Sony TA-N1 Amplifier and TA-E1 Preamplifier Set - The Best Sony Ever Made

$24,999

Super rare and collectible amp/preamp set from Sony, and hands down the best kit they ever produced.

One of only 100 sets EVER produced! Also known as the Sony 1 Series.

The preamp was tested and calibrated right here in our shop. The amplifier only needed testing as it was otherwise working right to manufacturer spec.

Physical condition on the preamp is a 9/10. The amplifier is rated a 7/10 because of one ding on the side metalwork. Overall very very clean and striking.

Please note that this set is not for the weak. The amplifier alone must weigh close to 150 lbs. It will ship via Freight for $400 flat in the lower 48 US states, and please contact us for a quote if you're outside this area. It also includes custom cover.

We have the matching "1 Series" Sony SCD-1 SACD/CD player if you'd like to have a full set. It's not currently listed on our site. World's first SACD player.

Please see the linked manuals below, or our photos towards the end for full specifications. 

Sony TA-N1 Amplifier Owner's Manual

Sony TA-E1 Preamplifier Owner's Manual

More from The Vintage Knob:

Sony TA-N1 Amplifier

Part of the fairly rare "1" series, expressly designed for Sony's SACD launch, along with the SCD-1 reference player, TA-E1 preamplifier and SS-M9ED loudspeakers.

This bombastic mammoth of 70kg (155 lbs.) holds 10 pairs of non-magnetic & gold-plated Sony MOS-FETs (2SJ120A & 2SK1530A), Metal Core Modules, a non-magnetic chassis made of 15mm and 10mm aluminum slabs and copper plates, specially designed 4N aluminum foil electrolytic capacitors, a 1,5kVA Torus toroidal transformer housed in a ceramic compound, 30A rectification diodes and a fully balanced circuit and set of input plugs. 

Each diecast heatsink block weighs 16kg (35 lbs.)!

The final stage is, unlike the previous TA-NR1 and its TA-NR10 updated version, setup in Class AB for a better efficiency and (much) less heat problems.

Metal Core Modules are made of an aluminium alloy circuit-board on which circuit patterns are formed with copper and parts are surface-mounted - better conductivity, better heat regulation, minimal track lengths.

To stand the bandwidth required by SACD sources, the Linear Phase Circuit was designed.

The production is supposed to have been halted after the first 100 pieces but there should be a bit more than that around the neighborood - rich neighborhoods.

Sony TA-E1 Preamplifier

Part of Sony's last series of High-End units, specifically designed for the SACD format and the SCD-1 flagship - all with outer-space bandwidth requirements.

As for the xxx-rare R10 units, no expense was spared for the "1" mini series. High-bandwidth oblige, the star of the show is the Phase Linear Amplifier, allowing phase to remain linear up to 100Khz, with only 5dB attenuation around the 100MHz region !

The chassis of the TA-E1 is a sandwich of 1cm aluminum and 2 x 2mm copper plates; the top plate is 7mm thick, enlarged to 10mm for the front and back parts.
Power supply and rectification are set in a separate enclosure, very much like the pre-Esprit preamplifiers :)

The resistive plastic ALPS attenuator has a 5cm diameter and allows channel balance error of only 0.5dB between 0dB and -100dB; depth is of 9.5cm while the structure of it is full oxygen-free copper made under hot casting conditions. Ultra-low resistance plastic is used.

The power transformer is "amorphic" and toroidal with ultra-magnetic materials (nickel, cobalt, and iron) used for the metal core and precise winding arrangement; it is housed in a ceramic box for optimal damping and avoidance of any possible flux leaks.

The four die-cast Metal Core Modules hold the input/output stages PCBs and are used as heatsinks as well (decoupling the boards from the chassis along the way) and as components are surface mounted, shortening signals paths as well.
The rest of the parts is on par with all the above, and so was the pricetag.

How many E1's were produced is a mystery: it is even said that only the initial production was completed - that would make 100. However, the highest serial spotted outside Japan was #500 104 and outside Japan a bit lower than that. So probably around 200 made - few at any rate.

But then, as a prospective replacement to CD, SACD wasn't that successful either...

Sony in 2004 sort of launched a Japan-only and even more reduced set of high-end separates (SCD-DR1, TA-DR1 and TA-DR1a) with this time really undefendable design à la melted ice cream.

The DR1 set ended Sony's adventure in high-end audio (bar the SS-AR1 loudspeaker all-time masterpiece).

But you can still read the enthusiastic april 1999 Sony press announcement online.

The SkyFi Testing Process for Preamplifiers:

We start with a visual inspection of all internal components to make sure there are no signs of stress or aging. Capacitors are checked for telltale sings of bulging or leaking, resistors are checked for signs of overheating or cracking, and transistors are checked for signs of stress or damage. Special attention is paid to the power supply which is the most common source of failure for preamps. We then power up the unit and run a simple 1k sine wave while monitoring the low voltage output on an oscilloscope for signs of distortion or noise to get a baseline.

At this point we will lubricate and clean all switches and potentiometers (that are not sealed) with a high quality contact cleaner, and then re-test all functions for any signs of noise or scratching.

Final testing involves putting actual music through the preamplifier We have learned over time that some issues are only noticeable to a trained ear while listening to a familiar source material. Our test bench has reference vintage KEF speakers that we are super familiar with which will quickly reveal any discrepancies. Some preamps will then move into the listening room where they will be tested with our in-house reference system.

The SkyFi Testing Process for Solid State Amplifiers:

We start with a visual inspection of all internal components to make sure there are no signs of stress or aging. Capacitors are checked for telltale sings of bulging or leaking, resistors are checked for signs of overheating or cracking, and transistors are checked for signs of stress or damage.

We then power up the unit carefully and run a simple 1k sine wave while monitoring the output on an oscilloscope for signs of distortion or noise. Finally, we run the amplifier to its full rated power into the appropriate resistive load provided by our Sencore amplifier tester. If there is an issue, it will usually be noticeable at this point. If everything reads clean, we will often test for THD (Total Harmonic Distortion) measured by our Keithley distortion meter, and compare it against the original manufacturers specifications. The amplifier then remains powered on to "burn in" on our test bench for a few hours to make sure there are no heat related issues. If there are balanced inputs available they will be also be tested.

Final testing involves pushing actual music thorough the amplifier. We've learned over time that some issues are only noticeable to a trained ear while listening to familiar source material. Our test bench has reference vintage KEF speakers that we're very familiar with which quickly reveal any discrepancies. Some amplifiers will then move into our listening room where they are tested with our in-house reference speakers of choice.

Please click here for detailed specifics regarding our specialized packing process that separates us from the rest.

Item

Included

Original Box

No

Manual

Online

Remote

N/A

Cables

Yes - Power

Physical Condition

7

Working Condition

10

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