Sony UBP-X1000ES Review

Sony UBP-X1000ES Review

Last Updated on by Daniel Osakwe

Sony’s UBP-X1000ES 4K Blu-ray player is Sony’s posh stablemate to the unfeasibly fine UBP-X800. Considering performance and value, the latter is one of the best-value UHD Blu-ray players out there, so clearly its more expensive sibling must offer something special to justify the high price.

There are some notable differences between the decks, despite their shared chassis design and matte finish.

With a gold-plated phono analog output on the rear, the UBP-X1000ES incorporates a high-end 192kHz/32bit DAC. Additionally, it has a bigger power supply, plus an FL status display. There are even upgraded feet, which provide better isolation. In a less obvious way, the UBP-X1000ES supports all the major smart home control protocols, including Control4, Savant, and Crestron. If you wish to integrate the deck with a custom-installed AV smart home system, this could be the deciding factor.  

Sony UBP-X1000ES: Configuration and features

Sony UBP-X1000ES Review

Along with the widely spaced phono audio output, there are two HDMIs, one of which is full-AV, the other audio-only. The idea is to provide those who need it with an audio-only HDMI feed. As an alternative to the onboard dual-band Wi-Fi, there are also coaxial and optical digital outputs, a USB port, an IR remote port, and wired Ethernet.  

It is possible to output audio in a variety of ways. From the digital outputs, PCM can be output at 48KHz, 96KHz, or 192KHz. Should you still have any low-bitrate audio content lying around, you can also use the DSEE HX audio upscaling. 

In terms of usability, it is identical to the step-down UBP-X800. You can access featured apps from the Home page, including Amazon, Netflix, YouTube (all of which stream in 4K when available), Rakuten TV, BBC iPlayer, Demand 5, BBC News & Sport, and Spotify.

Thumbnails are displayed for connected USB devices, media servers, and screen mirroring. In less than a minute, the player found my QNAP NAS and Twonky server. 

With Bluetooth plus LDAC, as well as Miracast for smartphones, the wireless connectivity is good.

While your new 4K TV might not be compatible with 3D Blu-ray discs, the player is. It takes just under 35 seconds from tray to menu when discs are loaded.

Sony UBP-X1000ES: Performance

dvd player

This flagship performs exceptionally well when it comes to playing UHD content. The images are incredibly detailed (test patterns play with full fidelity and without obvious artifacts), while the color gradations are smooth and band-free. Furthermore, it is capable of upscaling regular Blu-ray discs.

The player, however, only supports regular HDR. You might think that compatibility with Dolby Vision would be a given (for universal appeal) at this price point. However, Sony’s upcoming low-cost UBP-X700 model does support Dolby Vision, although the company says there are no plans to add Dolby Vision to this deck. The player does not support the upstart dynamic metadata standard HDR10+. 

What’s the big deal? The display makes all the difference. Unless you own a top-end 4K HDR TV, capable of high peak luminance, the benefits of dynamic metadata HDR systems are actually negligible since the set you own will not ever need to tone map (which is the process of bringing content outside of the television’s luminescence capabilities down to a level it can handle).

In this player, UHD is interpolated with a 4:4:4 subsampling. The UBP-X1000ES sends the maximum amount of data from the disc to the screen by default, based on the capability of the connected receiving device. In the case of a 4K 60p disc, the player will transmit chroma 4:4:4 at 12 bits, Deep Colour at 12 bits, and resolution at 4K 60p if the sink (receiver) permits this.

In the event that this is not possible, the amount of information is reduced based on the following priority order: resolution, frame rate, HDR, deep color, and color space. The best picture quality can be achieved by using an HDMI cable that delivers 18 Gbps. The player could output 4K at SDR, and 8bit with a 4: 2: 0 color subsampling, if you use a lesser 10.2 Gbps HDMI cable.

The deck is good for ES music. This DAC offers an analog output that’s crisp, clear, and musical. In addition to rock, it excels in both lighter acoustic pieces and beautifully engineered Back In Black (AC/DC).

It sounds excellent over HDMI too, as with the UBP-X800. It is rhythmic and musical to hear Stevie Wonder’s Living in the City (Blu-ray). A wide, believable soundstage is created by the deck.

The X1000ES is also compatible with high-resolution files (such as AAC, ALAC, DSD up to 11.2MHz, FLAC, WMA, MP3/MKV, and MPEG), as well as SACD and DVD-Audio. Audiophile archeologists are rewarded with high-fidelity playback that is as good as it generally gets. 

Listening to the multichannel mix of the London Philharmonic Orchestra playing Morning Mood (Peer Gynt Suite No. 1 Opus 46, from the Grieg Classical Masters Series), for example, is entirely uplifting, whereas listening to the same classic on a Sonos system isn’t.

What we liked

The UBP-X1000ES is a fantastic product from Sony. You’ve come to the right place if you want sensational 4K video and audiophile-grade sonics. 

UBP-X1000ES delivers razor-sharp UHD Blu-ray images, and its audio performance is superb, whether it is viewed via HDMI or two-channel analog. Also, the player is beautifully built, and if you have a custom-installed smart home system it will look right at home.

What we disliked

While this is a premium player, there are some niggles that diminish its value.

X1000ES is significantly more expensive than UBP-X800, and it lacks some of the features of the Dolby Vision-enabled, MQA-playing Oppo UHD-203 – but if you’re looking for a UHD player with comparable audio capabilities (though admittedly not universal disc compatibility), Panasonic’s DMP-UB900 is a more affordable alternative. 

With a high-end 4K player, you might reasonably expect support for Dolby Vision HDR (or HDR10+) in addition to vanilla HDR. However, there is no dynamic metadata support.

Pros Cons
A solid collection of streaming services No Dolby Vision support
Premium build quality Lacks MQA file playback
Accomplished audio player, with universal disc support Cheaper UBP-X800 is the better value buy
Excellent 4K UHD picture performance

Verdict

In terms of smart home support and a high-end DAC, the UBP-X1000ES is clearly superior to the Sony UBP-X800, but at more than twice the price, it’s hard to call it a bargain. However, this deck performs admirably when it comes to performance. The video quality is fantastic and the audio is superb, both with stereo sources and multichannel mixes.