Sony SS-NA5ES loudspeaker Associated Equipment

Sidebar 2: Associated Equipment

Analog Sources: Garrard 301 turntable; EMT 997 tonearm; EMT OFD 15 & TSD 15, Shindo Laboratory SPU pickup heads.
Digital Sources: Halide Designs DAC HD USB D/A converter; Apple iMac G5 computer running Audirvana Plus 1.5.12; Sony SCD-777ES SACD/CD player.
Preamplification: Hommage T2 step-up transformer, Shindo Laboratory Masseto preamplifier.
Power Amplifiers: Shindo Laboratory Corton-Charlemagne (monoblocks).
Loudspeakers: Altec Valencia, Auditorium 23 Hommage Cinema, DeVore Fidelity Orangutan O/96.
Cables: USB: Wireworld Revelation 2.0. Interconnect: Audio Note AN-Vx, Luna Red, Shindo Laboratory. Speaker: Auditorium 23, Luna Mauve. AC: Luna Orange, manufacturers' stock cords.
Accessories: Box Furniture Company D3S rack (source & amplification components), Audiodesksysteme Gläss Vinyl Cleaner.—Art Dudley

Sony Electronics, Inc
16530 Via Esprillo
San Diego, CA 92127-1708
(858) 942-2400

BradleyP's picture

The dealer network for these primo Sonys seems a bit, um, unconventional. $6k standmounts are the purview of high end brick-and-mortar shops, but these are not available in such shops. Perhaps the distributors are custom installers, but I can't quite tell from the Sony ES website. That's quite a hindrance.

koshy1972's picture

I guess you can find your nearest dealer from this website.

Seems like not so many inventories left, so probably took some time to receive. Hope this helps.

Anon2's picture

I am sure that these speakers sound fine. But we are to pay $6,000 for some Scanspeak drivers in a laminated wood enclosure?

I hope we can see a test of these--reportedly outstanding--speakers for $2,500 less:

Or for roughly the same price, we can afford ourselves of a tried and true design, with some elements of advanced materials science:

And for less than 1/2 the price, it might be time for a very long overdue test of these speakers that boast plausible technology, perhaps better than this product under review, and the same billed weight:

If I were so endowed financially, I might save my pennies for another year or so and get these highly decorated stalwarts:

And, based on my actual experience of listening at a show, we might, again, save a few more dollars and get this speaker which has some proprietary technology to bring to the table:

It might be time for Stereophile to emulate our friends from the UK and do some head-to-head group testing of products. $3,500 for this product? Maybe. $4,000 is a stretch. But $6,000? I don't know.

Allen Fant's picture

Nice job! AD
it is good to see Sony ES back in the speaker facet of our wonderful hobby. Most will snub Sony for making speakers, this is just one reason why there is not better representation in the B&M world. Sony knows their customer base and has corresponding dealer/retailers strategically placed across the USA.
Further, back in the early 1990's Sony has a set of "ES" marqued speakers that were for home Audio and car Audio too.
A very fine return to form, IMO. Happy Listening!

Anton's picture

First, great post, low2midfi! I am with you!

Regarding these new Sony speakers.

I hope they are great and wish Sony the best. The main problem I would say "I have" with makers like Sony or Technics is that they disappear from the hobby for X number of years, then 'mount an assault on the state of the art' with products like this, then disappear again shortly thereafter.

I have not seen a tradition of models evolving or being improved over time, no evolution of a model (think Vandersteen, Thiel,) etc... These models are hit and run, which I think diminishes their value.

If you look at the history of many (most?) of the most esteemed speakers in this category, they have a history of incremental improvement and of ongoing product support, even trade ups!

So, I don't give this new Sony as much credibility as its price wants me to, because this speaker will be out of production in a cycle or two. I know this because I know Sony's history in this regard.

So, enjoy the speaker now, but it's a bit of a 'one night stand mount' product when compared to models that have traditionally 'stand mounted by their man' over time.


funambulistic's picture

I bought a pair of Sony ES SS-M5 speakers in '97 from my local brick-and-mortar store at a VERY large discount. The discount was primarily because of the Sony badge (though they were hardly a Sony speaker). I was shopping around with the various brands this retailer carried in my price range (Definitive, Paradigm, B&W, etc.) and, for the price, the Sony's were a clear winner; in fact, they were some of the best speakers I have ever owned (how I parted with them is rather tragic). They were shortly discontinued and only the SS-M9 (with the new "super tweeter") continued on for a year or two. I am glad Sony, Technics and Pioneer (or TAD) have new "SOTA" speakers, but, for what they do, their prices are too dear. I would rather stick with a manufacturer that constantly improves their product (as you mentioned, Vandersteen, for example) than what most certainly will be product on a limited run.

avanti1960's picture

I have heard these speakers on a few occasions and immediately noticed that they have a distinctive, somewhat unique character when compared against other stand mounts of similar size. A few listens with familiar program material and you know what they are all about. It is very obvious.
Yet a terse (or any) description of their sound was nowhere to be found in the text. A few words about it would have been most helpful because these speakers are not neutral and their sound flavor might be construed as polarizing.
Being familiar with their sound and then reading the review has given a unique perspective- one that makes me wholly disappointed in what I have read because it failed to communicate their essence.

Anton's picture

Would you be willing to elaborate on your impressions?

This is interesting!

Echolane's picture

I wish I knew more about what you meant when you said the reviewer failed to communicate their essence. Do tell.

I’ve been quite taken with these speakers since I read about them a year ago and, sadly, too late to acquire them. I think they would have been perfect in my TV room system. Their size would have been perfect. Their bass capability was remarkable for the size of the speakers and that and their excellent mid range would have perfectly suited the music I like to listen to, opera and classical. Trying to find thrm used is nigh onto impossible because so few were sold apparently. One ES dealer I spoke with who carried them said he would be surprised to learn Sony sold more than 100-200 total in the US. I think they got overlooked by the audiophiles community because they weren’t properly distributed to non-ES dealers. And then there’s the problem what audiophiles are t axxosrumed to thinking of Sony as capable of audiophile capability. What a shame.k

Echolane's picture

Yes, please elaborate on what you hear that is unique. The many reviews are all very interesting, but actually very little is actually said about how they sound,
I am looking for them in the used market as they have been discontinued just as several reviewers forecast. What a shame because I am convinced they were quite special.