Sony TA A1-ES impressions

Discussion in 'New Gear - Values' started by stopkidding, Sep 22, 2015.

  1. stopkidding

    stopkidding Active Member

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    Anyone has some hands on listening experience with the Sony integrated amplifier? There isn't a whole lot of reviews other than a Luke warm whathifi review. Rest is scattered around the web with very little actual review data. Oh well, either way I now purchased one of ebay for a smoking deal....I wonder what I can expect? I mostly have vintage sansui gear which I have been happy with. Was looking for a modern integrated like the Yamaha AS 2100, but it was a little too rich for me....

    Let's build up the anticipation....
     

     

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  2. stopkidding

    stopkidding Active Member

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    This rare and mysterious amplifier from Sony....

    This is the most comprehensive review I found. Though I am not familiar with the reviewer. Seems like the typical publication review where they speak in a generally esoteric manner with a mostly positive tone...
    http://andreweverard.com/2014/02/19/review-sony-ta-a1es-amplifier/
     
  3. Samac

    Samac Active Member

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    That Sony looks like one fine amp. The build quality looks outstanding. I wish I could tell you what it sounds like but I haven't heard one.

    Andrew Everard was with What HiFi and he does a god job with his reviews. I think you're in for a good time once you get the TA-A1ES in your system.

    Cheers,
     
  4. Sound Dragon

    Sound Dragon Yawns and sets his couch on fire! Subscriber

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    I believe Aker prisoners has one. you could reach out to him for an impression.
     
  5. sonci

    sonci Well-Known Member

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    so, did you receive your toy? I've always been a fan of Sony ES gear..
    It would be interesting to compare it to some new Yamaha integrated,
     
  6. stopkidding

    stopkidding Active Member

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    Arriving Monday :)

    I am going to be putting it into my main system connected to the Polk LSi15 (4ohm) fed by the Yamaha cd-s2000 and Sansui XR-Q5. It is currently powered by the Sansui Alpha 607MR which is my most refined amplifier...it would be a good match up...stay tuned...
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2015
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  7. stopkidding

    stopkidding Active Member

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    So I have had the amplifier for about 2 weeks now. Some unfortunate packaging from the seller resulted in a damaged face plate and volume knob. But luckily the amp survived functionally.

    Some impressions:
    Fit, finish and construction: This is an elegant piece of work. Really solid with really high quality construction. It is very compact too, same width as my Yamaha CD-S2000, but about a inch or two lower in height. But they match up nicely (Silver and black).

    Sound wise: I am really impressed, so far. I think this is a very very detailed amplifier with very precise imaging. As a comparison, by current best amp that is connected is a 1994 vintage Sansui Alpha 607MR, which sounds really nice to me. Last night I did some critical listening playing The Division Bell album on CD on both Amps. While both amplifiers sound great, the Sony really shines on how smooth and deep the individual notes are. The guitar notes on "Cluster One" really shine on the Sony. Even though the Sansui sounds great, there is another level of depth and sweetness to the notes.

    In terms of imaging and Detail, the Sony shines over the Sansui as well. On the song "High Hopes", the buzzing of the flies really jumps out at you, Almost like there is a real fly buzzing in the room. While the Sansui reveals the same detail, the buzzing is really not standing out.

    Another area where the Sony shines, producing very rich, deep vocal notes and single instrument notes. On the album Way Down Low by Kat Edmunson, her simple vocals and instrumentation really shines on the Sony. Almost to a hair-standing goose bump level.

    Areas where the Sansui stood out, were deeper bass than Sony, though the Sony seemed to have more tighter bass notes. This could very well be the Sansui needing conditioning as it is now 20 years old. Obviously the Sony runs very hot when in Class A, though it doesn't really impact the sound.

    It is also nice to have a remote and balanced inputs (though I have not used them). Since the Sony has no phono stage, you would need an outboard phono stage to connect vinyl.

    All in all, I love this amp, even with its damaged face plate which I hope to resolve with the seller. At the price I got it, which is fractions of the full retail price ... I think I love it even more....and its a keeper!
     
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  8. prisoners

    prisoners AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    image.jpg I've had mine for a few months now. I was looking for a new solid state power amp to use with a Cary tube preamp I had but my dealer insisted I try this Sony integrated. I took it home but was skeptical about taking my beloved Cary out of the chain. Well....I bought it. Its only at very high volume that I preferred the Cary (which I had paired with a Denon POA-2200) over this Sony, and the combination of this with its companion HAP-z1ES really is something special.
    It sounds the same at all volume settings, just louder as you turn it up. Most amps/preamps have a different quality as the volume output changes substantially. Some have greater fluctuation than others, but it's almost always there. Not so with the Sony. I've heard more detail in a truly great preamp, but I would've had to spend several times the price. I can't think of any integrated amp under $4k I'd rather have, and the Sony is only 1/2 that.
     
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  9. Sound Dragon

    Sound Dragon Yawns and sets his couch on fire! Subscriber

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    I too am leaning in the same direction. I do wish it had a phono stage, but that is not really a deal breaker for me.
     
  10. rcspkramp

    rcspkramp AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    A good friend has one of those and loves it. He uses it to drive large Advents.
     
  11. jhoyt

    jhoyt Incomprehensible space llama

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    I'm coming to this thread a little late, but I've owned one for about half a year. For all it's tenure here it's pushed Vandersteen model 2ce (original). My take is that it is extremely transparent -- very close to the ideal "straight wire with gain". And it nearly is a straight wire, as the only "control" in the system is Volume. I do wish there was more flexibility, especially pre-outs. I've never run out of power with the Vandersteens, but it would be nice to have the ability to separately amplify the woofer section. 80 WPC.

    My understanding of the volume control is that it also controls a "sliding" amplifier bias, rather than an input signal tracking system.

    There are a great many things to love about the amp (such as the insanely huge speaker terminals), and only a little to leave you wanting more.
     

     

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  12. prisoners

    prisoners AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Agreed. Looking at your signature we have similar gear. If I had another $8k to spend on a pre/power combo I'd probably find something a litter better but IMO nothing I've heard for the price of the Sony integrated comes close.
     
  13. stopkidding

    stopkidding Active Member

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    Its been more than a month and now have some miles on this thing, have to say that I am always amazed about the new details I keep hearing. Not that my other Sansui does not play back the same details, but something about how the different notes and instruments get accentuated and stand out...I am finding myself getting hooked on to new notes and rhythms in songs that I had not paid attention to...
     
  14. LS50

    LS50 New Member

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    image.jpeg Please advise,
    I have KEF LS50 for 3 month. It was powered by my old Onkyo receiver. It was too bright and hurted my ears when I listened loud (85+/-db). Then, I got Rotel RA-1570 integrated amp few days and it was a nice upgrade. It's warmer, deeper bass and more detail.

    I plan to buy Oppo 105D to play my CD, Blu-ray and USB. So, I don't need a DAC on my Rotel, right? But I'm more interested in the sound quality.

    I'm looking for your recommendation on which integrated amp I should get and last me next 10 years or so.

    Sony TA-A1ES
    Yamaha A-S2100 or A-S1100 (refurbished)
    Or keep Rotel RA-1570

    Thanks

    T2
    PS. Without center speaker.
     
  15. stopkidding

    stopkidding Active Member

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    Haven't heard the Yamaha but it gets glowing reviews. It was on my wish list but always beyond my budget. When a Sony deal at 1/3 the retail price came up, it was too good to pass up...sorry I don't have more details, but if your budget allows it the Yamaha is certainty a great option...
     
  16. LS50

    LS50 New Member

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    I picked up Sony TA-A1ES and Sony HAP-Z1ES couple days ago and they are very well built components and blend in with my speakers perfectly. Detail, precise, tight bass, and great imaging. I'm happy with both to power my KEF LS50. HDD Audio app on iOS is very intuitive, access to my music library from seat, and drop and drag files between my PC to the player is quick (around 1minute per CD). vTuner and DSEE are nice features included with the player. Thanks.
     
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  17. stopkidding

    stopkidding Active Member

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    Pictures please :)
     
  18. LS50

    LS50 New Member

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    image.jpeg
    image.jpeg
    Thanks
     
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  19. audiodon

    audiodon Addicted Member

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    Looking good. I have a HAPZ1ES and I really like it a lot . . . once you get files on it.
     
  20. LS50

    LS50 New Member

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