NYAV12: Sony, Pass, EMM Labs

I overheard more than one audiophile snarking about the Sony room. “Who knew?” was the refrain that summed it up best.

To be perfectly frank, I didn’t quite believe it myself, so maybe they had a point. I mean, Sony, a high-end audio brand? Sure, they totally have a brand for electronics, but high-end?

Yes. Most definitely, yes.

The $20,000 SS-AR2, when powered by the big $22,000/pair X600.5 Pass Labs monoblocks, were surprising. I mean, this is Sony! And this sound? Anything but “consumer grade”. With any other nameplate on its ass, this speaker would have been the rave of the show. As it was, most audiophiles I chatted with were perplexed, amused, and still looking askance.

Let me put your mind at rest. Sony’s SS-AR2 is worth taking a look at, folks. Biggity-big sound, here. Room filling, in the best possible way. And like most high-end speakers, you feed it with a great chain and rewards will unfold to wrap you up and carry you off to your happy place.

This was a great room. Perhaps Sony ought to follow Pioneer’s lead and introduce a new brand to properly separate these truly remarkable speakers from their TV and computer biz? Just a thought.

The front end of this system was an $8,600 Pass Labs XP-20 preamp. Playback came courtesy of EMM Labs, from their flagship $25,000 XDS1 CD-SACD Player, used as a DAC from a connected laptop while I was there.


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