Sony TA-90ES Preamplifiers

4.75/5 (12 Reviews) MSRP : $1700.00


Product Description

Sony High End Pre-Amp


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Reviews 1 - 5 (12 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by kenneth chen a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: May 9, 2007

Bottom Line:   
I have three preamps: adcom gfp-750, audio refinement pre-5 and the sony tae-90es. I like all three. adcom in passive mode is the most transparent and quietest. But it's also the most laid back. In active mode, it adds quite a bit of sparkle on the higher ends. And the sonic character becomes thicker and darker. audio refinement is also very transparent. It's very lively and involving. Higher end extension could be better. Sony is as transparent as transparency could be and very detailed. But it's not as involving as audio refinement. It kind of falls between adcom in passive mode and audio refinement.

In terms of build quality, sony tops the other two. It weighs more than a medium power intergrated.

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Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   1996

Price Paid:    $590.00

Purchased At:   used



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by muziekfreak a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: October 7, 2006

Bottom Line:   
The best pre-amp i have ever seen for THAT MONEY. My previous pre-amp whas a Sphinx p2mkII (2000euro or so) on of the topline pre amps of that brand. The Tae90es is much better in anyway. The pre-amp does precisely what i suppose to do. Working as a selector an volumepot that it, i used my XA20es cd player without the pre in between.

No difference...perfect !! With my previous pre-amp with a p9 cdplayer...mayor difference. Thats not good !

Some info

The sony ta-e90 and ta-n90es are NOT TRULY balanced components. Even in the manuels the are speaking of a TRUE/FALSE balanced in/ouputs. Even Sony advises to use the CINCH. Those balanced inputs are used by sony for their measure stuff.


My current set-up

Sony Ta-e90es
Sony Ta-n90es
Sony cdp XA20es (upgrade underway sony xa50es)
Dual 501-3 turntable
Driade 103 mkII loudspeakers

I'm a very happy man thats for sure.



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Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1996

Price Paid:    $350.00

Purchased At:   secondhand



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by alpha9 a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: October 27, 2002

Bottom Line:   
Adding to my earlier review of TAE90es.
I forgot to mention that I HAVE to use the Synergistic Research power cords to GREATLY ENHANCE the performance of my system. The Sony TAE90es(pre) and TAN90es(amp) are truly balanced. But the Sony CPD-XA7es is not truly balanced. Because there is not a significant sounding difference between XLR and RCA outputs.
I have the excellent voice reproduction, air around instruments by using Synergistic Research Luminescence Phase II RCA between XA7es and TAE90es, and Tara labs Decade XLR from TAE90es to TAN90es.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Glenn a Audiophile

Date Reviewed: October 20, 2001

Bottom Line:   
Sound! It's all about the sound. This preamp sounds as good as my California Audio Labs CL-10 plugged directly into the power amp. No difference. Dare I say that it sounds even better? Yes, I believe it does. I am about 50/50 between vinyl (pain-in-the-ass to use, but sound better) and CD's (easy to use, but don't sound as good). This unit's phono stage is as good as any I have heard. I normally use a Threshold FET ten/pc, but I am feeling (hearing) that it has become redundant. I will most likely no longer need. Not something I could do with the McIntosh (ugh!) or Bryston (nice, but no FET ten/pc). All-in-all, cannot imagine that something else would be significantly better. Especially for the rediculously low price this sells for on the used market. Deserves ten stars in the value category.

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   1995

Price Paid:    $600.00

Purchased At:   Used - Fellow Audiophile



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Gary a Audiophile

Date Reviewed: October 1, 2001

Bottom Line:   
Not the typical Sony --minimalist in contrast to most of their products, but impressive sound. That Sony would build a preamp of this simplicity and quality probably creates some cognitive dissonance for many of us audiophiles. (And keep in mind that this preamp came along before Sony established a high-end presence with SACD.) Maybe that's why these preamps aren't more popular. I bought my TA-90ES used, it's been a marvelous piece of equipment.
Replacement of the stock power cord with an upgrade is no small task, since the cord isn't detachable. But it's a worthwhile upgrade even if you have to pay $100+ labor costs to have it done. The bass becomes fuller and tighter. Then the unit sounds like a $2k+ preamp.
Overall, the TA-90ES midrange doesn't quite match that of my C-J PV-12AL with Mullard tubes, but the TA-90ES bass and highs are better. Warm but detailed sound without the maintenance of tube equipment.

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Used product for:   3 months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   1998

Price Paid:    $500.00

Purchased At:   eBay Auction




Reviews 1 - 5 (12 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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