Bringing the live event to your living room Page 2

The SS-NA2ES tower speaker, in depth

The top of the ES speaker line is the 900mm high SS-NA2ES tower speaker. Connected to a high-quality amplifier or integrated amp, the SS-NA2ES delivers a musical experience few other speakers can approach, with an enveloping, natural soundstage reminiscent of an evening at the orchestra-or a late night at your favorite jazz joint-or a really late night at a downtown dance club.

The precision and strength of the SS-NA2ES's dual 165mm (6.5-inch) aluminum-cone woofers, combined with the exacting acoustical design of the woofers' ported enclosure, allow it to reproduce the subtle finger plucks of virtuoso jazz bassists as well as the raw power of the most energetic rock bassists. The two woofers span the range from 45 Hz to 400 Hz. Covering the midrange is a 130mm (5.25-inch) paper-cone driver chosen for its low mass and overall natural sound. Above 4 kHz, the I-Array tweeter network takes over

The SS-NA2ES's multi-stage crossover circuit assures a seamless blend from the woofers to the midrange to the I-Array, without compromising power handling or dispersion the way less sophisticated crossover networks can.

In a musical performance, the musicians don't have to worry about dynamics or soundstaging or ambience, because as vital to the music as those elements are, they occur naturally. With the SS-NA2ES, you don't have to worry about them, either. It simply delivers the power and presence of the musical performance-any musical performance-with no audible artifacts or colorations that remind you you're listening to a speaker rather than to a live musical event.

Going from stereo to 2.1 with the SS-NA9ES subwoofer

The SS-NA2ES's dual aluminum-cone woofers allow it to handle even the most dynamic and powerful music recordings. However, delivering the realistic, couch-shaking bass that the most serious music enthusiasts crave requires a subwoofer. Very few subwoofers, though, can match the refinement and precision of the woofers in the SS-NA2ES. This is why Sony created the SS-NA9ES, a subwoofer specifically designed to augment the ES-series speakers.

For the SS-NA9ES's woofers, Sony chose, not surprisingly, a pair of aluminum-come 250mm (10-inch) drivers, which have the same strong, rigid qualities as the cones in the SS-NA2ES's 165mm woofers. Powered by a 500-watt amplifier, these 250mm drivers produce incredible punch and impact, whether the bass notes are coming from a 200-year-old Italian upright bass, a jazz drummer's kit, or the deep synthesized bass tones in electronic dance music.

Knowing that some music demands intense deep bass, while other music requires delicacy and precision in the bottom end, Sony engineers created a unique feature for the SS-NA9ES that allows the subwoofer to suit any music or satisfy any taste. The subwoofer's front control panel offers two distinct listening modes. One mode delivers maximum punch and pitch definition by directly powering both the front and rear drivers. The other mode produces maximum bass extension by terminating the rear driver internally so it works as a passive radiator, reinforcing the deepest bass notes. A simple adjustment allows the user to switch easily between modes.

Expanding on the ES concept

Of course, not every music aficionado has the space for a pair of tower speakers that measure nearly a meter high. This is why Sony created the SS-NA5ES bookshelf speaker, which delivers the musicality of the SS-NA2ES in a more compact package. Although it stands only 355mm (14 inches) high, its robust, 130mm aluminum-cone woofer and carefully tuned ported enclosure deliver powerful, realistic deep bass, while reproducing voices and other midrange sounds naturally. At higher frequencies, the I-Array takes over, matching the gorgeous spatiality and natural presence of the SS-NA2ES tower.

The SS-NA8ES center speaker brings the exceptional quality of the ES speakers into the world of home theater. It employs the exact same I-Array tweeter design used for the SS-NA2ES tower and SS-NA5ES bookshelf. To provide the midrange and treble, Sony's engineers chose two of the same rugged, responsive 130mm aluminum-cone woofers used in the SS-NA5ES bookshelf speaker.

With the ES-series speakers, there's a system to suit every need. A music-oriented listener wanting a compact system can choose the SS-NA5ES bookshelf speaker. An audiophile with a larger space and budget can choose the SS-NA2ES tower speaker. A movie lover can put together a home theater system with four SS-NA5ES bookshelf speakers, an SS-NA8ES center speaker, and an SA-NA9ES subwoofer. The dedicated home theater enthusiast might combine a pair of SS-NA2ES towers for front left and right, four SS-NA5ES bookshelf speakers for the surround channels, an SS-NA8ES for the center channel, and one or two (or four!) SA-NA9ES subwoofers.

An incomparable combination of finesse and force

Whether the listener is an audiophile playing a favorite old vinyl record, a rock fan playing CDs or high-resolution downloads, or a home theater enthusiast enjoying the latest action movie, the ultimate desire is the same: a sense that one is a part of the event, rather than a mere observer of the event.

Achieving this goal demands near-perfection in a speaker. It demands effortless dynamics with extremely low distortion. It demands natural tonality from the lowest bass notes to the highest treble frequencies. It demands an enveloping, realistic presentation from all sources. These are exactly the goals that Sony's engineers set when they began designing the new ES-series speakers. And they are exactly the goals Sony has achieved. - Custom content