Sony Unveils Three New ES Home Theater Receivers for 2014/15

Sony STR-ZA3000ES Home Theater Receiver
Sony STR-ZA3000ES Home Theater Receiver. Sony Electronics

Dateline: 09/13/2014
Following up the recent announcement of its mid-range "50-series" home theater receiver line-up, Sony has just added three new receivers to its high-end ES series. Also, to distinguish new entries from the rest of its ES receiver line, Sony has labeled them with ES-Z monikers. The three receivers are the STR-ZA1000ES, STR-ZA2000ES, and STR-ZA3000ES.

The core concept of all three receivers is that although they can be used in any standard home theater setup, they are designed for the specific needs of custom installers.

Some of the custom install-friendly features on all three receivers include: Comprehensive front panel controls, full compatibility with HDMI ver 2.0 and HDCP 2.2 requirements, HDMI matrix switching, 3rd party control certification (AMX/Crestron), 12-volt triggers, IR repeaters, RS232C port, IP Control Integration, and In-ceiling speaker adjustment settings (more on that later). Also, all three receivers can accept firmware updates via USB.

Also, all three receivers can be rack mounted via optional WS-RE1 Rack Ears ($99).

Here is a basic rundown on some of the similarities and differences between each receiver.

STR-ZA1000ES

Up to 7.2 Channel configuration (90wpc at 8 ohms, 1 kHz, THD 0.9% - However, number of channels running to obtain the power ratings is not indicated).

Five 3D and 4K Pass-through HDMI inputs and two HDMI outputs, 2 Component Video Inputs.

HDMI, Digital (Optical, Coaxial), Analog 2nd and 3rd Zone Preamp Audio Outputs as well as powered Zone 2 option (via assignable surround back speaker terminals).

3 IR Repeaters (1-in/2-out)

1 12 volt trigger

Suggested Price: $899 - Official Product Page

STR-ZA2000ES

Power output (100W @ 8 ohms, 1 kHz, THD 0.9%)

Adds Front HDMI input (for a total of 6).

Add Aluminum faceplate cover to hide front panel controls when not in use.

Suggested Price: $1,399 - Official Product Page

STR-ZA3000ES

Stated Power Output (110wpc at 8 ohms, 1 kHz, THD 0.9% - number of channels driven not stated)

Adds 8-port Ethernet Hub with PoE (Power Over Ethernet) support.

Adds two more 12 volt triggers (3 total provided).

Adds a set of 5/7 channel preamp outputs (in addition to the 2 subwoofer preamp outputs common to all three receivers).

Suggested Price: $1,699 - Official Product Page

The official product pages provide a lot more detail on additional features, but the one thing I do find interesting is that even though setup is provided for ceiling speakers, there is no indication that any of the above ES-Z receivers are Dolby Atmos-enabled. Whether Sony plans to provide a firmware update, or introduce another higher-end round of Dolby Atmos-enabled home theater receivers has not be been indicated so far.

Also, there is no mention as to whether any of the three receivers incorporate streaming features, such as access to internet radio or bluetooth, or whether the receivers are equipped with built-in Wifi.

However, based on what information has been provided so far, it might be worth a visit to your local Sony ES dealer and find out if these receivers might the right match for your home theater setup.