Sony uses the letters ‘ES’ to signify their flag ship range of products, and this STR-DA777ES falls near the top end of this range. Released around 2003, this is about as good as surround sound receivers get. However technology in home cinema circles moves fast and now anything without HDMI is deeply unfashionable. As such, outstanding kit such as this can be picked up for bargain prices.
No HDMI need not be a show stopper, a good quality bluray player can decode LPCM, Dolby TrueHD or DTS-MA lossless audio and feed it to the 5.1 analogue inputs on this Sony receiver. Otherwise, high bitrate DTS streams can be fed to it over optical, again giving very good results. Some bluray players can also re-encode lossless audio to high bitrate DTS on the fly. Most TV’s have numerous HDMI sockets, so no HDMI video switching is also not a problem.
A modern Sony ES receiver starts at around £1700, and superfluous features aside, will have not too dissimilar sound quality. Some argue the older ES amp’s actually have better sound quality than the current models with their Class-D amplification.
The Sony STR-DA555ES is also similarly spec’d and worth considering too.