The Sony SS-A5 La Voce Speakers

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“It’s a Sony”

Ok, unless you’re talking about flat screen TVs or their new Xperia phones, this statement might not catch a second notice.

When talking about speakers, Sony usually gets that ho-hum bland reception. Understandably though, since this Japanese giant was not really known for high-end audio stuff, moreso speakers.

But being the giant that it was (and still is), Sony had the resources to dip their fingers to research and develop so-called high end pursuits, together with their consumer line.  The V-fet technology comes to mind- interesting, though commercially unsuccessful and relatively unknown beyond their shores.

Released in the late 80s, the Sony SS-A5 La Voce speaker is an example of pushing the envelope further in audio technology. It utilizes an organic bio-cellulose tweeter threaded by acetobacteriae aceti giving in the end a driver which is stiffer yet thinner and lighter than most anything.

The speaker itself is very unlike Sony consumer models. Mostly hand made. Details normally in the realm of hi-brow European brands are quite evident in the A5. The cabinet is made from real wood veneer. Heavy binding posts replace the flimsy spring-type connector found in the company’s other speaker models. The grill cover looks ordinary at first glance but upon closer inspection, the grill frame is constructed to form a shape/protrusion not unlike the Focal JM Lab and/or early Thiels.  The Sony logo is gold embroidered on the grill cloth. Classy, even for today’s standards.

But this very un-Sony aesthetic doesn’t stop there. With the speaker grills off, one would hardly recognize this as a Sony. Gone is the plastic, ‘teenage mutant ninja turtle-inspired’ front panel that was popular with the company’s speakers at that time.

On the contrary, the acoustically treated exterior front panel lends the look of an oversized LS35a. I would venture to guess that this front panel look is exclusive to this model. There must be a reason why the designers implemented this “cottage industry” look.  I would surmise that the front exterior acts as a deflector panel. This passive device dampens reflective waves.

The speaker grill is attached by Velcro . . . yes, Velcro.

So how do these speakers sound?

Off the bat, I’m thinking of a more refined Acoustic Research 3a. The A5s do not go as low as the ARs nor is that full-bodied midrange evident.

The highs though are simply magical. Something must be said for these organic transducers since warmthness replaces that edgy sound on metal domes. Rich overtones take the place of flatness of paper tweeters.

On the mid and low, the best analogy I can give is that, while the ARs sound like a Marantz, the Sonys  lean towards a Sansui sonic signature.

It goes without saying that the Sonys are big bookshelf speakers. Placing them is a bitch and using these as floorstanders will muddy up the imaging and over all sonic character. I am using 16 inch stands on the A5s – low enough to avoid bass booming but just enough to still feel that kick on a bass drum.

At this height, the midrange sings pleasantly, though I would prefer a tad more body. But just a tad.

Speaker placement is also a pain. Due to the speaker’s size, the A5s need room to breathe. I used to have a narrow room that did not give justice to these speakers.

But now that I am able to place them in a much larger space giving the A5 that sonic elbow room, I can only agree with The VintageKnob when they describe these speakers as “pure musical bliss, with a soundstage as wide as the Grand Canyon, precise, stable and very energetic.”

Oh and by the way, these are the only Japanese speakers to win the much coveted French Diapason d’Or award.

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Comments
2 Responses to “The Sony SS-A5 La Voce Speakers”
  1. I just bought a pair of these today. I wanted to try something that I knew would be different to my Yamaha NS-1000M, and boy are these different. I must admit it’s a bit hard getting used to their laid back character in comparison to the Yammies. But they do sound bloody nice and the sound stage is excellent.
    I think I will get my ear in with a few more weeks of listening, then I’ll put the Yamaha back into the mix and I’ll make some decisions from there.

  2. Khoa says:

    Chào bạn tôi cũng đang nghe cặp speaker SONY SS A5 tôi rất thích và hài lòng về nó vậy bạn cho tôi hỏi bạn là theo bạn thì cặp loa này có nên chơi và sưu tầm không cam ơn bạn rất nhiều

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