Price Paid: $729
Purchase at: See story
I am writing this review because the 70ES seems to be almost a Sony secret with almost no information on it anywhere. This is too bad because it is an interesting and useful device.
I will not publicize the purchase place because they were so confused that it was comical. But, maybe that was an aberation. Search Google and you will find the store via the price, if you are interested.
Anyway, the 70ES finally arrived in good condition and is now hooked up and working well.
I wanted the utmost simplicity, actually a minimalist sort of set up with as few components, cables and wires as possible. And, I wanted everything to match appearance and remote-wise.
My 70ES mates with an HD200 (with a hi-def DirecTv dish) and a 34XBR800. The connections are component and optical.
The three main components match and work nicely. Progressive scan DVD, SACD, Hi Def, DDII and 5.1 surround sound are all there. Only DVD Audio is missing and since I have not listened to that format, I do not miss it. I only want to support one format anyway.
This is a simple unit. It has fewer connections on the back than any receiver I have ever seen. It has no tone controls, but can set speaker distance, size and configuration. It has only a few sound fields, but they are the most useful and tastefully done. There is no upgrade path to allow for new technologies in the future, but it is an ES and thus has a five year warranty.
It all works pretty automatically. I generally stay with “auto decode” and that it does. The sound is clear and even my relatively inefficient speakers will play at very high volumn without any sign of distress.
The 70 is only rated down to 6 ohms, though, so it does not seem to be suited for those popular high end 4 ohm speakers.
SACDs play very nicely. I am new to that format and am surprised at how differently they are recorded. Some are more like really clean two channel stereo and others really use all the speakers. The 70ES has an unusual all-digital amp design and an all-digital path, so it would be expected that multi-channel recordings would play well.
The 50ES has less power and a single-disk capacity. I was kind of against multi-disk players, but now I like and use the five disk capacity of the 70 ES.
As others have noted, the progressive scan DVD feature is not a huge step up from interlaced, at least not without a way to quickly jump between the two formats to compare. To me, DVDs look sharp and the sound is excellent.
The remote does work. You can access everything you normally use with it. But, it is kind of clunky and utilizes lots of scrolling instead of direct access buttons.
The manual is terrible.
If you like Sony, simplicity, and silver-colored components, this unit may be great for you. Those with a complex main system might enjoy the 70ES in a secondary setting.
Hope this is useful. Carlgo