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Sony TA-A1ES

Stereo integrated amplifier

6 Reviews | 3 questions - 3 answers

Item # 158TAA1ES

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Our take on the Sony TA-A1ES

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.

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.

Product 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

What's in the Box:

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

Sony TA-A1ES Reviews

Average Customer Review(s):

(6 Reviews)

The perfect companion for Sony HAP-Z1ES player

Scott from Tracy, CA on 9/30/2018

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

After purchasing the HAP-Z1ES I decided to pull the trigger on this one, too. They are a great match together. Like the HAP, the design concept is minimal and simple elegance. The two are linked with Audioquest Mackenzie XLR interconnects. The sound quality is top notch: very natural with good presence for vocals. Did a comparison with my prior integrated a Denon PMA-2000IVR. I thought that unit had great sound but this is definitely better. Smoother sound, little or no high frequency edginess which results in less listening fatigue. Vocals, both male and female sounded more natural. Being very particular about volume level adjustment, the front panel display of relative power in 1/2 dB increments is nice. All in all if you just want a simple system that works really well this amp (and the HAP player) are a great choice!

Pros: smooth sound. great vocal presence.

Cons: limited connection flexibility - but who cares?

Sony TA-A1ES

Crutchfield customer from Aurora, CO on 7/9/2017

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

We listened to music switching between the Sony TA-A1ES and NAD C 375BEE stereo integrated amplifiers (using the same cd player, speaker cable, and three-way speakers). The Sony TA-A1ES sounds like a very nice stereo. It does a nice job reproducing music. However, the NAD C 375BEE sounds like the singers and instruments are actually in the room. I give the Sony TA-A1ES two stars, because a class A SONY ES should have knocked it out of the ball park at this price point.



Sony TA-A1ES

Crutchfield customer from Corona, CA on 12/6/2016

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

the best!



Perfect Match

John from lorton, VA on 3/11/2016

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

My hi-res stereo system: Sony TA-A1ES (amp), Sony HAP-Z1ES (player), Sony XA5400ES (SACD), Definitive Technology BP10B (speakers). It sounds great. The amp and player are a perfect match, connected by XLR and mini-plug cables. The amp is a masterpiece of simplicity and power. Five inputs (only one is XLR) and 80 watts of output. Easily drives the speakers with an abundance of clarity and range (frequency and amplitude). The player remote (provided and iPad app) controls the amp too. Connection to speakers is facilitated with large terminals, seemingly designed for simple wire connections; I opted for cables terminated with locking banana plugs. My SACD has XLR, but unfortunately the amp has only one XLR input (used for player), relegating me to a high quality RCA cable connection. Sounds great anyway. The convenience of the player and the increasing availiblity of hi-res downloads biases me toward use of the player, although it's nice to be able to play my collection of SACDs. Bottomline: this amp satisfies my needs now and into the future; it's simple and powerful (enough), matches the HAP-1ZES to perfection (they even look alike), and it's moderately priced for hi-res equipment. I just need to build an audio designed room commensurate the capabilities of my system. A man needs his dreams. (Wife suggests a good pair of audiophile headphones. Christmas list addition: Sennheiser HD 800 headphones, $1000+. She may change her mind.) Buy the amp and some speakers!

Pros: Simple and powerful. Easy to operate and integrate into your system. Moderately priced for hi-res component. Good match with Sony HAP-Z1ES hi-res player.

Cons: Multiple XLR inputs would be nice. Study the speaker terminals before you invest in cables, or opt to use 12 or better gage wire, just stripped or with locking banana plugs.

Digital Sources

RLJ from Texas on 11/15/2015

Don't let the absence of digital inputs guide you away from considering this amplifier. With the appropriate external DAC containing digital inputs you can easily overcome the absence of direct digital inputs. THD is on the high side as compared to other Amps in this price category but the fact that you can join Sony's Media Server is a real plus. They are designed to compliment each other. With a sixty day trial period you might well want to consider this integrated amplifier.



Love It!

RedsIndians from Nashville, Tennessee on 5/13/2015

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

There are no digital inputs or outputs and this may be a deal breaker to some but I was looking for a dedicated stereo-only amplifier and digital inputs/outputs are not needed for the setup I have or plan to have in the future. I can certainly understand why it would put some off but I like the fact that the design is so simple (and elegant). There aren't thirty sliders or knobs to fiddle with to get "the sound". I totally understand why some may want that control but I have pretty much always preferred keeping everything flat anyway. What you hear is what you get and so far I have heard nothing but sweet, glorious music from this amp when coupled with the HAP-Z1ES high-rez audio player and Klipsch Reference RF-62 II speakers. I really feel like this product was targeted at me or at least people with a similar need. You can definitely get an amplifier with more options for less money. There's no way to overlook this fact. However, it's simple and it sounds great and was supposedly designed to go hand-in-hand with my player of choice. The last bit may be marketing at work but I have to say that my needs and desires were simple and I have been absolutely impressed in every conceivable way by this device. In most cases my high expectations have not only been met but exceeded. If you are like me (which you probably are if you reading this) then I highly recommend this product. There isn't much information about it online but it's definitely a great buy. I love it!

Pros: Sounds fantastic! It is simple, easy to setup and works great with sister product HAP-Z1ES.

Cons: No digital inputs or outputs. Not many "features".


Hands-on research

Features and Specs

Performance Specs
Watts RMS per Channel (8-ohms) 80
Watts RMS per Channel (6-ohms) Not given
Watts RMS per Channel (4-ohms) 80
Frequency Bandwidth 20-20k
THD 0.15%
Minimum Impedance 4 ohms
Signal to Noise Ratio 96
Digital Music Features
Built-in DAC (Digital to Analog Converter) No
High-resolution Audio Playback No
Bluetooth No
Wi-Fi N/A
Total Analog Inputs 5
Phono Input No
Optical Digital Inputs No
Coaxial Digital Inputs No
USB Input No
Preamp Outputs No
Headphone Output 1/4"
Dimensions and Warranty
Width (inches) 17
Height (inches) 5-1/8
Depth (inches) 17-11/16
Weight (pounds) 39.7
Parts Warranty 5 Years
Labor Warranty 5 Years

Product Research


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.

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 verify what’s in the box, 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.

Staff Reviews

Product reviews from the Crutchfield Labs

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.

What are the Labs?
Q & A

Customer Q&A

Crutchfield asked  
Why did you buy this?

Remote control integration with Sony HAP-Z1ES. [ Michael  Mar 22, 2017 ]

3 questions already asked

Sorry, no. For the Bose 901, you'll need a receiver/amplifier that features a "Monitor Loop" and this Sony does not offer the connection. You may want to consider a model like the Peachtree Audio Nova 150 which does offer the required connections: I hope that helps! My Bio: [ Ryan  Jul 27, 2016 ]  Staff
Some home subwoofers have speaker level inputs and outputs and those are the only ones that can work with the outputs on this amp. [ Paul  Dec 24, 2015 ]  Staff
I forwarded your question to an Advisor and they responded with the following: No it does not have Left/Right balance controls If you would like to discuss further you can contact an Advisor directly by phone (1-800-324-9695) or online chat. [ Krissy  Jun 08, 2015 ]  Staff