Sony ES STR-DA5ES - Good choice?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by KyleY, Apr 26, 2002.

  1. KyleY

    KyleY Extra

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 1999
    Messages:
    23
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hey all,

    Many of you may recall I was getting hiss with my Denon 3802 + Klipsch RF3 II speakers (w/ no source) and the hiss got worse when a CD was playing (perhaps just CD hiss). Well, I went to a local store and listened to the Denon 3802 there, and the hiss was there too (as well as a buzz). I listened to a Pioneer Elite receiver as well, and also heard the hiss. I went to another store and listened to Sony & Marantz. I didn't hear the hiss at first, but it appears they are switching themselves off when no audio is coming in. When a CD was playing, I heard a good amount of hiss, but that was likely just CD hiss.

    Anyway, I'm still thinking of trying out the Sony because it has all the features I want, I can probably get it for close to the same price, and it sounded good in the store. What I might do is bring it home and compare it directly to the Denon (and keep the one that sounds better). Before I do, I was wondering what others thought of this receiver? Is it worth considering over the Denon? I wasn't as impressed with the Harman Kardon, Onkyo, Pioneer, Marantz, or Yamaha in terms of features I'm looking for (powered multi-room / multi-source, DTS ES, DD II, etc.). I originally thought Sony to be a step below others in receivers, but I've heard some people recommend this one. It has mostly the same features as the Denon with a few minor additions. I'm sold on the features, but I was wondering what people thought of the build quality and sound quality. It will be used both for home theater and music, probably more home theater (DVDs). Thoughts? Thanks,

    --Kyle
     
  2. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2000
    Messages:
    9,413
    Likes Received:
    0
    Kyle, as you said, some people have recommended the 'DA5ES. I have read that here too. Search this site and I think you find a number of happy 'DA5ES owners. Sony seems to have done a great job with the 'DA3ES and 'DA5ES receivers. I have only listened to these receivers for limited periods at Tweeter, so I can't comment on performance relative to other brands, but I like what I heard. The build quality is very good on both receivers. They both weigh 44 lbs. My feeling is that their current prices by mail from authorized dealers (Oade Bros., OneCall, and J&R), the ES receivers would be very tough to beat.
     
  3. Dan Joy

    Dan Joy Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2001
    Messages:
    758
    Likes Received:
    0
    Kyle, I love my DA5ES. I feel that the separation of sound for home theater is awesome. If you like to tinker with equipment, this is the receiver for you. I have never been one for DSP's but Sony Cinema B in my opinion beats DPLII Movie and DTS Neo hands down. The individual cross overs for each speaker as well as EQ for each speaker makes poor sounding source material more than decent ie tv, sat, cd's.
    If you own any other Sony components they work like family members intuitively. I upgraded from lower lever Sony receiver so my comparison won't be equal to yours at all, but my friend has Denon 3801 an lets say he keeps coming over to my house to play with my Sony.
    If you have DVD Audio or SACD, the 2 5.1 imputs are great, not to mention the bass management. You san assign analog/digital imputs or both for convenience. It is also upgrade-able in which you only usually see in >2000.00$ receivers.
    In terms of music, I listen to 2 channel with my SVS on and have not had to go past 1/2 way on volume for more than adequate levels . I have picked up sounds and details from previous recordings that I have never heard.
    The only drawback in my opinion is in terms of video connections, all must be s-video, or all composite if you use receiver as hub such as I do.
    Again, your evaluation might not be as night and day as mine, but as you can tell, I LOVE THIS BEAST!!!![​IMG]
     
  4. Angelo_Petralba

    Angelo_Petralba Second Unit

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2002
    Messages:
    366
    Likes Received:
    0
    Kyle-

    If you love movies as much as i do, this receiver has got to be on your SHORT list to try out. The amount of enjoyment i get from watching movies increased dramatically with this receiver.

    Although I've only had this unit for about 3 weeks, it's been working flawlessly and I am without any gripes. And if for some reason it stops working, at least I know I have a 5 year warranty that'll cover it which is an excellent BONUS from sony.

    Good Luck
     
  5. Tom_Mack

    Tom_Mack Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2000
    Messages:
    233
    Likes Received:
    0
    From what I have heard the DA5ES is great for home theater and has mixed reviews with music. The Klipsh speakers tend to be bright and the Denon will tone that down a little. I have heard that Sony can make bright speakers even brighter to the point where it hurts the ears. If music is important to you make sure to bring in a bright sounding CD and listen for a long time. If it sounds good, go for it! I may be doing the same thing if my Denon comes back from the shop with the hiss!
     
  6. Kevin Alexander

    Kevin Alexander Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 1999
    Messages:
    1,357
    Likes Received:
    0
    You may recall that the Sony TAE-9000ES preamp was labeled as outstanding for HT, but rough on music. Then came the software upgrades which made that preamp one of the best ever made in terms of value and performance. You haven't heard how great this receiver can sound yet. Just be patient.
     
  7. Gary W. Graley

    Gary W. Graley Second Unit

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2001
    Messages:
    265
    Likes Received:
    0
    Well I had the Sony DB840 and moved up to the 5ES and am very happy that I did, in my situation I have Klipsch RF7 mains and RC7 center with Klipsch SB1s for rears and a Velodyne SPL1200 for sub, looking for a nice rear center channel speaker now, I hooked up a Yamaha surround speaker just to see how much info was present and it was enough for me to KNOW that I need to get one hooked up, the hard part will be finding one that the wife will approve of hanging on the wall as the other rear speakers are on a bookcase and the other a top my computer so they are not toooooo conspicous as oppose to a single speaker hanging on a wall!
    I find that the change from the 840 to the 5ES has tamed the RF7s and don't find them to be overly bright, there was a marked difference between the two receivers to be sure, and the 840 was a very Bright sounding receiver, so I think that Sony's rep of being overly bright sounding is on their lower level receivers. I've not compared other speakers with this receiver so I can't tell you if others might sound brighter with it or not, but if a Klipsch speaker has a nice even sound I would imagine others would be about the same if not warmer...your milage may vary...[​IMG]
    And yes, there are some excellent buys on this right now which leads me to believe that something is a foot in the Sony lineup, but for me...this should last a LONG time!
    G2
     
  8. Warren_Sc

    Warren_Sc Second Unit

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2002
    Messages:
    277
    Likes Received:
    0
    I like mine. It is heavy (good for the ego) and the buttons have a nice, tactile feel to them. This beast offers great separation. I happen to love the tweakability... 2-3 point parametric EQ for each speaker (L/R, C, L/R surround, back surround) and 3 EQ settings. The imaging with DPL II is great. After tweaking the DPLII music parameters, John Coltrane was playing just in front and to the left of my TV.

    Is that the kind of feedback you were looking for?
     
  9. KyleY

    KyleY Extra

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 1999
    Messages:
    23
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hey All,
    (This is also posted in my other thread "Hiss with Denon 3802 on Klipsch Reference" but since it is important to both I posted it here too).
    Well, I'm pretty convinced that all or at least most receivers have the hiss I have been experiencing. I heard it in another Denon 3802 in a dealer's setup as well as a Pioneer Elite (worse in the Pioneer).
    I ended up buying a Sony 5ES to directly compare to the Denon at home. The Sony's hiss was almost completely inaudible at the lowest volume setting while the Denon's could be heard easier. On the other hand, the Sony's hiss was way louder at max volume than the Denon's was at max volume. So, that didn't decide anything for me. I listened to some music and DVDs, and I couldn't tell a whole lot of difference between the two. The Denon did seem to have better separation of the music, and it seemed to be a little easier on the ears at the same volume. The Sony seemed to scream at me more. The differences were *not* big though.
    When listening to DVDs (scenes from The Matrix, Saving Private Ryan), I tried the Studio Cinema B that others love. Neither stood out to me as much better than the other, but the Sony did some odd things - speech normally included in the center channel only was heard in the left / right front speakers. For some reason, that speech sounded a little mechanical (like a slight echo). That was the only big difference I noticed. When watching The Matrix, I preferred the Sony sound, but when watching Saving Private Ryan the Denon seemed to sound better to me. Sorry, I can't really describe the differences... [​IMG]
    Since I couldn't tell much of a difference between the two, didn't need the extra features of the Sony, and the hiss was present in both receivers, I decided to keep the Denon and save nearly $200. It would have been a toss-up, but the price difference made the choice easier. The Sony's remote is better, it's upgradable, has a 5 year warranty (vs Denon's 1 year), and the onscreen menus are much better. It also had a lot more controls (EQ, crossover frequencies, etc.), but I'm probably better off not messing with that anyway. At any rate, the Sony is clearly a more advanced receiver, but the actual sound wasn't much different from the Denon and seemed a little inferior in the music area...
    BTW, I do plan to unplug everything from the house to see if that has anything to do with the hiss, but after hearing it in stores, I think it may just be normal. Later,
    --Kyle
     
  10. Earl Simpson

    Earl Simpson Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2002
    Messages:
    803
    Likes Received:
    0
    Nice post!!!!!!!!! Thanks!!! With the price down to $750 for the 5es and $800 for the Denon 3802, what would you do in that situation??????????
     
  11. Steve Zimmerman

    Steve Zimmerman Second Unit

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2001
    Messages:
    347
    Likes Received:
    0
    It's the Klipsch speakers causing the hiss. Their efficiency is high enough that you can't just use any old receiver.

    --Steve
     
  12. Tom_Mack

    Tom_Mack Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2000
    Messages:
    233
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks Kyle for your post.

    You tests have given me a lot to think about with my hiss situation.
     
  13. KyleY

    KyleY Extra

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 1999
    Messages:
    23
    Likes Received:
    0
    Regarding the Klipsch speakers being the cause, if that's so, then a lot of other speakers do the same thing. My old JBL speakers do it, and the Paradigm (I think that's what we were listening to) speakers in the store did it as well... I don't doubt that it's worse in the Klispch speakers though b/c of their efficiency.

    Tom, you're welcome - happy to help.

    Earl, with the Sony cheaper than the Denon (make sure it's from an authorized dealer - I'd check with Sony if I were you), it would be a really tough call... I think the Denon's better for music, and I've also heard it's better with bass (I haven't received my sub yet, so I couldn't really tell). It's a toss up in HT audio. In terms of features though, the Sony blows the Denon away. You just need to decide whether those features are important to you. A 5 year warranty would be nice as would the upgradability (both with the Sony - *if* from an authorized dealer), but would you really ever take advantage of either? Tough call. I also heard the Denon remote goes through the batteries fast (3-4 months), and that could be a hassle, but NBD... The extra DSPs with the Sony are nice, but would you use them? I doubt I would. The 3rd room function is good (2 rooms with the Denon) as well. The Sony also has gold plated AV connectors, but I don't use most of them anyway (I'm going straight to the TV with video and DVD audio is optical). If the Sony was cheaper, I might pick it, but it would still be a tough decision... Later,

    --Kyle
     
  14. Dan Joy

    Dan Joy Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2001
    Messages:
    758
    Likes Received:
    0
    Just for the heck of it, I tried to hear any hiss from my DA5ES. I use my dvd player with optical out. I am unable to hear an hiss in stop mode of dvd player at ANY volume.

    While playing material it seems to be source dependent for varying amounts of hiss. I hear no hiss in any input mode at any volume.
     
  15. Tom_Mack

    Tom_Mack Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2000
    Messages:
    233
    Likes Received:
    0
    Dan -

    Could you tell us what brand/model speakers you use?

    Thanks
     
  16. KyleY

    KyleY Extra

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 1999
    Messages:
    23
    Likes Received:
    0
    In response to Dan's post, I'm wondering if there could be some kind of setting with the receivers as well. As an example, when listening to the Sony in a store, we were listening to a CD's "secret song" where there is no audio between tracks. The Sony was silent (no hiss), but after awhile we noticed it would kick on and all of a sudden hear hiss clearly then kick back off. It looked like the Sony was suppressing any signal to the speakers except when it thought it "heard" something in the source. This hiss would kick off and on repeatedly as the Sony tried to figure out whether there was audio or not. Granted, this is likely CD hiss, but I assume that since it was suppressing the CD hiss in this case, it can be suppressing the amp hiss as well.

    So, test the way I did - unplug everything from the back of the receiver except the speakers and test. Also, if you have a CD with a "secret song" (or some other CD with silence in the tracks), see if that happens on your receiver. Later,

    --Kyle
     
  17. Dan Joy

    Dan Joy Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2001
    Messages:
    758
    Likes Received:
    0
    I use Mirage FRx-7 fronts, Mirage MCC center, Ifinity inwalls for surrounds, and an SVS 25-31PCi. I noticed in the end of the set-up mode there is a digital power management and video power management on/off to suppress influence of circuits affecting each other. I have both of mine to off. However the only analog input I use is local tv or vcr. Satellite, music, and dvd is all optical connections with such fixed designation on the receivers input.

    Kyle, are you using analog and/or digital connections and are your D and V power managements options on?

    Just to note, my old Sony STR-DE835 has some low level background noise to it with all the same speaker set up.

    I will try to play with it more later.
     
  18. KyleY

    KyleY Extra

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 1999
    Messages:
    23
    Likes Received:
    0
    When I was listening to music, the inputs were digital (optical cable). I didn't change anything in the power management modes, and I've already returned the receiver, so I can't do any more testing, sorry [​IMG] Later,
    --Kyle
     
  19. Rutledge

    Rutledge Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2001
    Messages:
    93
    Likes Received:
    0
    Speaker efficiency has a lot to do with it. If you have a Klipsh that is rated at 96db @ 1 watt and a Mirage that is at 86db at 1 watt then the Klipsh's will be more than twice as loud, as will the hiss.

    I remember back in high school when I hooked my 200 watt per channel Carver cube amplifier up to a friend's heresy's. There was so much hiss with no volume that I quit using it, and went back to my 20wpc NAD 3020 with Advent/1's.

    Obviously the NAD had a much higher S/N ratio than the carver and the Advent's were less efficient. It all added up to a more enjoyable listening experience.
     
  20. Gary W. Graley

    Gary W. Graley Second Unit

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2001
    Messages:
    265
    Likes Received:
    0
    I have the DA5ES, no hiss on my system, also driving the top of the line Reference speakers, RF7s that are very effecient, hiss would certainly drive me nuts!

    Before, I had the DB840 receiver and at higher voloumnes there was some amp static/noise when no signals were present, but the 5ES doesn't exhibit that...

    Hope you sort it all out!

    G2
     

Share This Page