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Was the Sony 777ES receiver a mistake?


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#1 of 9 Kevin Alexander

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Posted August 22 2001 - 01:51 AM

Those who have owned this receiver (including myself) will tell you that it was possibly the best sounding receiver receiver ever made...ever. While everyone was going "ga-ga" over the Denon 5700, 777ES receiver owners knew that they had something that was even more special. True, the Denon 5700 had more features, but as any 777ES owner will tell you, the 777ES receiver bested it in sheer sound quality reproduction in both surround and stereo listening. Modeled after the outstanding Sony separates combo, it was that good and better. It weighed nearly 70lbs. for goodness sake!!!! Some may not want to give Sony any credit for producing such an outstanding unit because it was made by the same Sony that produces equiptment for the masses, and you'll probably find some reason to take offense, but the 777ES wasn't the receiver of the year for 2000 in Europe for nothing. And even today, it takes alot of searching to find one that someone is willing to sell. Sony discontinued the 777ES because it was seriously cutting into the sales of their separates combo.

The reason for this topic is that Sony either has been unwilling, or either unable to build a flagship receiver that was comparable to the 777ES in sound quality and build quality. First there was the STR-V series in the ES lines that they claimed were worthy follow ups, but didn't live up to the likes of the 777ES. Now there is the next generation called the DA3 and 5ES receivers, and granted we haven't listened to them yet, spec-wise they still don't compare to the ES receivers of 2 generations ago. So was the overachieving flagship 777ES of nearly 2 years ago just a fluke? A mistake? Or have they become more cautious about competing products in the same line?
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#2 of 9 KeithH

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Posted August 22 2001 - 02:31 AM

The STR-DA777ES was an excellent receiver, no doubt about it. However, this is a heavily-Denon supportive crowd here, so I doubt you will find too many people who will agree with your notion that the 'DA777ES is better than Denon's then-competitive flagship AVR-5700. I haven't compared the two, so I can't comment.

I bought a Sony STR-V444ES last September for only $640, and for the price, I have been very pleased with its performance. It may not be quite as good as the 'DA777ES, but it is still worthy of the 'ES' designation. I owned the Sony STR-DB930 prior to the 'V444ES, and the 'V444ES is the far superior receiver.

Interestingly, prior to buying the 'V444ES from J&R Music World, I had an interesting discussion with Jim Oade of Oade Bros. At the time (September 2000), he was still selling the 'DA777ES. He said that he and his sales staff compared the 'V444ES and 'DA777ES side-by-side with music and preferred the sound of the 'V444ES. They found that the 'DA777ES was "harsh at the high end", as Jim put it. Also, around the same time, a member of this Forum who had just bought the 'V444ES claimed to compare it to a friend's 'DA777ES. They both concluded that the 'V444ES was better for music. Go figure.

All in all, the 'V' series ES receivers are not as impressive as the 'DA777ES. The 'DA777ES weighs about 18 lbs. more than my 'V444ES. By the way, the weight spec. on the 'DA777ES I always read from Sony, Crutchfield, and elsewhere was about 55 lbs., not 70 lbs. Anyway, my 'V444ES only weighs 37.5 lbs. In moving to the 'V' series, Sony dropped the motorized door on the front panel, push-pull amplifiers, and overall build quality. However, don't sell the 'V' series short. The package is smaller, but those receivers are quite good. Also, Sony significantly improved the LCD touchscreen remote supplied with the 'V555ES vs. the one that the 'DA777ES came with.

Now, I have not compared specs. in great detail between the 'DA777ES and the new 'DA5ES, but the new model looks like a winner. Since it will retail for $1500, I expect that Sony stepped up some features (build quality, etc.). Let's not rush to judgment either way. I am optimistic about the quality of the 'DA5ES (and 'DA3ES) nonetheless. The new receivers will of course offer many new features that the 'DA777ES lacks such as 6.1 modes and two sets of multi-channel analog inputs (one 5.1 and one 7.1). It is true that Sony seems to have no interest in making the mega-$3000+ flagship receivers, a la the Yamaha RX-V1, Denon AVR-5800, B&K AVR 307, and Onkyo TX-DS989. I guess Sony will leave that quality to its separates, which are due to be upgraded.

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#3 of 9 John Garcia

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Posted August 22 2001 - 02:54 AM

There is no "better than". It all comes down to what you like better...which is an opinion and preference. Put two people in a room together with the same gear, and they will hear different things. The grass is always greener....

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#4 of 9 JayM

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Posted August 22 2001 - 03:05 AM

I own a Sony STR-DA777ES. Now I am not going to say that is better than any other receiver out there, cause I haven't seen them all. But i will say this, when I was looking for receivers, I look at a lot of them, and I chose the Sony.

And after having it for about a year and a half, I would not trade it for anything. I am completly satisfied with it. I won't buy another receiver until there is a major upgrade with Dolby or DTS.

Just my opinion on this receiver


#5 of 9 Kevin Alexander

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Posted August 22 2001 - 03:07 AM

Quote:
There is no "better than". It all comes down to what you like better...which is an opinion and preference. Put two people in a room together with the same gear, and they will hear different things. The grass is always greener....
"Better than" is a general statement made outside of a personal opinion. During my listening tests of the Sony and Denon, I prefered the Sony to the Denon in stereo mode. So to me, the Sony was better than the Denon.
"What does God want with a Starship?" - Captain Kirk from Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.

"For the first few minutes of the film, I had accidently listened to the Dolby Digital track." - Ron Epstein (HTF)

#6 of 9 Razvan V

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Posted August 22 2001 - 04:54 AM

I owned a Sony 444es receiver for 6 months and a Sony 777es for 4 months. The 777 kills the 444 in every respect. The 444 sounds like a $600 receiver, the 777 like a $3000 one. The 777 is the best receiver I have ever listened to in 2-channel.

Here is a list of receivers that I took home and compared to the 777:

Sony V444ES
Denon 3802
Denon 4800
Onkyo 696
Kenwood 5090 Sovereign
Marantz 18
Marantz 18EX
B&K 307 ( MSRP $3500, considered by many to be one of the best receivers ever made).

The 777 was better than all of the above in stereo. In 5.1 it was the equal of the Denon 4800 and almost as good as the B&K.

I also compared it to the combos:

Sony TA-E9000ES/TA-N9000ES
Parasound 1800/Sony TA-N9000ES
Denon 3802/Sony TA-N9000ES
Onkyo 696/Sony TA-N9000ES

In stereo the 777 was the equal of the Sony combo and better than all others. In 5.1 the Parasound/Sony combo was best followed by the 777.

I know a few guys at a Sony service center and a Sony outlet store. Several of them own the 777 and would never think of replacing it with a V series Sony receiver. I also know the manager of a Good Guys store, he told me that of all the receivers they've carried over the years the 777 was one of the best sounding if not the best especially in stereo.

From what I've heard the new ES receivers - the 3ES and the 5ES - sound more like the V series and not as good as the 777. There are rumours that Sony will release a new flagship next year, the DA7ES, for around $2000 that will be based on their new separates. Now, that will be a receiver that might beat the 777 soundwise.

Razvan



#7 of 9 Stephen Smith

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Posted August 22 2001 - 12:16 PM

I had a Sony 777ES. It got hit by lightning. By the time I recieved insurance money. The new 555ES had replaced it. I bought one, and it was no where the same. I sold it to a friend. Bought an Onkyo 787, bought seperate Marantz MA700 monoblocks, and now I can honestly say I am happy.

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#8 of 9 Lewis Besze

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Posted August 22 2001 - 09:07 PM

A friend of mine owns the 777ES,and he brought it over one day for an A/B test,with a Denon 3300
We did patch them through a speaker swithing box so we would have minimal interuption while switching from one to another.While this was a quiet limited test in music selection,and time being devoted,we couldn't really prefer to one another.
The Sony sounded "beefier" at higher volumes but that's about it.
This was a 2 ch comparo only with no sub,speakerPosted ImageT BP10.
However,the Sony is miles ahaed with it's flexible bass managment,and it's parametric EQ feature,which was able to make my center channel sound less "chesty".
These are the features that Denon not even thinking about it now,let alone back then.

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#9 of 9 JayM

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Posted August 25 2001 - 02:49 AM

Hey for all you STR-DA777ES owners out there, is a web site with a lot of info as well as all 3 updates to the firmware.
http://www.cronus.sp....STRDA777ES.htm