Sony Expands Hi-Res Music Line

Sections: Audio, Stereo

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Sony-TA-A1ES_frontIt remains to be seen whether consumers take much interest in Sony’s new Hi-Res Music line, but Sony isn’t wasting any time in expanding the lineup even before it properly launches. The company announced late last week the addition of two new products to the line: the PHA-2 portable headphone DAC/amplifier (an updated version of its PHA-1) and the TA-A1ES integrated stereo amplifier.

Sony-PHA-2The PHA-2 is particularly neat in that it offers decoding of PCM up to 192/24, as well as DSD (2.8MHz) and Double DSD (5.6MHz) via its USB 2.0 connection. Sony claims that it’s “the first portable DAC/amplifier to be compatible with virtually every high-resolution digital file format.” The PHA-2 is also noteworthy for its  OCL (output capacitor-less) current feedback architecture, dual power supply design, and built-in lithium-ion battery, which provides 6.5 hours of use with a digital connection.

The TA-A1ES Integrated Stereo Amplifier, meanwhile, was designed specifically to complement new HAP-Z1ES reference standard Hi-Res Music Player. From the press release:

More than three years in the making, the new A1ES stereo amplifier utilizes a frame/beam/base chassis that was originally developed for Sony’s acclaimed R-Series components. It delivers crisp, noiseless power performance. Employing FET input and buffer circuits that enhance performance, the amplifier’s optimum gain volume control combines electronic volume with a discrete buffer amplifier, allowing it to massively reduce gain error and produce sound quality superior to conventional volume controls.

The TA-A1ES has a power amp stage featuring Smart Bias Control for Class-A operation and Single Push-Pull Hi-Current Amplifier. It is designed with a single pair of transistors to eliminate variations in each channel at the source, as well as variation controlling emitter resistance, allowing the transistors to drive the speakers directly, for a more character-free sound quality. Sony’s proprietary toroidal transformer packs a 300VA rating, the highest in its class, as well as a capacitor delivering 24000μF per channel.

The TA-A1ES should be available next month for $1,999, with the PHA-2 following in March 2014 for $599.99.

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