174 of 186 people found the following review helpful
on April 1, 2013
This simple receiver is packed with tons of great features. I've had mine for 5 days and have enjoyed it tremendously.
I live in a small house with a small room for entertainment. I originally purchased the DH520, but returned it for this newer model. I like the simplicity of on-screen set up including using the set up microphone to determine the sound qualities of your room. It worked well and only took a few minutes to set up. With some minor tweaking, I am happy with the overall sound quality for such an inexpensive receiver. It doesn't pack the bass that my 1970's Yamaha produces, but for a theater sound, it is well balanced and I won't annoy my neighbors and others in the house with excessive bass.
This little guy packs a ton of features into this unit, a much improvement over the previous model. First off, the face is minimalist and less cluttered. Control is done mainly through the remote. If you are familiar with Sony products, there is minimal learning curve getting familiar with the remote. It has a USB input on the front to plug your iPhone, iPod into. I find this handy for the convenience of friends or family using their iPods. I use iTunes Match through my Apple TV when then channels through the HDMI to play music through this stereo.
HDMI inputs are limited to 4, but I only use 3. The pass through works well once it is set up and you can personalize each input to read what you have plugged in. For example, the default setting for one HDMI is Game. I was able to change that to read, "Apple TV". SAT/Cable was changed to "Cable", and BD was changed to "Sony DVD" with ease. My older Sony HDTV has two HDMI inputs, but this receiver expands that because I run the out HDMI to the TV with everything else in. Once I upgrade my TV to one with ARC I will be able to have two way HDMI signal allowing me to run my cable box to the TV and output sound to the receiver, effectively freeing up another HDMI input on the receiver. My receiver will also automatically change inputs from Cable to DVD when I turn on my Sony DVD player. This feature doesn't work with non-Sony products, which would be nice, but not necessary.
There are more expensive "Network Receivers" offering Smart Apps... but let me say this- If you have a Smart TV, or Smart DVD, or Apple TV, Roku, etc that offers Pandora and/or other "Music" Apps you do not need that extra feature. There comes a point where duplicating these apps on each piece of equipment is not only redundant but a waste of money. The other receivers offering these features are also quite limited - based on reviews by many magazines. The few added benefits of Network Receivers is App Remote Controls for Smart Phones or Tablets running Apple or Android. None of those remote apps are true freedom from traditional remotes because they only control the receiver AND based on reviews, suffer from immature development.
This receiver also features 4K passthrough so it is ready for future technology by Sony which is technically Super HD.
This is a great entry level stereo for the person who doesn't need constant high volume. The 5.2 channels and wattage is plenty for small to medium rooms, providing clean accurate sound even at higher volumes for extended periods. This will get loud... very loud, but I don't recommend this stereo if your intention is to play music loud, for long periods of time, over the course of several years. Lower wattage receivers get hotter quicker which puts strain on your stereo. Just pay the extra $100-150 for something with more power instead of overrunning this model.
- Minimalist design with clean front panel free of most buttons.
- Simple to hook up - HDMI Cable to TV out, DVD HDMI In, Apple TV HDMI in, connect speaker wires. Done!
- Some room for expansion (I added my XM Receiver through RCA hookups on back).
- Easy front panel USB port to connect iPod or iPhones for direct music
- Wattage is ample for small to medium size rooms to run audio cool
- Rated for 8 & 6 ohm speakers (older unit only rated for 8 ohm)
- ARC feature will play sound back from ARC featured TV through same HDMI cable
- 4K Passthrough will keep you update for several years
- On Screen Set Up Instructions
- On Screen FM/AM station programming and tuning
- Can have stereo off and watch HDMI devices using passthrough. I didn't like the Standby Mode on the previous years model.
- Stuck with Black. Wish Sony still offered silver for that vintage look.
- If you want a Smart Receiver, this is not it. though I don't think most people need that if they have a Smart DVD Player, TV, Roku, Apple TV, or other Smart Device connected. Just redundant except to use the remote control app which (Denon, Onkyo, Yamaha haven't perfected... yet).
- Can't connect the older turntables without a pre-amp.
- Wattage is limiting, but perfect for those seeking clean sound at what 95% of people think is loud.
One more thing that is not specific to this just this stereo, but almost every modern stereo- The wattage ratings are not accurate compared to older solid state stereos. My old Yamaha produced 50 watts per channel and blows the doors off this and most modern stereos who boast 100-200 watts per channel. Realistically, this is a 35 watt stereo.
70 of 79 people found the following review helpful
on April 30, 2013
I have only had this for 4 days now so I will update this as time goes on but I wanted to get a review out for anyone interested in this.
First off this is a very low budget receiver so keep that in mind, if you are needing or wanting something high end with lots of bells and whistles move on, this is not for you. They have sacrificed ports for power, it has over 700 watts so it can power 5 (this will only handle a 5.1 system, it says 5.2 but that is more of a gimmick because it just allows for either two subs, or to hook up a sub that uses a dual RCA cable like the red and white ones) speakers very easily. If your speakers can push more than 145W and you want more power than that this may not be the best option. My speakers are 100W each so I have plenty of power. There are 4 HDMI ports and two composite AV hookups for SD video. There are no component hookups on this. I only have three devices hooked up to this, PS3, Apple TV, and a Dish box. I have used these components for the last 3-4 years and have never needed or wanted any other components, keep that in mind because if you have more than 4 HDMI components this wont work. It also has no internet connection for Pandora, or airplay. I don't care about these features because all my components can do those functions, I'm not a fan of smart TV's or devices like that in general because I have yet to use one that works even ok.
It does have an onscreen menu for the settings and volume, the volume is very small and kind of hard to see because it's in the bottom right corner. Settings are very easy to control and adjust. It has a auto calibration function for the speakers that seamed to work pretty well. The IR sensor on it is very sensitive so it works well, I have it set up in the back of my room below the projector and i don't even have to point the remote at the receiver to change the volume or input I can point it as my screen and it works just fine. It has a front USB port to plug your iPhone in to play music, it works with the old and new iPhone cable.
Now for the reason I gave it a one star reduction is because it is a little buggy, and I have no idea if there is a way to upgrade the firmware on it because there is no service port and I can't confirm if the USB can be used for service. The on screen display does not always work for the volume or setup menu. I thought it may be the remote it came with but I programed it to my universal remote and still have the same problem sometimes, I am going to contact Sony to see if it is something that can be fixed. It doesn't happen often enough for me to return the unit because overall I really like it and it was in my price range for what I wanted to spend, my old receiver broke and I didn't want to wait a few months to save up and buy a new one that was more expensive so this one fit my bill perfectly. I will update in another month or so if anything changes.
**11/12/2013 Update: I have had this for a couple months now and it is still running great. The price is much cheaper on Amazon now so if have been thinking of getting this now is probably a great time to buy. I recently hooked up a Roku 3 to this so I have all 4 HDMI ports in use. I don't use the Roku very often now that the Apple TV3 has PlexConnect running on it (Plex was the only reason I bought the Roku). I have yet to have any problems with it. It is still really loud, my room is about 17x45 and it fills the room, I have never even had to turn it up to the max volume while watching anything. I recently got a new projector that is 3D capable, and I didn't even know this could do 3D so that was a nice surprise. 3D movies work great on this, I have watched 3D Blu-Rays on my PS3 and have even streamed 3D rips through Plex and those work great as well.
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on January 6, 2014
This unit has a nice featureset for the price. I like the fact that it has 4K support, so there is some future-proofing, and I don't miss support for Pandora, etc. since I have three boxes attached that support those things already (Panasonic TV, DirecTV receiver, Sony Bluray player).
One thing that I mostly like is that the receiver responds to activities on the connected boxes. For example, my DirecTV remote will shut off the TV and the DirecTV box, but not the receiver. However, the receiver senses the connected boxes being turned off and shuts itself off as well. Nice. However, the input selection can be a little glitchy. I haven't figured out exactly why yet, but it seems like the receiver will sense activities on connected boxes (like the Panasonic TV or the Bluray player) and switch to that input, even when I want it to stick with the DirecTV input. It's a minor nuisance, but it keeps a good feature from being great.
My biggest complaint is that it won't consistently recognize Dolby Digital. There is an HDMI setting on the receiver that is either "AMP" or "TV+AMP", and this must be set to "AMP" for the receiver to decode Dolby Digital. It took a while for me to figure this out (It is buried in the manual). The default setting seems to be "TV+AMP". In any case, even after I switch the setting to "AMP", the setting does not seem to "stick". It will go back to "TV+AMP". And then when I change it to "AMP", it doesn't seem to work sometimes, even when I know that the source is providing Dolby Digital content. Tonight I'm going to re-do the setup process to see if i can specify this setting during setup so that it is retained even when I turn off the receiver. It may also be that this HDMI setting is on a "per input" basis, meaning I can have "TV+AMP" for the TV HDMI input, and "AMP" for the Bluray input. It is not clear, but I think it is a global setting (that does not seem to be retained).
If I can get the issue with Dolby Digital resolved, I'd give this a 4-star rating, with the missing star only for the "glitchiness" of the automatic input detection.
**** UPDATE as of 1/7/14 ***
I spent less night messing with this and reading the manual in great detail, and I'm now convinced that the source of all of the issues I describe is the "HDMI Control" functions, i.e. the different HDMI devices all competing with each other for control. All of my connected devices support HDMI CEC, which lets you use the remote of one connected device to control other connected devices, and also allows turning off one device to turn off the other connected devices. In general, this is a useful feature 90% of the time but it also causes some unpredictable side effects the other 10% of the time that can really cause confusion.
For the "TV+AMP" setting issue I mention above, I eventually concluded that the TV was telling the receiver to switch to this setting somehow. To prevent this, I turned off the HDMI Control feature in the receiver. This worked, but it had the side effect of disabling ARC from the TV. I tried turning HDMI Control back on in the receiver, and turned HDMI Control off on the TV (the feature is called "Viera Link" on Panasonic TVs). This had the same effect, and at this point I was really stumped. Then, I discovered there was a second set of Viera Link settings on the TV in another part of the UI, and one of those settings was called "TV Audio" and had the choices of "Receiver" or "Television" (I think). I switched this setting to "Receiver", and now the TV no longer overrides the setting on the Receiver.
My last remaining problem is that the receiver doesn't acknowledge being able to decode DTS-HD Master Audio from the Blu-Ray player. It seems to be decoding the channels, but the DTS-HD indicator light on the display does not light up...this may be because I only currently have a 3.1 setup (Left, Right, Center, and Sub.)
I'm now happy enough to give this product 4 stars, since I don't think HDMI control issues are necessarily Sony's fault and the necessary clues were present in the manual (but you had to read some of the small print "note" in different sections to really put the puzzle together on what was happening.)
**** UPDATE as of 1/11/14 ***
The last issue has been resolved. The BluRay player was decoding DTS-HD Master Audio and passing the audio to the receiver as multi-channel LPCM, which the receiver correctly received and displayed. Since the receiver was receiving the signal already decoded, it didn't display the indicator for receiving DTS-HD MA. By changing the setting on the BluRay player to output the bitstream "undecoded", the receiver was able to do the decoding itself, and the DTS-HD Master Audio indicator came on. Mystery solved, after much Internet research. This is not really Sony's fault, although I suppose this could have been listed as a "Troubleshooting" item in the manual. I'm now changing my rating to 5 stars...I'm very satisfied, and I've learned a ton about the current state of consumer A/V electronics and HDMI (in a nutshell: lots of cool features and settings, but lots of potential for them to interact in confusing ways.)
26 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on May 8, 2013
For the price, I'm real happy. It's paired with Boston Acoustics XS speakers. The Bravia Sync works well with the Sony KDL46HX750 TV and BDPS590 BD. Also have a TiVo S3 and Mini Mac hooked up. They all play well together.
Just one word about the speaker auto calibration. The sound just wasn't right after calibrating. The problem was that the receiver designated my speakers as "large". That means it assumes more bass can come out the speakers so less is sent to the sub-woofer. However, after using the manual set up and changing the speakers to "small", the sound was much, much better. The sub-woofer provided the missing bass. So that's why I'm knocking off one star. But it demonstrates that you may need to play with the settings.
Haven't tried the pass-through 3D yet. Just wish the Sony glasses cost less.
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on July 17, 2013
I don't care about airplay or bluetooth or network streaming as I have other devices which do all that. Got it for $158 at frys and I bought 4 one for every room. The sound quality is amazing for this price point and while I will probably get the 1040 in the future for my one room with 7.1 but it will be hard to justify it since it will cost the same as all for of these. from what I can tell it looks almost identical to the 840 at the store other than the 7.2 and the network streaming options.
I have a Sony LCD, and the PS3 and the bravia sync works great and uses the HDMI to control all three from any of the remotes.
I could not be happier with this setup!
Update Jan 19th 2014:
All units are still going strong and still great audio with no problems on them at all.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on October 20, 2013
Tthis is a great system. Paid $229.00 for it and the next week it dropped to $199.00, what a bummer but it's worth it. Great sound to my all Polk Audio T15s front and rear, CS10 center, and PSW505 subwoofer. Has great array of inputs and sound options. I used manual set-up for speakers, the auto setting didn't really sound good for my living room. I used banana plugs for speaker connections which made it much easier because I have HUGE fingers. I love the automatic surround feature. The Sony HTIB it replaced had to be set manually for each different DVD I played. I consider this more than just a starter system. I previously had a 1000 watt Panasonic 5 disc HTIB and a Sony 1000 watt HTIB and this one is the best of all. It's a keeper. Amazon delivery was right on time and it was well packed. Try iy-you'll
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on August 5, 2013
I bought this to replace a Denon that bit the dust after 3 years[second component by them that did so for me in 2 years, so good-bye Denon!]. I had a Yamaha before that. Both previous surround receivers sounded fine[Yamaha was a bit TOO flat for my taste], but were horribly comlicated to use and had that weird "-" volume readout. What's that about? I hated it.
This took me 10 minutes to connect the speakers, run the auto callibrate and watch a film!! Others are making a statements about the claimed watts. I can just say one thing; This blows away the Denon and Yamaha I had as far as amp head room is concerned, so I couldn't care less what the actual wattege is.
The only reason I didn't give it 5 stars is because I have only owned it 3 days and have no idea what the reliability is at this point. I'm also not enchanted with the volume control on the remote. I have big fingers!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on November 5, 2013
Wide array of options, input, and sound settings at a price that won't break the bank. I'm very impressed with the ease of use, detailed instructions, and quality of sound from this receiver.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on September 11, 2013
update, 4/18/2015. after a year and a few months of use the sounds cuts off after about 30 minutes of use, the only fix is to turn it off and back on after about 15 minutes, there is nothing blocking the air vents and the room temp is about 71 Fahrenheit at all the times and there is not a warning message on the lcd screen, it was good while it lasted................IM MOVING BACK TO PIONEER
easy to set up on screen menu, the two chanel sound is perfect to listen pink floyd. the ONLY thing that i dont like about this receiver and probably the same with most of the other brands is that you must have the TV ON in order to have any audio coming out of the speakers no matter what the source is other than that this is a good receiver for little money.
9-19-2013 update. it does work with the tv OFF and even unpluged from the receiver. now im 100% happy
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 5, 2014
After using this receiver for a few months, it suddenly stopped receiving PCM Linear audio inputs (that's how the PS3 and PS4 send signals). I went through every menu option and couldn't get it working. (you can tell something is wrong because if you cycle through the display settings eventually you get to one that tells you the input method, and it will say No Stream instead of PCM or Dolby Digital or what have you).
So, we were able to fix it by resetting the receiver. To reset, power off, then power on by holding the power button in until the receiver says "Resetting", followed a few seconds later by "Reset!". Then Linear PCM was working again. The weird thing is we went through all the menu items, and NOTHING was changed! So the reset action resets something that isn't accessible from the menu. Weird!
That was weird, and I thought it was time for a new receiver! Phew, dodged a bullet.
By the way, I like this receiver, I replaced a Sony STRDH700, which had fewer HDMI inputs, didn't pass through 3D or 4k, but supported 7.1. One thing I like about the 5.2 receiver is it will auto mix the 7 channels down to 5. The other receiver assumed you had 7 speakers unless you told it in a menu somewhere that you only have 5.
The one thing I don't like is the volume number is visible on the screen for a few seconds after changing the volume. I wish you could remove that as it's distracting every time I move the volume up or down one notch. it's only visible on 2D images, not 3D, but that's most of the time.
I watch 3D movies through this receiver and it works great.