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Sony Electronics’ high-end ES receiver lineup is growing bigger. Several days ago, the electronics manufacturer revealed specs and pricing details for its new ES Z Series of receivers. Loaded with features, this new add-on line is aimed at custom installers and consumers looking for greater control over customization, home automation, and device connection. Sony says its three new receivers have been “redesigned to deliver the best integration experience possible” by including features suggested through feedback from dealers and professional installers.


Sony's STR-ZA3000ES features an aluminum face plate and striking new looks.

At first glance, receivers in the ES Z Series feature a physically distinct aluminum faceplate with a protruding upper brow (opposed to other Sony designs featuring sunken and flat-faced upper façades). Bellow the two-line display screen on the upper brow is a multitude of install-friendly cursor keys and a numbered menu structure that allow for full install operability without a remote. The units’ back panels have also been redesigned to make wiring in a rack easier; Sony provides a single line of speaker terminals and isolated Digital/Analog inputs.

Today, we’ll preview each new model and provide availability dates and pricing information.

STR-ZA3000ES 7.2 Channel 4K AV Receiver
The flagship model of the EX Z series is the ZA3000ES. Under the hood, it sports a beefy amplifier section capable of 110 Watts at 8 ohms (1 kHz, 0.9% THD). It’s specifically designed for a three-room multi zone application, relying on multi-channel preouts, three IR repeaters (one in, two out) for remote device control, and two-room 4K HDMI pass through.

The ZA3000ES offers a total of six HDMI inputs (one front panel), two HDMI outputs, an 8-port Giga Hub with PoE, a front panel USB for system updating, and 4K upscaling. It also has three 12-volt triggers for external devices. Sony says the ZA3000ES supports Digital Cinema Sound and HD surround codecs…it does not offer Dolby Atmos support.

The ZA3000ES has an MSRP of $1,699 and will be available mid-September.

STR-ZA2000ES 7.2 Channel 4K AV Receiver
The ZA2000ES is similar to the 3000ES, with a few omissions and reductions. Most notably, its power section is rated at 100W (at 8ohms) and the rear panel only offers one 12-volt trigger. The unit is also missing the 3000ES’s 8-port Giga Ethernet hub.
This model (also available mid-September) is priced $300 less than its older brethren, making the ZA3000ES temptingly desirable for those looking for the most connectivity options from a receiver.

STR-ZA1000ES 7.2 Channel 4K AV Receiver
The ZA1000ES is the little brother of the trio. Much like the 2000ES and 3000ES, it’s also a 7.2 channel receiver that ships with Sony's proprietary D.C.A.C. room correction suite…but it’s a step down in several categories. Notable omissions include the removal of a front HDMI port, an aluminum faceplate, and an 8-port Giga Ethernet Hub. Its power section is also reduced, offering 90W at 8 ohms (1 kHz, THD 0.9%). The hook is the ZA100ES’s price point ($899), which makes it a viable and affordable option. Unfortunately, buyers will need to wait until January 2015 for availability.

All three models can be outfitted with WS-RE1 rack ears (MSRP $99.99) beginning in September.

Image: Sony Electronics
 

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Why do they have to make them so ugly looking? They have't made a good looking receiver in years.
Is Sony still using digital amps in its ES receivers?
 

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Always liked Sony Receivers, many people don't. Had a STR-DA4ES for many years and plan to hang on to it for a while. Don't laugh.

I noticed the ZA3000 doesn't have a dedicated Speaker B Terminal, which I now use for my patio speakers.

Isn't a hub the same as a switch?

As far as looks, it looks nice to me.
 

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What about room equalization?
Same dcac it appears for eq as existing ES line from what can glean from online manual, for better or worse. Audioholics has good overview of their weird experiences on it with several other models (see 2800es for example). I'm disappointed Sony can't give what would be a simple option to custom adjust eq settings per band that they are already supporting by way of dcac. One strange thing to me is Sony does not appear to be publishing eq band count anymore for these latest units, whereas to date most models supported 6 bands (only the high end supported 31 bands). Curious which one they may be deaulting to at this point for this series?
 
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