Sony TAN-1 Amplifiers


Sony's flagship SACD power amplifier.

User Reviews (1)

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Michael Hifi   AudioPhile [Nov 19, 2011]

A technical tour de force. Brilliantly designed and superbly built amplifier. Incredibly transparent & very dynamic. Massive sound stage delivers amazingly realistic musical performance. Competes favourably with many far more expensive amplifiers.

I doubt that the audio world has ever had another high-end product that delivers so much performance for so little money. Unfortunately only a very small number were ever made. I doubt that Sony made a profit manufacturing these amplifiers. It is like they are the Bugatti Veyron of audio amplifiers. Sony only used the very best components and even developed special gold plated output devices that are unique to this amp. They weigh in at 74kg! Even each heat-sink weighs 17kg. Two sets of unbalanced inputs and one set of balanced. Two pairs of speaker terminals and an IEC power input share the rear panel with some very heavy copper plating. The only switch on the front is an oversized on/off below the glass display, sporting a funky blue light confirming operation. There are peak lights, but try as I do, I have never seen them illuminated.

The matching TAE-1 Pre-Amplifier is also a beautifully constructed beast. Sporting one pair of balanced inputs and outputs, it also has 7 pairs of unbalanced inputs. One of the unbalanced input pairs is a "direct" input, bypassing the elegant front panel selector dial. There is also a pair of unbalanced outputs. The Pre weighs in at 25kg, with separate sections for power supply and audio path in the one chasis.

Together these two Sony products showcased the release of SACD to the world. To do this, they were built with super wide frequency responses; 5hz to 300khz! A quick listen reveals that these are no ordinary audio products.

With suitable loudspeakers these Sony amplifiers can immerse the listener in audio nirvana.
Listening with small speakers such as the ELAC 330 or Celestion SL600 reveals an ability to convey every last detail of a recording without any hint of harshness or grain that these speakers will deliver with lesser electronics driving them.

Switch to a larger speaker and one can be transferred into the musical performance so convincingly that you could swear that you were right there in the recording studio or concert hall.

In my system I am lucky enough to have two TAN-1s and a TAE-1. I drive a pair of Bi-polar Canadian Mirage M1-Si loudspeakers with the Sonys. It is a system that delivers levels of realism that can be spooky at times. I live in a rural area and the subsequent noise floor is incredibly low. Although capable of stunning volume the system also delivers astonishing levels of detail that never cease to amaze listeners. I enjoy watching peoples faces the first time that they listen to the system with a piece of music that they are familiar with. There is inevitably a sense of discovery within the first few bars of music. This is even more noticeable with SACD being the source material.

I have tried many other amplifiers in my system, some several times the price, but not once have I felt that going back to the TAN-1s was a backwards step. Every time I hear a big name power amplifier impress me in another system I get the urge to take one home for the sake of comparison. With time to properly evaluate each power amp I have not once thought that the Sonys have been beaten. Some other amps do some things better, but overall the Sonys just excell in too many ways to be bettered overall. I indeed am an incredibly lucky guy to share my lounge room with two of the most special amplifiers ever created on God's earth.

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