18

4.5 based on 18 customer reviews

14
2
0
1
1
Sound Quality

Excellent

Features

Excellent

Design

Excellent

Ease of Use

Excellent

Please note: Some product variations and/or features mentioned within Product Reviews may not be available in all countries.

18 Customer Reviews

0

SONY TA-A1ES AMPLIFIER DETAILED REVIEW - PART 2

TA-A1ES 20/04/2021 by JLee00 (USA)

SONY TA-A1ES AMPLIFIER DETAILED REVIEW - PART 2 Modern elegance. Class A purity. Transparent, revealing, fluid, fast, dynamic, neutral, natural. NOTE TO SONY: Your TA-A1ES amplifier is an amazing product. Please do not cease sales and / or development of this unit. You have created something very special that begs for much more advertisement and marketing put behind it. Sales of this unit could increase dramatically with additional promotional strength properly targeted. OUT OF THE BOX FIRST LISTEN Note: For evaluation, this brand new unit has been powered on constantly for the first 30 days, then on low-current standby mode for the next 30 days. Standard copper cabling is used with all components in the signal chain. Headphone amplifier has the same tonal signature as the loudspeaker amplifier. A generally quite nice and natural, decent, neutral sound with nice body, subtle tube-like density, and a balanced frequency range. High frequencies are somewhat subdued. Initially has a slightly unfocused bass with a very slight upper mid-range and treble roughness. Not extremely detailed, nor extremely smooth straight out of the box. No coldness, hardness, edginess, graininess, or glassiness. DAY 2, 10 HOURS BURN IN Pro: I wake up and cue up my streamer. My spouse who has absolutely no interest in, nor knowledge about anything related to Hi-Fi whatsoever is in the room. I turn on Melody Gardot. After about ten seconds she says "The music is beautiful." After a couple songs I put on Chet Baker whom I normally play almost every day with my other amplifiers (an above average Class A/B and a very nice Class D, the brand names of which I won't mention). After about twenty seconds she says "You have two songs playing at the same time. Could you please turn off one." I promptly tell her that I only have one song playing. After a brief pause to think she replies "I must be hearing the layers in the jazz." If my spouse is having this unprompted reaction to the Sony amplifier after only ten hours of burn in, it may have something extremely magical to come. I am definitely hearing a subtle tube-like smoothness in the mid-range which was not there yesterday. 70 HOURS BURN IN Pro: Everything is much smoother but not silky or syrupy. The slight unfocused roughness has disappeared. Voices and strings in particular are first noticeable as being very detailed. Still tight, fast, and dynamic bass but now with high detail. Very revealing, but not unnaturally hyper-revealing. Performs extremely well with movies. Character voices, whether panning or fixed to center, are crystal clear and dense. Con: Although much smoother, the smoothness is of a quality like that of being smoothed over with a fine dusting of metallic baby powder. This may be what a certain reviewer referred to as an artificial sound. They apparently quickly returned their amplifier without giving it its fair chance. Yes, this 'artificiality' does eventually go away. Keep reading and you will see that patience is indeed extremely rewarding. This may be a pro or con but things like bad microphone placement with muffled reflections and congested reverberations on poorly recorded voices are exposed. High frequencies still seem slightly subdued. 80 HOURS BURN IN Pro: The 'artificial' metallic baby powder coating which had me a bit concerned has disappeared. The fine smooth powdery sound seemed to be a result of the machine increasing in detail. The only other place I have heard a similar, although milder, powdery sound is with Yamaha's 24 bit Enhancer up-sampling. It's a nice smoothing musical effect but just not entirely realistic. Now however that it is gone I am left with an even greater level of detail and micro-dynamics which simply sound almost like having no amplifier in the audio chain. What I am now hearing is more realism. An incredible level of texture appears with bowed strings and piano. The tension and resistance of the bow against the string is clearly heard. There is absolutely no hardness or thinness to the piano sound. There is a subtle tube-like density complete with the resonance of the wood from the piano's body. In matrixed multi-channel mode there are pinpoint-sharp sound waves (with volume and layers like clouds in the sky) floating holographically throughout my room on all three axes. I feel as if I am in the actual room with these acoustic instruments hearing them played live. My powered subwoofer is directly connected to the Sony amplifier via speaker level inputs. Even connected this way using unshielded speaker wire, the A1 amplifier delivers such a high level of detail and density that my subwoofer is playing with more texture and smoothness than it did via my other amplifier’s pre-outs using shielded interconnect cables. Con: Not a requirement for my setup but some people may need pre-out connections and bridging capability of which there is none. 140 HOURS BURN IN Pro: High frequencies are no longer subdued. They have gradually come alive with a realistic level of air and sparkle. Everything breathes. With fast speakers, transients are lightning-quick without being edgy. Some audiophiles are fascinated with an exaggerated analytical level of air and treble brightness. They will not find exaggeration here. What they will find is a very realistic and natural sense of liveliness along with the aforementioned subtle tube-like (yet not tubey) density. Now I hear no amplifier in my audio chain; only excellent transparency with a palpable sense of lifelike detail. The headphone amplifier still follows the same tonality and dynamic behavior of the loudspeaker amplifier, and gives a euphoric late night headphone listening experience. I am completely satisfied and even thrilled with the amplifier's performance at this point. Con: Nothing. 500 HOURS BURN IN No further changes have occurred with the A1. CONCLUSION: Obviously nothing is perfect, and there are amplifiers costing several thousand dollars that can provide increased wattage and capacitance for larger speakers, that have thicker paneling, pre-out connections, and somewhat finer focus in sound-stage imaging but for any normal audiophile application I don't recognize anything that readily needs improvement. Please note that I do not work for Sony nor do I have any affiliation with them. I am simply a happy customer. I echo the term "world class" as used by other reviewers in describing this amplifier. This is an extremely underrated heaven-sent amplifier and I think with some very passionate marketing and advertising Sony could vastly broaden the reach of this piece. Thank you Sony for a wonderful amplifier that provides magical moments, backed by a long 5 year warranty.

Sound Quality

Excellent

Features

Excellent

Design

Excellent

Ease of Use

Excellent

0

0

0

Sad to see it go

TA-A1ES 23/03/2021 by ceeveedee (USA)

Clear and simple: this amp is extraordinary. From the aesthetics, to its physical mass, to the weight of the sound it delivers; I’m in heaven. It’s detailed at low volumes, an absolute giant killer at louder volumes, and seems to power through anything I throw at it. I’ve paired this with an NS9100ES CD/SACD player , and RME ADI-2 DAC fs for the HAP-1ZES and a Node 2i and another Sony NS3100ES SACD/CD player. It’s marvelous. What makes me incredibly sad however, is that Sony is no longer producing this amplifier, or so it seems. I’m not sure why, but the simple flyer never seem to get the coverage at deserved, but when it did the reviews were all the same, extraordinary sound extraordinary detail and effortless beauty. I can only hope that Sony continues doing the work because when they do the results are peerless

Sound Quality

Excellent

Features

Excellent

Design

Excellent

Ease of Use

Excellent

1

0

0

Great with SACD's

TAA1ES 03/03/2020 by Crag (USA) Verified Purchaser Verified

Bought this last May and it sounds great. I even love the simplicity of the remote.I have an old Sony ES SACD player and a pretty good assortment of SACD's jazz and rock and they sound terrific. My only change would be the speaker terminals on the back of the unit don't work as well as I would like with my speaker cables with spade connectors .

Sound Quality

Excellent

Features

Excellent

Design

Excellent

Ease of Use

Excellent

1

0

0

Giant Killer

TAA1ES 21/07/2019 by thehub (USA) Verified Purchaser Verified

I just purchased this little Sony and it is certainly everything I had hoped for and much more. I sold most of my high end audio equipment a few years ago, thought I was done with it but kept my Harbeth Compact 7 ES 3 speakers. The itch came back recently so I started looking around for another amp. I've read a lot about this amp and the simplicity of the design and really liked what I read so I decided to give it a try. I still can't get over the purity and unforced natural detail of the sound. I've owned a Cary solid state and tube amps (120 S MK2) and a Plinius SA 102 and 103 among others and they all sounded great (all a bit different) but so far I believe this little Sony is the best I've owned. Sounds a bit silly comparing it with the above mentioned products but the Sony and Harbeths are a match made in heaven. The HAP Z1ES will be next on the list to compliment this amp.

Sound Quality

Excellent

Features

Good

Design

Excellent

Ease of Use

Excellent

11

0

0

Best Amplifier!!

TAA1ES 12/02/2019 by cirederF (Canada) Verified Purchaser Verified

I'm very happy with this purchase. Thank you Sony

Sound Quality

Excellent

Features

Excellent

Design

Excellent

Ease of Use

Excellent

1

0

0

excellent sond for the money

TA-A1ES 06/01/2019 by SOUNDMAN82 (USA)

I bought this amplifier 3 month ago I love it, plenty of power, sound is vary warm and detailed. Got it paired with Martin Logan Motion 60XT speakers and Audioquest Rocket 88 speaker cables, upgraded from the rocket 33 makes a world of difference FYI don't go cheap on your cables, source is a super audio CD player & project turntable. Vary satisfied

Sound Quality

Excellent

Features

Excellent

Design

Excellent

Ease of Use

Excellent

8

3

0

Marvelous!

TA-A1ES 24/11/2018 by Rubicon7 (USA)

Bought this and hooked it up to my Canton Anniversary A45 speakers and this sound splendid. Source is Oppo Sonica DAC streaming Tidal. This replaces some Parasound separates.

Sound Quality

Excellent

Features

Excellent

Design

Excellent

Ease of Use

Excellent

11

3

0

Amazing loud sound

TA-A1ES 10/11/2018 by uzku (USA)

I pair it with the nw wm1a and the sound is superb. Couldn´t ask for more. It feels like an absolute premium device.

Sound Quality

Excellent

Features

Good

Design

Excellent

Ease of Use

Excellent

11

1

0

Nicely done Sony

TAA1ES 24/03/2018 by PuroSonido (USA) Verified Purchaser Verified

Bought together with HAP-Z1ES and couldn't be happier with my purchase. Perfect match. Finally enjoying all my digitally converted CD collection. Great job Sony for bringing back my 2-channel system to life.

Sound Quality

Excellent

Features

Excellent

Design

Excellent

Ease of Use

Excellent

17

1

0

Superb Sound

TA-A1ES 30/01/2018 by Will18 (USA)

I got This Amp a year ago, Still Amazed with the clear, detail sound. this amp Produce.

Sound Quality

Excellent

Features

Good

Design

Excellent

Ease of Use

Good

17

1

0

Very good when pairing with speakers SS-NA5ES

TA-A1ES 13/01/2018  (USA)

Both TA-A1ES and SS-NA5ES are not selling in Hong Kong. I bought the amp online from Australia at clearance price and the pair of speakers directly from Japan. The sound is elegant, smooth, real, precise, detailed, natural. Please do not use cheap cables with this amp just because this amp is not from the prestige/boutique manufacturer. The sound quality of this amp is much higher than the price tells. I do not see any problem that it does not feature tonal control or pre/main in/out. I just connect it to DAC with quality balance cables and the sound straight out from the box is so good that I do not see the need to add anything.

Sound Quality

Excellent

Features

Excellent

Design

Excellent

Ease of Use

Excellent

21

1

0

Great sound with Sony SS-A5 speakers

TA-A1ES 22/12/2017 by emaspac (USA)

This is a real high end amplifier with extreme resolution on low level details. The best sound when you have a first class tweeter, like the one in the old masterpiece Sony SS-A5 speakers. TA-A1ES is a best buy today and it will be remembered. Thanks Sony for your ES line. Please do not stop to produce ES, instead keep it and upgrade it because you're the best if you want.

Sound Quality

Excellent

Features

Good

Design

Excellent

Ease of Use

Excellent

23

2

0

Fantastique !

TA-A1ES 07/06/2017 by Surfstepol (USA)

Just received my new amp ! Don t read too much reviews, listen ! Sound is superb with my klipsch Heresy Realy underrated amp, if you can ny one before it is too late. I use also my Old cdp cx100 Thank you Sony !

Sound Quality

Excellent

Features

Excellent

Design

Excellent

Ease of Use

Excellent

21

3

0

Spectacular, smooth & satisfying sound from Sony!

TAA1ES 25/03/2015 by MolecularDynamix (USA)

Spectacular, smooth & satisfying sound from Sony: This beautiful amp is Class A in many ways - and all that finesse in a modern and elegant design! Absolutely incredible Class A sound from my Sony TA-A1ES Hi-Res amplifier! I could not be happier - and I do not say that often, especially regarding audiophile equipment. Drives my very high end ($$$) loudspeakers which can drop to ~2 ohms. Smart Class A topology in a modern and very elegant design. Excellent, solid build quality. If you read a few reviews on this amp, and glean from one of them the not so subtle intimations that in side by side comparisons of the TA-A1ES with other, but much more expensive ultra-high end audiophile Class A amps, the differences were 'too close for comfort". Minutes after setting up the TA-A1ES and a quick listen, I was so delighted with the amplifier's apercu that I immediately purchased its companion product, the Sony HAP-Z1ES digital network player that I and many others have found to be equally sensational! Regarding the HAPZ1ES Hi-Res network player. I was really impressed by the build quality - and sound quality - and the convenience - and the app! Really nice work by Sony. I am very satified with the network player and the TAA1ES Class A amplifier. Great combo. It is playing in the background right now...I am really pleased with these Sony products. The best money #enjoyment / investment ratio# I have spent on audio!

76

21

0

dont buy it sounds bad

TAA1ES 26/09/2014 by flashy2828 (USA)

sounds bad for the money. don't buy u wasting ya time. my laptop sounds better. look elsewhere.

19

389

0

Yes I was Surprised Too!

TAA1ES 18/04/2014 by Disbeliever2 (USA)

I compared this amplifier to my Superuniti and I hate to say that Sony blows this out of the water. Excellent sound that is not too forward nor too laid back. Very natural sound that presents my HI-Res files (Cream & Blind Faith 24/192) is power and authority. The audiophile in me should say that this amp is not good since it is a Sony ....not a Naim, Bryston, Classe, etc .....but I can't. Sony has delivered big time! Welcome back to Audio world Sony ... we missed you.

116

3

0

AVOID

TAA1ES 23/03/2014 by Disbeliever (USA)

TA-1AES amp. big disappointment, runs too hot, sounds artificial, heat sinks too small, FET input distortion too high,,no unity gain/bypass facility. distracting bright white light circles around facia line indicators, Black case color mandatory. WHF? says Does,nt convey rhythms particularly well, I find it conveys nothing particularly well and I am a Sony fan with the excellent DA5400ES/XA5400ES combo. Disregard the IMO inaccurate HFN & RR review.

33

218

0

Fantastic Sound Purity

TAA1ES 19/02/2014 by CrystalClear (USA)

I waited for something like this to come out from Sony for a while, I have one of the first serial numbers, very cool. The sound is spectacular, and as simple as it is I love that you can choose the headphone impedance and the silver look. The xlr balanced input makes a big difference. This was built to please. Keep Innovating!

97

14