Thank you for searching out Sound+Image Magazine’s equipment review of the Sony ES Surround Speaker System Review originally published in Sound+Image May/June 2013

Part of the review is below, but the full text and specs are available in this PDF version of the original magazine pages - it looks nicer than us throwing a load of words up the screen here: Sony ES Surround Speaker System Review.pdf


Sony is a brand that appears in Australia as a mixture of solid and respectable home entertainment equipment of the kind that would satisfy many of our readers, plus lo-fi items cluttering the shelves of many a chain retailer. Yet if you visit a hi-fi shop most places in Asia, and especially in Japan, you’ll find high-end Sony loudspeakers never seen on these shores placed side-by-side with the likes of B&W.

This year (2013) Sony has decided to unleash some of these on the Australian market. Here we look and listen to the ES surround range, originally shown here at an event in Sydney alongside the no-holds-barred SS-AR1 stereo loudspeaker, a design from the highest levels of Sony’s audio team. The ES surround series take some of its cues from that lofty design, for example using Scandinavian birch for their cabinets, a wood selected by Sony after tests and listening sessions for its acoustic resonance and performance (the SS-AR1 also ups the ante by also including Hokkaido maple harvested at a particular time of year). Like the SS-AR1, the ES range is built in Japan, “by craftsmen trained in the traditional Japanese methods of woodworking”.  

So this is a six-piece system, comprising two floorstanders, two surround speakers, a centre-channel speaker and a subwoofer. And from the moment of delivery one thing at least was clear: there had indeed been no skimping in build quality. These are heavy loudspeakers, an honest 32kg kilos each for the floorstanders and 36kg for the subwoofer.
Nor had there been any skimping in the finish. The speakers glowed deeply through their piano-gloss layers of lacquer to an interior that wasn’t black, but an extremely dark brown wood grain.

The five main speakers employ a very unusual tweeter... well, array would be the right word (Sony calls it the ‘I-Array’). At its centre is a 25mm soft-dome tweeter, but placed 50mm above and below it are two more smaller 19mm tweeters.