The new Sony ES Amps not as good as the older models?

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by patton, Apr 25, 2007.

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  1. patton

    patton
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    I thought i would just have a say about the new sony ES amps the 1200 3200 and 5200ES because alot of people have bought these amps and yes they have the new HDMI and auto set up, but, and here is my point, I have the STRDA3000ES amp i know it does not have HDMI and Auto set up but this was an £800 amp when it was new only a few years ago and it has more power than even the new 5200es amp and another major selling point...it's GOLD.

    I have heard the new amps in varios speakers and systems and they are not a scratch on my 3000ES!

    Why do the new ES Amps come in Black and dull Silver?? where has the gold gone?? also and strangely enough the 3000es to the 9000es seemed to be very limited in production but the new models are being thrown out?

    has anyone got the 3000Es 5000ES or the top 9000Es models and thinking the same? i was thinking of upgrading but to me Sony are backtracking where has all the power gone? where has the GOLD gone? and most of all where has the special ES luxury gone than we have had for many a year!!

    Thoughts anyone
     
  2. Keiron

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    Care to clarify what you mean by that?

    I'd agree with that. In terms of sheer build quality and finish, the new ES receivers don't match the older ES gear, which was in my opinion without equal at any price.
     
  3. Dr Force

    Dr Force
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    care to elaborate on thrown out???:nono: you should maybe read the latest edition of Home Cinema Choice who slate the 5200es as best buy under a grand.
     
  4. Helicon

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    To me, gold looks tacky, always has. Many years ago i bought a R1 Sony DVPS7700 because i refused to buy a UK one in gold. I would've bought a 9000ES as well if it was available in black.

    He means that the older stuff was few and far between, but the newer stuff is churned out more frequently than Ford Kaks.

    To answer all of the above 3 posts, i'm going to reference some of my answers in threads gone by. Due to customers demands for lower prices, Sony's attitude for letting absolutely any dealer and as many dealers as possible stock their equipment, Sony's lax attitude towards discounting dealers, and the internet, amongst other things, their equipment's build quality and reliability, like other manufacturers has suffered. Sony were once on top of the world. They made some seriously well made competitive products and had the widest range of any manufacturer. Now they're near the bottom. The way i see it is that the only thing standing between Sony surviving or disappearing is Bravia LCD's and PS3/Blu-Ray.

    This is what happens. Dealers discount heavily, and if they're not put right by the manufacturer, many stores lose a lot of business or even fold. Dealers scream for more margin. The manufacturer has to find a way for their retailers to make more money, so have to cut corners like using cheaper components or have the products made cheaper elsewhere (like the Far East). Dealers are then happy until some muppet of a dealer decides to start the whole process over again by discounting. Something has to give at some point, Kenwood and Aiwa are two cases in point.

    The stupid thing is that all the manufacturer has to do is to make sure the dealers play ball. But of course, that's illegal. And the ones who do play ball are the genuine dealers, but there's always the greedy unscrupulous dealers who will always break the circle for a quick buck.

    So next time anyone wonders why products are flimsy, sound bland, are unreliable and don't match up to previous models, take a moment to ponder that the answer might just be because of the consumer.......

    No doubt this post wil be edited or removed by the morning, probably for libel reasons or something.
     
  5. reckless

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    Or perhaps some retailers want too much profit.

    Just one example - two and a half years ago when I bought my screen, I was considering a Sony LCD (the MRX1) which was available in my Sony Centre for £7999. It was also available in a number of other places locally via order for £7999.

    It could be bought on the Internet from a number of firms, most of whom have been mentioned positively on these forums at some point for £5200 delivered (and these were places with bricks and mortar shops as well).

    As regards build quality of amps - not seen the earlier models as I'm only just considering buying an amp (and strangely enough, the 5200). They look sturdy enough with plenty of power for (I would assume) most peoples purposes). If anything, I'm more concerned that it will be overkill for my room :)

    Finally, for what it's worth.............I think gold looks tacky as well ;)
     
  6. Keiron

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    I don't see how Sony's (or any manufacturer's) attitude to dealers relates in any way to the build quality and reliability of their equipment. It's totally dependant on technology, design and manufacturing. I think you overstate the role of the dealers here. In fact you'll probably find most people here are happy to buy from an e-tailer who does nothing more than ship them out from a warehouse. In the internet age, consumers take their advice from fellow consumers, rather than dealers with vested interests.

    And in fact I'd wager that hifi and AV gear, just like motor cars, is infinitely more reliable now - despite the low prices - than at any time before.
     
  7. Helicon

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    Some maybe. I'm not saying that everything should be rrp fullstop.

    Have you not noticed more and more stores closing down?! Manufacturers disappearing?! That's a result of the current state of the electronics industry. If it dies out, you'll be buying your 5.1 system from Tesco. And i'm not talking about anything above a few hundred quid either. Your choice will be from what the majority are buying.

    Between the manufacturer and retailer (and possibly distributor), if any one of those are not making enough money, it all goes boobs up.

    :smashin:

    It's all laid out in that post. But here's a simplified version. Sony don't care about their retailers. They can sell for whatever price they like. Some stores can't keep up and will fold. Margins get smaller, dealers moan. Manufacturer gives dealer more margin, but then has to cut back on parts and labour to keep their own margins. What was a £1k product being sold for £650/700 on the net then becomes a £700 product to keep margins up. Then someone sells it for £500.....look at Pioneer's plasmas. You can buy the £2500 plasma for about £1200. How is that possible when the dealer price was near £2k a year ago?

    Funny how many people wonder into their local retailer asking how to wire things up and to help sort problems out regarding stuff they've bought on the net......:cool:

    Sorry, but the majority of 'fellow consumers' know jack about the product they own or have any idea how it marries up with other electronics. There are so many mismatched systems on here it's unbelievable.

    Why do you think forum sites exist? It's for people to find out information about stuff they know nothing about. The problem comes when people giving the answers think they know what they're talking about. If two people give you a different answer, who do you believe?

    Sorry to disappoint you, but generally things aren't as reliable, due to not being built as well and using cheaper parts and labour. Anyone been reading the 47" Aldi LCD thread? A case in point. And this also extends to many high end manufacturers as well.
     
  8. Henryslater

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    The price of any product - ANY product is determined by one thing only - the price people are willing to pay for it.

    Thus we have pc's selling for £350 and handbags for £25,000.

    Are you saying that if Sony doubled their prices the quality of their products would rise porportionately? No, the only thing that would rise is the margins.

    There will be 'high-end' stuff as long as people are willing to pay for it.

    If I pay top dollar for a product and it doesn't perform I simply do not buy the product again (and tell all my mates) - as I am sure others would do. Thus the company involved cannot either a: sell the product for such high prices or b: goes out of business/improves said product.

    Businesses work in a market economy too! - and the law of supply and demand always wins.

    I think in the eighties reality sunk in in this country and some people actually started demanding more from manufacturers and were prepared to haggle over prices (hurray for the Yuppie Years). Of course, the internet killled this 'fixed' pricing stone dead and subjected companies (all companies) to more/stronger competition. Sony, for many years, chose simply to ingnore this fact. Hence the 'Sony' shops where the only thing guaranteed is the fact that their in-house prices are the dearest that can be found anywhere!!!
     
  9. Scapegoat

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    :rotfl:

    Spot on.

    The TV I have bought of the internet (but again a proper bricks and mortar store than expands their customer base by having an e-shop as well) was for sale in the Sony store near me for £2499 and it was claimed to be 'in the sale'!

    I paid £1560 incl delivery.


    As for the argument about cheaper products overtime meaning that the manufacturers are using cheaper components does anyone have any proof of this?

    An alternative agrument is that the initial manufacturing costs of a product reduce over time / parts become cheaper not inferior. Games consoles are an example of this.
     
  10. patton

    patton
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    The thing is the ES GOLD represented power build quality and to show that is was expensive and mean business anyone who has the 3000es and above in that model range will tell you they are better by a mile than the new models!
     
  11. Keiron

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    Because manufacturing costs per unit have plummeted. Retailers (good ones who provide good service like John Lews) are still making handsome profits.

    Rubbish. Absolute rubbish. What an arrogant attitude. I remember just how intimidated I used to feel going into specialist dealers. Then I realised I knew more about the subject than they did.

    This crap about "system matching" is one of the great hifi/AV myths put out by the magazines and retailers, for obvious reasons. Last time I checked, all kit came with standardised phono and digital connectors. I remember all this nonsense about not using tone controls. For a decade, I wondered why my Stax headphones sounded dull. Then I turned the treble up and never looked back.


    Err....yes. For the free exchange of opinions from people who are enthusiastic and with no vested interest. It's bloody marvellous!



    Got any statistics to back this up? I bet you are wrong. And just because an item is cheaper does not mean it is less reliable.
     
  12. Helicon

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    Maybe handbags are, but that analogy definitely doesn't apply to hi-fi and AV! I understand what you mean, and maybe that applies more to cables and accessories, but with manufacturers competing for business nowadays, they can't afford to ask what they think they'll get.

    Nope, i'm not saying that. Sony aren't going to raise their prices. The point is that over the past 10 years Sony's electronics ranges are being made cheaper and cheaper and don't match the earlier stuff for build quality as stated by others here.

    Are you insinuating that a £5,000 amplifier sounds the same as a £500 one, and that high end equipment doesn't exist? And that it's just more expensive because it can be?

    True.

    Sorry, but the manufacturing costs of a plasma don''t almost halve within a year. The manufacturer makes them cheaper, sells them to the dealer cheaper, then they're sold to the consumer cheaper. I can tell you now that John Lewis hardly make any money at all selling LCD's and plasmas. If you match other dealers already low prices AND offer a 5 year warranty, which will cost money, chances are you're breaking even, or even losing on the ocassional sale.

    I knew that some of my comments may have been taken the wrong way and seen as arrogant, i was prepared for that. Sometimes you just have to tell things the way they are, whether it comes across as arrogant or not. Anyone who knows me, within the hifi world or on a personal level, will tell you i'm far from arrogant. It's a trait a despise.

    Personally i think this intimidation thing is relied on too much to harpoon dealers. As far as i'm concerned, most of it is in the head, or maybe just some people are uncomfortable being around new people or people they don't know. It's like going to a party when you don't know anyone. There are a lot of decent people in this industry (as well as the bad, but that goes for any industry). Just spend 10 minutes talking to them and you will know if they're decent or not. One helpful hint is when you're in a dem with a member of staff, chat about music or bands, find a common ground. A friend in a hi-fi store is a valueble one.

    And if you knew more about the products than your dealer did, then you were shopping at the wrong dealer.

    :rotfl: Stax headphones sound anything but dull!

    System matching is crucial to any half decent system. Ever heard an expensive system sound less than impressive? A system is not a sum of it's parts, it's how they all work together, and i'm not talking about having the same connections.

    If you don't believe in system matching, you should be quite an easy person to please.

    I agree. The problem is there is a lot of bad and incorrect advice flying around as well as good advice.

    I agree, some cheap products are very reliable, but on the whole, unreliability is more common nowadays. And yes, i've got a pie chart somewhere........

    When you've been on my side of the counter for 18 years, you see retail patterns and trends etc. All electronics, regardless of price, can go wrong. With reduced production costs from the majority of manufacturers over the years, reliability has fallen. There are only a handful of manufacturers who make things as well as they used to 10/20 years ago. These products are not in the budget or mid price sector.
     
  13. HugoFJH

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    Just my 2p's worth - 1stly Sony arent anywhere near closing down and not just because of the Bravia's (digital cameras, camcorders and projectors are all routinely well recieved not to mention the reputed quality of their new video walkman )

    Saying that the build quality has deteriorated but this is across the whole av range of companies and not just Sony imo - the only people who are still able/willing to build well are the real quality manufacturers like Mclaren etc where you pay through the nose for high end gear (and take out a new mortgage lol)
     
  14. Helicon

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    As i stated earlier.....
    :)

    And i seem to remember something a couple of weeks ago about Sony sourcing cheaper panels? I rest my case!!

    I wasn't suggesting Sony were about to shut up shop altogether. Their electronics division has been losing money over the past so many years, which has seen their hi-fi range reduced drastically. Am i right in saying there's no longer a QS range? And that was some of the best value stuff they've done for a long time! Like i said, it's mainly LCD and 'possibly' PS3 that'll keep them going.
     
  15. Robbie Razzler

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    Black is the new Gold :D :smashin:
     
  16. Welwynnick

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    I'm an audiophile at heart, but couldn't believe how good (or heavy) my DA9000ES was when I got it home. They obviously spent a lot of money devloping and manufacturing it, and I'm glad. Mine's black, but that does have some advantages. Black is always the same, and easy to match between different manufacturers. Silver, and various shades of gold never look the same.

    Anyway, yes; they are not the same any more. The current amps don't use S-MasterPro, and that makes all the difference. Not only is the power not there, there is no reserve for low impedance speakers or driving all speakers together. That's a common short-cut taken by budget-minded manufacturers. The fact that a UK AV magazine recommended the 5200 or 1200 cuts absolutely no ice with me.

    Nick
     
  17. KenG

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    Sony has traded on the brand name in recent years while not delivering the quality they used to in their consumer products. It covers everything from TV's, Audio and Cameras. I am not keen on the ES range either, especially for build. I do however supply a lot of their commercial products where the quality has been retained, but the prices reflect that.

    I stuck with Pioneer when recently doing an interim upgrade and I must admit their build quality isn't what it was either. The full THX rated E06 was a slightly champagne coloured beast with a power supply that never got driven more than 50%. The newer models lack that wonderful sherman tank feel.

    My wife hates anything black when it comes to AV as she regards them as dust collectors. I prefer silver myself (I would like the old Pio Elite champagne back) but hate the blasted blue lights every manufacturer inflicts on us.

    Its all about build to a price these days I'm afraid.

    Ken
     
  18. Helicon

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    At last! Someone else who has noticed and understand what i've mentioned in other threads. I'm normally ignored being a retailer :p

    Well said :smashin:
     
  19. Keiron

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    That's a matter of specification though. Rather like the ride in my Honda Civic isn't as fast as my sister's Porsche.

    Agreed absolutely. I lump them together with retailers as opinions to be ignored.
     
  20. Helicon

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    ?!!


    :rotfl:
     
  21. Dr Force

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    I would say the advice from a retailer is in most cases essential to get the right kit for your own requirements and environment.
     
  22. Welwynnick

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    I wouldn't agree - it's a matter of performance, and is quite fundamental to the amplifier. I'll justify that later.

    nick
     
  23. Knyght_byte

    Knyght_byte
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    lets keep on topic about the amps themselves guys....
     
  24. Welwynnick

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    Right, here's the justification: S-master Pro means digital power amplification; anything else is analogue amplifcation. Digital amplifiers aren't new - there are several around, though most are mono or stereo, and most use analogue inputs. The Sony 7100 & 9000 ( and a few others) are fully digital integrated amps where the signal is kept digital from input to output. Although there are line-level analogue interfaces, the optimum configuration is all digital, and then there is no analogue processing anywhere. There is a simple, passive low-pass output filter to remove the very-high frequency switching components. Apart for that, everything else is either on or off, including the output transistors.
    The amp therefore behaves a big, multi-channel, speaker-level DAC.
    There is no amplification as such.
    There is no gain.
    There is no cross-over distortion.
    There is no negative feedback.
    There is virtually no heat dissipation.
    The output signal is created accurately, with no need for correction after the event.
    To all intents and purposes, there is no noise, which is quite uncanny.
    These aren't specs. Truth be told, the specs aren't actually very good. There is more distortion than other comparable amplifiers, yet they sound cleaner than other amps, showing how unimportant specs are. These amps sound quite different to other AV amps, and some people don't like the accuracy or transparency because of the truth it tells them about their other components, or more likely the way they have built their systems around less uncompromising amplifiers.
    The other, newer, Sony amps don't have this uncompromising engineering, unfortunately. They have high power figures into resistive loads, driven one or two channels at a time, or half-baked video processing and fancy user menus that add nothing of value. Unfortunately, a few journalists have swallowed all this, and declared a new flavour of the month. As they have been doing for many, many years. I remember my Denon amp used to receive all the same plaudits when it came out, but did it live up to them? Did I ever enjoy listening to music on it? You can probably draw your own conclusions.

    Nick
     
  25. Helicon

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    You can keep the signal digital for as long as you want, but at some point, it's going to be converted to analogue. In this case, just before it leaves the amp. You can preserve the signal as much as you like, but let it down with bad DA conversion or low quality analogue outputs, and it's all meaningless.

    And let's not forget there are differing qualities of digital amplification, even if it is digital. There are little amps for all in one box 5.1 systems right up to high quality power amps.

    If keeping the digital signal going for as far as possible was the way to audio nirvana, why then does Meridian's audio and AV products not stand up to the competition in A/B demonstrations?
     
  26. Welwynnick

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    There are lots of things to expand on, and DA conversion is one. Firstly, a digital amp that retains digital audio throughout does not have to apply those dreadful cliff-edge LPF on the output because everything is transformed up to the output switching frequency before conversion. This is hundreds of times above the signal bandwidth, rather than a few percent above, so is a much more benign conversion. Rather like an extreme form of over-sampling. All the many, well-regarded digital power amps don't do this: they inevitably have three conversion stages between digital and analogue in their whole sytem chain.

    The other is that unlike almost all other digital amplifiers, the S-master Pro amps don't use negative feedback. That is a tremendous testimony to their engineering - the output is designed linear, rather than corrected afterwards like pretty much all other amplifiers, digital and analogue alike. I've never thought lots of negative feedback made AQ better, in spite of the reduced THD figures. My take is that more NFB require more open loop gain for the same overall gain, and the more ANYTHING that you do to a signal, the worse it gets. By anything, I mean amplification, attenuation, filtering, buffering, switching, connections - literally anything. The only analogue process in these amps is a benign 2nd-order passive LC filter on the output, with a corner frequency out of harms way.

    Yes, digital amps and processing varies, and I'm completely convinced that audio is NOT safe from degradation once it is in the digital domain. I sometimes think that analogue connections may even be more transparent and reliable than digital ones. Both technologies have advantages and disadvantages, and both have to be done right in their own different ways.

    Unfortunately for digital audio, ther is an uphill battle against a fatal flaw in the industry-standard architecture for digital audio replay. Unlike recording, the replay master clock is associated with the transport, rather than the DAC. I think that has hobbled digital audio for a long time. (BTW, I believe the Sonys get round this , too, but I'd better get off my soap box for now ;) )

    Nick
     
  27. Keiron

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    Sorry but I have to disagree, and I don't get your justification either. You're comparing apples and oranges. We're talking here about comparing what are essentially budget items (1200ES, even the 5200ES is relativel a modest price) built around traditional technology to the ES amps of a few years ago with digital amp stages that cost as much as a half decent motor car! Of course they will perform better! And be built better! Because that's the way they are specified - the designer's brief. These current items are clearly built to a price, and what they pack in for that price is quite remarkable. It doesn't however mean that they will be any more reliable. (I have a SDPEP9ES in the back of the cupboard, a £700 processor, whose surround channels simply gave up working one day).

    I really can't understand the point that is trying to be made here?
     
  28. Welwynnick

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    I think there was a perception that the 5200ES somehow replaced the 7100ES, and tried in vain (in my mind) to assume the mantle of the top of the range. Unfortunately, sound quality has been replaced by gimmicks.

    Nick
     
  29. Dr Force

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    I agree entirely with your post.

    The point is the 5200ES claimed best buy for Receivers below £1000, which is considered to be the budget to middle end players.

    That is aimed at bringing excellent quality sound to the home for most people without breaking the bank.

    Its clear that anything that costs twice as much is more than likely going to have better everything, this does not mean to say that the ES range is of poor quality, infact far from it.
     
  30. Welwynnick

    Welwynnick
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
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    I bought my Denon amp because everyone in the press said it was a "Best Buy", and guess what?

    Nick :(
     

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