As many of you may already know, one of the worlds largest consumer electronics shows took place in Berlin,Germany. Sony very kindly offered to take myself (Munir) and Gavin from our Manchester and Preston stores to the Sony stand at IFA Berlin.
We were shown a range of high end hifi products from Sony's now legendary ES range and the latest 4K home cinema projectors and TV's from Sony.
Here's a quick diary of our day at the show.
We arrived at Hall 4.2 on Monday morning at 9.30am...
...and were promptly whisked away to the inner sanctum.
Eric Kingdon from Sony UK was on hand to give us a brief overview of the upcoming delights from Sony.
Starting with reference speakers from Sony.
The SS-NA2ES from Sony use custom designed drive units made by Scan-Speak.
Sony's innovative I-Array tweeter system.
Superlative design and cracking build quality is used in the cabinet design.
Thats birch ply-wood.
The baffle on the SS-NA2ES cabinet is made of Scandinavian birch ply-wood.
The new range of ES Hifi streaming products certainly caught our attention.
The HAP-Z1ES – HDD Audio Player and the TA-A1ES 2 channel amplifier.
The TA-A1ES is the first 2-channel analogue amp Sony has developed since the TA-FA777ES, 14 years ago.
The decision was taken to create an analogue 2-channel separate amp (not digital) in order to provide the best sound quality possible.
Here's a quick rundown on the specifications
Push-pull type amplifier
Speaker output – 80w + 80w (1 system)
Equipped with discreet headphone amp (impedance selectable)
Lo: 8Ω and Mid:150Ω 500mW + 500mW
Hi: 3 00Ω 250mW + 250mW
Size: 430 x 420 x 115mm
All controlled from a beautifully sleek remote.
The HAP-Z1ES from Sony has a range of extra features which establish the device as the highest quality audio player made by Sony.
Music that is stored on a PC can be copied over the network onto the integrated 1TB HDD (this HDD is expandable via a USB socket on the back of the product). It can be controlled with a free app for Android or iOS.
The HAP-Z1ES includes the unique Sony technology ‘DSD Re-mastering Engine’ this technology upscales all standard music files (MP3, AAC, WMV) into DSD files. This results in stunning Hi-Res Audio quality from your entire music collection.
It includes a digital-to-analogue converter (analogue FIR filter) to reduce high frequency noise in DSD signals. FIR filters are ideal for D/A conversion of DSD signals.
The Sony HAP-S1 all in one network player seems to tick all the right boxes.
With ES build quality thrown in, this product could seriously mix it up with other high end brands.
Here's a quick overview of the specs.
Built-in 40W x 2 Analogue Amplifier
High Quality D/A Converter
Will playback,DSD (DSF, DSDIFF), LPCM(WAV,AIFF), FLAC, ALAC, ATRAC Advanced Lossless, ATRAC, MP3, AAC, WMA music file decode
“HAP music transfer” free app (Win/Mac)
Built-in 500GB HDD (expandable via USB port at rear of product)
Opt in x1, Coax in x1, Analogue RCA in x 2
RCA analogue out x1, Headphone x1
“HDD Audio Remote” free App (Android/iOS)
And now into the wonderful world of 4K.
The amazing 4K 84 inch KD-84X9005.
The new FDR-AX1 4K Handycam. This'll make your home videos look spectacular.
Yep...that's a curved screen. Quite clever actually. Looks like the bods at Sony have been working overtime.
We all know how good Sony's video projectors are, so you can image our anticipation at seeing one projecting in 4K.
The all new Sony 4K VW500.
Sony had a projection room set up for visitors to pop in to and take a peek at 4K projection, I kid you not, it was spectacular!!
The VPL-VW500ES can show up to 60 frames per second in 4K. It’s the new 4K industry
standard and is much higher than the earlier 24p. The result is a smoother image with superior colour and realism.
Drawing on optical technology developed for the VPL-VW1000ES, Sony have achieved both high brightness (1,700 ANSI lumens) and high contrast (200,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio) in the VPL-VW500ES. So, you’ll see crystal-clear, bright, detail-packed images – even in well-lit rooms.
You'll go blind standing there Chromey!!
At Audio-T Manchester, we plan to demonstrate the Sony VPL-VW500 ES at some point before the end of the year. We are hoping to get our hands on a VPL-VW500ES and make a day of it. Keep an eye on our blogs for any updates.
The Sony portable audio area.
Sony also wanted to show off the new portable linear PCM audio recorder, which can also read Hi-Res DSD files.
It looks like a pretty serious piece of kit. I want one!!
Our last stop came at the home cinema area where Sony were showing off the worlds slimmest Sound Bar?
As you can see the claim is real but does it sound any good.
Sony invited us to the dealer area again, away from the crowds and let us listen to the new HT-ST3 sound bar in a quieter room.
It's in the picture below, just in front of the TV, priced at £599.95
It's as good many other sound bars on the market...
...but with one exception. Look how slim it is!! It's shorter than Chromey.
Even Chromey was feeling quite smug. He looks positively gargantuan compared to the HT-ST3.
Ok little guy...ahem! big guy. It's time to go..
As we were leaving, even the staff on Sony stand had to say goodbye to Chromey.
Auf Wiedersehen fair lady.
Right then Chromey!! Your chariot awaits you, and British built as well. You can drive.
I need a nap!!!
Pictures and some of the words by Munir.
Contact details for Audio T Manchester.
Tel: 0161 8398869