If you want to build an audio setup, you’d better have a brain. Of course, your brain would be nice. However, with the capability to accept, upscale and process every one of your various components, the receiver really is the brains behind your A/V outfit.
Sony just announced four new A/V receivers, designed to be that big brain, even for those on a budget. Despite the starting price of $230, these four new components all feature HDMI 3D pass-through, audio return channel, Sony’s own BRAVIA Sync, and four HDMI inputs on each.
The flagship will be the 7.2-channel STR-DN1020 (pictured below), which delivers 110 watts per channel, as well as added content via streaming services like Slacker and vTuner. Those networking features are delivered through the model’s Ethernet port. Other features include Faroudja DCDi Edge and Digital Legato Linear (D.L.L.) processing, DLNA support, dual zones, dual subwoofer pre-outs, and something called PartyStreaming mode, which allows for synchronized playback on multiple speakers.
Smartphone users can also download Sony’s free Media Remote app to use iPhone, iPod touch or Android mobile devices as a fully functioning remote. Expect the STR-DN1020 to sell for $500.
If you want to invest more in your A/V system, without actually investing that much in your A/V system, Sony will starting selling three other 3D-compatible receivers this month. The least expensive is the 7.1-channel STR-DH520, at $230. This unit provides 100 watts for each channel, the BRAVIA Widget unified TV on-screen interface, and processing for Dolby TrueHD, Pro logic IIz and dts HD Master Audio Enhanced audio codecs. One other interesting feature is the Advanced Auto Volume, which is designed to deliver nice, steady sound.
The 7.1 STR-DH720 bumps power up to 105 watts per channel, and adds in HD Digital Cinema Sound, upscaling features, an iPod and iPhone playback via USB, an on-screen GUI, and Sony’s Digital Cinema Auto Calibration. Another bump is in the price, as the STR-DH720 has an MSRP of $300.
Last, but certainly not least, is the STR-DH820. This 7.2-channel receiver includes all of the features of the previous two models mentioned, but cranks the sound up to 110 watts to each channel. Other additional features include D.L.L. sound processing, dual zones and dual subwoofer pre-outs, an IR in and out, and Sony’s Advanced D.C.A.C. with Automatic Phase Matching. The MSRP on the STR-DH820 is $400.
Sony is currently taking orders on all four receivers. Three will start shipping this month, with the STR-DN1020 coming in May.
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Over the past 15 years, Rachel Cericola has covered entertainment, web and technology trends. Check her out at www.rachelcericola.com.