IFA: Sony CAS-1 is desktop system for hi-res and headphones

The desktop system is making something of a comeback thanks to the increasing use of laptops as music sources and in part the buoyant high-end headphone market. The Sony CAS-1 aims to combine both those use cases.

A slim main unit stands vertically and comes with a pair of speakers. Inside the main unit there are two amplifiers: one for the speakers and one for the headphone output.

The system supports hi-res audio playback up to 24-bit/192kHz via two USB inputs - USB-A and USB-B - and can also connect wirelessly to a phone, tablet or computer over Bluetooth. NFC connectivity is also supported.

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The CAS-1 uses Sony's own LDAC codec, which it says is more efficient than standard Bluetooth streaming. You can also connect via the Sony SongPal app, available on Android and iOS for phones and tablets.

Hi-res audio is supported in DSD and PCM formats, plus AIFF, FLAC and WAV.

The amplifier for the speakers is the S-Master HX amp, while the headphone amp is the same as the one used in the Sony HAP-Z1ES music streamer and other Sony hi-fi separates.

It has its own dedicated volume control and the option to switch impedance ("hi/low").

The speakers have 14mm tweeters and 6.2cm woofers, and are ported. Spikes and "speaker bases" are supplied.

Release date and pricing for the Sony CAS-1 has yet to be confirmed.

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Joe Cox
Content Director

Joe is the Content Director for What Hi-Fi? and Future’s Product Testing, having previously been the Global Editor-in-Chief of What Hi-Fi?. He has worked on What Hi-Fi? across the print magazine and website for almost 20 years, writing news, reviews and features on everything from turntables to TVs, headphones to hi-fi separates. He has covered product launch events across the world, from Apple to Technics, Sony and Samsung; reported from CES, the Bristol Show, and Munich High End for many years; and written for sites such as the BBC, Stuff, and the Guardian. In his spare time, he enjoys expanding his vinyl collection and cycling (not at the same time).