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  1. #1
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    HT reciever that EXCELLs at two channel music reproduction!!!

    Hi all...
    i'm new to the forum. Just wanted to say "hi" and talk some trash about the Sony STR-DA 2/3/5/9000ES digital recievers.

    I consider myself an audiophile.
    I write reviews on recording equipment and two channel audio hi-end stereo gear (fwiw).

    I recently (and reluctantly) got talked into trying out one of these Sony ES digital drive 7.1 recievers for two channel music.

    HOLY CRAP!
    can you say giant killer?

    I posted this review to the "reviews" section of the 3000ES (my personal amp).
    You can read my real review on my web site, if you care. www.nickspicks.com

    I use the 3000es soley for two channel music listening, and IMO it excells. So much so, that i've sold my individual componants (that I paid around $3k used!!) and replaced them with this box. Componants in question were a McCormack DNA-1 and Musical Fidelity CD-PRE24.

    The key to these Sony digital amps is that you MUST feed them a digital signal. This way, the signal path goes incoming PCM > DSD upsample (the magic!) > digital drive amplification > D/A stage > speakers.

    The sound is amazing. Largest, most detailed soundstage i've ever heard out of any combo of stereo equipment i've owned. Imaging is so pinpoint, its downright scrary at times. Detail is so abundant that i'm listening to most of my music collection for the first time (so it seems).

    I know my review goes against what many others here have said, but I question if they are listening in the same method that I am.
    IMO, this is the best piece for two channel music reproductin (from a 7.1 reciever no less) out there w/o going into many thousands of dollars in seperates or the ultimate of high-end integrateds.
    I put it head to head against my other amp, a Manley Stingray...and it bested it!
    If you are looking for a low dollar, high value amp for MUSIC, then you must audition one of these. They sound fantastic righ out of the box but get much warmer/smoother after a few hundred hours of play.

    Anyone else here using one of these amps in this regard?
    I've heard from my Sony dealer and trusted audiophile friend that the flagship SACD player running its DSD firewire input to the 9000ES is an experience one wont forget anytime soon. I hope to get to hear that combo some day.
    I LOVE technology!

  2. #2
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    oh yea, I posted this here because the amp is a 7.1 HT reciever...I just use it that way.

  3. #3
    all around good guy Jim Clark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nickspicks
    The key to these Sony digital amps is that you MUST feed them a digital signal. This way, the signal path goes incoming PCM > DSD upsample (the magic!) > digital drive amplification > D/A stage > speakers.

    I LOVE technology!
    Interesting observation that I have yet to come across. Sounds like it may be fun but I'm wondering if, based on your comments if it's vesatile enough to be practical or even useful. Of course for most of us a lot of signals still come into the chain as analog, especially via the TV. As much as I want music to continue as the prime focus, I still want a decent presentation of the flicks and sporting events that are piped in on analog signals. Oh yeah, as much as technology is fun many of us still like listening to vinyl and cassettes with even some VHS material thrown in for occasional viewing. What's been your reaction in this regard? Reading between the lines I'm guessing not good at all.

    jc
    "Ahh, cartoons! America's only native art form. I don't count jazz 'cuz it sucks"- Bartholomew J. Simpson

  4. #4
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    Sorry don't agree

    I'd still rather listen, everything being equal to 5 channels & a sub than 2 channels. I set my receiver to all channels and I am a happy man. But whatever makes you happy, more power to you.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Clark
    Interesting observation that I have yet to come across. Sounds like it may be fun but I'm wondering if, based on your comments if it's vesatile enough to be practical or even useful. Of course for most of us a lot of signals still come into the chain as analog, especially via the TV. As much as I want music to continue as the prime focus, I still want a decent presentation of the flicks and sporting events that are piped in on analog signals. Oh yeah, as much as technology is fun many of us still like listening to vinyl and cassettes with even some VHS material thrown in for occasional viewing. What's been your reaction in this regard? Reading between the lines I'm guessing not good at all.

    jc

  5. #5
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Interesting observation because I've read just the opposite impression on some other boards. Seems that the S-Master receivers have created some very divergent opinions. I would also be curious as to how it sounds with an analog input, since the digital drive design would seem to dictate that every signal must go through a redundant AD/DA conversion, even if it does not get routed into the DSP section.

    One potential issue to look out for is the reliability, because I've also read a few accounts of power section problems in the S-Master digital drive models. While this is a small enough sample to cue up to isolated cases, Sony has had some major reliability problems crop up on specific model runs in recent years, particularly in the power supply components. A couple of friends of mine worked at stores that stock Sony products, and with them the reliability problems got to a point that they simply quit demoing Sonys unless the customer specifically asks about them.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Clark
    Interesting observation that I have yet to come across. Sounds like it may be fun but I'm wondering if, based on your comments if it's vesatile enough to be practical or even useful. Of course for most of us a lot of signals still come into the chain as analog, especially via the TV. As much as I want music to continue as the prime focus, I still want a decent presentation of the flicks and sporting events that are piped in on analog signals. Oh yeah, as much as technology is fun many of us still like listening to vinyl and cassettes with even some VHS material thrown in for occasional viewing. What's been your reaction in this regard? Reading between the lines I'm guessing not good at all.

    jc
    actualy, i'm not using the Sony for anything other than two channel music, and an occasional DVD movie (which I still use the digi in as my DVD player is my redbook transport).
    So no, I have not listened to the analog section at all. I have tried a little A/B comparrison using the analog output of my transport and it just didnt have the magic that the digital input has. Different signal path.
    Also, i'm running the Sony in pure 2 channel mode, bypassing all of the DSP surround options entirely.

    I can understand that this is not a universal amp for everyones needs, especialy the analog domain. However, if you are primarily listening to digital sources (as I am) , then this is where its at.

  7. #7
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    My impressions of that model were that it was decent, but overpriced, underpowered, and terribly outmatched by the competition at that price point. The true power ratings were far less than the 150 wpc would suggest. I remember seeing something around 40-50 WPC all channels driven (which is acutally not bad, more than enough for me). But, all that said, it was one of the nicer Sony units I've seen. It's just that it retails for something around $1000, which is just sick.
    Later I saw it available from etronics and a few other websites, with authorized warranty, for about $600, and thought that wouldn't be too bad at all, though you could easily get the RX-V1400 or 2400 or the Denon AVR-2803 or 2805 or something and probably be further ahead.
    I've been burned by too many Sony products over the years to put my faith into them again, but I'm sure they could build something as good, and as tough as anybody if they wanted to. Needless to say I remain a little bitter towards them.

  8. #8
    Audiophile Wireworm5's Avatar
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    I could see getting the Sony STR-DA5000ES 170 watts x 7 which retails at $2500 cdn as opposed to $6000 cdn 200 watts x 7 for the 9000. Maybe this is Sony's attempt to win back some market share, since as people already noted quality has slipped in what once was a proud name. But I'll wait to see if reviews remain positive towards this line.

  9. #9
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    Yeah, that seems a bit too pricey, but I have to admit I haven't heard them...The mark-up on the 3000ES is hi though, close to 40%. Knock $1000 cdn off te 5000ES and we might be getting close.

    I just feel for that kind of coin you could get into some pretty nice gear.

  10. #10
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    im tellin' ya....
    until you've heard one of these things in the method i'm discussing (two channel direct mode and being fed a digital signal), then you dont understand the magic i'm talking about here. You'd have to spend many thousands on seperate componaants to get the soundstage and detail that these things throw.

    now, for HT....I can't comment. And I understand that is the main focus of a lot of peeps here. But if you are primarily a music listener, then you owe yourself a listen.

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