Sony is finally back with a new home cinema AV amp for the UK and European market for the first time in almost six years. The STR-DN1080 has finally been put to rest. We thank it for its service, as it shall be immortalised in our Hall of Fame, and now the TA-AN1000 will take its place... well, sort of.
If you've read our full Sony TA-AN1000 review, then you'll know that Sony's latest home cinema amplifier is worth the wait; putting it simply, this amp is spectacular and outperforms rivals that cost a fair bit more. It's feature-packed, has a beautifully balanced and precise sound, and it can even produce an impressive low-end kick. Seriously it's fantastic. However, one thing we have to question is its slightly awkward price point of £999 in the UK, double that of its predecessor.
Now of course things are pricier at the moment, I shan't utter the dreaded four-word phrase we're all too familiar with in this current climate, but a 100 per cent price increase is hard to ignore. It puts the AN1000 in a grey area when it comes to classifying it as the replacement model for the DN1080, as they're practically in two separate categories.
Sony does offer a range of cheaper amps which includes the STR-DH790, but considering it launched in 2018 you'll be sacrificing modern comforts like HDMI 2.1, and performance just won't be as good. In fact, we don't really recommend those budget Sony amps due to their ageing lifespan.
At least there are cheaper options available for those who want it, although we do hope to see those get updated soon, what we really want are some new high-end AV amps from Sony that push boundaries and budgets. Imagine a Sony AVR that sits above the excellent TA-AN1000 which adds additional features and boosts sound performance even further...
Well, the good news is there is one! The bad news? It's a US-exclusive model. The even worse news? There's actually a whole new range of Sony AVRs that, at this point in time, will not be gracing UK shores. While the United Kingdom and Europe are left with just one new AV amp, the US gets a suave new quartet of "Premium ES" amps, as well as a roughly equivalent model to our AN1000.
The ES line ranges from $1100 all the way up to $3300 (roughly £890 to £2660 or AU$1660 to AU$4980) and they include more 4K/120Hz HDMI 2.1 sockets and up to 13 channels of amplification on the top end STR-AZ7000ES model. We can only imagine what performance a top-of-the-range Sony AV amp could produce based on the version we have here which costs around a third of the price, and I for one am a bit ticked off that we won't be seeing it here in the UK.
The moral of the story here is that Sony needs to up its game with its AV amp selection here in the UK, and it's made a great start with the TA-AN1000. A refreshed line of cheaper AV amps and launching the ES line in European markets seems like such an obvious move that could put Sony's AV amps into another household-name territory alongside its TVs and soundbars.
As for now, we may as well enjoy the AN1000 hype while it lasts, as for all we know it could be another six years until we get something like it again.
Read our full Sony TA-AN1000 review
As well as our review of the Award-winning Denon AVR-X2800H
Check out our picks for the best AVRs: top home cinema amplifiers