Sony TA-P9000ES - does it have any competition?

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by Dzung Pham, Jun 25, 2002.

  1. Dzung Pham

    Dzung Pham Second Unit

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    I'm considering the Sony TA-P9000ES to supplement my Outlaw 950 and would appreciate any comments on whether I should consider other preamps. I'd also be interested in hearing how its sound quality compares to other analog preamplifiers or to the bypass on the 950 (unfortunately I'd be losing bass management unless I got the ICBM). Are there even any other reasonably priced multichannel analog preamps out there? Is the sound quality on this unit really comparable to other Stereophile Class A components? Thanks for any info.
     
  2. Martice

    Martice Screenwriter

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    Hi Dzung. I own the TA-P9000es unit and I'm pretty happy with it. As a point of reference I used to own a Aragon 24K, Acurus RL-11, Adcom GFP-750 and a Sonic Frontiers Line 1 pre amp. I'm currently using the TAP as a switcher between my HT Prepro and my 2-channel setup. I used the TAP as a 2-channel preamp for a while but I prefer running my CD player throughout the 2-channel bypass and controlling the volume via the CD players variable (remote controlled) outputs. I am waiting on a Creek OBH-12 passive preamp to add on. I am not using the 5.1 active inputs as of yet because I don't have any of the newer format players but I enjoy the idea of knowing that I can hookup 2 other players from 2.0 channel to 5.1 channels at a later time.

    How it sounds? Well it really sounds very neutral in my system. When I was using 2 channels of the active 5.1 inputs for my CD player the sound was very clear and detailed but the music didn't sound as relaxed and natural as it does when I bypass the active mode and run it passively in 2-channel. The best part is that I can now purchase any 2-channel pre amp I want later and integrate it into my system without having to make any compromises else where. The HT processor goes untouched and only affects the sound when it's time for movies leaving my 2-channel system totally out of the picture. I do have the ICBM and it's an awesome piece and in my opinion is the best product the Outlaw has made to date in terms of longevity and flexibility.

    I would liken the TAP's sound in active mode to be very similar to the Adcom GFP-750 in active mode. Maybe a little heavier and darker presentation but the level of detail and sound stage is impressive. In passive mode, I like the TAP in 2-channel music because unlike the Adcom GFP-750, the sound of my CD player bypassing everything INCLUDING the volume pot is clearer, and sounds more natural and fluid then the clear and neutral but 'sterile' sound of the Adcom in passive mode which also passes through the Volume pot.

    As far as other offerings, I heard there were other multi-channel preamps but they are more expensive, don't come with remotes and not necessarily sound as neutral as the TAP.

    In terms of flexibility in the truest essence of separates, you can't go wrong if you would like to further separate your HT from your 2-channel system without sacrificing rack space or sound quality.

    No brainer and highly recommended.
     
  3. John_KM

    John_KM Agent

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    Hi, I'm probably not going to be a lot of help here, however, I've heard the TAE coupled with two Meridian stereo amps, and it had the best sound I've heard without spending a lot more money. See my post for the other receivers I've auditioned.

    One query you may know the answer to re my post; is this preamp/processor still available? I assume it is given your interest.. hope so, as I am very interested in it as well..... good luck and lets know how it goes...but on the grounds of what I heard, and its reputation, well worth a serious listen I'd say.

    Cheers,

    John
     
  4. Martice

    Martice Screenwriter

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    Hi John. I think Dzung is looking at the TA-P9000es multi-channel pre amp and not the TA-E9000es pre/pro.
    Here's a link that may help you out:
    Flagship Receiver website
    Good Luck
     
  5. Larry B

    Larry B Screenwriter

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    Is the main difference between the TA-P9000ES and the 950 the fact that the former provides volume control without digitizing the signal?


    Larry
     
  6. Shane Martin

    Shane Martin Producer

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    I believe the TAP has 2 multichannel inputs where as the 950 has 1.
     
  7. John_KM

    John_KM Agent

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    Hi Martice,

    Yes, sorry about that, I realised my error after submitting my post. Thanks for the link; I have actually asked some questions already, re HT and the Sony's on this site, and received some excellent and most helpful advice and comment, me being a 'newbie' and all to HT, however unfortunately no one appears to have heard/compared the TAE/TAN combo to the DA5ES, or knows about the demise or otherwise re the TAE/TAN, hence I thought I'd ask here on this forum, to widen my likelihood of someone knowing the answer to this, and because I've been a bit of a 'lurker' here, and decided it was time to join up!

    Thanks for your kind comments, and link refferal- very nice of you and seems like a nice bunch of people here.

    Cheers,

    John.
     
  8. Charles Gurganus

    Charles Gurganus Supporting Actor

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    I also own the P9000es and use it in conjunction with the E9000es. I think it is excellent. I use the 5.1 active inputs for 2 channel sources now and I feel no real need to rush out and add a seperate 2 channel preamp. It is one of the biggest bargains in audio from my perspective. It is the ultimate switcher for those who want to tie seperate 2 channel systems with home theater systems and use the same amps and speakers for both. I can go into more detail but Martrice covered it very well.
     
  9. Martice

    Martice Screenwriter

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  10. Martice

    Martice Screenwriter

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    Hi John and welcome to the forum. One thing you'll find here is that although we may not see eye to eye on all things, I can say that you'll always walk away informed and impressed by the feedback on this site.

    We are truly a family here and we are always looking to help our new siblings as well as being helped also.

    Good to have you and see you around.
     
  11. Larry B

    Larry B Screenwriter

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    Martice:

    Could you please explain exactly how you use the TA-P in your system?

    Thanks - - -

    Larry
     
  12. Martice

    Martice Screenwriter

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    Sure Larry. The TAP unit acts like a 'Hub' of sorts for a variety of connections for the components in your system.
    Although it can be used to provide inputs for 2 multi-channel high resolution players, it also provides the user a few more options in regards to integrating your system together.

    Here's how I use my TAP in my system:

    HK 2.0 Sig pre/pro
    Sony XA20es CD player
    Outlaw Audio ICBM
    Sony 7700 DVD player
    Sony TA-P9000es preamp/ audio switcher


    Now I have the HK processor hooked up to the 5.1 channel bypass inputs. When I want to watch a movie all I have to do is switch the TAP unit to 5.1 bypass and HK will now play while bypassing the TAP unit all together.

    I have the CD player hooked up to the 2-channel bypass which does the same thing as the HK processor and all the while bypassing the TAP all together. I run my cd player direct in passive mode because it has an internal volume control allowing me to enjoy a wonderful display of music while I figure which 2-channel preamp I want to use in the future.

    I have my DVD player hooked up to my HK unit obviously.

    I have the ICBM hooked up right before the power amps so that signals are all crossed over by the settings on the ICBM.

    ** Say if I want to purchase a 2-channel pre amp. I can remove the CD player from the 2-channel bypass and hookup the preamp to the 2-channel bypass. This will allow me to hook the CD player up to the new preamp and I'm done. It had nothing to do with the HT portion of my system. The ultimate of flexibility is allowed with this unit. If I didn't want to use another preamp I could always use the TAP as a 2-channel pre amp by hooking up the CD player to the L & R main channels on one of the two 5.1 multi-channel inputs.

    If I wanted to change my processor or receiver it's ok as well because I will still have my 2-channel system in tact. That is if you have separate amplification. This is why I may grab me a Outlaw 1050 and use it for the processing only. I have 5 separate amps already so for the price I think it's an awesome deal.

    Also, the hopes that I will find a processor that offers flexibility and superior sonics is hard and limited in choices. A lot of HT fans would also like to have very good 2-channel playback and unfortunately that isn't the case with a lot of pre/pros nowadays. With the TAP you can find a heap of 2-channel preamps that are much better performers than what the 'average' affordable pre/pro can offer at a fraction of the cost of a superior pre/pro.

    Flexibility and sonics were the main selling points for me.

    I hope I have been of some help to you.
     
  13. Dzung Pham

    Dzung Pham Second Unit

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    Thanks for all the comments, especially from Martice.

     
  14. rodneyH

    rodneyH Supporting Actor

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    Martice, let me see if I understand you right. So for those of us that have a pre/pro that doesn't allow TRUE analog bypass, this could be a solution (plus the fact that is has 2 5.1 inputs is a huge bonus for those of us that own multi channel SACD and DVD-A).

    SO would I hook it up like this

    CD player---->SONY 9000ES TAP--->pre/pro--->amps--->speakers

    or would it be more like this to get the true bypass

    cd player output A--->SONY TAP--->amps--->speakers
    cd player output B--->Pre/pro

    ????
     
  15. Martice

    Martice Screenwriter

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    Don't be dissapointed in the comparisons Dzung. Remember, the Sony unit was compared to another Class A Stereophile unit. For the price ($450-$550 on line) and beyond this is a wonderful unit. I always preferred passive over active when given the choice. The only 2-channel pre amp that I liked alot that wasn't passive was the old work horse Aragon 24K I had a while back. It wasn't the best in clarity and it wasn't the quietest but it was really smooth in a SS Conrad Johnson kind of way and music from it just sounded really good.

    As far as preferring 2-channel passive while using the TAP, if I can get that much closer to my source player then that's what I'm going to do. The fact that I'm able to have that option with the TAP is worth it's weight in gold.
     
  16. Martice

    Martice Screenwriter

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    Hi Rodney.

    The TAP would be the central point of connection as opposed to the pre/pro being the center piece. If you want true analog bypass for 2-channel you would hookup your CD player or 2-channel preamp to the 2-channel bypass inputs. If your CD player has variable outs you can bypass any preamplification and use the CD player directly and control the volume with your CD player. It also has a 5.1 channel HT bypass that works in the same manner so that you can go straight to you processor for movies.

    It looks like this:
    TAP9000es
    -
    -
    (2 unused 5.1 multi-channel inputs)
    -
    -
    CD(2-channelbypass)->TAP
     
  17. Martice

    Martice Screenwriter

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  18. Larry B

    Larry B Screenwriter

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    Martice:

     
  19. PomingF

    PomingF Second Unit

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    Dzung, if you are to get the TAP, get the ones with the grounding problem solved. In the latest issue of Stereophile, the reviewer has a bit of ground hum when using the TAP with the Intrepid and he has a sidebar info on how Sony is to correct the problem.

    I've been using the Sony TAP on my Hi-Rez/MC music system with the Pioneer DV47A and has been very happy with it. No, neither one of them does perfect BM but (in order to avoid that bit of noise by adding the ICBM) I plan on eventually make all 5 speakers near full-range anyway. I agree the 5.1 & stereo bypass feature of the TAP has been a pleasant surprise for it allows the Sony/Pioneer to share the front amps & speakers with my existing Adcom CD player/Rogue preamp combo.

    Cheers.

    PF
     
  20. Charles Gurganus

    Charles Gurganus Supporting Actor

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    Larry said..."However, it seems to me that any high quality 2-channel preamp could be used, even if it lacked bypass, as one would simply have to calibrate all 5 channels with the volume control (on the 2-channel preamp) at some pre-determined position (12 O'Clock, for instance). While this would not bypass all circuitry, I don't think it would matter all that much for HT, especially since the 2-channel preamp would be of much higher quality than the preamp processor.

    Larry, it makes a huge difference for HT IMO. I tried this method (before getting the TAP) with several 2 channel preamps (Cambridge Audio C500 and Creek OBH-12) and it stepped on the HT sound pretty good. I could definitely tell a huge difference. Messing around with 2 volume controls wasn't for me.

    "Also, some 2-channel preamps (the Hovland, for example), while lacking a bypass, do have a unity gain setting, which I suppose is pretty close to having a bypass."

    This is interesting. I always thought unity gain WAS a bypass. I could be wrong but I think they are the same.
     

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