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Sony TA-FA3ES
23 Reviews
rating  4.35 of 5
MSRP 
Description: (See reviews)


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Reviews 1 - 5 (23 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:3
Submitted by Axel a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: June 4, 2011

Bottom Line:   
The FA3ES descents from the older F5xx ES series but the inner structure is
refined. This amp is solidly build and has a clean construction behind the faceplate.
The audioelectronics are composed of standart circuits and the phonopre is a bit
disappointing on paper for an "ES" amp. In comparsion the older slimline amp TA-F45
has the better quality phonostage. Nevertheless the sound quality is satisfying simply
because the Sony-engenieers at that time knew exactly how to squeeze the maximum
even out of basic cuircuits. However,this amp is old and some of its components are
technical obsolete now. Like for example the OpAmp used in the phonostage.
If you socket the Opamp in the phonstage you can change the NJM4560 and check out
better Opamps like the NJM2068S ((which is used in the the F707/808ES and the later
FA30ES) or you can give the OPA2604 or more modern types like the LM49720 a try.

The poweramps are of the typical SEPP type with MOS-FETs (2SK2013/2SJ313) in the
driverstage and in the powerstage (2SK1530/2SJ201). There are nice little 60 Watt amps.
But the trimming potentiometers are of the very cheap kind that doesnt age well. So i
recommend to change them with dust-sealed types. Get the service manual before you
do that because you have to adjust the bias again.

Well,i personaly bought the FA3ES when it was a new amp on the shelves and use it
ever since. Its a pleasant little amp that does very well with 8 Ohm speakers but gets
hot fast if used with low impedance speakers. I mean look at the little cooling ribbs...
The amp needs half an hour or so to warm up and offers then a well balanced sound
reproduction. Its sound not overly analytic but it has more a tendency in that direction
than towards a cosy warm sound that some ppl love so much.

Actually i have a old Dual 1249 with a Dynavector DV23RS/MK2 via Step-Up DV6A
plugged to the phonoinputs and it sounds clean and dynamic and is at least on par
with my CD-Player (CDP-333ES). Well,to be honest,sometimes i think i have to upgrade
my CD-Player... I mean,hey,that cant be that vinyl beats CD,can it ? And i say that as
a non CD-hater (i have a couple hundreds of them and still buying more).

The speaker i use at the moment are heavily modified Sony SS-E71 (new HT and MT
new crossover network,new enclosure damping) and this combination sounds nice
to me. The FA3 just has to produce a couple watts to drive this speakers above social
friendly levels thanks to the speakers good SPL (~91dB/W/m) and gets no more than
handwarm.
Of course i have checked the FA3ES with various speakers over the years. And there
are speakers that simply doesnt pair up nicely. For example the larger Infinity Kappa`s
or newer speakers with twinbass units from Magnat. So i concluded that low impedance
and low SPL speakers are a no go for the FA3ES if youre aiming is to make the most out
of it. The best results are with "classical" 3-way speakers with a decent SPL an noncritical
impedance (above 4 Ohms).

Compared to its larger brothers the FA3ES is stepped down in universality when it comes
to speakers. Its defintly less powerfull than the numbers on paper suggest. But it shares
the natural not to analytical clear sound with them. Of course the FA5ES is a notch better
in every aspect but the difference is smaller than the pricetags in the 2nd hand market are
suggesting. The FA3ES also has not aged that well like his bigger brothers thanks to the
cutbacks in componentry,but that can be changed with a little DIY effort.







Expand full review >>

Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   Pre 1995



Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Friedell a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: January 2, 2010

Bottom Line:   
The FA3ES is a solidly build little amp that was not exactly bargain priced back then in the nineties cause it
shared the design and the "ES" tag with its upper class brothers. In fact the FA3ES is a direct child of the
older F505ES with no enhancement qualitywise whatsoever but new structured internal composition and
a little torodial transformer instead of a big normal one. Compared to the F505ES the FA3ES offers the same
quality on the output terminals but 25% less power. Yep,HiFi was a hard buisness back then with surround
effect sound rising everwhere to dominance and Sony squeezed every bucks out of its costumers.
Times have not changed in that respect,but the little FA3ES still stands tall after 15 years thanks to its very
robust construction,mature electronics design and a little care now and then.
This amp is good sounding if hooked up with a decent turntable/cart like Thorens TD-320/AT440MLa or DL-160
or a better CD-Player from the good old days like CDP-X333ES.
But the FA3ES is not the fitting partner for a Low-Output MC like those from Ortofon or Dynavector or Denon.
He can drive every Speaker which has a decent SPL,even those with low impedance,but dont try Bi-Wiring
them.


Expand full review >>

Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1995



Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by toodef a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: April 11, 2004

Bottom Line:   
I don't knw what to say that hasn't allready been said. This amp is seriousl good, i got mine at a bargin price. Sony have really outdone themselve the ES series is brillant and this amp doesnt let down. Smooth musical amp with tight crisp bass, My Infinity alpha 50's are loving the exrta bass extension, of wheich are relativly easy to drive 91DB mine gets mildly warm. Build Quality...its a truck. Great mosfet power supplys. Top amp. I cant give enough praise, i felt i owed it to the sony to sign up and give a review.
Top performer. Dont disregard the quoted 80watt rating - more than enough to shake a house down.

Expand full review >>

Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2000

Price Paid:    $600.00

Purchased At:   Privately



Overall Rating:1
Value Rating:3
Submitted by JOSE a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: February 9, 2004

Bottom Line:   
GENIAL AMPLIFICADOR PARA ROCK Y JAZZ BUENA ELECTRONICA, CARCASA ROBUSTA BLINDADA, PATAS ANTI VIBRACIONES MUY BUEN AMPLIFIADOR EN GENERAL PARA SU PRECIO

Expand full review >>

Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2001

Price Paid:    $900.00

Purchased At:   400



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by pendulus a Casual Listener

Date Reviewed: May 11, 2003

Bottom Line:   
Bought this amp last week for a give away price. It has been used, but is in excellent condition, apart from the remote control that was missing.
Compared to my big Rotel I must say that the build quality of the Sony is slightly better. On my current speakers (Tannoy R2) the Rotel tends to overemphasize the bass and the high frequencies seem slightly masked. The Sony is a better match and tough it sometimes sounds a bit mechanic it is otherwise quite neutral with good timing, imaging and tonality. I think the 3 ES is an allrounder that will satisfy different musical tastes. It may not be the most musical amp in its class, it is certainly an easy match to a lot of loudspeakers.

Expand full review >>

Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Casual Listener

Product model year:   1998

Price Paid:    $100.00

Purchased At:   Private sale




Reviews 1 - 5 (23 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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