on April 6, 2010
Just wanted to share a few points about this product that weren't clear to me before I purchased it.
1.) The receiver does not decode Dolby True HD or Master DTS HD. HOWEVER, the receiver accepts LPCM signals. So, if your Blu-Ray player can send an LPCM signal and it has onboard decoders for those codes (and I believe they all do), then you can still experience everything Dolby True HD and Master DTS HD has to offer. If you're lost at this point, I'll put it this way. If you have a PS3 and this sound system, you're getting the full "HD" sound offered by Blu-Ray discs. Just make sure your PS3 is set to send Blu-Ray audio via LPCM, not Bitsreaming. Also, you need to connect your PS3 with HDMI to make this happen.
2.) The sound from this system is excellent. 1000 watts is plenty of power for your typical home theater. In fact, it's more watts than most home theater systems on the market currently offer. In my experience, a good rule of thumb is "more watts the better". This is true even you don't plan on cranking up the volume.
3.) The rear speakers on this system are not automatically wireless. That is, this system is CAPABLE of wirelessly transmitting to the rear speakers, but in order to do this, you need to purchase a transmitter to plug into the back of the receiver and an amplifier for the rear speakers. Sony calls this system AIR. So, in case it isn't clear, this system is only "wireless ready". I haven't purchased the transmitter and the amp needed, but installation looks like it would be very simple. It's nice to have that option in the future.
The only downside to this system, as I see it, is that the remote is overly complicated. Lots of buttons and I only seem to use about 8 of them. If my home theater had more Sony BRAVIA compenents, then maybe all of the extra buttons would be of more use. Overall, however, the bad remote is definitely not a dealbraker. The positives of this system greatly outweigh this one minor negative.
on June 19, 2010
I can't accurately express how great this product is in a few paragraphs, but I'll try. I'll start by saying that I already had a Blu-ray player (PS3), so I was looking for a surround system that was affordable and easy to set-up, actually sounded good, and felt like a quality product. After using the system for a few days I can tell you that it has more than accomplished these things.
I paid full retail price, which was $350, but again, I only needed a surround system by itself, no DVD or Blu-ray player, which is what the majority of systems seem to be these days with BD becoming more popular. That said I was willing to pay a little more if it was a good system. The system comes with a central speaker, two front speakers and two surround speakers to achieve 5.1 surround, which is plenty for an apartment like mine. There is also a very powerful subwoofer included as well, so when I have a home I can really pump the bass. Additionally, the power is 1000w.
Knowing a bit, but not a whole lot about surround sound setup, this system made it ridiculously easy for me to set it up and get going. Each speaker is color-coded for easy installation, which seems like a no-brainer but this is not always the case. So anyway, you plug the wires into each speaker and then into the receiver and plug in the subwoofer and you're done with the wiring, it's really that simple. The wires are plenty long for the two surround speakers as well, so that's not an issue. There is also an auto-calibration microphone that comes with the system that you place where you sit when you watch TV and it does its thing in less than 30 seconds and you're system is calibrated positionally just like that.
I've watched a few Blu-rays so far and the sound really is great, top-notch really. If you've never had a surround system before, you don't know what you're missing! I could never watch a movie again without it. Its a very powerful system as well, I'm waiting for my neighbors to say something soon lol (which is why there is night mode included) There are many modes you can use as well, such as Dolby Pro Logic with 5.1 support, sports, games, music etc... Sports gives you a reverberating sound as if you were at the stadium listening to the announcer, pretty cool minor stuff.
Now, there are also 3 HDMI inputs included, which is partly why this system is a little pricier than others, but it is well worth it. So I have my PS3 and DVR hooked into the receiver with one to spare. It's nice to just switch the receiver to which one I want rather than the tv, I basically don't need my tv remote anymore. I know there is no ipod dock included, but you can buy an $8 cable (red and white tips) and play it through that, so it's not really worth the $100+ Sony DMP dealy.
So there you have it, a great system for the price from Sony, who comes through in the clutch once again. Ignore the reviews that say they thought this had a Blu-ray player with it, I am not reviewing Amazon, rather I am reviewing this product.
Pros: 3 HDMI inputs, great sound, sleek and compact, easy set-up, auto-calibration.
Cons: a tad pricy but the quality is there
If you don't need a blu-ray player and you don't want to deal with annoyingly complicated set-up, this is the system you want.
on March 12, 2010
I bought this system yesterday. It has great, even sound and multiple sound fields for different situations (movies, games, sports, etc). I like that the speakers are small (the center channel speaker) disappears in front of my television. Also, there are 3 HDMI inputs for everything I need (Blu-Ray player, Computer, etc) and one output for the television. There are also inputs for analog and digital audio sources. One drawback is that the 'wireless' rear speakers are only wireless when coupled with the optional AIR EZW-T100 Wireless transmitter and the Wireless amplifier for the speakers (WAHT-SA10). This wasn't a problem until I found that the amplifier doesn't seem to be available anywhere. Even the SonyStyle store shows 'out of stock'. Aside from that, this is a great-looking and sounding system for a reasonable price. As long as you don't demand wireless rear speakers in the immediate future, I highly recommend it.
on May 25, 2010
This Home Theater system is amazing. The set up is very quick and easy. Out of the box it sounds amazing there is no need to tweek it. This unit does not contain a bluray or DVD player. It is a component home theater system. That means that it is a receiver for HD equipment you already have like a HD cable/satellite box, bluray player, PS3, XBOX360. It has 3 HDMI ports to connect your equipment and one more that goes to the TV. After everything is plugged in correctly you got to make sure your equipment is set to the proper surround sound settings. in the case of a bluray and PS3. set the audio output to Linear PCM(LPCM)though the HDMI cable, and your cable box to its proper surround sound setting(dolby digital most likely). Now your ready to experience full HD picture and sound. It is 1000W of sound and its sounds crystal clear. I tested it with Avatar and Transformers II both on bluray. Each movie sounded amazing. The front speakers and rear speakers are loud and the unpowered sub woofer is great. Some will complain that the sub is unpowered, but really it does sound and feel excellent. it will satisfy most people. If your looking for a HD home theater system and already have a bluray player this is the system to get. It will save you money verses other bluray home theaters and its more versatile with its ports
on December 29, 2010
From what I can tell the speakers and receiver seem well engineered with a nice feature set, but there is a ridiculous flaw in the design of what connects them. The receptacles on the back of the receiver that receive the speaker cables are proprietary. Each pair of speaker wires is attached to a special plug that fits into one of these receptacles. With regards to the speakers proper, if one wants to extend a speaker wire, one presumably has to splice (using electrical tape and soldering or twisting I guess) speaker wire to the naked speaker end of the speaker cable. Or, one can go to ebay and spend a small fortune on new cables with the weird 4.2mm connectors, which weird connectors you pay excessively for, obviously. But the situation with the subwoofer is even more hopeless. The speaker cable to the subwoofer is permanently attached to the subwoofer. And it looks just as cheaply made as the other speaker wires (thin and from their color I'm guessing aluminum) and is too short (~10') to go from immediately above the television straight across half the television straight down to the floor straight forwards to the front of our cabinet and immediately back to the wall. There's no way to take a connector off and reuse it. One is absolutely forced it seems to either cut the speaker wires in two and use two pairs of splices or remove the connector and buy a new one attached to a wire and splice both wires once after removing the connector . The male(?) connector is not something one can reuse by putting simple wires in it. The wires to form a connection with the plug each have special tricked-up (female) sleeves crimped on their ends (with a metal tab one can press to remove the wire and sleeve from the connector). I don't think one can buy connectors to fit on the ends of wires directly. One can buy universal 4.2mm (?) connectors attached to speaker wires and splice, but I don't believe there is made any kind of extension cord with a female receptacle on one end (a third party makes universal 4.2 mm male(?) plugs attacked to wires, but I don't think they sell anything with female receptacles suitable for SONY speakers).
I thought about using ugly inelegant splices (the surround speakers are too short to go to the sides of our sofa via the wall) on the surround speakers and spending extra to buy a special speaker wire with a plug so I can put the subwoofer on the floor next to the wall right next to the cabinet (is that asking too much?), but I am really locked into either chopping the subwoofer cable in two and splicing twice 2x or taking the plug off and using the whole length of that cheap looking speaker wire from the subwoofer (and buying a cable with the weird plug to splice to the end of it). The engineering wiring mistakes are so glaring and the wire looks way too thin and cheap for the 165W the subwoofer is supposedly rated for (lower voltages to produce the same power mean higher current and higher heat than with higher voltages, so I'm guessing this is even worse than 165W table lamp plugged into a (120V) outlet), and one can never tell maybe one day one might live with some crazy who wants it cranked up all the way, so I am frankly worried the wires might heat up so much as to start a fire. I am returning the unit.
on November 2, 2010
I purchased this after a lot of shopping around. This was meant to get some cheap surround sound into my bedroom without hugely intrusive speakers. Having over $10,0000 vested in my den entertainment center, I wasn't expecting much at this price. I have to say, I'm quite impressed. No, it doesn't compare to my home theater setup, but it does sound very, very good. Far better than I expected it to. The sound is clear, you can raise it to a "decent" volume (I wouldn't buy this if you're going to always crank it, because something may go in that case), and the speakers are small and non-intrusive. I'd recommend this to anyone that is looking for a bedroom surround system or someone that won't be blasting it at full volume at all times.
on April 27, 2011
This is a great little system for the price. I had to return the first one because I had problems with the TV cutting out while the sound continued. I replaced the HDMI cables thinking it could be them, but it only happened when watching TV, not while playing the Xbox etc. After completely replacing the system, I found it was actually the Motorola cable box & this system comflicting. The problem is the Motorola cable box drops signal every now and than, or the signal changes. This causes the HDMI repeater on this unit to thing the system was turned off briefly and it tries searching the other HDMI connections for a signal. Any HDMI repeater would probably have this same issue (unless it was a manual switch) The solution until Motorola can get their act together is to run an HDMI cable directly to the TV from the cable box. Then run the optical out from the cable box to this unit. It is not an ideal solution but it fixed the issue. You can find out more about this problem by searching news groups. I am not sure if Sony can fix this with an update or if it is a Motorola issue. Other than the video issue, this is a great product for the price. Don't let the above issue scare you off, because this unit has enough ports to handle alot of different connections.
on September 28, 2010
When I started looking for a surround sound system for my home theater setup I had some specific things I was looking for and this system above all others fit the bill. I will start by saying that I am not an audiophile yet I did my research and know what I want. Although I would prefer a Denon receiver and quality speakers I was looking to spend under $300 for the whole setup as I had just thrown down a lot for my tv and PS3. I wanted a receiver that would tackle the task of integrating all of my HDMI components as well as offer an option to connect my iPOD directly without the addition of a computer. With the digital media port and three HDMI IN ports I can connect my DVR, PS3, and my media server without a separate switch.
Setup was easy and from the time FedEx dropped off the unit until I was watching a movie was like forty minutes.(That includes mounting the speakers on wall mounts) The room that I placed it in is 14'x17.5' and the sound is awesome for the price. I will note that I stepped up to Monster speaker cable with twisted pairs to eliminate RF interference. Once the system was calibrated I was able to just use the receiver remote as I have all Sony Bravia components. The only addition that I didn't think of at first is hooking my laptop up to the tv requires an optical cable to the receiver to stream audio in digital codecs. A trip to BestBuy solved that problem and although I would prefer that the HDMI out to the tv would send data back to the receiver I didn't mind buying the extra cable.
If I had to complain I would start by saying that this receiver doesn't accept all BlueRay digital audio codecs so you must properly configure your components to adjust for this. I would detail exactly what I am referring to but other reviews have done so and its honestly not that big of a deal.
Bottom line... For less than $300 bucks you will not find a similarly equipped receiver and speaker package with 1000 watts and so many connection options. If you are looking to upgrade from a older analog setup or this is your first foray into digital audio it's the only one to consider.
on February 26, 2011
We upgraded our HDTV and Blu-ray player, so I decided to upgrade the receiver too, so that it would all be HDMI. I found the Sony, and it seemed like a good deal, AND it was super skinny, so it fit well into our new TV stand.
Setup is easy, and the little microphone that lets you auto-program speaker distance is very cool. But from the start, the left channel speakers seemed very weak, at times nearly silent. And at first, when playing a Blu-ray, the system would shut down after 10 minutes. Later, I found out that there is an auto shutoff if the receiver doesn't detect action. Why it can't detect a Sony Blu-ray player, I have no idea, but I turned that off, and it seemed to fix the problem.
Sadly, not entirely. I also have a Pioneer PD-F1009 300 CD player that is around 10 years old (though they still sell this model today). It is connected through RCA-inputs. When playing CDs through the receiver, it may play fine, or it may turn off after a few minutes. After you turn it back on, again, it may play fine, or it may turn off in 2 minutes, in 30 seconds, in THREE seconds.
After having enough of this, I exchanged the unit for a new one. And I still have exactly the same problem. I do not have this problem with the Logitech bluetooth PC music input, just the CD player. Sony's online tech has never heard of the problem, and only could suggest that I plug the power directly into the wall instead of a power strip. No dice, doesn't work.
Otherwise, I love the system. I hope to solve my problem.
UPDATED to add that I've done a lot of research, and suspect that my stereo is going into "protect mode," due to a possible short in a speaker wire. Why this is so random, and why it seems to only happen with the CD player, I have no idea. But I will investigate, and report back my findings.
UPDATED AGAIN to say that YES, it was a short--apparently in my Radio Shack A/B/C speaker switch--that was causing my problem. I plugged the left front speaker wire directly to the speaker (bypassing the switch), and the problem hasn't happened since. So, now I'm on a quest for a replacement switch! But I've upgraded my review to 4 stars, and I hope I've helped someone who has had a similar problem.
on March 11, 2011
Anyone on a budget looking for a home theater system, needs to look no more. But only if all your components have an HDMI output.
It took me about an hour to set it up, connect all components and adjust the sound to my preferences. It wasn't very dificult to set up, either. As far as tech-savvy goes, I'm good, but no expert. So this system is a plus for those in doubt. And the instruction manual was pretty helpful too.
Any movie with a lot of action, is enjoyable with the system. Specially, a movie like 'Inception'. That sub was doing it's work very well when the action was heavy. You'll have to raise the volume on the center speaker though, 'cause when there's a lot of action, the dialogue is a bit hard to hear. Either that, or adjust the other speaker's accordingly. Including the sub.
It's biggest drawbacks are the lack of a fourth HDMI input and a headphone jack. I have four components. PS3, Xbox 360, Blu-ray player, and a cable box. The cable box is the least important one here so I have the other three plugged in directly to the receiver. Instead, I have my cable box plugged into the TV, and a toslink cable running from the TV to the receiver. No biggie, but it's an extra step when I have to change the input on my TV and the input on the receiver.
THe headphone jack is a problem only if your TV doesn't have a headphone jack either.... which, mine doesn't. And yes, eventhough it's a home theater, there will be times when you'll want to play games, watch a movie or TV in silence. At the moment, I haven't found a way to get around that problem, so I find myself playing games and movies in low volume. I personally find it annoying since I keep turning the volume up or down at certain points for whatever it is that I'm doing.
Anyways. You can't go wrong with this system. Minor gripes, but nothing to turn away from it. Obviously it won't compare to a $500 receiver and a $400 speaker set(which I helped someone set up), but if you're on a budget and/or don't have the space, this is the one you want to buy. I really love mine.