Sony TA-AX 500 Integrated Amplifier Audiophile Introduction

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Sony TA-AX 500  Integrated Amplifier.

This amp was my first foray into the outskirts of higher end audio. Sony manufactured some great integrated amps in the early 80’s and this one was right on the edge of being part of their higher end, ES (elevated series) series amps.  It got dressed down a bit, without the classy faux wood panels and at a price point that was easier to digest.   This amp is still in service, and although I have since had more powerful, high end equipment, I think it still pulls it’s weight and I feel it produces better audio than most that I have listened to. Why?SONY_TA-AX500

I believe it is the quality build, inside and out.  Alps potentiometers, Large Elna power supply caps and a well thought out interior wiring scheme.  I also think the power transformer weights about 15 pounds!  Rated at 80 watts into an 8 ohm load.  Most of its life this amp has powered a pair of 6 ohm JBL L60T loudspeakers without ever breaking into a sweat. I also used 4 ohm studio monitors as well. I believe its power ratings were on the conservative side for sure.

I do not believe this was a big seller for Sony, partly because they did not quite know how to market it.  Its interesting that it seemed to be a bigger seller in Europe. It was reasonable as far as price but it was not cheap.  A year or two later it showed up in their ES series line up and the cost went up.  You can still occasionally find them on Ebay at crazy low prices, which leaves room for a quality servicing.

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Maybe I’m carrying some romantic torch for this integrated amp but honestly, I just think I picked a winner back in 1982.

 

4 thoughts on “Sony TA-AX 500 Integrated Amplifier Audiophile Introduction”

  1. Who would guess not getting the fake wood treatment would make it still look modern 34 years later. Talk about ahead of it’s time.

  2. I agree. Sony had the edge with their design esthetics for sure. Heavy metal faceplates,knobs,etc. Timeless in its look, which is pretty cool….

  3. Great reminiscence. This was also my first foray into higher end more powerful audio. Catalyzed when my Technics SU-8011 integrated amplifier bit the dust after being repaired. I just needed more than 25watts per channel. And the sony fit the bill. i was a scruffy kid with no money scraping enough together to just get by – That was another lifetime, actually several lifetimes ago. I bought it just prior to getting married thinking “i’d better get this now………” I’m still married but the Tx-ax500 bit the dust as well as im a drummer and must have driven it too hard too long. I now have my late father’s Carver TFM-45 which……can be driven so loud, one has to leave the room or risk health issues lol. Thanks for the article. There is a curious connection to old equipment isn’t there?

    1. Hi DL,
      Yes, I agree with your experience and sentiments on this subject for sure! As a fellow drummer I can relate to the volume needs. My AX500 is still doing duty in my basement work space and honestly, still sounds great. Like yourself I have gone on to other higher end vintage equipment but the Sony will always have a soft spot in my audio heart!
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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