Good integrated amp - Sony TA-F700ES - diyAudio
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Old 21st February 2015, 11:20 AM   #1
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Default Good integrated amp - Sony TA-F700ES

Folks, I feel morally obligated to tell you that this model, and probably the series, is really good sounding in every way.

I use it with Infinity Kappa 5's and 24 bit pc DAC. (DAC upgrade on list)

My upgrade path has been: Musical Fidelity A220 class A (for many years)

Then to a Marantz PM - 7200 . The Marantz was overall better and super fast, but has some character to it's sound. A good character though..

The A220 would improve with a better op amp..

The Sony TA-700ES is gonna be HARD to beat folks, it hits about 4 or 5 audio nails square on the head!

Clean, Detailed, Flat response, uncolored, powerful, extended soft highs

As I continue to listen, it keeps amazing me with the low level details - extra background voices, the buzz in blues guitar - my gosh, this is a good one! Sooo accurate.

Leaves me wondering if the mosfet models sound better!

They are very serviceable too! I found the transistors to all be within 2 mv at idle!

I removed the phono board because it crowds up the pre driver stages, and put binder clips on a few stand alone transistors that run kinda hot.

removing the phono board seemed to improve the sound slightly.

The only weakness may be that there is no thermal protection, and the power supply is large for output stage. Further, there is no fuse between the output stage and supply caps - this is hit and miss from what I've seen on amps. I would rather have fuses after the caps.. perhaps it helps the sound quality in some small way like it is..

That's being picky, I know, but the output stage should not be the weak link in my experience. I can't believe the 800ES has the same output stage, but has added another transformer!

I like the Thresholds having the transformer as the weak link. Safe, and I have yet to see a broke one for sale.. (don't think I will unless it's excessive user error!) LOL

I keep a close eye on it and it's well vented, being my desktop system!

I'm an audio nut, and have heard many amps. This is one good integrated. All the knobs are solid aluminum!

Gotta give respect where it's due!!

Now I can't help but wonder how the mosfet models sound!!

This is an 87 model folks, and beat out a 96 model (A220) and a 2004 model ( PM-7200 ) in sound quality and power.

The PM-7200 was closer in sound quality, but the A220 was closer in power.

Maybe the A220 would do much better with a better op amp?

One more thing about the sound, it has a deep depth to it, while the others had about 2-3 feet of depth, this one sounds 10 feet deep, if that makes any sense.
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Old 21st February 2015, 11:41 AM   #2
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Default Good integrated amp - Sony TA-F700ES

I have since discovered that a TA-F707 does sound better after some A / B comparison. The mosfet output stage runs about 50 mv of bias and has a little smoother, more detailed sound, with a little more resolution of low level details in particular. There is no loss of any other audio quality. This is using Infinity Kappa 5 / Renaissance 90 speakers and 24 bit HQ source.

The 700 model seems to be slightly punchier at higher volumes toward it's limit. I believe the mosfets could not quite equal the power output of the bipolars each being physically equal - 4 equal sized devices per channel. Maybe this is because they are running more bias? 50 VS 30 mv? (across both emitters)

I am not seeing this amount of performance from any other consumer level mass produced model, and I'm very unbiased about brand, model, or the decade it's from.

Sony closely matched every component here, and there are no Ic's in the amplifier section. Only the phono section has an op-amp.

I've heard and repaired a many of 'em, a Pioneer 737 receiver I got in had a darn good little amp in it, that sticks out too..

I also have had a Krell KSA-200S and a Threshold S/300 on the Renaissance 90's.

This Sony is in the same league as far as sound quality. I wouldn't be surprised if they hand built these.. there is some hand labor involved here..

Last edited by LiquidMids; 21st February 2015 at 11:49 AM.
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Old 22nd February 2015, 02:27 AM   #3
roger2 is offline roger2  United States
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Interesting posts.

So the TA-F700ES has BJT outputs?

Is there any way to know, by the model name, what type of outputs are in a Sony amp?
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Old 22nd February 2015, 04:59 AM   #4
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I think it use sanken 2sc2837 / 2sa1186 as output transitor.
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Old 22nd February 2015, 05:15 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by obscurus View Post
I think it use sanken 2sc2837 / 2sa1186 as output transitor.
Exactly. Low distortion power amp section (due to the high loop gain), decent power supply (big enough transformer). However, both channels are powered from one PSU (in parallel). Well, having certain economically-influenced compromises, but good design anyway.

>Sony TA-F700ES service manual with schematic<
If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough (c) Albert Einstein
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Old 23rd February 2015, 08:15 PM   #6
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Thanks guys!

I prefer both channels to have the exact same voltage, so one transformer is fine for me. Google images lots of times will show pictures with the cover off and sometimes the output section clearly.

I think the 500ES model has the MT-200's..

I've always enjoyed comparing all the different models and designs..

Last edited by LiquidMids; 23rd February 2015 at 08:19 PM.
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Old 27th February 2015, 05:00 PM   #7
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Thanks for the comments! It does seem to be a good sounding / well implemented circuit.
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