Onkyo 696 vs Sony DA5ES - a comparison!

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Michael_T, Jan 5, 2002.

  1. Michael_T

    Michael_T Second Unit

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    I was very interested in possibly purchasing a Sony DA5ES because it has 2 multi-channel inputs which I could use for my MCH SACD player and my DVD-Audio player. I currently own an Integra 6.2 and have to switch cables to hear either in surround sound.

    So today I went to a local hi-fi shop, which happens to carry the gamut of audio/video products, from super hi-end to moderate hi-fi.

    They don't carry Integra, but they do have Onkyo - so I had them set-up a listening session for me between the Onkyo 696 (which is very similiar to the Integra 6.2) and the Sony DA5ES. I was very excited to hear the differences since they were more than willing to match the lowest internet price I had received - roughly $1000 on the DA5ES.

    I had the salesman set both units up in Analog direct mode, and I played some music that I was quite familiar with, through the exact same speakers and using a new Sony DVD/SACD/CD player. I had him switch between the units without me knowing which was which. AND......

    I preferred the sound of the ONKYO. I guess I won't be purchasing the Sony DA5ES after all. And I really wanted to like it so much so, that I would have a reason to have a moderately priced receiver with 2 multichannel inputs.

    First of all after all was said and done, without me knowing which receiver was playing, the Onkyo's soundstage was much more refined and deep, with more space between the instruments. The Sony was brighter and more forward, less 3-dimensional sounding.

    And the fact is, that after talking to the salesman for a bit of time, he could have pushed the Sony and indicated to me that it would serve my purposes. But after my listening session, he asked what speakers I currently use (NHT), in addition to the rest of my equipment - and he suggested I stick with the Integra. He felt, that even though the Sony was a nice unit, the Integra would probably serve me better in the long run soundwise.

    I was happy that he did not try to sell me even though he saw that I really wanted to like the Sony because it had the dual multi-channel inputs. But there was that difference in sound that just was not as pleasing to me, whereas the Onkyo had a more "analog" sound to it. The Sony tended to have a more "etched" high end sound that was a bit bright and brittle - plus everytime he switched to the Sony (before I even knew it was the Sony) I could hear the soundstage come forward and become flatter (and this was on 2-channel analog direct).

    So in consolation, I asked them whether they carry the Sony XA777ES MCH SACD player, since I have been thinking about buying that unit to upgrade from the 333ES and the CE775 I currently own. They did, and again, to my amazement they would match the lowest internet price. I wasn't ready yet to make that leap, but he told me the price to me would stand, so if I decide to upgrade, I would rather do it at this store, than have the unit sent to me either UPS or FED-EX for the same price.

    Anyway, I guess I will stick with changing cables for the time being until something better comes along in the future.
     
  2. Greg Schwabacher

    Greg Schwabacher Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm glad to hear your impressions of the 'DA5ES. I'm going to be buying this unit within the next few months and I like that bright, edgy sound you describe (heck, I have Klipsch speakers). What's more incredible, though, is that you were actually able to get a local B&M to match an internet price without any tooth-pulling. Amazing! If I tried that at the only place in town that sells Sony ES, they'd laugh me right out the store. Fortunately for me, it's relatively easy to get a good price on ES equipment on the 'net.

    Enjoy whichever receiver you finally go with!
     
  3. Michael_T

    Michael_T Second Unit

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    Greg,

    I actually already own the Integra 6.2 - I have had it since it was released, so I will be sticking with that.

    The store that I went to also has an on-line, phone compliment to the B+M. It was Sound City. Their retail store is in Denville, NJ - just about a 10 - 15 minute ride from my home. So it is possible that since the store is a part of a fairly established internet operation, that they order alot of the product they sell in "bulk" and can offer better prices whether you buy on the net or locally in their retail outlet.

    Good luck on your purchase of the DA5ES. It wasn't bad sounding - it just, IMHO, wasn't the same as the Onkyo/Integra - and I happened to prefer the Integra. I guess if I were to do a home audition I might find things to be a bit different. The manager of the store was willing to loan me the floor sample of the Sony DA5ES (for a mininmal rental fee) for a couple of days to see what I thought, but the hassles of unhooking and then re-hooking up the Integra with the rat's nest of wire (speakers, SACD players, DVD-Audio players, etc.) I have is not a pleasing thought.
     
  4. JerryW

    JerryW Supporting Actor

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    Rental fee??? [​IMG]
    I just walk in, tuck what I want under my arm, then go home and test it... I'll probably take it back later that day or the next. They just look at me, shake their heads, and go back to work. [​IMG]
     

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