offer analog out for those wanting to use them as audio players. Older Oppos do this too. What made the UDP-H1 interesting was the analog outputs, disc flexibility and a low price. As I mentioned above, it was a real gem while it lasted.
    Using players like the 800 in an audio-only setup poses some challenges. There are no function buttons on the player except drawer open and the little display is quite limited. You have only HDMI out which will require one of the handful of external DACs that support it or a home theater pre/pro or receiver. Not a great solution. The current Oppos and older models offer a little more display and have analog outputs. But yes, a little 7 or 10 inch monitor would go a long way to making any of the players more convenient to use.

    The current crop of blu-ray players offer a lot of functionality and features - as long as a display monitor is not too far away and you have a method to handle the HDMI only output. No free lunches.

    Good luck with your search.
    awillia6 likes this.
  5. olderroust

    olderroust AK Member

    286 miles south of arcata
    the UHP-H1 has analog outs, which is how I got sucked into buying it.

    the analog outs sound abysmal, though. the onboard DAC is awful. I had hoped to be able to take digital out into an integrated amp and analog out into a headphone amp and be able to easily go back and forth between the two in my home office.

    I was completely dissatisfied with that approach - the sound quality was very different, for the worse, with headphones. I wound up buying a DAC/amp with coax in and line as well as headphone outputs to get what I needed.

    I paid 200 for the Sony so I'll live, but I really was disappointed when I set up a direct comparison between the analog and coax or optical outputs.

    that said, it is able to play a ton of audio formats on disc as well as being fine for video and a reasonable DLNA player. The Berlin Philharmonic channel is available on the app menu and is worth looking at the free material at least.

    The power saving sleep mode is annoying, even with my NAS sending it a wake on LAN packet every few minutes the Sony manages to go off-network regularly. I find that if I drop a playlist on it and pause playback, it stays awake.

    that is how I use it as an audio-only device - as a dlna renderer kept awake via paused playlist and controlled from a tablet, with files coming from the NAS. and that is about 90% of my use of it. my monitor in the office has a spare HDMI port, so I can use it for video as well as configure it - but the outboard DAC also does USB, so I'm likely to simply use the computer if I want video. I could also put a disc in it and play the disc without seeing the display. most of my files are archived on the nas, though.

    the nice thing about the player is that I can reboot the computer without interrupting playback, and rebooting my system is something I do fairly often if I'm working.

    If you have a receiver or dac that has coax inputs, the ubp-x800 does have a coax audio out, so for me, it would be as good as the uhp...
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2017
  6. sonci

    sonci Well-Known Member

    I had the same experience with the analog out. I found it so bad that I thought my unit was defective, or others were just deaf..
    The sound is compressed and the support for DSD is useless because it just sounds bad..
    But, as a transport is very good. I haven't any problem with the network, but I use wired set up.
    Once it starts to play, it just goes on even if you turn off the phone


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