January 11, 2013
| by Grant Clauser
A year ago Sony stepped into the high-performance speaker jungle with the audiophile AR line of speakers. This year at CES the company took a lot of what went into those luxury speakers and put it into a new assortment in their ES line—products meant for discerning home theater and audio enthusiasts.
The new ES series consists of the SS-NA2ES floor-standing tower speakers, SS-NA5ES book-shelf speakers, SS-NA8ES center channel and the SA-NA9ES subwoofer.
The SS-NA2ES is a 3-way, 6-driver, bass reflex floor-standing speaker system with a 25 mm soft-dome tweeter, two 19 mm soft-dome tweeters, a 130 mm paper cone midrange, and two double-drive 165 mm aluminum-cone woofers. The SS-NA5ES is a 2-way, 4-driver, bass reflex bookshelf speaker system with a 25 mm soft-dome tweeter, two 19 mm soft-dome tweeters, and a 130 mm aluminum-cone woofer. The SS-NA8ES is a 2-way, 5-driver, bass reflex center channel speaker system with a 25 mm soft-dome tweeter, two 19 mm soft-dome tweeters and two 130 aluminum-cone woofers. The SA-NA9ES is an active subwoofer system with two 250 mm aluminum-cone woofers.
The ES Speakers, like the earlier (and pricier) AR line, include a rigid cabinet crafted of Scandinavian birch to control harmonics. Both the tower and bookshelf models are two-way speakers, like the AR series, with partitioned woofers to isolate the mid-range and minimize the effects of woofer back-radiation.
The tweeters are Sony’s I-Array which couples one tweeter with two super tweeters to function as a single tweeter. This system is designed to avoid the peaks and dips that can unnaturally color audio reproduction and offer a natural balance across frequencies.
The floor-standing speakers will sell for $10,000/pr; the bookshelf speakers for $6,000/pr; the subwoofer for $4,000 and the center channel for $3,000.
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Grant Clauser has been covering home electronics for more than 10 years with editorial roles in several consumer and trade magazines. He's done ISF-level damage to hundreds of reviewed products and has had audio training from Home Acoustics Alliance and Sencore. He's also the author of the book The Trouble with Rivers
. Follow him on Twitter @geclauser.