Customer Reviews: Sony STRDN1030 7.2-Channel Network A/V Receiver (Built-in Wi-fi & Bluetooth)
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Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is the best A/V receiver that I've owned so far. I've owned an Onkyo TX-SR606 and a Sony STRDH520 in the past. This receiver pumps out better sound and has ten times the number of features.

I'll skip going in to too much detail about things like the 5 HDMI inputs, the wattage, and the other bullet points that are clearly listed in the extensive product description here on Amazon. Instead, I'll focus on some of the other questions that I'd be left with as a potential buyer.

This A/V receiver allows for audio streaming over Bluetooth, so you can play music directly from your phone for example. I tested this feature using my Samsung Galaxy Nexus running Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean). This replaces my previous method of streaming audio from my phone, the Logitech Wireless Speaker Adapter for Bluetooth Audio Devices that I had connected to my older Sony STR-DH520. This receiver can remember pairing information for 9 Bluetooth devices.

There is an antenna on the back of the receiver for connecting via Wi-Fi. The range was fine in my living room. There is also an Ethernet port for a wired connection (my preference).

Before you customize the receiver's settings too much, be sure to download the latest update using the settings menu. The download was fast on my internet connection, but the update itself took about 30 minutes to be installed. After restarting, some of my speaker settings were lost and needed to be reset.

Using the network connection, you are able to play music on network DLNA servers, which I was able to do using mp3 files stored on my Windows 7 computer in another part of the house. (The receiver cannot play DRM-protected files.) There are also a number of services available using the "SONY Entertainment Network (SEN)". Many of the services, like Pandora and Slacker music streaming, are free and require minimal setup. For example, I linked to my Pandora account after logging in to SONY's special website (listed on the screen) and entering the receiver's code, so all of my Pandora stations and presets show up. I was also able to connect to Slacker's example stations without having to connect to any account. There are some other services available, including vTuner and a pay service called "Music Unlimited".

Another available feature is "Party Streaming", which requires Party Streaming-compliant devices. 20 of these devices can be saved to the list at a time. You may also play music from your compatible iOS devices using AirPlay.

There is an iOS/Android app called "SONY Media Remote" that allows you to control many aspects of this receiver from your smartphone via Wi-Fi. I installed on on my Galaxy Nexus running Android 4.1 and it works surprisingly well. Response time is just as fast as the regular remote. Personally, I probably won't use it all that much only because I prefer tactile buttons instead of a touchscreen when using a remote, but it will still be a cool thing to show off to visitors. :)

Yes, the audio and video is great, especially after using the included auto-calibration microphone. I am using this receiver with a Dish Network receiver, a PS3, a Logitech Revue with Google TV, a three year old 46-inch Samsung LCD TV, and an Energy 5.1 Take Classic Home Theater Speaker set. HDMI handshaking (the amount of time it takes for audio/video to connect when changing inputs) does not take too long, a few seconds at most. The speaker connections on the back allow for twisting the speaker wires and clamping them in, or you can use banana-plugs as I do.

== GUI MODE ==
Most of the advanced features of this receiver are best used in GUI mode, which is a crude-looking, text only screen representation of the menus and information like the currently playing Pandora song. This feature is slightly obnoxious and could have been so much better because all of the text displays only a few characters at a time and then scrolls the rest at a very slow pace, even though there is plenty of room on the screen to display more characters at a time. It would be great if they would fix this in a future downloadable update.

I am a huge fan of sci-fi/action movies that have incredible special effects and sound... sometimes at the expense of storylines. Movies like "2012" and "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" come to mind. Well, I just watched "Battleship" on BluRay with this receiver and my Energy speakers. I turned the volume up louder than I have ever done with my other receivers. My ears are almost bleeding. I can't even critique the movie all that much because the visuals and the audio were so amazing with this setup.

This is a great receiver, and I am very happy with it. There are many features that I haven't delved into because I do not have compatible devices (an iOS device, Party Streaming devices, etc). But the features I have used above are great and are ones that I have never had on a receiver before.

Please feel free to leave a comment if you have any specific questions about this product and I will try and answer them as best as I can!
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on August 6, 2012

So, I finally exchanged my Sony STRDH830 for the NEW SONY STRDN-1030 on Sunday.

One Word - "AWESOME"

The STRDH830 was and is a fantastic receiver and only had it for a few days until I heard the STRDN1030 was due to be released.
I swapped it out and man am I Really impressed. Right out the box worked like a charm. Did a few setup steps for Decoding Master Audio and TrueHD. Then I setup the Built in Wireless Network (yes, I said Built in Wireless) and did a firmware update. All worked just flawlessly.

The next day I setup SONY REMOTE APP on my Android HTC inspire, did a few tweaks and finally was able to, not only control the receiver, but also stream my music on my phone to the receiver. All functions of my Music Player app controlled my song list. networked my Laptop to the receiver wirelessly and was able to stream my music on it to the receiver and control my song list from the Laptop.

My previous Sony STRDH830 did not have these bells and whistles and I honestly thought I would never really use it. Well, I was wrong. I just love it. Audio Decode on Movies beautiful. HDMI handshaking and In/Out just works. Picture Quality Transfer to HD33 from HDMI out is excellent.

The only cons to the STR-DH830 as well as the STRDN1030, or any Sony receiver right now is it has a terrible GUI interface displayed on the screen. This really doesn't bother me, because once setup, i just use my remote or phone to make any changes and totally control the receiver without the onscreen GUI. Also, the remote is way to cluttered. Very hard to navigate. Too many buttons.
This can be a good thing bcause there is all the functions u need on the darn thing Would be nice if it was backlit but many competitives don't offer it anyway.

I recently returned 4 receivers within a 3 week period and settled on the STRDN1030. CNET just did a recent review of the STRDN1030, Onkyo RXX 616 and the Yamaha XXX 573 and compared the Sony sound quality as equal to Denon 1912. At this price range and features, and since it has a wireless antenna, Cant beat the value and build quality.

I highly recommend it.
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on August 15, 2012
I purchased the str-dn1030 Sony A/V receiver to replace an old school Panasonic Receiver I've owned for over a decade. I have a TiVo HD and PS3 Slim input into the str-dn1030 via HDMI. The str-dn1030 outputs to a wall hung 42" Panasonic Plasma via HDMI. I have internet connected to it via Ethernet. I operate my A/V system with a Harmony 900 (fully RF).

The str-dn1030 connected to a 5.1 system and the automatic speaker calibration feature (via the included mic) was very smooth and easy. I really enjoy the sound quality of this unit. The music and sound effects from the opening bank robbery sequence in The Dark Knight (on Bluray) were simply lovely.

Video is beautiful.

The GUI on the str-dn1030 is almost laughably bad looking and unintuitive, but is perfectly functional with the assistance of the user manual. I am truly perplexed at how bad the GUI is given how Sony can clearly deliver a better product. Perhaps this will be improved in a future firmware update. All this being said, I find the str-dn1030's bad GUI is better than the no GUI on my old Panasonic Receiver.

The delay in getting an image from the PS3 or TiVo to my Panny 42" display upon initially powering on the unit, or when switching inputs, was initially jarring for me. It isn't ridiculously long, but definitely noticeable compared to the near instantaneous sound and signal transmission I had enjoyed with my video outputs going directly to the display (via HDMI) and my audio outputs going directly to my old receiver (via Optical).

FYI, an inactivity power off feature appeared to have been enabled by default at the factory with my unit. I thought I was initially going crazy when watching Netflix Instant streaming when the str-dn1030 "spontaneously" powered off on my several times in a row. Sure enough the unit was set to power off automatically after a period of inactivity (10 minutes if I recall correctly).

I love the str-dn1030's bluetooth audio streaming function. Especially where the str-dn1030 fires up instantly from standby as soon as you "connect" a paired device via bluetooth. I discovered another tricky spot with the user manual. The glossary refers you to page 101 for Bluetooth Pairing...don't fall for it! Go to page 82 instead.

I think the build quality of the unit is very good and overall I'm very pleased with the daily functioning of this device.
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on February 12, 2013
I started out looking for an upgrade to my Kenwood HTiB receiver I purchased in the late 90s. The Kenwood system has been an incredible value, but it doesn't have HDMI inputs with passthrough so I've had to hook up most components into my HDTV and then output the audio from the TV to the receiver. Not a big deal, but lots of extra wires, etc. I was looking for a receiver in the $300-500 range with around 100 Watts per channel or possibly more. I was originally leaning toward the Onkyo line of AVRs, but saw so much negative feedback about firmware issues and HDMI switching problems that I was scared away from a purchase.

The Sony STRDN1030 got a great review from a major review site as well as on Amazon, had all of these extra networking features and built-in wifi so I decided that it was the "safer" pick even though it cost a little more than the comparably powered Onkyos did. I MADE THE WRONG CHOICE.

PROBLEM #1: After hours of reading the manual, fiddling with my network settings and the receiver settings I still couldn't get the networking features to operate even when I connected a wired network connection, much less the "fantastic built-in wifi". Regardless, I wasn't overly concerned about this and was planning on calling Sony tech support to see what I might be doing wrong if anything. I never had the chance to do this however (see problem #3).

PROBLEM #2: the HDMI input and switching times are excruciatingly long. At least 10-15 seconds every time I turned the TV on, switched input, etc. Not a deal killer, as I had already heard that this was the case from reading reviews, but fairly annoying at times. Rest assured the repeated complaints about this issue are absolutely true.

PROBLEM #3: After about 3 weeks of operation, the HDMI video output stopped working. REALLY...and I was worried about the Onkyos? I can hear the audio but no video. If I directly connect the HDMI to my TV there's no problem (other than the fact that my TV speakers are less than stellar), so I know it's a receiver issue.

So I'm returning the receiver while its still (barely) within the 30 day return policy.

OTHER POTENTIAL ISSUES: I had this receiver set up in a location with complete free flow of air - shelf open on all sides with no other components or equipment within 6-12" in any direction - and it gets hot to the touch even while in standby mode. Not just warm, HOT. Maybe this unit is defective and that's part of the problem, but I would be very careful about purchasing this unit to use in a mostly enclosed cabinet or crowded component stand. Also, I was surprised that this receiver at $500 retail is not rated to power speakers under 8 ohms. That's probably not an issue if you're using low end speakers, but many medium and high end speakers are rated at 4 or 6 ohms. That doesn't necessarily mean you CAN'T run 4 or 6 ohm speakers, but given that this unit already runs pretty hot (I was using 8 ohm speakers), I thought I'd mention it as something to consider.

So I'd give it 3 stars when it worked (good sound overall), reduced to 1 star because it bit the dust in less than 30 days of only moderate use at very reasonable volumes.
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on October 28, 2012

I recently bought this receiver through Amazon (Excellent Delivery) and I want to share my opinion and judgment about.

Firstly I made some Internet research taking in account the budget (Around $500), the features, the brand (For example there is no Onkyo in my country, and even though I was going to make the purchase by Internet from USA, it seemed to me sounder to stick with a brand-name that was available here), and some other considerations (As size, weight, etc.).

I reviewed gear (and downloaded plenty of information about) from Sony, Yamaha, Denon, Pioneer and others, and at the end I favored the Sony, so when I did my acquisition I was pretty aware of what I was getting into. Nevertheless I cannot deny that my first impression was a little bit of disappointment. This new receiver was replacing an old (But very faithful!) Sony STR-DE945, that was also -in its moment- the top of the mid-line of the AV receivers from Sony (From there up it is only the ES Series) and it was kind of depressing that two similar range equipments from the same Company -separated just years apart- could be so different. First my old receiver was heavier and larger (deeper). Second the STR-DE945 was the one with the fashionable LCD Remote Commander that was ahead of its time when it was new; the one that comes with the new 1030 is an unremarkable piece of plastic cluttered with a zillion buttons some of which have several functions and it reminds me more of those 80's Scientific Calculators from Texas Instruments. But well I guess that is a consequence of the times, so we consumers get less and less for our money as time goes by.

But do not misread me, after ten days or so living with it I am rather content with my acquisition. I will try to be concise about what I liked and what I didn't.

First the things I liked:

-it has 7 channels of amplification.
-The sound is rather clean and detailed with a tight bass (I know this may be in part a byproduct of the Room-EQ). Keep in mind that my room-speaker set up is the same, so the only thing different is the new amplifier (In this regard the 1030 has received good marks in both CNET and AUDIO +VISION reviews).
-Once calibrated you have a great degree of flexibility to adjust speaker distances (At 1cm or 1 inch interval) and choose Crossover Frequencies separately for each group of speakers (From 40Hz to 200Hz at 10Hz interval)
-It has DPLII, DPLIIx, DPLIIz and NEO6, all of them in both versions, Music and Cinema
-It handles all the new HD sound Codices, and as it is DLNA-certified you know that you can update the software (In fact I already did) perhaps for things to come in the near future.
-It has many several features as built-in Wi-Fi (That works as a charm), DCAC (Digital Cinema Audio Calibration), APM (Automatic Phase Matching), DLL (Digital Legato Linear), Auto Faroujda Up-convert/Upscale Circuitry, Sound Optimizer (Something sort of similar to a function of some THX- certified hardware), Advanced Auto Volume function, and some others like Bluetooth, Air-play, USB-port that I have yet to test.
-It has not many DSP environment enhancers, but the few it has sound pleasant, clean and sort of professional.
-You can connect and use Internet content (I prefer using my Bluray for that though, and because of the GUI I do not recommend using the receiver for this)

And now what I didn't liked:

-The GUI is ugly, dated and too much slow to display. My Bluray is also a Sony and the GUI is a joy to behold. What's more, each time you recall the GUI with the RC everything goes to a halt from which it takes several seconds to recover to finally retrieve any information. Shame on you Sony!
-The EQ controls are plain, to say the least, and there are only for the front Speakers. Besides they only can be recalled directly from the front of the apparatus itself (If you want to use the remote you have to go by the GUI..... and you already know the rest). In comparison my old receiver had a 3-band parametric EQ with 21-selectable center frequencies for each band and for each group of speakers. I know that the DCAC and CAL is supposedly a sort of room-EQ, but nevertheless seems a little bit paltry from Sony to skip on this.
-Not too many Surround types or Sound Fields. I know this side of Lexicon, the best in this regard are the ones that come from Yamaha, but my old receiver had 27 different options in this regard, and many of them had several adjustable parameters (Effect level, Rev. time, Wall Hardness, etc). The 1030 is plain vanilla in this regard, a sort of take it or leave it situation: except for the HD Cinema type, all others have no user changeable characteristics.
-Even though my old and new receiver are similarly powered, at least in paper (about 100 W/channel), to attain the same sound loudness that took in my old receiver to go up a little bit more than a quarter, I need to go over 40 (of a top 72), so go figure.
-The display has ALL the information but is sort of small and crowded with no discernible criteria; the only way that you can read the tiny characters is that you have the receiver at arm-length.

Life is far from perfect, and the 1030 certainly it is not, but as I said before I was rather aware of what I was purchasing and I am generally content with it. Well I hope this could be of some interest or utility to any prospective buyer.

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on May 11, 2013
I wanted to point out that not all the HDMI inputs are the same... I hooked a PS3 to the "game" input and found that not all of the sound modes were available, Dolby True HD, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby HDMA... Not cool. The manual even states that if you want improved sound to connect to the BD input. This is a pretty poor way of saving money, really, how much more would it have cost to make them the same? The PS3 is also Sony, they do realize that the PS3 outputs those don't they?

The switching between inputs is slow, the GUI is slow. Other than those things it seems to be a great receiver.
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on March 21, 2013
Sound quality is great. I replaced an old Denon receiver and worried that I wouldn't have superior sound quality, but this unit holds up really well. I found the set up to be fairly easy and although the GUI is clunky it does get the job done. The manual is poor - it describes, but it doesn't explain. There is a difference between describing every single function and providing guidance to solve problems with your set up. It took me ages to figure out how to set up HDMI pass through - the manual describes this function but doesn't provide step by step instructions on how to do it. I found myself searching forums more often than not.

There are a couple of problems with the unit and one of them is significant for me. First, it is impossible to use AirPlay without also having the TV on - and the TV simply displays the title and composer of whatever is playing. But this is a massive waste of power consumption and a distraction. I don't know why I can't just listen to music without having the obtrusive visual display. Second, I bought this receiver because of its Zone 2 capabilities, however, only the tuner or connected CD player will play in Zone 2. None of the functions - like AirPlay - will play in Zone 2. This was completely oppositie to what Sony told me before I bought the unit. Good job I didn't throw away my old CD changer, but the whole purpose was to use the advanced functions of this unit to eliminate outdated peripherals.

I would still recommend the unit. The wireless connectivity and streaming potential (Zone 1 only) is really helpful and the set up was a breeze.
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on August 9, 2013
I bought this AVR as a replacement for my Onkyo NR609 which stopped sending video to the TV, a common flaw so I've heard. It was just out of warranty so I decided to head to Costco as they have a long warranty and I wouldn't get burned again. They had only one AVR in the store, the SONY DN1030 for under $400. I'm not a fan of Sony as they put a rootkit virus on my PC in 2006 when I ripped a Carpenters CD. But, it's the only one Costco had so I picked it up.

Let me say one thing up front. I like the sound of this receiver. Very nice crisp highs and true sounding lows coming from the subwoofer. If sound were the only criteria for satisfaction with an AVR then there's no question I'd keep this unit. But, it's not and Sony fails everywhere else.

Here are my issues with this AVR:

1. Switching input sources is sloooooow. I have a FIOS DVR, which my wife primarily uses. I also have a Windows HTPC (with cable card tuner) which I mostly use. We also have a Google Chromecast, which we both use. During the night we may flip from one source to another a half dozen times or so. It takes literally 10-15 seconds to switch between sources. I realize that's not an eternity and wouldn't be a deal breaker alone but it's annoying like having a pebble in your shoe while jogging.

2. When this AVR can't figure out what type of audio stream is coming through it switches to a form of all channel stereo. I shouldn't ever be hearing primary dialog coming from the back speakers. But, there it is, right in my left ear behind my head.

3. The showstopper: Control of the subwoofer is buried deep in the settings. I like the use of the subwoofer, it really enhances many shows and movies. However, my home theater is just below the master bedroom. The subwoofer needs to be turned down when someone is still sleeping in the bedroom. On my old Onkyo I had a remote control app on my phone that let me just swipe left or right to control the volume of the subwoofer. A separate control just for the subwoofer. Very easy. As an alternative I could press a few buttons on the remote to lower the volume. I don't want it off, just lower.

Unless I'm missing something, I have to go into settings (which takes 10-20 seconds to show on screen once I press the settings button) and I have do dig down deep to find the "equalizer" which is what Sony calls the Bass and Treble controls just to lower it. When doing this there's no sound coming out of the speakers so I can't judge whether I've lowered it enough. I have to guess. This changing of the subwoofer volume is vary arduous and time consuming which means it doesn't pass the WAF test (Wife Acceptance Factor). If it takes more than one or two clicks she just hands the remote to me. And, folks, this is the real reason I'm taking this unit back. This is the deal breaker.

4. The phone app is crap. I downloaded the Sony app from the Google Play Store for my Galaxy Note 2. This app is convoluted and doesn't really do anything intuitively except for volume up and down. Maybe Onkyo has spoiled me but I expected more from Sony, but got less.

5. There's no on-screen volume indicator. When watching the TV and changing the volume I can't see any indication it's changed. Nothing. Maybe there's a setting that can be changed to turn it on but after being so frustrated by 1-4 above I'm just too weary to look for it.
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on December 18, 2012
I bought this receiver because of its wireless capabilities.
Overall I am happy with my purchase but there are some issues:

1. The HDMI pass through seems to be hit & miss. When the unit is in standby the TV will find the video signal from my cable box some of the time, but not all of the time. There are times when I have to turn on the receiver in order for the TV to receive the video signal from the cable box.

2. Airplay is also a hit & miss situation, unlike Bluetooth which seems to work flawlessly. When Airplay works its great, but many times the connection doesn't happen.

3. I'm not sure why the receiver seems to default to the TV input. I'm not even sure why the TV input comes up all together. The HDMI is connected to the sat/cable input, there is nothing connected to a TV input.

4. The video image from the cable box direct to the TV was superior to the video image coming from the connection from the cable box through the AVR, to the TV. I was able to compensate by boosting the TV's settings for brightness and sharpness, but I was surprised that I would have to make these adjustments.

5. Important info like sound settings are only readable by getting very close to the receiver display and taking note of the small icons indicating the current mode. My older Sony AVR had a big blue light that would come on when the receiver was playing in a digital mode.

6. This last issue just started after ten days of using the receiver. For some strange reason now, whenever I try to go to the "GAME" input (PS3 through HDMI), I have to continuously keep pressing and holding down the GAME input button on the remote, as if to force the receiver to let me go there. If I just press normally it defaults back to that mysterious TV input.

I can see this receiver being a wonderful and integral part of my home theatre setup.
The sound quality is excellent and the wealth of features should keep it from becoming obsolete for at least a few years.

Overall the this is a very impressive piece of tech for the price, but I would like these issues resolved.
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on January 7, 2013
Bottomline guys, I won't waste this review recounting everything you can read AND SHOULD read on the other reviews. Everything you see in terms of drawbacks etc are true as well as upsides. That said here are a few more extra observations that I think for me are worth calling out.

1 - Everyone talks about the user interface and how bad it is, and its bad, but its not catastrophic guys. Just deal with it.

2 - The processor/processing delay between changing inputs and our sound is annoying but again not catastrophic.

3 - Make sure BEFORE YOU DO ANY SETUP download the latest firmware. Its going to look like your receiver died and won't turn back on, give it 15-20 mins, and calm down. It didn't die its just slow processing stuff (see my #2). BTW, much love to the one and only one reviewer who mentioned this in his review and thus kept me from jumping out of my 15th floor balcony.

4 - Setup was easier than I think some of the reviews made it sound.

5 - Finally I'm very pleased with the output and wireless nature of the machine. Btw bluetooth and airplay I'm having a good and easier time with this than my old 2002 Denon receiver that died.
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