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Sony TA-A1ES

Stereo integrated amplifier

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  • Sony TA-A1ES

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  • Sony TA-A1ES

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  • Sony TA-A1ES

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  • Sony TA-A1ES

  • Sony TA-A1ES

  • Sony TA-A1ES

  • Sony TA-A1ES

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Our take on the Sony TA-A1ES

by David Brown
Sony

Everything you always wanted in a stereo receiver, except the radio

An integrated amplifier is essentially a receiver without a built-in AM/FM tuner. You get power to drive your speakers, audio controls, and inputs for music source components. Connect an iPod, a computer, a network music player, or any other device that can play Internet radio, and you may find you have no need for an AM/FM radio.

An integrated amp for the high-res revolution

Sony has gone “all in” with high-resolution audio. This dedication to pure, audiophile-grade sound is on full display in their TA-A1ES integrated amplifier. Designed to be paired with Sony's HAP-Z1ES digital audio server, this amp ensures that all those musical details encoded in your DSD, FLAC, and other high-res files are preserved as they are delivered from your DAC to your speakers. With digital or analog sources, this amp's innovative design and meaty Class A power will bring your speakers to life with punchy dynamics and clean, accurate sound.

Class A power with improved efficiency

The streamlined look of the TA-A1ES mirrors the clean signal flow that takes place under the hood. A large toroidal power transformer ensures a heavy dose of current is always at the ready. The single push-pull, high-current Class A circuit preserves the sonic accuracy of recordings for a near distortion-free performance.

While most Class A amps are highly inefficient, Sony built a bias control into the TA-A1ES's volume control. So even though energy is constantly flowing to the output transistors, this amp reduces power output when you listen at lower levels. This means more energy is devoted to reproducing music rather than just generating more heat for the amp to dissipate. Plus, it eliminates the problem of distortion that occurs when output transistors switch on and off in Class AB amps. So you get the audio performance of Class A designs along with the increased efficiency of Class AB switching amps.

Less noise, more musical detail

All the TA-A1ES's internal components are securely mounted inside a sturdy chassis that is reinforced with rigid frames and beams. This reduces vibration-induced distortion to astonishingly low levels. Balanced XLR inputs also ensure that connections to high-end components like the HAP-Z1ES are noise-free, even across long runs.

Dedicated headphone amp

If you enjoy headphone listening as much as speaker listening, this amp has you covered. The TA-A1ES features a built-in dedicated headphone amplifier designed to power a wide range of headphones, from efficient to power-hungry models. The front-panel impedance selector lets you choose from high, medium, or low settings to optimize the output to match your headphones.

See more info on this item

Highlights:

  • 80 watts x 2 into 8 ohms (20-20,000 Hz) at 0.09% THD
  • Class A amplification with smart bias control for accurate, detailed sound delivered more efficiently than typical Class-A amps
  • 4-ohm stable for use with a wide range of speakers
  • 1 pair of balanced XLR inputs
  • 4 pairs of stereo RCA inputs
  • no phono input — to connect a turntable you'll need to add a phono preamp
  • discrete headphone amplifier with impedance selector and full-size (1/4") output
  • toroidal power transformer delivers clean, steady current
  • frequency response: 10-100,000 Hz (± 3dB)
  • signal-to-noise ratio: 96 dB
  • binding-post speaker terminals
  • remote input for IR repeater (not included)
  • detachable power cord
  • remote control
  • 17"W x 5-1/8"H x 17-11/16"D
  • weight: 39.7 lbs.
  • warranty: 5 years
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee

Hands-on research from the Crutchfield Labs (what are the Labs?)

Features and Specs
General
Watts RMS per Channel (8-ohms)
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80
Watts RMS per Channel (6-ohms)
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---
Watts RMS per Channel (4-ohms)
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80
Frequency Bandwidth
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20-20k
THD
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0.15%
Minimum Impedance
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4 ohms
Signal to Noise Ratio
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96
Number of Inputs
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5
Phono Inputs
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No
Preamp Outputs
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No
Width (inches)
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17
Height (inches)
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5-1/8
Depth (inches)
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17-11/16
Weight (pounds)
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39.7
Parts Warranty
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5 Years
Labor Warranty
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5 Years
Product Research
What's in the box?

  • Integrated stereo amplifier
  • 6' AC power cord
  • Remote control (RM-AAU181)
  • 2 "AAA" batteries
  • Operating Instructions

Our Product Research Team

At Crutchfield, you'll get detailed, accurate information that's hard to find elsewhere. That's because we have our own in-house Product Research team — they open the box, verify contents, check the owner's manual, and record dimensions, features and specs. We stay on top of new products and technologies to help people make informed choices.

Features

80W x 2Ch Class A Amplification: The Sony ES TA-A1ES integrated stereo amplifier is rated at 80 watts per channels (20-20kHz) in 8 or 4. The Sony TA-A1ES uses a Class A amplification circuit hooked up to a tracking power supply that delivers only as much power as needed, so almost none is wasted as heat. This innovative amplification technology combines audiophile-pleasing sound with high efficiency for true high resolution audio performance.

Single Push-Pull Design: The TA-A1ES achieves dynamic output by using a single push-pull amplifier design. The power amplifying stage, which determines sound quality, consists of a single pair of transistors, successfully eliminating the emitter resistance used by conventional amplifiers to suppress overheating. The transistor output drives the speaker directly, reproducing sound with greater dynamics and less distortion.

Simplified Power Amp Circuitry: By including fewer transistors and eliminating the emitter resistor and coil & capacitor needed in the amp's final stage circuitry, Sony has reduced the distortion that affects the quality of your music. This means the amp can deliver a higher power output, so you can push up the volume and enjoy great, undistorted, High-Resolution Audio.

Digital Sound Enhancement Engine (DSEE): High-Resolution Audio technology delivers every subtlety and nuance of a song in rich, immersive detail. With Digital Sound Enhancement Engine (DSEE) technology, you can hear all your music, even compressed files, in quality closer to the original recording.

Note: Sony's HA-PZ1ES High-Resolution HDD Audio Player (158HAPZ1ES, sold separately) is the perfect companion to the TA-A1ES integrate amp. Click here for more information on High Resolution Audio.

FET Input Buffer: The integrated amplifier has been fitted with a FET input buffer and discrete circuit for the pre-amp. This reduces the effects of distortion while enhancing the sound quality of High-Resolution Audio. As a result the integrated amp can produce the sharpness and detail that high-resolution audio brings to your music with minimal distortion.

Optimum Gain Volume Control w/ Smart BIAS: Sony has combined the electronic volume with a discrete buffer amp to enhance the overall sound quality by reducing the gain error experienced by conventional amps. For long-lasting, high performance, the TA-A1ES intelligently controls the bias by a volume position to heighten the sound quality. The built-in smart BIAS system controls the amp's BIAS based on the volume position. In doing so, the amp is able to utilize a field that experiences good transistor linearity without generating heat, so the sound quality always remains true.

Frame Beam Base (FBB) Chassis: A frame beam base chassis combines a conventional frame beam chassis with a transformer base to provide exceptional rigidity and stabilization. This exceptionally stiff frame helps the amplifier provide highly accurate sound with little distortion.

Balanced & Unbalanced Inputs: The Sony ES TA-A1ES integrated amplifier is fitted with both balanced and unbalanced inputs. There is one balanced stereo XLR input for connecting a high-end CD/SACD or Network player. There are also four unbalanced stereo RCA inputs for connecting your CD/SACD player, Network player, external DAC, and more.

Note: There is no phono input on this integrate amp. You will need to purchase an external phono preamp (sold separately) in order to connect a turntable to the TA-A1ES.

Heavy Duty Binding Posts: The Sony TA-A1ES integrated amplifier features heavy-duty binding posts to connect a single pair of speakers. The binding post speaker terminals will accept bare wire (up to 10AWG), pin-connectors, and single banana plugs. The integrated amp supports speakers between 8 to 4.

Note: There is an impedance on the rear-panel of the integrated amp which allows you to switch between 8 and 4Ω.

Discrete Headphone Amplifier: To reflect the growing popularity of premium-quality headphones, this amp includes a specialized discrete amp with gain optimized to match headphone impedance. The impedance can be switched among the following settings.

  • LOW: from 8Ω to less than 50Ω
  • MID: from 50Ω to less than 300Ω (+10dB against the LOW)
  • HI: 300Ω or higher (+16dB against the LOW)
  • OFF: No sound from the headphones.

Remote Control: The Sony ES TA-A1ES comes with an IR remote control for wireless operation of the integrated amplifier. The remote offers Power On/Off, Volume Up/Down, Source Input (1-5), Mute, and Display controls.

IR Remote Input: If you connect this integrated amplifier to another Sony component with an IR repeater output jack, you can operate the amplifier from the component connected.

Auto Standby: The integrated amplifier switches to standby mode automatically when no sound has been output for about 10 to 15 minutes.

 

Product reviews from the Crutchfield Labs (what are the Labs?)

Quick impressions from the Lab

Comment by Chris Advisor,

Old school Sony ES audio

Written by Chris, Advisor, on 4/15/2014 9:47:00 AM

I recently had the pleasure of getting to try out this amp and it was nothing short of fantastic. The training was focused on Sony ES gear and high-res audio. The source for all the music was the Sony HAP-Z1ES, and it was connected to the TA-A1ES with a nice set of XLR cables. The speakers used for the demos were the Martin Logan Motion 20 floor-standing speakers.

We listened to some 96 kbps/24-bit high-resolution content, as well as some DSD files at 2.8 MHz. I had a hard time telling a difference in audio quality between file formats on this particular setup, but I can say that all of it exceeded my expectations.

This amplifier brought back memories for me of the older Sony ES units of the early 2000's. Those amps were strong, raw, and fast. This one had no problems at all with the demands of the dynamics of those high-res files. I've heard many amplifiers drive our speakers here, and this Sony will hang with any I've demo'd yet, even close to the Peachtree Audio Nova, which is my all time favorite.

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For a more in-depth review and enhanced detailed information on the Sony TA-A1ES, please visit the Crutchfield website product page (/ISEO-rccbcspd/p_158TAA1ES/Sony-TA-A1ES.html ).