Sony began catering to well-off audiophiles last month with its High Resolution Audio series, but it left out portable music fans and those with existing audio systems. The company is covering those gaps in its lineup this weekend. Its new PHA-2 (shown above) is billed as the first portable amplifier/DAC combo to support "virtually every" studio-grade audio format, including 24-bit/192KHz PCM files; it can handle digital audio from PCs and iOS devices, as well as analog audio for other sources. Listeners who are primarily stationary, meanwhile, may want the TA-A1ES integrated stereo amp (seen after the break). The audio companion puts a strong emphasis on reducing unwanted noise through a specially-designed chassis, gain volume control and transistors that minimize sound channel variations. The TA-A1ES is shipping this month for a hefty $1,999, but you'll have to be patient for the PHA-2 -- the portable amp won't arrive until March, when it will cost $600.
SONY EXPANDS HIGH RESOLUTION AUDIO LINE WITH NEW PORTABLE DAC/AMPLIFIER AND ES SERIES INTEGRATED STEREO AMPLIFIER
At home or on the road, both products deliver the highest quality listening experience for digital music enthusiasts
DENVER, Oct. 11, 2013 – Sony Electronics today extended its new line of High Resolution Audio products by introducing the PHA-2 portable headphone DAC/amplifier and TA-A1ES integrated stereo amplifier. Both products offer superior sound reproduction and have been specifically designed to support the latest high-resolution music sources.
"Sony continues its commitment to audio enthusiasts who truly care about music by offering the finest quality products that meet practically every lifestyle need," said Aaron Levine, Business Manager for Sony Electronics' Home Entertainment & Sound Division. "High Resolution Audio is elevating the digital music experience to a whole new level and both of these devices provide an outstanding listening experience – whether at home or on the go."
Sony PHA-2 High-Res Portable DAC/Amplifier
The new PHA-2 portable headphone amplifier was conceived to deliver superior sound reproduction from a variety of audio sources and is the first portable DAC/amplifier to be compatible with virtually every high-resolution digital file format, including up to 192 kHz/24-bit PCM and both DSD (2.8MHz) and Double DSD (5.6MHz). Listeners can also enjoy upgraded sound quality with MP3 files and other music sources.
It features a variety of advanced technologies, including such refinements as an Asynchronous Transport Mode which utilizes a dedicated signal generator to reduce timing errors for more accurate, jitter-free converter performance. It also incorporates a high precision D/A converter, along with such devices as a custom headphone amplifier IC with high slew rate, ultra-low distortion operation; OCL (output capacitor-less) current feedback architecture; plus a dual power supply operation for more stable and accurate reproduction.
All of these select components are enclosed in a durable aluminum chassis which is fully protected from external interference. The PHA-2 headphone amplifier also has a variable gain headphone input that supports a wide range of impedances; as well as Zinc die-cast bumpers to protect the volume control and headphone connector from external shock and vibration.
The PHA-2 can be easily connected to both PC and Mac® computers via its USB 2.0 interface, and also includes a dedicated digital input for iPod®, iPhone® and iPad® products. Other portable audio sources such as Android™ smartphones and digital music players can be connected via the analog audio input. The PHA-2 comes with a built-in Lithium-ion battery which runs up to 6.5 hours with a digital connection and up to 17 hours with an analog connection on a single charge.
Sony TA-A1ES Integrated Stereo Amplifier
The TA-A1ES integrated stereo amplifier is the latest offering in Sony's Elevated Standard Series and has been specifically designed to complement the company's new HAP-Z1ES reference standard Hi-Res Music Player.
More than three years in the making, the new A1ES stereo amplifier utilizes a frame/beam/base chassis that was originally developed for Sony's acclaimed R-Series components. It delivers crisp, noiseless power performance. Employing FET input and buffer circuits that enhance performance, the amplifier's optimum gain volume control combines electronic volume with a discrete buffer amplifier, allowing it to massively reduce gain error and produce sound quality superior to conventional volume controls.
The TA-A1ES has a power amp stage featuring Smart Bias Control for Class-A operation and Single Push-Pull Hi-Current Amplifier. It is designed with a single pair of transistors to eliminate variations in each channel at the source, as well as variation controlling emitter resistance, allowing the transistors to drive the speakers directly, for a more character-free sound quality. Sony's proprietary toroidal transformer packs a 300VA rating, the highest in its class, as well as a capacitor delivering 24000μF per channel.
Because you care about music™
All of Sony's new High-Resolution Audio products have been created to make listening to digital music more compatible, convenient and compelling.
Each of these devices is capable of playing back virtually any file format available. Whether it's MP3s or the latest Double DSD files, Sony's high-resolution devices will decode them and reproduce the music at the highest quality possible, so you can experience these recordings as the artists originally intended.
With the growth of audio technologies, including high-resolution formats like PCM (44.1kHz/ 48kHz/ 88.2kHz/ 96kHz/ 176.4kHz/ 192kHz in 24 bit depth) and DSD (DSF, DSDIFF); plus MP3, WAV, WMA, AAC, FLAC, ALAC, ATRAC, ATRAC Advanced Lossless and AIFF; there are an increasing number of digital music files to choose from. The new Sony Hi-Res audio products simplify this process and make transferring these files more convenient and more intuitive. Further, all of the controls, including the user interfaces, have been designed to make storing, organizing and accessing digital music a breeze.
The PHA-2 portable headphones amplifier will be available next March for $599 at Sony Stores and other national electronics retailers. The TA-A1ES stereo amplifier will be available in November at select Sony Stores and authorized ES dealers nationwide for $1,999.
Sony PHA-2 Portable High Resolution DAC/Amplifier
* Full Hi-Res audio: PCM 192kHz/24 bit, DSD 2.8/5.6MHz
* Direct Digital Connection for PC and Apple® devices
* Enhances non hi-res music sources (via analog input)
* Asynchronous, precision USB clock for superior sound
* Premium DAC with separate operational and headphone amps
* Durable aluminum enclosure with protective alloy bumper
* Selectable gain supports impedances from 8 to 600 Ohm
* Lithium-ion battery for up to 17 hours battery life
* Line-out to connect external amp or active speaker
* Mounting straps, protection sheet and cables included
* Available in March 2014 for $599.99
Sony TA-A1ES Integrated Stereo Amplifier
* Integrated stereo amplifier (80 Watts x 2)
* Class-A operation with Smart Bias Control
* Single Push-Pull Hi-Current Amplifier
* Inputs include balanced (XLR x 1), unbalanced (RCA x 4), and (IR x 1)
* Outputs include SP (IMP4~, 8~) and Headphone (High, Mid and Low Impedance)
* Available in October for $1,999, in silver