Customer Reviews: Sony STRDH130 2 Channel Stereo Receiver (Black)
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Price:$118.00+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime
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on December 23, 2012
First, let's get the power specifications out of the way. An expectation of a robust 135wpc at this price and weight class is unrealistic, and is something of an overstatement for this receiver. Note that Sony only specifies this output at 1khz, not all across the audible range. The more revealing power spec they provide claims 90wpc from 20hz to 20khz (which includes all audible frequencies, of course) into 8 ohms with .09% distortion. That's good. However, it would have been even more informative if Sony had also provided 4 ohm power specs, which would have given an even better idea of how much oomph the amp section is capable. At this price, size, and weight such an omission is understandable. Therefore this receiver should be viewed as, at best, a 90wpc model. That is actually very good for the price, especially for those who understand that power output is not a linear scale - there really isn't much difference between 90wpc and 135wpc. Suffice it to say that most people will be able to crank up the volume louder than they care to listen with most speakers.

The reasons I chose to purchase this receiver are it's low price and the fact that I still own and use one of its very similar predecessors from a decade ago, the STR185DE, rated 100wpc at this same price. I almost never turn it off - in other words after roughly ten years of virtually continuous service, it still looks and sounds new, and the remote control as well as front panel controls all still function properly. I anticipate that this descendant of the 185 will perform just as reliably. I also believe that the other brands available at less money will neither hold up so well, nor sound as good. This belief is based on many years experience as an audio enthusiast, and former audio salesman.

Which brings us to sound quality. I have several systems in my home which include such brands as Lexicon, NAD, Adcom, Paradigm and ADS - highish end brands much more expensive than this receiver. I'm using this Sony to drive a pair of ADS L-780 speakers which, though 20+ years old, still look and sound wonderful. I previously used an NAD receiver which cost more than $500 with these ADS. The sound quality is virtually identical using the Sony; I'm sure that if blindfolded I'd be unable to distinguish between them, and the ADS are very revealing three-way loudspeakers.

If you do want a better receiver than this Sony, then I'd suggest you check out the Yamaha R-S500BL also available via amazon but at about three times the price. The Onkyo TX-8255 might be a contender at only about $50 more than this Sony, but is not clearly superior in my mind. Or if you want something truly special, look at the Outlaw RR2150 also available here for almost six times the price - I'd love to have one of those myself, but it isn't in the budget right now. Plus, I already own some high end separate components anyway (my Adcom power amps are the big ones, originally priced at almost three grand for the pair). I didn't write this to brag; I simply wanted to show that even knowledgeable 'audiophiles' sometimes need a more budget-friendly solution to their audio needs, and that we make careful choices when compromise is necessary. This Sony lacks some of the features of the Yamaha and Outlaw models mentioned above, but nothing else I know of near this price range delivers the sound quality I demand as adequately as does the Sony. Good affordable stuff.

UPDATE: Nearing a year of daily use now. Not a glitch, not a hitch. Not the smallest glimmer of a problem. Looks new, sounds new, operates flawlessly. I admit that in this room, I don't push an amp hard at all - when I want to crank hard I have other systems which will do that, no problem. But it's in my computer room and gets used daily, connected to a pair of Paradigm Mini Monitors v3, which despite the name is a pair of decent-sized bookshelf speakers capable of surprisingly deep bass (they're about 14" x 8" x 12" hwd). They sound great with this affordable Sony receiver. So I'm still happy with the purchase.

Two-year Edit: Still works and sounds like new. Am amazed that this model is currently under review by Amazon due to customer complaints. Mine has been solid. Just ordered two more as Christmas gifts for my sons; I hope theirs are good, too.

Third Year Edit: The Sony just keeps working perfectly, remote control and all. Still looks new. This year I gifted another of these, bringing my total to five purchased during these three years. All sound great and I continue to get thank-yous from owners. Great value, especially at sale price.
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on August 13, 2012
As a classical music lover with an extensive stereo-only CD collection, I have been content with a basic system in my study consisting of a receiver, CD player, and tape deck. My receiver recently died. Given my record collection, the current state of classic-music releases and my age (78), it make no sense to opt for a whole surround sound system. Thus, my needs are specialized.

After much surfing at all the logical sources, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that simple stereo receivers are still made and sold at current dollar prices below those I paid for either of my earlier purchases. My checking clearly indicated that the Sony receiver selected had more than enough power and features to meet my needs, and that pricier alternatives only added features that I would not use. It is convenient to use and works well with my speaker system. As usual for Amazon, I had learned enough before purchase to know what I would get so there were no unpleasant or pleasant surprises. As also usual with Amazon, the price was right and the shipping speedy.
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on November 28, 2012
I just put together my own budget audio system after plenty of research on multiple speaker systems. I already own a 5.1 home theater surround sound but wanted a 2.1 audiophile system to listen to music, watch movies, and play video games. I opted for the Sony STRDH130 as I've had good experience with Sony receivers before, with my other audio system being connected to a Sony receiver. I was able to turn this into a 2.1 system by using a Polk Audio PSW10 subwoofer that allows you to hook up this receiver to it, and then output the audio from the subwoofer to the two speakers, which are Pioneer SP-BS21-LR. Install took approximately 1 hour including cutting and preparing my own 16 gauge speaker wire that I purchased along with the receiver. The AUX port on the back of the receiver is great for hooking up an MP3 player/smartphone directly or hooking it into an Airport Express which allows you to stream music wirelessly to this receiver. I left all of the settings on the receiver at the default as I controlled the equalizer directly on my MP3 player wirelessly over Airplay. Total cost for this system including the 50ft of 16 gauge speaker wire cost approx. $245 give or take a few dollars. The sub was $80, the pioneers were $40 for the pair (on sale), and the receiver was $118. This is much much better than a soundbar and subwoofer setup. The sound is very deep, rich, and warm with great high notes. I uploaded a picture of my complete setup under the user pictures for this product. I highly recommend this alternative if you're not looking to break the bank.
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on August 14, 2012
Have been using this receiver for the last month and can't find any shortcomings. Sounds great, easy to set up and use! Remote has great range and many functions to control the unit. Highly recommend this receiver as a great buy!
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on July 3, 2012
I bought this receiver to power some outdoor speakers on my deck. For that purpose it is exactly what I needed: A simple, two-channel stereo with FM tuner and an iPhone input.
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on March 24, 2013
Same as reviewer 1/19/13. Every few days after turning the unit off, it goes dead. You have to unplug the unit from the power source, then plug back in to be able to turn it back on. After each time, it loses all pre-sets. I bought TWO of these units recently, only ONE of them exhibits this problem. The other one works great! (so far). Fortunately, I discovered this soon enough for Amazon to send me a replacement, no need to hassle with Sony warranty.

EDIT UPDATE 4/1/13: Amazon quickly sent me a replacement. Guess what? Another unit with the same problem! 2 out of 3 I have received have failed in the same way. One I ordered months ago is still working fine... (so far). This time, I'm requesting money back to buy another brand due to poor odds with this.

EDIT 4/10/13: AVOID, AVOID, AVOID ! ! ! OMG! My 4th unit that I have had for a few months beyond return policy, has FAILED IN THE SAME WAY ! ! ! Warrantee and shipping not worth the hassle of a $130 piece of **** (junk). Obviously, a current bad run of failure units. Sony needs to recall and pull these off the market and fix the problem. Amazon should remove this failure product from their search and offerings. Too bad, all FOUR in-a-row worked great for a few day/weeks. I will cringe if anybody buys this trash beyond this post date. I've already rolled the dice enough times to come up snake-eyes an ALL FOUR in a row.
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on April 14, 2013
After only 2 days unit wouldn't power up. The power button would not turn the receiver on at all. Once you unplugged the whole unit, it would then power up, but only for a day or two and by unplugging it you will lose any preset radio stations or any other setting you program. Returned after a week. Had old Sony receiver for 17 years with no problems! Obviously there is a manufacturing problem with this unit.
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on October 9, 2014
I just purchased & received the Sony STRDH130 stereo receiver today from and unlike my prior 14 year old Sony AV stereo receiver, this newer unit is easier to connect to new fangled electronic devices such as flat screen LED/LCD TV sets compared to my older 14 year old Sony AV receiver. Also, this is a basic 2-channel stereo receiver and that's all I really need for my audio & video pleasures here at home. I had problems hooking up TV or video devices with the prior older Sony stereo receiver, but not with this newer Sony receiver.....I had everything hooked up correctly within 30 minutes of opening up the box and that simply made the purchase well worth it. Very completed remote control that handles everything comes with the the same with my prior Sony stereo receiver also. Seems Sony makes a very thorough stereo remote control. My old Sony remote actually works with this newer Sony receiver...nice surprise. The stereo receiver unit itself is pretty basic and not cluttered and pretty easy to operate and very straight-forward with everything on this receiver. Sound quality is excellent and you can use 1 or 2 sets of speakers either set or both pairs of speakers at the same time, a very nice treat since I usually run 2 sets of speakers when viewing videos, watching local TV or listening to music on the tape deck or CD player. I have had fantastic luck with prior Sony stereo receivers and actually the old unit still works, but needed a smaller and less complicated one to use regularly and this new Sony receiver will "fill the bill" for me for many years to come. I am very pleased with this receiver and how it sounds.
Pros include: easy to use, very good remote control, easy to connect stereo components and video items, looks very good, the sound quality is great, has separate bass and treble controls, price is low considering the power you get with this receiver and finally.....the power this unit puts out is great!!
Cons include: I could not anything negative about this receiver yet.
If you just need a basic high-powered 2-channel stereo receiver that sounds great and don't really want to spend a lot of money on it and still get a well-known name-brand unit, this Sony STRDH130 stereo receiver should do the job just fine.
I have given this unit 5 of 5 stars because simply it is a great receiver.
I may do updates to my review here as the months go by and any negatives I find at that time, I will post here.
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on January 19, 2013
Buying this product made me realize how much I need to more-thoroughly investigate my purchases. ALWAYS research the product name & model # on the internet for problems before giving-up my credit card#.
This Sony receiver's chronic problem is that once you use it & power-down the unit, the unit goes dead. You have to unplug the unit from the power source, plug it back in, then you hear the internal click that the unit is now coming alive. The nastier part is that every time you go thru this plug/unplug exercise, you lose ALL of your presets. Since the unit is under warranty, I did visit the Sony e-service website to see about getting this unit fixed. Yes, Sony will repair the unit, but since Sony has drastically reduced their number of service centers, I would have to ship this unit to Laredo, TX. The shipping cost from Seattle, WA to Laredo would be @$78............the receiver cost was $117. Some units may work perfectly for some people, but for me, this was a learning experience in buying junk!.
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on May 25, 2013
Owned and operated daily for 8 months, the following are the high points:
1) 6 Stereo "line-level" inputs, 1 is an 1/8th inch stereo phone jack and 2 have outputs - Plus a very decent AM/FM tuner.
2) Specifications that make sense for a home stereo. Simplicity. Flat frequency response. Sensible remote control. And all sorts of protection of the power output - plenty of power for music and connections for 2 speaker systems which mute if a headphone is plugged into the front jack. About the output power - there are many reviews that try to pin down hard numbers - this is a music amplifier and not for use by rock bands - so the receiver adapts and reduces power to prevent a melt down. If you want some hard numbers see the Part 3). Part 5) seems to be helpful to the average listener. I'll summarize part 7) as "Receiver is Very Good".
3) Watts - Ohms - Volts - Oh My - So you think you know something by the second refill... - Torture test: - Burn in for 15 minutes at 9.5 Watts (Average - not "RMS") (per channel with both channels operating, as are all further measurements unless noted) into 4 Ohm load at 1 kHz - Speakers A and B each have 8 Ohm loads - The receiver is set to feed speakers A and B - A and B in parallel gives 4 Ohms - Heat pouring out of the unit like crazy - now jump to 100 W - wait 5 seconds and the power drops to 80 W - 5 secs - Power drops to 65 W - 5 secs - Power drops to 50 W and I remove the input tone - at no time was there any clipping from 100 to 50 W. No damage done. Repeat with a 4 Ohm load on speaker A and set receiver to feed speaker A (only) - this could void your warrantee - burn in at 9.5 W for 5 mins then jump to 140 W - guess what? - 5 secs and 112 W - 5 secs and 92 W and I remove input tone. No damage or clipping - Not much learned - Me and my oscilloscope are pretty bored as you should now be.
4) The following review was made after a little over one day of use - It is technical but seems important [parts 5) and 7)]. Part 6) is ridiculously technical and should not be read, but I can't stop the "Audiophiles" - They listen to tones - If you buy this you should be listening to music.
5) This unit has been criticized by a number of reviews here at Amazon as having a failure to turn on after some time in the off (standby) state - having looked inside I would have to say that this and other problems are probably heat related - the receiver is well designed electronically, but the heat dissipation of the various "hot spot" devices creates micro-climates that could cause the several super-capacitors that back-up the memory to overheat and not hold the needed charge for memory retention - I would recommend that this unit be positioned so as to get the most airflow of all the stereo components you have associated with it - the transformer is not very efficient (you can feed the heat with your hand under the bottom on the left side) and the driver module is too hot to touch - it needs a heat sink.
6) Technically the output transistors run cool as the PA bias is about 6 mA per channel with the receiver warmed up but silent - the "rail-to-rail" voltage is (+/-) 58 Volts d.c. no load and the power supply capacitors are rated at 71 Volts d.c. so fussing over the exact amount of output power is pointless - with over 100 volts rail-to-rail, 135 Watts RMS - ("Watts RMS" is an FTC definition I avoid - it is a compromise to keep companies from overstating their output power) POWER for a very short period would be 93 Volts peak-to-peak (sine or distorted sine wave) and possibly accurate given the 100 Volts plus rail-to-rail voltage - If you read carefully you will see that the 90 Watt rating is "RMS" hence the very low 0.09% THD because this is not average power but rather a sort of "music power" compensated FTC rating - the 100 Watt rating at 1% THD has created a lot of suspicion about the veracity of these specs due to the large jump up in the THD from "90 Watts RMS" - The 100 Watt rating does NOT read as being "RMS" power so it may be true sine wave power into an 8 Ohm load (which will get as hot as a 100 Watt incandescent light bulb) at about 80 Volts peak-to-peak sine wave voltage - otherwise the FM tuner is quite sensitive and selective for the tiny box it is in. I like the features but everyone has different tastes here.
7) This unit has good electronic features that are not in the ad copy but are definite pluses: The ability to handle two 8 Ohm speakers (hence a 4 Ohm load to the amplifier) is done seamlessly and without any mention by using an expensive relay in the power supply to select a lower secondary center tapped winding to set (+/-) 42 Volts as the two rail voltages - this allows the higher current a 4 Ohm load would draw and prevents the output transistors from over heating (the power they dissipate is the product of the rail voltages and the current) - an old Onkyo receiver, the TX-8511 did this but required you to move a switch on the back of the receiver to the correct position - very easily forgotten and often misunderstood. My ownership time is now 29 hours - more to come.
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