Stunning Sony TA-FA777ES Integrated Amplifier Service

Just look at this beauty. Sony took their hi-fi product lines very seriously back in the day and this TA-FA777ES amplifier is a testament to it. Let’s take a look inside.

The Sony TA-FA777ES is part of Sony’s ES product range from the 1990s. Tragically and as Sony fans around the world lament, this was the last of the really serious stuff from Sony. They knew it and, as a send-off, boy did they built them well!

Sony TA-FA777ES

As usual, I’ve made a video about the amplifier as well. Check it out, along with the rest of my YouTube channel.

Features

The TA-FA777ES features premium parts throughout including my favourite Nichicon Fine Gold capacitors, literally as far as the eye can see. The chassis is copper plated, uses copper plated screws and the heatsinks and toroidal transformer are things of beauty.

Sony TA-FA777ES
I swear that volume knob weighs about 500 grams…

The TA-FA777ES contains an excellent phono preamplifier, uses premium HEAVY knobs and features superb overall build quality and aesthetic appeal, in keeping with its several thousand dollar price tag in 1999.

You will find more about this lovely amplifier at the always interesting Vintage Knob.

Nobody knows what this actually means, but it’s cool!

Specifications, courtesy of HiFi Engine

Power output: 100 watts per channel into 8Ω
Frequency response: 2Hz to 100kHz
Total harmonic distortion: 0.005%
Damping factor: 100
Input sensitivity: 0.25mV (MC), 2.5mV (MM), 150mV (line)
Signal to noise ratio: 78dB (MC), 87dB (MM), 105dB (line)
Output: 150mV (line)
Speaker load impedance: 4Ω to 16Ω
Dimensions: 430 x 175 x 455mm
Weight: 23kg – that’s what I’m talking about…
Year: 1999 – 2001?

Sony TA-FA777ES

Inside Look

With the lid off, you can see the Sony TA-FA777ES is a serious unit. Big filter capacitors mean lots of stored energy, great for dynamics.

Sony TA-FA777ES inside view
Plenty of room inside this 23kg golden monster. Note the preamplifier boards sit in a shielded rear section.
Sony TA-FA777ES inside view
This is where the action happens. Note the beautiful transformer, heatsinks, fit and finish. Copper-plated heatsinks – who does this anymore..?
Sony TA-FA777ES inside view
Expensive Elna for Audio main filter capacitors. 18,000uF @ 63V is a big cap too, especially so in a Japanese integrated amplifier.
Ah, the beauty of Fine Gold, Fields of Gold…
Never a frown, with golden brown…
Dare I say, it’s a New Gold Dream..?! (one of my favourite albums, grab it immediately if you don’t already own it)

Service & Cleaning

OK, enough golden puns, time for service. In this case, I cleaned and lubricated switches and controls and adjusted bias current to the output devices. I also cleaned the entire unit, treated the connectors and so on.

You can see my custom-made grey test fixtures extending out from each side of the amplifier in this shot. this is for bias current measurement and adjustment.
Sony TA-FA777ES inside view
Lubricating the volume potentiometer shaft. I know, nobody else does this stuff but that’s why people bring their gear to me. Lifting that volume knob back into place took some effort…
Here, I’ve accessed (or am about to) the volume pot for service, from behind a copper plated panel.

Comparing New and Gold…

It’s always very satisfying to listen to an amplifier like the Sony TA-FA777ES after servicing it. Sure, I see improvements as I go, but only during final testing do I get to hear the combined results of my work. The silent controls, the added warmth, punch and smoothness in this case. Totally worth it.

Before you ask about new amplifiers and the latest technology, let me save you some research time. Sony doesn’t even make high-end amplifiers any more. Denon, Luxman, Marantz and Yamaha do, and you pay dearly for modern amplifiers like this, so let’s look at some current ‘equivalents’.

The Yamaha AS-3000 is a lovely amplifier, priced at $8,999 AUD and featuring similar build and power. The AS-2100 is not as good but costs less @ $3,999. Luxman makes the gorgeous L-507uXII, a snip at just $8,499, or the L-505uXII @ $6,499. The pretty Marantz PM11S3 is definitely not as well-built as the Sony yet costs $8,600 AUD. Perhaps the closest in spirit is the Denon PMA2500NE, priced at $5,199. It contains a DAC and is nearly as well put together. Yep, I said nearly. Which of these would I have? The Sony or the Yamaha AS-3000.

Yamaha’s very tasty AS-3000 integrated amplifier.
The Luxman L-507uXII, very nicely put-together. Luxman is angling to be another Accuphase these days and doing a great job, but not quite there yet.

Hopefully, you see the problem – there’s sort of similar stuff out there, but not really, and it’s scary-expensive. Needless to say, this Sony’s owner, a lovely gentleman who works for one of the last real hi-fi stores in Perth, is very happy with his amplifier and doesn’t want or need to take out a second mortgage for a replacement. He’s not parting with this beauty any time soon!

Look at this thing. Very lucky owner!

Sony TA-FA777ES serviced

Sony TA-FA777ES serviced

If you would like Liquid Audio to service your cherished Sony ES series components, don’t hesitate to make a booking.

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