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Agoraquest • View topic - STR-DA5ES vs STR-DA4ES

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View topic - STR-DA5ES vs STR-DA4ES

STR-DA5ES vs STR-DA4ES

This forum addresses questions on installation, configuration and troubleshooting you might encounter with your Sony Amp/Receiver/Speakers/Connections/Cables.

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by Maxxwire » Sat May 03, 2003 11:40 am

If the DA 5ES does indeed have a better power supply than the DA 4ES then that goes a long way to deciding which Receiver will outperform the other.

The quality of the power supply determines the quality of the functioning of every circuit that is powered by it. If these two units do share some similarities, then the one with the more sophisticated power supply will sound and perform better.

I say this because I have a number of devices in my Audio system ahat operate off of individuated power supplies and I know for a fact that a more sophisticated, beefier filtered, and better regulated power supply can make a huge difference in performance as evidenced by its ability to create a higher quality sound in the Audio chain.

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by -W- » Sat May 03, 2003 6:44 pm

Greetings Agoraquestrians:

My next door neighbor with the STR DA 4ES had been experiencing some problems with it.



www.crutchfield.com/cgi-bin/S-cW9sToq46WM/ProdView.asp?s=0&cc=01&c=4&g=10420&I=158STRDA4E

I've come to think that sometimes the early production runs of an assembled item can have a inherant defect that only becomes apparent after the item is introduced to the consumer market.

That is, a purchaser has a problem with the purchased item and either has the item returned for service or exchanged for another.
Conceivably, a whole segment of a "bad batch" of item ABC could be held by a retailer and the retailer might not even be aware of any problem per the manufacturer (e.g., Sony). A person might return a "lemon" only to receive another "lemon" of like kind...

Sort of like cars when certain models are recalled due to, say, faulty windshield wipers, in order to correct the problem. I'd like the problem fixed under warranty and not just be given another of the same model with the same problem.

I'd be curious to know if, in this case, certain performance problems with the STR-DA4ES receiver happen to occur early in the production cycle (or another time before the problem is corrected) as evidenced by their serial number?

Anyone out there have experience or comments that they can share?
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by Maxxwire » Sat May 03, 2003 7:12 pm

I purchased my DB 930 in July of 1999. The serial number indicates that it is one of the first 3,500 made for the North American region (88XXXX). If you read through the 350+ entries on this model on Audio Review you will notice that the original reviews indicate that this model is fairly trouble free, but as time goes on the complaints about hiss and overheating grow more and more frequent.

At least with the Receiver I have it seems as though the more trouble free pieces were made at the beginning of the production run.

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by Reinhart » Sun Apr 17, 2005 10:11 pm






On 2003-05-03 15:40, Maxxwire wrote:
If the DA 5ES does indeed have a better power supply than the DA 4ES then that goes a long way to deciding which Receiver will outperform the other.

The quality of the power supply determines the quality of the functioning of every circuit that is powered by it. If these two units do share some similarities, then the one with the more sophisticated power supply will sound and perform better.

I say this because I have a number of devices in my Audio system ahat operate off of individuated power supplies and I know for a fact that a more sophisticated, beefier filtered, and better regulated power supply can make a huge difference in performance as evidenced by its ability to create a higher quality sound in the Audio chain.

-Maxx



I know this is an old forum post, but this point sort of struck a chord with me.

According to information provided by ArronB, which comes from Sony factory service literature, the power supply sections (if not almost the entire designs themselves for both models) are essentially the same, but with an edge to the DA4ES since the output works with a regulated power rail (which makes the DA4ES power supply engineering more "sophisticated" than the DA5ES).

Component quality for the power supply sections on these receivers are, essentially, irrelevant.  Both receivers use more-than-adequate quality parts for both the secondary and primary power supplies, which are both competently over-engineered (and it's ultimately the engineering that really matters here).  Although the DA5ES uses arguably better performing parts, both parts are rated the same and will work in essentially the same manner with good performance and reliability.  So what if the DA4ES uses regular Nippon Chemicon capacitors and an oversized Bando transformer while the DA5ES uses Nichicon Goldtune capacitors and a Sony ES labeled transformer?  As long as the parts are used within their rated tolerances and are suitable for their duties in their respective receivers, there shouldn't be a negligible difference in terms of their performance. 

The parts and engineering used with the power supplies of both receivers are technically overkill for their purposes if you REALLY wanted to be factual with this.

Any claims to the contrary of these points either indicates defective equipment or are purely anecdotal and subject to bias.

Using the same "better parts" argument, you could also say that my previous receiver, a Technics PureSound series SA-DA10, is superior to my Sony STR-DA4ES as it used more specialized and exotic parts in the primary power supply (but nothing really special with the secondary).  The SA-DA10 used a Technics Alpha-core transformer and Matsushita TA-KE II capacitors while the Sony used "generic" parts.  Despite these differences, the DA4ES still blows the SA-DA10 completely away, IMO.

If you are the owner of either receiver, then you've got something to be proud of as you are an owner of a very advanced and well-engineered A/V component that uses a true class A output stage.  And, IMO, it gives equivalent models from Denon, Yamaha, Onkyo, Harman/Kardon, Marantz, and even Sunfire and Outlaw a run for their money.  - Reinhart
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by Maxxwire » Sun Apr 17, 2005 11:01 pm

With all due respect I have to disagree with your theory that all power supplies with similarly spec'd parts perform the same. I just upgraded to a Power Amp which has Polypropylene capacitors in the power supply filter and power reservoir and it sounds so incredibly better than the Power Amp that I had which used Electrolytic capacitors that I have to replay passages of Music just to make sure I wasn't hallucinating.

As far as the DA 4ES vs DA 5ES goes I agree with you that they are both great Receivers, but I have read testamonials by Members here on the Forum who have compared both of these Receivers side by side in the same Audio system and the DA 4ES has yet to win a shootout with the DA 5ES.

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by Reinhart » Sun Apr 17, 2005 11:59 pm






On 2005-04-18 03:01, Maxxwire wrote:
With all due respect I have to disagree with your theory that all power supplies with similarly spec'd parts perform the same. I just upgraded to a Power Amp which has Polypropylene capacitors in the power supply filter and power reservoir and it sounds so incredibly better than the Power Amp that I had which used Electrolytic capacitors that I have to replay passages of Music just to make sure I wasn't hallucinating.

As far as the DA 4ES vs DA 5ES goes I agree with you that they are both great Receivers, but I have read testamonials by Members here on the Forum who have compared both of these Receivers side by side in the same Audio system and the DA 4ES has yet to win a shootout with the DA 5ES.

__Maxx



The problem with testimonials is that they are anecdotal.  Anecdotes can be subject to bias, which blows objectivity out the window.  And, side-by-side comparisons are usually never a great way to compare things as there are simply way too many variables to consider which can give one item or the other an unfair edge.  One such example of an unfair edge is comparing a "burned-in" DA5ES to a fresh DA4ES.  Using such methods for comparison, it is possible that you could create reports that a Kenwood Soverign series would outperform a Yamaha RX-Z series in any imaginable field.  Therefore, you also have to consider things that are more technical as well and try to come up with a conclusion with all the data that you have.  I tend to take the testimonial claims with a grain of salt.

As for polypropylene versus electrolytic, your experience is not really a surprise, given that electrolytics can have some undesirable characteristics.  But, which kind of material for condensing and coupling is more economical? 

Besides, what does polypropylene caps have to do with the DA4ES and the DA5ES?  None of these receivers employ polys in their primaries and my comparison was strictly about these two receivers by themselves.  I used my old Technics SA-DA10 to show that, sometimes, exotic materials aren't enough to make a good receiver as the DA4ES is better engineered despite using more generic parts in the primary power supply.  If the DA5ES had used polys in place of the Nichicon Goldtunes (which are as much electrolytic as the Nippon Chemicons used in the DA4ES), then the difference may sway strongly in favor of the 5ES, given the characteristics of polys compared to electrolytics.  But, Goldtune caps and regular caps is not as dramatic a difference like electrolytic caps and poly caps would be.

According to service literature, both receivers are almost completely identical, with the 4ES amps employing regulated power rails for the amps, a seventh amplifier stage, and more "up-to-date" decoding while the 5ES used a Sony ES spec transformer and Nichicon Gold Tune caps in the primary.

Technically, which is better?  To me, it seems that both receivers offers their advantages and disadvantages in a way that tends to balance things out, comparatively speaking.  It's simply too close a call to make a definite answer, IMO, considering that both models use mostly the same design with only relatively minor differences.  All that's left is personal taste to dictate which is a "better choice" for those auditioning.

I happen to like my DA4ES for my reasons, of course.  Your milage, as well as those of others, may vary for whatever reason.  - Reinhart
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by Bagdropper » Mon Apr 18, 2005 5:33 am

I OWN both these receivers. The 4ES drives a Def Tech Pro Monitor 60 system at my cabin, the 5ES drives what's in my sig at home. All 4 possible set ups I've had either at my cabin or at home. I've hooked up both amp to both speaker systems...recently in fact.

I can't tell you technical information...I have what I would call a negligible electronics education (I know how to run house wire, but tear into an amplifier...no way). So, the guts of these two...can't give you any reasoning for the following statements, obtained from 2+ years of owning both amps. Everything I've been told is aside from the 7th amp, the upconversion, and the absence of the 3rd room capability, the amps are in general terms exactly the same except for a beefier, more robust power supply on the 5ES.

The 5ES is the better amp as far as sound is concerned. It just seems to be smoother, meaning not nearly as harsh of a sound. I can make almost anything sound great on the 5ES with a minimum of tweaking source material to source material, using either set up of speakers.

The 4ES seems to operate better, or maybe I should say more versatile. It has switchable component which I utilize. The composite upconversion also helps in my set up at the cabin, whose VCR is a Sony composite level VCR. But when it comes to sound, the 6th/7th channels seem to degrade the sound considerably when used. Harshness is much more easily introduced to the exact same material as on the 5ES plus equally more difficult to eliminate. In addition, I absolutely hate the volume step levels of, if you hold down the volume for a fast and large volume change, it goes in step up starting at 0.5 up to 5 and sometimes 10...I much, much prefer the 1 db steps like the 5ES.


The why's and how's of why this occurs...no clue. All I know is I've had THE EXACT SAME SET UP used over two speaker systems using both amps, and as far as sound is concerned, in all 4 possible set ups (4ES/5ES using both speaker set ups at both the cabin and at home...meaning 4 different set ups total), every system using the 5ES at both locales sounded better, both speaker combos. If it was the 5ES, no matter what it sounded better. I had the 4ES checked out, the Sony authorized dealer stated everything was perfectly good under the hood.
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by Reinhart » Mon Apr 18, 2005 7:33 am






On 2005-04-18 09:33, Bagdropper wrote:
Everything I've been told is aside from the 7th amp, the upconversion, and the absence of the 3rd room capability, the amps are in general terms exactly the same except for a beefier, more robust power supply on the 5ES.

The 5ES is the better amp as far as sound is concerned. It just seems to be smoother, meaning not nearly as harsh of a sound. I can make almost anything sound great on the 5ES with a minimum of tweaking source material to source material, using either set up of speakers.





Now with this in mind (and doing a little more thinking on my part), I would hazard a guess that part of the reason that the DA5ES would yield better performance over the DA4ES is that the primary power supply in the 5ES is only having to service six channels instead of seven.

Well, let's close this subject with all the points in mind and be confident that both are still great receivers.  And they should be, since they are ES.  - Reinhart

P.S.  Reminds me of something else.  One audiophile on a usenet group I used to post in claimed that the Japanese couldn't make anything seriously hi-fi.  I mentioned my receiver having class A amps and its overall performance, at least to me.  He retorted that it would have to be an "underpowered class A, unless it weighed about 50 pounds."  Of course, he was very close in describing the weight of the thing, since it weighs in at 46 pounds.
_______________

Bose says that you don't need a "roomful of stereo equipment to get big stereo sound."  The only problem with this is that having a roomful of stereo equipment to get that big stereo sound is half of the fun!  If Bose thinks it's LifeStyle systems are suitable substitutes for a Sony ES rig, then I would love to try out the hooch they've been drinking. 
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by Maxxwire » Mon Apr 18, 2005 10:07 am

Reinhart- I only used the example of the superior sound of Amps that use PPE caps in the power supply as an example that high quality parts DO make difference in the sound of Audio equipment.

Since you do not own both the DA 4ES and the DA 5ES and have therefore never had the chance to compare them side by side in the same Audio system I consider your opinion that they actally do sound the same to be pure theory and speculation.

Bagdropper who actually owns both of these Receivers has the valid perspective that the real world experience of listening and comparing the DA 4ES and DA 5ES in two different Audio systems over an extended period of time has to offer.

In the end the opinion of a man who has based his conclusions on extended listening tests involving both Receivers over several years proves more valid than the opinion of someone who only owns one of the Receivers and is speculating that it sounds as good as the other based on the schematic evidence alone because every reputable Audio equipment review I've ever seen had a listening test offered up as proof of the technical analysis.

How could someone even offer a legitimate opinion of a piece of Audio equipment without giving it an extensive and rigerous audition like the pro reviewers all do? Without an audition an opinion is just a huge hunch.

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by Maxxwire » Mon Apr 18, 2005 2:48 pm

Reinhart- If you want to find out for yourself whether the DA 4 ES or DA 5ES is the better sounding Receiver you could always buy this mint condition DA 5ES for only $400 and compare it with your DA 4ES-

http://cls.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cls.pl?miscrcvr&1118628612

This would remove all doubt for you as to which Receiver is best and you could sell the Receiver which comes in second and get most if not all of your money back!

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