Sony STR-DA4ES vs. 5ES Receivers

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by AaronBatiuk, Oct 23, 2002.

  1. AaronBatiuk

    AaronBatiuk Second Unit

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    As I am considering buying a new receiver, I have been examining both of these models closely, and I thought that I would share my findings as well as ask for any other people's opinions. Note that although the 5ES is discontinued in the U.S., it is still very much a currently available product in Canada (where I live).
    Both receivers have:
    [*]Dolby Digital EX (see below for note on 5ES)[*]Dolby Prologic II[*]DTS-ES Discrete 6.1[*]DTS-ES Matrix 6.1[*]DTS Neo:6[*]Component Video Switching with High Definition pass-through[*]5.1 and 7.1 Multichannel Inputs[*]32 bit x 3 DSPs[*]96k/24 bit PCM capability[*]On-Screen Display[*]Digital Cinema Sound[*]6.1 Channel Decoding[*]Virtual 6.1 playback capability[*]Analog Direct and Analog Pureness Controls[*]18 Digital Signal processing modes[*]Digital Cinema Sound Cinema[*]Studio EX A/B/C modes[*]Equaliser with 5 presets[*]Tone control (in addtion to EQ) in many soundfields[*]SoundField Link[*]Front Audio/Video input[*]Screw type speaker terminals[*]Gold Plated Headphone Jack[*]S-Link (Control A1-II & Control-S)[*]RS-232 port for upgrades and system control[*]Sleep Timer[*]Detachable Power Cord[/list]
    The 4ES exclusively has:
    [*]DTS 96/24[*]genuine Dolby Digital EX decoding[*]2 Zone/2 Room capability (2nd A/V out) with E. Volume[*]Speaker A/B switch[*]Composite to S-Video Up Conversion[*]Pre-Programmed (one-way) LCD Remote with Macro[*]110x7 power output rating[*]Equaliser: (B=Bass, M=Mid, T=Treble)
    [*] Front (B,M,T) [*] Centre (B,M,T)[*] Surround (B,T)[*] Surr.Back (B,T)[/list][*]Two 12 V triggers (one per zone)[*]IR Repeater input (1) and outputs (2)[/list]
    The 5ES exclusively has:
    [*]3 Zone/3 Room capability (2nd A/V out, 3rd speaker out)[*]Pre-Programmed (two-way) LCD Remote with Macro[*]Additional remote for 2nd or 3rd zone[*]110x6 power output rating[*]Equaliser:
    [*] Front (B,M,T) [*] Centre (B,M,T)[*] Surround (B,T)[*] Surr.Back (B,T)[/list][/list]
    I am leaning toward the 4ES for a few reasons:
    [*]I will be using two Surround Back speakers. The 4ES has built-in amplification for two (independant) Surround Back speakers. The 5ES has only 1 channel of amplification, but it has two independant pre-outs so that an external amp can be used to achieve a 7.1 setup.[*]the IR repeater functionality of the 4ES is something that I will actually use[*]...as is the 12 V trigger.[*]Although the 5ES comes with a 2-way remote and the 4ES does not, the 4ES has the capability to use one. I already own one that I plan to use with it (knowing that some of the 4ES' setup parameters will not be accessible using it).[*]The 4ES has A/B speaker hookups. I will use this.[*]The 4ES has genuine "Dolby Digital EX" decoding. The 5ES will decode the extended surround channel of DD-EX material, but it does not have a genuine Dolby decoder. It uses Sony's DCMD (Digital Cinema Matrix Decoder) for DD-EX material. The 4ES can use either Sony's DCMD or Dolby's decoder. Both have genuine dts-ES (discrete and matrix) using dts' or Sony's decoder.[*]The 4ES has dts 96/24.[*]According to the specs (as posted on the sonystyle.ca website), it 3 kg (6.6 lb) heavier than the 5ES. (4ES: 20.0 kg, 5ES: 17.0 kg). This probably indicates a significantly heavier power transformer (provided that the specs are correct).[/list]
    The 5ES has these features that I wish the 4ES had too:
    [*]3rd zone amplified output. I could really use this, and it is the one feature that is most pulling me in the direction of the 5ES.[*]2-way remote and a second remote for another zone.[*]better/bigger capacitors in the power supply (rumoured)[*]an 'absolute position' type volume control. The 4ES has one of those continuously-rotating jog-dial types. Both are, ultimately, fully electronic (not actual analog pots).[/list]
    I had been wavering, but upon finding out that the 5ES does not do 'real' DD-EX and does not have as good of an EQ (in the surround channels), I have really swayed over to the 4ES. The 5ES currently retails for CAN$100 more than the 4ES (equal to about USD$64 more).
    Does anyone have anything else to offer?
     
  2. Edward Richards

    Edward Richards Auditioning

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    I have the 4ES and so far I am very pleased with it. I did not need the 3rd room capability. I liked the eq features of the 4ES. The stock remote for the 4ES is not great but it sounds like you have that covered anyways.

    I listen to them both on the same sets of speakers and I couldn't detect any difference in sound. Thats just me though.

    After all was considered, the $1045 price tag of the 4ES won out over the fancier remotes and 3rd room functionality for me.

    Ed
     
  3. AaronBatiuk

    AaronBatiuk Second Unit

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  4. Dan Joy

    Dan Joy Supporting Actor

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    Aaron,
    Sounds like you have already come to a decision. I have the DA5ES and love it. I don't use my 2 way remote, I have a Sony AV-2100 now and an MX-500 on the way. Don't worry about the remote! Have you done a side by side listening? That should seal the deal!
     
  5. Colin Banfield

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    At least two independent reviews (Audioholics - http://www.audioholics.com/productre...battleP1_1.php and another I read in the British magazine What Hi-Fi?) claim that the 5ES is superior to the 4ES. I'd like to see a review of the 7ES, including how it compares with the 5ES and 4ES soundwise.
     
  6. Juan_R

    Juan_R Supporting Actor

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    Dan,

    I use an MX-500 with my 5ES, the MX-500 rocks, you can program it to do anything the original remote does. You will dig it.
     
  7. Dan Joy

    Dan Joy Supporting Actor

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    Juan,
    You are soooo right! I love this remote[​IMG]
     
  8. AaronBatiuk

    AaronBatiuk Second Unit

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  9. Juan_R

    Juan_R Supporting Actor

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    AaronBatiuk,

    You are right the MX does not have the two way capability but my equipment is in front of me so I dont need that feature. I don't know about the remote in the 4ES but the one with 5ES sucks. I also like the fact that I don't have to change sources on the MX everytime I want to control another device.
     
  10. Colin Banfield

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  11. AaronBatiuk

    AaronBatiuk Second Unit

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  12. JackS

    JackS Supporting Actor

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    Colin- They way I read the article there was no absolute statement that the RISC processors were inferior to the standard SHARC only cheaper. My question would be -did Sony use he RISC as a money saving substitute,or were they used because Sony engineers believed the could re-engineer these processors to their own specs and liking? SHARC sounds to me like something prepriatory vs. RISC which is open to changes. In easier terms, did Sony cheap out? or did they make an attempt to improve on the existing standard?
     
  13. Dan Joy

    Dan Joy Supporting Actor

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  14. randy bessinger

    randy bessinger Stunt Coordinator

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    quote:

    Yes, Audioholics did claim that. They also said that the 4ES is 7 lb lighter than the 5ES, but according the the specs I have, it is 7 lb heavier. The 4ES was intended to hit the market at about 25% less MSRP than the 5ES. I have read a lot of stuff on audioholics, and as a result of some of what I have read, I have chosen to not necessarily believe a word of it merely on the basis that it is written there.

    They did admit and correct their error in their forum. I believe the writer is also an EE.

    I think their intent is good and to the extent that they make errors and clear them up later, I tend to be tolerant. I think they will improve as they increase staff and time for the web site.

    I certainly do agree with their RBH and Status speaker reviews. Having replaced my Snells with Status (and the Snell's replaced Martin Logan).
     
  15. AaronBatiuk

    AaronBatiuk Second Unit

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  16. Juan_R

    Juan_R Supporting Actor

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  17. AaronBatiuk

    AaronBatiuk Second Unit

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  18. alan_dana

    alan_dana Agent

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    Aaron stated, "Very few receivers currently on the market support dts 96/24 along with their other DSP functionality."

    Up to recently, this was true. However it is now becoming commonplace for receivers selling (street price) in the $700-$1000 range to have DTS 96/24.

    Just like computers, the processing power of receivers becomes more capable with each new model.

    Alan
     
  19. randy bessinger

    randy bessinger Stunt Coordinator

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    Aaron,

    This was posted in their forum yesterday. Is this what you read?

    Greetings everyone,

    There are many good responses to our Article in this forum, and I appreciate all the feedback. There is indeed, a weight discrepancy in the article and I apologize. It will be updated soon, and thanks for pointing it out. It seems that I took the wrong information when comparing the weights. It just shows that we are not all robots here and sometimes, errors occur.

    I wish to point out the following information on the power supplies of the 5ES and 4ES.

    1) The 4ES and 5ES both use 71V x 15,000 micro-Farad Caps. As the capacitors are used to store energy to supply a stable DC voltage to the Amplifiers, in theory, if all 7 channels are being driven simultaneously, there is less headroom in the 4ES than the 5ES due to that extra 7th channel.

    2) The 5ES uses the Nichicon Gold Tune caps, which are known to be a high quality, audiophile capacitor with low loss. I provided a hotlink to these caps in the article for everyone to check out. The new 4ES does not use the Nichicon Caps, but instead, they are generic caps.

    3) Also, the 5ES uses a Linear Rap Transformer, much like that of the 9000ES, but the 4ES uses a Brando Transformer, which again, is another form of a generic brand component.

    4) The 5ES is SHARC based Processor and the 4ES is RISC, and there are many Audiophiles holding to the fact that a SHARC system offers improved performance.

    There is a difference in the level of performance between the two units, but it is not going to be as dramatic as comparing an alarm clock to a Yamaha Z1 Receiver. The differences will be subtle and may require attention listening for details with different sources in order to appreciate.

    I don't understand why anyone feels like they are loosing features between the two units. For example, I just finished evaluating a pair of quad-pole speakers in the two surround channels, and there was more than enough sound to fill my entire 18-foot wide room.

    If any wants to improve their surround channel response, consider purchasing speakers that image better and you’ll be amazed at the difference.

    In addition, I may be able to understand wanting to add one mid-center rear, especially if you are in a very large (wide) room. Keeping in mind that most DVD recordings still do not have this discrete channel in their recordings, you will only be getting a mono blend of the rear surround speakers.

    What I have a hard time justifying, is adding two mono rear center channel speakers to a Home Theater System. In most cases, you don’t need to have two mono center channels if you need any at all.

    Furthermore, if any of you are not satisfied with their purchase of the 5ES over the 4ES, based on the review, I will be happy to swap it out with you. I have a brand new 4ES at my disposal and would love to trade it for the 5ES.


    Best Regards,
    Stevie D
     
  20. Dan Joy

    Dan Joy Supporting Actor

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    Yeah baby! Now I love my DA5ES even more and the remote still sucks[​IMG]
     

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