Customer Review

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sony / Onkyo cage-match comparison., October 3, 2011
This review is from: Sony STRDH820 7.2 Channel 3D AV Receiver (Black) (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
I hooked up the Sony STR-DH820 yesterday after a lightning strike fried my previous Onkyo HT-S5100 amplifier (AND my computer. AND my plasma TV). AAAARRRGGGH! I left the Onkyo's 7.1 speaker system in place, since it was unharmed.

The difference between the two amplifiers was startling! I put on my traditional setup Blu-ray of "Iron Man" and discovered many subtle sounds I hadn't heard before, from the clinking of the ice in Tony's glass as the Humvee roars down the road, to a soft mechanical hum in other scenes, to a MUCH more intense bass. The Onkyo was a good unit, but I LOVE the Sony's sound!

Pros:

1. I have a 7.1 speaker setup--seven surround speakers and a subwoofer. This Sony unit can power TWO subwoofers, but works terrific with one. Superior sound!

2. The audio calibration sensor is fast, simple and works great. Much less complex than the Onkyo's.

3. I use HDMI to connect this Sony receiver to an AT&T U-verse set top box and a Panasonic plasma television. I just discovered that turning on the AT&T box automatically controls the other devices! The Sony takes about 15 seconds to turn on, discover the signal, and feed the signal to the television. With the Onkyo, I had to turn on everything manually and do some complex button-pushing to get things to interface. I didn't know what I was missing!

Cons:

1. Sony's wiring connector setup is a pain if you use bare speaker wires instead of banana plugs. The knobs are placed too close together, it is difficult to see what you are doing, and the screw knobs have to be backed WAY out to insert the speaker wires, then must be laboriously screwed back in. Even the labeling is awkward. It took me 45 minutes to connect the speaker wires.

2. The instructions are kinda lame. The quick start guide is too simplistic, but the manual is dense, complicated and poorly illustrated. I have an electronics background, but half the time I don't know what the heck they are talking about! The remote control is about 2" longer my biggest remote and is densely packed with buttons that will never be used. They buried the pinhead-sized "mute" button among the buttons on the lower left.

I'd give this unit 4-1/2 stars because of the spectacular sound at a reasonable price, but deduct for ridiculous complexity and poor ergonomics. I'm also keeping Onkyo's iPod docking station because it appears heavier and better made.
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Location: Houston, TX USA

Top Reviewer Ranking: 2,798