There was no 'backtracking' on the review of the Pioneer SC-LX81. We tested the Pioneer long before we had heard the Sony, and didn't run a First Test of the Sony receiver until April 09.
Two months later (June 09) we put the Sony directly up against the Pioneer in a Group Test, and that's when we revised our review of the Pioneer in the light of the Sony's superior performance.
But it wasn't just the Pioneer - three of the receivers in that test (Rotel, Yamaha and Pioneer) all dropped a star.
The updated reviews from the magazine don't go online until the issue has been on sale for at least a week, which is why there was a delay between the earlier reviews being replaced by the revised ones.
I do not agree with the What Hi-Fi? review without HATS switched ON the sound is mediochre however with the XA5400ES player& HATS switched on the sound is very good on both SACD & RB CD. Problem I was unable to try out DVD's because the receiver switches itself off for no apparent reason and despite many attempts to RESET it would not. The Sony Centre said they had the same problem and gave me a refund. I advised SONY but no reply. Next Problem the power cord supplied with the XA5400ES player is such a loose fit into the power socket that it keeps on falling out or disconnects. Sony need to attend to these two problems.BEST ADVICE DO NOT BUY A SONY.
My 2nd review of the Sony STR-DA5400ES .Third time lucky. 2nd receiver (very early one) would not connect with my excellent Sony XA5400ES player (best CD/SACD player on the market) but would with other brands ?.Have now purchased (Aug 7 09) third one (latest delivery) and it is excellent. Despite what others are saying the reviews are accurate and the Sony is the most advanced receiver on the market ,the other brands are now catching up with the low jitter Burr Brown DAC.The Sony also has the excellent auto D.L. L. feature not found elsewhere for better sound from early CD's and it works. However there is absolutely NO Customer support from Sony but of course retailers refund defective machines. For the time being I am very happy with this machine which I prefer to Marantz, Pioneer Yamaha.
I listened to this the other day at my friends house. I took my Yamaha round, it is �600, he got his sony, because me and him are audio freaks. We did a blind test, He said my �600 Yamaha sounded the same as the �1500 Sony. I was looking at the Sony, and thought why so much. I disagree with What HiFi? Also, he said he is having problems at it turning off!
Ok, I was a bit harsh. This is a great receiver. Although, I think that putting all the other receivers down a star at this price point is a bit over the top! I agree, the Rotel and Sony sound the same, but the Pioneer is slightly better IMO. I have yet to listen to the Yamaha!
Demo-ed this against the Pioneer Sc-LX81 and Yamaha V3900 and even a Harman AVR355, and was very underwhelmed. With music and movies much preferred the sound from both the Pioneer and Yamaha, with even the lower cost harman topping it. Not to mention their vastly superior build quality and styling.
Have read many reviews from other magazines and forums that also do not share Whathifi's love of this Sony, not to mention the various faults that are now being reported by owners of this Sony.
I wonder whether Sony will offer the aftersales backup and expertise that is taken as granted with both Pioneer and Yamaha receivers???
Speaking as somebody who nearly bought this amp only instead to become a very proud owner of the Pioneer LX-81, let me just say (a) I could not agree more with the other responses here and (b) I think that What Hi-Fi's review is ridiculous and just plain wrong. OK there is no arguing about taste, but for me and many, many other audiophiles around the world it is clear that the Pioneer produces a far richer and more detailed sound for movies or music in stereo than the Sony. The build quality is also vastly superior. The Pioneer screams craftsmanship and luxury; on the Sony some of the inputs are a little wobbly - at least on the model I demo'd.
I too have heard about the 5400ES's problems with shutting down, a major reason for my not getting it. What Hi-Fi has often put me onto some good products, but my confidence has been deeply shaken by this review and the completely unexplained backtracking in the review of the LX-81. Reviews on both were online for a while, with the LX-81 seeming to be much more highly praised, then this revision comes out of nowhere. Did no-one figure out how to turn the Sony on the first time? Or did the reviewers get their ears fitted out with some heavy duty cloth before comparing the LX-81 and the 5400ES again?
Take another listen, guys. You risk losing credibility with reviews like this. And just for the record, I am not a high-end snob and Sony hater, my house is packed with Sony stuff which I love. But calling the 5400ES better than the LX-81 boggles my mind.
Thanks everyone for your reviews, really helpful. Lets just LX-81 here I come.
After listening to quite a few receivers using the same 'personal test material', I finally could convince myself to go for the STR-DA5500ES. Not without fear, because I was seeking the functionality of an AV-amplifier but wanted to keep the excellent stereo quality that I was used to. The 5500 and 5400 should be close to each other: as far as I found back, the changes are most of all network/DLNA related. Quite a few "exotic" Hifi-shops showed the Sony receiver down with some kind of 'junk' rating, but on the other hand they couldn't impress me with the sound from the "far better" but more expensive Denon's, Pioneer's, Yamaha's,... using the same high quality audio material. I'm using this 'huge' machine now for a week - which is ofcourse not a long time, and an amplifier needs some 'burn in', but it makes my B&W's sound as if they were reborn - a real high level sound. I've been using a "conventional" Denon stereo-amp for many years but beyond any expectation, the sound stage of the Sony really belongs to a world of difference: a very open sound, good detail, going easily in the extremely high and lows. No criticism at all, I hope that Whathifi comes to the same conclusions .
Any idea yet how the new STR-DA5500 performs versus this model?
How does this model compare to its much smaller sibling, the sony 2400ES in terms of bass performance in 2 channel stereo mode? The 2400ES is good, but not earth shattering. Is it worth the upgrade??
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