Sony UBP-X1000ES UHD Universal Blu-ray player review

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posted on Saturday, 20th January 2018 by Steve May

home cinema  Blu-ray  4K  Marata Vision  Sony 

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If you’re building a 4K home theatre or media room, it’s not good enough to simply rely on streaming services for content. UHD Blu-ray is now a certifiable hit format, and is widely recognised as the best source of premium AV. But what player to specify?

This versatile Sony deck is a strong contender. The UBP-1000XES is 4K universal disc spinner that improves upon the brand's popular UBP-X800 model, offering more expansive audio options and better CI functionality. The UBP-X1000ES supports Control4, Crestron and Savant smart home protocols.

UBP-X1000ES Front

Sony UBP-X1000ES UHD Blu-ray player: Build Quality and features
Design wise, this deck is clearly related to the UBP-X800. It shares the same minimalistic design, and anti-resonance frame and beam chassis. But closer investigation reveals key differences. The front fascia has an FL LED display, and sports an ES badge. On the rear panel are gold-plated stereo analogue audio outputs, reflecting its sonic prowess. Unlike its cheaper sibling, the UBP-X1000ES features a high-end 192kHz/ 32bit DAC allied to a more substantial power supply.

The player sports two HDMI outputs. Most will opt to take sound and vision from the main HDMI, but if you need to route out a dedicated HDMI audio feed you can. There’s also coaxial and optical digital outputs, RS232c, IR remote port and Ethernet. New designed isolating feet better combat vibration.

Wireless connectivity comprises Bluetooth with LDAC support, dual-band Wi-Fi and MiraCast for use with compatible smartphones.

Unlike its principal 4K player rival, the Oppo UDP-203, this Sony boasts a fully stocked smart portal. The Home page offers welcome access to Amazon, Netflix, Rakuten TV, BBC iPlayer, Demand 5, BCC News & Sport, Spotify, YouTube and Berlin Philharmoniker. There’s also easy access for connected USB devices, media servers and screen mirroring.

Media player compatibility is good. It addition to MKV video playback, the deck is compatible with DSD up to up to 11.2MHz, AIFF, AAC, plus lesser audio codecs.

HDMIs

USB

Sony UBP-X1000ES UHD Blu-ray player: Performance
We were knocked out by the performance of the low cost UBP-X800 when we auditioned it, which performed brilliantly not just with 4K UHD discs, but regular HD Blu-ray. There’s no significant difference here. Picture quality remains superb.

The deck delivers faultless UHD detail, with fully realised test patterns and band-free colour gradations. The only possible area of contention remains HDR. For a higher-end player like this, the lack of Dolby Vision compatibility is an issue. In reality, dynamic metadata support is of limited use when the display device is a high-specification, UHD Premium HDR model (as there’s often little need to tone map), and one assumes that’s exactly the kind of display this player is likely to be partnered with in an upmarket install - but it’s still a checkbox that many will want to tick. The player isn’t compatible with the new HDR10+ dynamic metadata standard either. Regular HDR is all you get.

While there have been persistent rumours that Sony will firmware upgrade this player to Dolby Vision, the official line I continue to get from Sony is that this is not going to happen. Sony’s incoming, low-cost UBP-X700 model does support Dolby Vision though. Make of that what you will.

That said, the UBP-X1000ES is compatible with 3D Blu-ray discs, which could be useful if you’re planning to integrate it with a 3D capable projector. Disc loading speeds are reassuringly swift. The deck is nice and responsive to commands.

UBP-X1000ES_ Tray Open

There are a variety of display options, including an option for TV or projector display use.
For the most part, it’s best to leave the player in auto mode. If you’re running through a matrix, it’s worth knowing that the deck interpolates UHD with 4:4:4 subsampling. By default, the UBP-X1000ES will deliver maximum data, based on the capability of the connected receiving device. If the sink allows, the player sends resolution at 4K 60p, Deep Colour at 12 bit and chroma at 4:4:4.

As hinted at earlier, the key difference, certainly in terms of performance, between this model and the UBP-X800 stems from the deck’s audiophile grade DAC. The analogue output is a welcome addition to its armoury. The player sounds sublime, and will easily hold its own as part of a high-end music system.

In addition to High-Res Audio file support, the X1000ES is compatible with both SACD and DVD-Audio disc formats. Two channel stereo is ribald and exciting, while multichannel audio, delivered over HDMI, sounds wonderfully immersive. I flipped between a 24-bit FLAC of AC/DC’s Back in Black, and a 5.1 mix of the London philharmonic Orchestra playing Morning Mood (Peer Gynt Suite No 1 Opus 46), and was consistently impressed by the X1000ES’s musical chops.

PCM can be output from the digital outputs at 48KHz, 96KHz or 192KHz. If there’s a need to play low bitrate MP3s, Sony’s rather clever DSEE HX audio upscaler adds a greater sense of space and dynamics.

Onscreen Portal

Sony UBP-X1000ES UHD Blu-ray player: Verdict
Sony has gifted enthusiasts a superb UHD disc player with the UBP-X1000ES. It’s well built and generously featured. 4K disc playback and HD upscaling is excellent, and it exhibits genuine musicality. There are some elements missing from the mix, namely Dolby Vision HDR compatibility and (to a lesser extent) MQA file support, but when it comes to refinement, this deck isn’t found lacking. It also comes with a three year warranty and advanced exchange.

Available now through Marta Vision
Price: £725

Steve May

Inside CI Editor Steve May is a freelance technology journalist, who also writes for T3, TechRadar, Home Cinema Choice and ERT (amongst others).

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Posted by gerald bearman on 4th June 2018, 2:28 PM
att. Steve May . Have found analogue outs give excellent High End sound for CD ,but can not be used as there is no track display on the unit , it is virtually imposible to select individual tracks.
Posted by gerald bearman on 19th May 2018, 9:25 AM
Whilst Video same as cheaper X800, audio is vastly superior and the 1000ES functions much better & quicker. Sounds as good as my Sony XA5400ES, not interested in Dolby Vision etc. A bargain in the US at half UK price.10/10.

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